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Never Been to Spain? Go!

Tips & tricks for your next overseas getaway. 

Last week, we talked about saving for vacations and I shared the strategy I used when I was first starting out. This week, we wanted to talk about planning your dream vacation – once you’ve got the funds saved up, of course! So, we talked to Meredith Bley of The Travel Authority to get her tips and tricks for travelers, and find out her top destinations for overseas vacations.

“First, I always ask people some questions to get them thinking about what kind of trip they want,” Meredith said. “Do you want to focus on art and architecture, food and wine, history, or do you want to relax and take in the local culture and scenery?” She also encourages people to think about the pace of their vacation. “Some people want a fast-pace where they only spend one or two nights in each city, and some people like to have a base they can go back to,” she explained.

Meredith likes Spain as a European destination for its beauty and diversity of landscape and things to do. “Spain has 3 million acres of vineyards and 5,000 miles of coastline,” she said, making it ideal for wine lovers and beach dwellers alike. For those wanting luxury, the Basque region has more Michelin-rated properties than any other place in the world, she added. The country offers a moderate climate and is home to religious sites that are sacred to all three major world religions – Christianity, Judaism, and Muslim faiths, making it an ideal vacation destination for many different people.

Planning ahead is crucial, especially when traveling abroad, Meredith said. Working with a travel agent can get vacationers access to sites they probably wouldn’t otherwise be able to get into, she added. “The Alhambra palace in Grenada only allows a limited number of tourists each month, so if you show up without planning ahead, you might not get in. I can set up an itinerary to help avoid these kinds of pitfalls,” Meredith said. She also knows of a 10-room hotel in southern Spain that’s an inclusive, organic resort featuring vineyards, horses, and lots of other amenities. “They do no advertising,” so a simple Google search won’t get you a room here. Those looking for a city adventure need look no further than Barcelona, where several of the city’s architectural marvels, including the gothic church La Segrada Familia, require advance tickets. “Barcelona has become hugely popular,” she said.

Other favorite activities Meredith loves to recommend to her clients include traditional Spanish cooking classes and trips to local markets for the ingredients, and of course sampling the famous jamon (ham) from the region’s Iberian black pigs who are fed a special diet. “You can’t leave without trying the ham!” she said.

Of course, if what you’re looking for is simply drinking wine and people watching, well, Spain offers plenty of both.

Looking for more tips and insider access for your vacation? Meredith Bley is available at 513.645.1855, or Meredith.Mosser@TheTravelAuthority.com.

Now. I’m going to pack my bags.

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