Though she was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, Sarah Gemba became wildly obsessed with the Spanish way of life at a young age and now lives in sun-kissed Seville, southern Spain. Driven by a desire to share her passion, she set up Spain Savvy, a boutique travel agency helping travellers squeeze every last drop out of their time in this truly majestic country.
Here Sarah shares her savvy tips to help you make your Spain dreams come true, no matter what your budget is.
Ben: How did you end up in Spain?
Sarah: I was bitten by the travel bug after my first solo trip at just 11 years old to Guadalajara, Mexico.
I decided to take an extended trip to Spain during my college years (as part of my Hispanic Studies program) and one semester quickly turned into two. I soon realized that I felt more at home in Sevilla than I did back home in the States.
I was able to make the move to Spain permanently after graduating college and have been loving life here ever since.
I began my career in cultural travel shortly after my jump to Spain and have been organizing group and individual travel while sharing my secrets with travelers for almost 15 years now.
I am married to a Spaniard and have three small bilingual children. I often joke that Spain Savvy is my 4th child!
I am truly passionate about Spain and my daily work to bridge cultures between the U.S. and Spain through international travel and creative travel experiences.
B: Tell us a bit more about Spain Savvy. How and why did you set it up?
S: Spain Savvy seeks to aid travelers in crafting their trips so that they can discover the most authentic Spain.
We officially began this journey in May 2017 but the fact is that we have been conducting this same business in similar roles for over two decades.
As an American-born English speaker with a true understanding of the Spanish culture and people, we provide our clients with fully customized services at the high level of attention and detail we feel they expect and deserve.
We assist our clients from the moment they decide on Spain as a travel destination until they arrive back home after their trip. Our process starts by getting to know our clients as people – which helps us to create a trip most suited to their likes and personalities.
We are available 24/7, reconfirming details for our clients throughout their trips and providing a warm, personal touch to travel planning that we know our clients crave.
B: What is it about Spain that makes it such a special place to travel?
S: Spain has it all – it’s a cultural treasure trove and contains so many naturally beautiful landscapes that you can literally be in the mountains and back on a warm beach within just one day.
The cities are walk-able and well-organized and there are a plethora of accommodation options to choose from. Then there’s the food and wine!
There are so many regional dishes to try you could eat your way through Spain for a month and never get tired. The people are warm and friendly and eager to show you their Spain.
B: What type of person would enjoy visiting Spain?
S: The kind of person who truly enjoys Spain is one who is culturally inquisitive, likes to eat well and have a good time, is laid-back, flexible, and knows how to roll with the punches!
You don’t have to speak Spanish to visit Spain but it will enrich your experience to try.
B: What are the main travel destinations in Spain, and where should first-time visitors go?
S: Most of our clients ask us to put itineraries together for Madrid and Barcelona, sometimes together with a city break in Lisbon or including a few days in exotic Morocco – which we are also happy to coordinate together with our partnering specialists in neighboring Portugal and Morocco.
Our favorite itineraries are those that include cities in Andalusia, such as Seville, Granada and Córdoba which have so much history and beauty.
Andalusia is a good place to really get a feel for Spain’s story from the beginning of time to present day.
B: What about travellers who like to get off the beaten path? Where should they go in Spain?
S: There are so many untouched areas of Spain for those wishing to tread untrodden paths. We recommend day or overnight trips from Spain’s main cities and towns to villages or small beach/mountain communities – to places you may never have heard of, like Vejer de la Frontera, Idiazabal, Besalú, and countless others.
We will give you the details you will need to get there and our insider tips to truly enjoy immersing yourself in the very best of Spain.
B: What are the practicalities of travelling in Spain? And is that something Spain Savvy helps with?
S: It can sometimes be hard to put together the pieces of your trip once you decide to travel to Spain.
That’s where Spain Savvy will come in handy – we can figure out the logistics for you and translate essential information so you can just sit back and enjoy the ride.
B: Can you help travellers that want to see multiple cities in Spain on the same trip?
S: Yes! Our most popular requests are for multi-city itineraries in Spain. Most include 3-6 days in Spain’s main cities as a base and day or overnight trips to secondary locations.
If your aim is to spend more time in one particular city or part of Spain, we can also help you make that happen.
We are a full-service travel agency and can book flights, trains, busses, rental cars, travel insurance, and more.
Anything you need or want to experience while in Spain, we can make it happen!
B: What kind of experiences can travellers expect if they book their Spain trip with you?
S: Spain Savvy will hold your hand throughout your entire travel experience and you will feel like you have a friend to consult with on every little thing.
All the essential details will be taken care of and you can also expect (nice) surprises along the way.
We are super communicative and you will never feel like you weren’t given enough information or like you were (unpleasantly) surprised.
We do above-and-beyond things like making your restaurant reservations and coordinating your airport transfers.
We will also give you our own personal tips for special activities, and will share with you our favorite places to eat, in our Spain Savvy Exclusive Dining Guides.
Our travelers truly experience genuine Spain – unforgettable experiences!
B: How much does it realistically cost to travel in Spain?
S: You can do Spain on a budget or you can do it in full luxury!
Whatever your budget, we are happy to help you design your ideal itinerary based on your specific budget.
For a middle-of-the-road 7-10 day trip from the U.S., including international airfare, lodging in city boutique hotels, in-country transportation and some included activities and meals, it would probably run at about 4-6,000€ per person.
B: Anything else Spain-travellers-to-be should know?
S: If Spain is on your bucket list, don’t let it just sit there – make it happen!
Spain Savvy can put together your dream trip for next month or next year in under a week. Once you finally make it here, you’ll already be dreaming of your next trip.
Make Your Spain Trip a Reality
Visit the Spain Savvy website for everything you need to know about travelling in Spain
Contact Sarah directly and get the conversation started: firstname.lastname@example.org / +34 717 702 559