Barcelona for 4 days with just hand luggage…
1. Choose an interchangeable jewellery collection like Nikki Lissoni. I took my two chains, two carriers and two coins which gave me several different looks from day to night. Top Tip: Buy the 90cm chain length, I double mine up creating a layered chain which looks great around a shirt collar.
2. Airbnb is the greatest invention for independant travellers and one of my personal favourite websites. We rented an amazing apartment in the Gothic quarter with three balconies, a lounge-diner, kitchen, great bathroom and big bedroom in a secure and beautiful building for half the price of a nice hotel. Airbnb is great as you’ll be staying in residential areas, giving you a real feel for the city, plus, the owner of the apartment will be able to give you top tips on where the locals eat and drink!
3. Barcelona in May is beautifully warm in the sunshine but definitely gets chilly in the shade and evenings, I’d suggest a long-line blazer, perfect for travelling in and goes with everything. Role the sleeves up for a laid-back luxe feel.
4. When baggage restrictions are tight don’t be tempted to take lots of shoes, you won’t wear them. Instead, invest in some smart quality sandals which you can wear day and night. I’ve finally realised that I don’t wear heels on holiday, so I don’t waste space in my bag taking them just to look at them for four days!
5. The only problem with taking hand luggage on a flight is the liquid allowance. Products can’t be over 100ml and they now have to fit in to a zip up plastic bag which luckily were available at security, (£1 for four in Birmingham) so firstly, double check your flight company and airport for their regulations. Secondly don’t be fooled with ‘travel size’ containers, I have been before, buying all of my products in small ‘travel’ sizes and decanting perfume into an atomiser only to find the majority were already under 100ml! Superdrug had great travel products for £3 for three, where as Boots were a lot more expensive – don’t forget, you’ll be able to buy all of these things abroad too!
My Barcelona top tips…
1. Walk. I was in training for the fab50k in Barcelona so rather than use public transport we walked everywhere. Yes it helps the waist line, but more importantly you get to see everything! I love taking in all of the beautiful buildings in European cities and there’s no better way to do that than on foot.
2. Eating and Drinking is cheap in Barcelona as long as you keep your whits about you. Las Ramblas, and Placa Real will be very expensive to eat and drink on, instead head a couple of streets off the beaten track and find the quieter areas. Here you can get a beautiful chilled glass of Cava for 3 euros, ask for ‘caña de cerveza’ (draft lager) which is as little as 1.50 euros. Tapas is the way to go and the portions aren’t small, so four or five dishes will happily feed two for very little money.
3. Book in advance. It’s so easy to book on-line now, Sagrada Familia can be booked in advance which gets you a queue jump and saves you standing in line for hours in the mid day sun.
4. Take time to chill. It’s great to see lots of sites but watching the world go by over a cold glass of Sangria in Parc Guell was one of my highlights, as well as a couple of hours on the beach. Don’t fill your days too full or you’ll come back in need of a break!
5. Flamenco at Espai Barroc. I love Flamenco and watching it live in a stunning gothic building was breathtaking. I’d highly recommend going, it’s 20 euros with a free (large!) drink and was the best 20 euros I spent on the trip!