Home2018-10-30T14:35:52+00:00

About

EXPERIENCE AUTHENTIC SPAIN

Spain Savvy is about giving travelers the chance not just to visit Spain, but to delve into its culture and walk away with a deep understanding of the country and its people.  We go beyond the usual cliches and offer unique experiences and personal recommendations to make your trip truly unforgettable.  Forget about logistics – we will take care of all the details so you can focus on taking in the sights and sounds and connecting with the special people who will make everything come alive.

It can be overwhelming to plan an itinerary to a country you’ve never visited.  We will do all the legwork to craft a complete, customized itinerary based on your trip length, budget, interests, needs and wishes.

We specialize in Spain but can also provide authentic, memorable experiences and travel planning assistance in Portugal, Morocco and other European countries.

Each client who contacts us is provided with a truly unique, one-of-a-kind, personalized product.

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Behind Spain Savvy is a team of true professionals you will meet along your journey.  From the driver who meets you at the airport to your private guide; from the waiter at the restaurant we recommend to the reception staff at your hotel, we pride ourselves on teamwork to make sure you have the most pleasurable experience.  At the helm of our operations is Managing Director Sarah Gemba – an American-born resident in Spain for 15 years and a seasoned travel adviser.  She will be your main point of contact from the moment you decide to travel to Spain until the moment you are back home unpacking your souvenirs. On our blog, you can read more about some of our most prized Spain Savvy partners.

At just 10 years old Sarah boarded a plane from hometown Boston for Guadalajara, Mexico to visit a school friend and began a lifelong love affair with the Spanish language, the Hispanic culture and all things travel.

Through her alma mater Connecticut College, Sarah was able to spend two semesters studying abroad in Spain with the idea of perfecting her Spanish and learning flamenco.

Little did she know, she was slowly becoming enchanted by the city of Seville and would ultimately move here permanently in 2004, embarking on a career in cultural travel.  Since then, she has been sharing her personal discoveries with travelers of all ages and backgrounds.  Sarah worked for over a decade for a boutique study abroad company leading the travel department, in between stints at local travel agencies.  She counts among her previous and current clients many prestigious educational institutions such as Road Scholar, Union College, Princeton University, the Culinary Institute of America, as well as countless families and other private groups who have entrusted her with their travels.

Today, she brings to Spain Savvy her strong work ethic, high attention to detail, a true passion for travel planning, and the ambitious vision to make Spain THE premier destination for discerning travelers.

Sarah spends her free time enjoying nature and traveling with her Spanish husband and three children. She is an amateur foodie and loves to keep up with the restaurant scene in Seville, as well as cooking traditional meals at home.

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Sarah Gemba

Managing Director

With a degree in Hispanic Studies and an Andaluz accent that make the locals question her U.S. passport, Sarah has been living in Spain and working on cultural travel programs for 15 years. She launched Spain Savvy in 2017 in order to truly live her passion of bridging the Spanish and American cultures through authentic travel experiences. When not planning travel for clients, she is raising 3 bilingual, bicultural children in a village outside Seville.

Michelle Quinn

Travel Designer

Michelle is an avid and passionate traveller whose tattered passport with sewn-in extra pages has seen over 35 different country stamps (and still counting). Raised in southern California and based out of Seville, Spain since 2005, Michelle draws on her own personal travel experience, local knowledge of the culture and effective research skills to craft complete, tailor-made itineraries that promise unforgettable memories. She holds a BA in Anthropology and Spanish and a Master’s degree in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language. Driven by wanderlust and a curiosity for the unknown, Michelle can often be found planning upcoming adventures to new and exciting destinations with her Sevillano husband.

Daniel Egea

Business Manager

Daniel, Sevillano, works behind the scenes to make sure everything local runs smoothly and handling all of our business operations. You may also meet Daniel on one of our cultural tours or private experiences. He is an avid Feria goer and loves to teach our clients how to cook an authentic paella. Married to an American, Daniel is passionate about bringing the best of Spain to our visitors.

Francisco Bendala

Personal Guide

Fran is a true professional and has over two decades of experience leading groups of all ages, working almost exclusively with private American clients. His knowledge of Spain and Portugal is vast and our clients always thoroughly enjoy his company on their travels.

Sara Rumbao

Personal Guide

Sara, born and raised in Sevilla, has been working with individuals and groups from North America for over two decades, and lived for a short time in the United States on a teaching cultural exchange.  As a university-level professor of the Spanish language and culture and an experienced official guide, she is adept at bringing Spain alive through her explanations and presentations.

Cristina Expósito

Academic Director

Cristina has been working as a Spanish teacher in Seville and Madrid since 2010. She started LaCasa Sevilla as a personal project that allows her to help curious travelers how to fall in love with the Spanish language and way of life.
Chío López-Alonso

Family Travel Specialist

Chio has extensive experience working with children and families, with a focus on bilingual education and entertainment.  Spain Savvy relies on her to offer specialized services to families visiting the area of Seville.  On a long-term basis, Chio will also be working to expand our U.S.-Spain cultural educational exchange program.

