1. Take your socks off. It’s OK, you can walk around in sandals without socks. Your feet (and pride) will survive and probably thank you.
2. For once, have dinner after 10 pm. The night magic unfolds after 10 pm. Music, dancing, the food is better (because the kitchens are properly functioning, while before you’d probably just be getting a microwave pre-heated meal).
3. Be brave and venture away from the tourist areas (usually two or three streets back from the main promenade). Find a non-English-speaking bar. You’ll also discover you save a quid or two on all beverages.
4. Check out the local food markets (usually held in a “Plaza de Abastos”). You’ll find a bargain or two, and that’s even without knowing how to barter, and looking like your Bob Tourist with lobster-red skin.
5. Know your limit (alcohol, not speed—we’ll get into speed below). One shot in Spain is the equivalent of a triple back home, so if you can knock back six tequilas before you feel a bit queasy, that makes TWO tequilas in Spain. Pay heed to this advice or you’ll end up in hospital.
6. Know your mph from your km. When you see a road sign with 120 as a speed limit, that’s kilometres, not miles. Don’t push the car to 120 mph. After your visit to the hospital for not paying attention to point 5, you’ll probably find yourself behind bars for the night. And drive on the right hand side, will you? That applies to roundabouts as well.
7. If you’re set on going skinny-dipping, for the love of God, try not to go in totally pissed (on two tequilas) and causing a huge scandal. Points 1-6 will have been in vain.
*Excerpt from my current WIP “An Expat’s Guide to Falling in Love.”