Spain’s transportation system is great. It’s easy to get anywhere by train, bus or plane. However, sometimes taking a car might be the most convenient and cheapest option.
I am not talking about renting a car, I mean using Blablacar.
What is Blablacar?
Blablacar is an app that connects drivers with passengers that are interested in going to the same place.
Somebody owns a car and has to get from point A to point B, so the driver goes on the app and publishes the trip. Anybody using Blablacar can see it and contact the driver. After a few texts to set the departure time and location you are ready to go.
How to create an account
The first step is to get the app on your phone. Create your account and fill out your profile: Blablacar needs basic details such as your name, age, a short biography, and your preferences.
Your preferences will help Blablacar display potential drivers that you are likely to get along with so you can have an enjoyable experience.
If you hate smoking, this algorithm will keep you away from a 5 hour ride with a chain smoker.
Even though some drivers speak English, I would write the profile in Spanish so there’s no language barrier.
How to find the best trip
Once you have the app on your phone, type the origin and destination and all the options will come up. You can also sort the trips by departure time, price, and other amenities.
If something is unclear, you can always contact the driver. Some drivers guarantee only two passengers in the back seat so it’s more comfortable.
How to find a good driver?
Blablacar has a system to rank drivers. After every trip, the passengers can rate the driver and write a short comment about how it went.
Every driver has a grade, 5 stars is the highest. Make sure to check the rating so you have a sense of how good of a driver he or she is. As a rule of thumb, I wouldn’t get into a car with a driver with less than 4 stars. In addition, you can click on the driver’s profile before booking the trip to see what other people think.
On the app, you can also see a quick summary of the driver’s policies. Are pets allowed? Is Smoking Ok? Music? So you can get a sense of what to expect.
Is it safe?
There’s no question that Blablacar is safe. Every driver has a score and the driver has the possibility of insuring the ride by a third company.
The app has a record of who you are traveling with, and on top of that, the payments go through the app and there’s no cash exchanged.
I have never had any problems using Blablacar. It’s a great way to get some inside information about the place you are visiting while improving your Spanish: where to eat out, where to stay, must-do activities, etc.
Is it cheaper?
Blablacar is usually cheaper than the bus or train. The only qualm is that you’ll have to share a small space for a few hours with other people.
You can look at this not as a downside but as an advantage. I have heard many people that made friends and even found jobs during these trips.
If you have a car and want to save some money, Blablacar is a great way to share your gas expenses.
Something else before I wrap up, you should keep in mind that users are not professionals so if you want or need to get to a place at a certain time, you might want to use the usual means of transport: bus, train and plane.
The upside is bigger than the downside, try it and let me know in the comments. Check it out and start saving using Blablacar.
Here’s a list of day trips from Madrid you may be interested in.