Top Five Travel Warnings and Scams in Spain
Traveling or living abroad in Spain is a longtime dream that many have. It’s no secret, as over 60 million people worldwide make Spain their vacation, study abroad or expatriate destination. While being away from home can sometimes feel as though you’re untouchable, read on about these five most common scams and warnings before you set out on your journey.
Avoid Illegal Activities and Fines
Even though Spain is known for its laid-back lifestyle, there are areas where you can, indeed, face fines. When enjoying a beach vacation with family or visiting on the weekends, Palma de Mallorca has a strict law against wearing swimming gear in public outside of the beach. Tourists walking around in bikinis or speedos will be fined as a result of restaurant and bar owners being dissatisfied with their clientele’s attire. Be mindful of dress codes throughout Spain, and stick to them accordingly to avoid unnecessary penalties.
Along with wardrobe fines, sentences related to drug use are not to be taken lightly in Spain. While officials may turn the other cheek when they see recreational drug use on the streets throughout Spain, they do not, in contrast, take growing, trafficking, production, or even possession lightly. Some of the shorter sentences can be along the lines of nine years, regardless of the type of illegal drug. Make it a priority to know the laws, and be mindful of your baggage at all times to avoid someone placing an unknown package inside.
Watch Out for Scams and Pickpockets
Spain is notorious for scams, pickpockets, and now even individuals dressing up as fake police officers. Always be extra careful with your wallet, and cell phone as those are the most targeted items by pickpockets. Be wary of seemingly friendly individuals approaching you on the street sparking a conversation; they may be trying to entice you into a scam for another pickpocket to swipe your belongings. Additionally, individuals have been known to pose as police officers and either ask for identification or a look in your bag or purse. Legitimate police officers will not ask to look in your purse or wallet, so proceed with caution when faced with this situation and ask them for their official identification first.
Master the Legal System Before Investing
Spain’s struggling economy currently offers some particular benefits, like low prices on reality and investments. Investment properties or homes for sale with gothic and medieval architecture, close to a beach, or in the heart of a tourist hotspot, can be tempting. Before you sign on that contract’s dotted line, be very cautious as there is a recent and growing scam in Spain to lure foreigners and tourists into a trap that can lead to unnecessary, prolonged disputes (Spain is a highly bureaucratic country). Check local and Spanish laws before making a real estate investment or other major purchase in Spain.
Insurance Covers a lot…but not Everything
One of the great things about Spain is its sheer number of cultural activities. Public gatherings are common as the Spanish value community and celebration immensely. From tame to extreme, parades celebrating religious ceremonies like Semana Santa during Easter or Tres Reyes during Christmas tend to be on the tamer side, while the San Fermines (Running of the Bulls) and La Tomatina (tomato festival).
The Running of the Bulls involves six bulls running loose in the typically quiet city of Pamplona while hundreds of people dressed in white with red scarves precede them en route to the bullring. Another popular festival, La Tomatina in Buñol near Valencia, involves throwing tomatoes at one another, commemorating what was once a political protest and now an annual town tradition. If you’re keen on participating, it’d be a wise idea to add to extreme sports travel insurance to cover any brought-on-by-bull or tomato triggered mishaps.
Find a great Travel Medical Insurance for Visitors to Spain
Don’t Fight Mother Nature
With Spain’s many climates and distinct geographies, you’ll encounter a wide variety of weather from the desert to the humid coastlines. In the south near Almería, it has dry and desert conditions, so heed caution when it comes to outdoor picnicking and grilling to avoid unnecessary bushfires during the summer months. Bonfires are common along the beaches, but take the necessary precautions to put them out when you’ve finished.
Conversely, while soaking up the rays on the beach on the Spanish Islands in Ibiza, Canary Islands, or Palma de Mallorca, do not take the flag warning systems lightly. Typically, at each beach, there are flags set up with various colors to inform you of the water current status. Red flags are not to be ignored! Undertows and undercurrents are incredibly strong that even an experienced lifeguard may not be able to save you. If you’re unsure of what the flags mean, make it a priority to ask before swimming in the water.
The best things you can do before traveling to Spain and soaking up the sites is to educate yourself and get yourself covered with travel insurance for Spain based on your stay. Whether you’re a long-term expat enjoying all the festivals Spain has to offer year round, or a student mastering your Spanish skills, there is always something available to meet your specific needs. Know before you go so you can enjoy each glass of sangria without worry!