So... I bought my plane ticket to Madrid.
Yes...yes!!! I know...shouldn't I have waited 'til after my visa appointment to book this? Well, no! Tickets were steadily rising and I couldn't bear to pay an arm and a leg after I've seen dirt cheap flights.
I purchased my ticket through StaTravel (www.statravel.com). I first had to apply for a discount international student card ($25) which also doubles as a prepaid Mastercard (not a bad deal since it gets you tons of travel discounts for a year and the withdrawal fees are cheaper than most American banks when used abroad).
Because I am over the 26 year old age limit for STA and I have been out of college for a while, I purchased my card first (using the name of the school I was placed at) then called their help line and chose the option to speak to a representative for the student card. I explained the program to her and she helped me to book my flight over the phone and added a note on my reservation about the fact that I was traveling on a student visa under a governmental educational grant.
I decided to only do a one-way trip for now and deal with the rest later since I am pretty sure I want to travel around Europe a bit next summer before coming back to the states (or staying on for another year). Best part...my flight is a lovely overnight flight (see: me drugged up on Melatonin and passed out for the whole thing) and it was only $350!!!! SWEET!!!
So the official plan is this: Leave Miami on Sept. 17, quick layover in DC, land in Madrid early on Sept. 18, catch a morning bus to Logroño, check into lodging, crash until a reasonable time to grab some wine and pinchos!!!
As for lodging, that part is still a bit up in the air. A few assistants have been talking about getting a vacation apartment rental and splitting the costs while we all apartment hunt. Unfortunately, Logroño has very limited advertisements for cheap hostels. So, this is a kink that I still need to work out.
- Finding a home for my doggies. (It is awesome)
- Collecting all needed documents for my visa appointment
- Packing (I had to move anyway!)
- Purchased plane ticket
- Relocate to Miami until the end of the summer
- Visa appointment at the Miami Consulate
- Find a hostel in Logroño
- Purchase a bus ticket from Madrid to Logroño, then back to Madrid for orientation
-Stress about getting my visa back in time
So yeah...still a few things left to get together...but I'm feeling the excitement again (this was lost temporarily in the teary anguish of giving away my pups and moving out of my house)...bring on España!!!!