This post was written by Clara Reck, the writer and creator of Clara the Exploradora. Be sure to check out her page on places such as Belize, Hawaii, and Portugal. Below she covers a trick on how to save money on transportation costs... we will admit its a trick that we didn't know about!
In theory, there are only four ways to commute in Spain.
4. Rent a car
But I bet you didn't know about the fifth way!
It's called BlaBla Car. We discovered this about two weeks into our trip to Spain while staying in a hostel in Zarautz, Spain.
Jaime was casually laying in his bunk when we got to talking. He told us about how he'd been in Spain for a while, hitching rides using the BlaBla Car app. Obviously, we European traveling newbies had no clue what he was talking about.
BlaBla Car is an amazing ride sharing site available in 22 countries. Mostly in Europe but it has also extended to countries like Mexico and India.
How does it work?
1. You need to download the app onto your phone.
2. Fill out your information.
3. When you need a ride, fill out your travel plans.
4. Compare your plans to that of trips posted by drivers.
5. Message a few drivers.
6. Pick the one you'd like to go with by looking at their times, dates, locations, & prices.
7. Establish meeting and drop off locations.
8. Payment is processed when you've reached your destination.
9. Leave a review!
It's seriously the easiest thing ever! A little like Uber or Lyft but not quite...
Driving with BlaBla Car is like having your own tour guide!
Every ride we had we learned something new about Spanish geography, economy, politics, food, culture... you name it! We learned it. On one of our drives, we learned about the Spanish smurf city. During another ride we learned about the intricacies of the road system. And in another we rode with a medical student and learned about the process of becoming a doctor.
At the same time, however, it is not necessary to talk to the driver or other people in the car. I'm just a chatty person and wanted to practice my Spanish. Most of the time, locals that were catching rides, didn't talk at all.
It really is a great way to save money while traveling!
I don't know exactly how much money we saved using BlaBla Car, but what I do know is that every time we compared prices between BlaBla Car, bus, and train, BlaBla Car was always cheaper, even if just by a few euros. It also cut a lot of time off our commutes... an important aspect of budgeting for travel time.
However, I strongly advise practicing common sense and safety.
The way we avoided any potentially sketchy situations was to...
1. Always meet in public areas.
2. Never share exactly where we were staying.
3. Read READ READ reviews! Just like with anything, read driver reviews. On the flip side, leave reviews to help future travelers.
4 Communicate with the driver beforehand. There is a messaging section of the app.
5. Make sure someone knows your travel plans. I always screenshot the drivers info and sent it to someone back home.
6. Wear your seat belt :)
If you go to somewhere that has BlaBla Car, I would suggest using it!
It's a real game changer in the travelers’ world. And seriously one of my favorite modes of transportation ever.
And yeah, at times BlaBla Car wasn't available when we needed it, so we would take a bus or train. But when it was available, we took it and always had a rewarding experience.
I hope this article helps you in your travels of any of the 22 countries in which it is available! Specifically Spain :) Oh! And if you want to learn more about BlaBla Car and see if it's available on your travels, here’s a LINK to their site. Just click the drop down under "choose the country for your ride" box, and you will be set!