Hello! My fully vaccinated 18 year old is heading to Spain in a couple of weeks to do some WWOOFING (Living and working in organic farms) and rock climbing (Yikes!) in the Catalonia regions for up to 90 days. He has solid basic Spanish skills and he is a pretty savvy traveler having been to Spain with our family twice but this is his first solo trip. Looking for any advice for the easiest connectivity and data plans as well as navigating getting from the airport in Barcelona to the train station to take him to his first farm. Any other advice others may have would be greatly appreciated by this somewhat nervous mom and not at all nervous 18 year old traveler! I have gotten so much great info from this travel forum over the years. (-and yes, we do have good health insurance that will cover him abroad!)
you may have already read the previous posts here on the Forums (put WWOOF into the search bar) and understand the issues around it?
Does he have a work permit/visa?
I have read the posts about WWOOFING but there are not any very current ones on this site. We have read up a lot about the organization and what to expect. He does not need a work permit or Visa in Spain but his visit is limited to 90 days total in a window of 180 days as Spain is one fo the Schengen countries. (He is from the US)
I'm glad that you checked and it sounds like the previous restrictions on volunteer work have been removed from what you say... good news for him.
"…navigating getting from the airport in Barcelona to the train station to take him to his first farm."
Take free Airport Shuttle Bus from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2 (about 10-15 minutes), look for signs Renfe, cross the footbridge to the rail station (5 mins) and buy through ticket to his final destination.
Thank you for those concise directions!
Are you 100% sure he does not need a visa? This information seems a bit different: https://ec.europa.eu/immigration/country-specific-information/spain/volunteer_en
And here is an old discussion about it on Lonely planet: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/forums/europe-western-europe/topics/another-visa-and-wwoof-question Sure, a lot can have happened since that thread, but visa rules tend to be pretty static.
Easy to get a SIM with data for relatively cheap from a Movistar or Vodafone shop. They are competative, so not much point in shopping/comparing.
Just be SURE that the phone he brings is unlocked from its US carrier.
Thanks for the VISA info. We will check it out more. He did look into it pretty closely, but I will have him follow up.
What type of phone does he have now and with what carrier? For a possibly 90 day trip, I'd want it to be easy to contact him (and vice versa). For that reason, I'd get him either a T-Mobile account or a Google Fi account. That way, you could text each other without additional charge as much as you wanted. Calls to each other would require a small per minute fee and be straightforward (he'd just need to add a plus sign and your area code to call you). And he could make local calls using WiFi or for a relatively small fee. Data could be included in the monthly fee if it is T-Mobile with an option to upgrade to faster speeds or part of the Google Fi cost structure. If he has a newer phone, it is possible that it will handle two phone accounts so he could get a local SIM as well as a US-based number. The local number probably would have a better data plan.
Wonderful. Thank you, those both sound like great options!
Make sure he has medical insurance that covers rock climbing.
Re: medical insurance for rock climbing — there are dozens of clubs and guiding companies in Catalunya who, for a farly modest fee, will set him up with routes, local expertise, equipment and insurance on a day by day basis. The cost (anything between 35€ and 75€ a day) — is probably cheaper than paying any additional premiums on an existing policy if the policy does not cover sporting activity.
If striking out on his own he needs to be aware of restricted areas in what are broadly termed 'Natural areas', which also encompass areas outside of what are designated National Natural Areas as well as National Parks. The restricted areas each have their own calendar, which coincide with breeding and nesting seasons. A good source of information on this is the Spanish Federation for Mountain Sports and Climbing. Here's a link to their website: FEDME with much information in English or the Catalan federation — but with little info in English: FEEC
Maybe I should point out that I don't know if a visa is needed or not, but it is one of those things that you probably want to be 100% sure about before going.
Also, he will probably have use for a spanish phone number. Having to rely on wifi for making local calls will make life a lot harder.
Oh my gosh, you guys are the best! Thank you so much for this information. I did not expect to get so many great answers so quickly. The insurance and climbing companies are something that we will look into!
We always take Bus 46 from the airport into BCN. Stop is right in front of the terminals. It goes straight down Gran Via to Plaza Espana. From there you can walk to BCN Sants train station. It is a local city bus so it is the same price as any other bus. Leaves frequently. Most importantly there is less chance of getting nailed by pickpockets unlike the metro.