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Fiona Flores Watson

Web Content Editor

Fiona is a British writer, editor and content manager based in Seville, Spain. She writes about the food, architecture and traditions of southern Spain for Lonely Planet, the Telegraph and the Sunday Times Travel Magazine, among others. As a working mother of two bilingual children, Fiona enjoys introducing them to the Spanish side of their cultural identity – Moorish castles, flamenco, the Feria and the many strange and wonderful festivals of Andalucía.

How We Work

THE TRAVEL PLANNING PROCESS

Spain Savvy aims to provide its clients with a pleasurable and well-organized travel experience from start to finish, guided by transparency and simplicity.  We are always just a message or phone call away and we want you to feel comfortable about contacting us for whatever reason, from the get-go and until after you are back home.  You will soon realize that you are dealing with a true professional who is also your friend.

We are professionals with many years of experience offering cultural experiences in this area of the world and are confident we can put together the perfect adventure for travelers from all backgrounds and walks of life.  We are specialists in communications and interpersonal relations and will go above and beyond to make sure you have everything you need for your trip to go as smoothly as possible.  Setting expectations and exceeding them is the hallmark of the passion behind the project.

Below is a visual guide to our typical travel planning process.  Just ask us if you have any questions!

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Contact

You reach out to Spain Savvy with your request for information, and we answer you explaining our custom travel design process in detail.

Expectations

You complete our New Customer Survey online so we can get to know you and meet your needs. We are also happy to set up a call here!

Design Fee Payment / Client Contract

You make the payment of our itinerary design fee (which serves as a non-refundable deposit for your trip), and we send you an electronic client contract.

Deposit/Confirmation

Once you are satisfied with your itinerary, you make a payment of 50% of the total package price and we begin to make your bookings.

Revisions

You review our itinerary proposal carefully and send us any requested modifications. We turn around subsequent versions of your itinerary in just a few days’ time. Our design fee normally covers up to 2 full revisions on the first draft (for a total of 3).

Proposal

In 7-10 days, you receive a detailed customized trip itinerary (including prices) using our very own travel design software/app (Check out a sample here!)

Balance

You make the payment of your package price balance, usually by one month before your trip start date.

Final Confirmation

We complete your bookings and send you a final email. Before your departure, we invite you to download our app and send you a PDF file including your complete itinerary and all your confirmations.

Trip

You begin your adventure and enjoy your trip in-country. Meanwhile, Spain Savvy is with you every step of the way (via our app)!

Send us your Feedback!

After your trip, when everything’s still fresh, we send you an email asking for your feedback/review.

Client Testimonials

A PROFESSIONAL AND FRIENDLY RELATIONSHIP

“I would soon be a foreigner in Spain than in most countries.  How easy it is to make friends in Spain!” – George Orwell
We are proud to share some of our client stories in this section, where you will learn how people have benefited from the services of Spain Savvy. Our goal?  To make YOU our next client success story.  Reach out to us today to make it happen!

Google Rating

Bernie Johnsen
Bernie Johnsen
18:41 22 Oct 18
The BEST!! My wife and I found Spain Savvy when a link was forwarded by a friend who had never used their services. We didn't know them and didn't know anyone who had used them. I liked what I saw but was wary about adding the few extra dollars to what was already shaping up to be an expensive trip. The sample itineraries we looked at were amazing but not exactly what we were personally looking for. They did however illustrate potential to provide the help to us that we desperately needed. We knew friends who had visited Spain before and offered all kinds of advice which we appreciated but translating all that well intentioned advice to a day to day location and activities itinerary was proving to be very daunting to say the least. We had already spent countless hours mulling over all kinds of web sites, making notes, and trying to organize our thoughts and interests into a final plan. We were trying to organize the trip of a lifetime and it was turning out to be an hours long daily after work frustrating project. Once we saw some of the samples put together by Spain Savvy we stopped. We made contact and from that point forward it was so much simpler and far less stressful. Knowing we had someone who knew the ground locations of everywhere and everything that was being suggested made it so much more exciting and less of a scavenger hunt. Too many choices (and for us that was the case) can be bad. Despite all this I was very apprehensive about handing over the keys to someone else to plan our trip. It turned out to be the thing that made it great. After we finalized the plan Spain Savvy made all the reservations and put everything into one simple app we could use for everything. All dates, times, vouchers for all the pre-paid reservations etc., were all in one place. Genius. Especially if you are a first time USA traveler to Spain, or even if you are an experienced Spain explorer from any starting point, I would whole hardheartedly recommend their services. The value they provide is worth much more than the cost involved. Thanks so much Spain Savvy, you made our trip everything we hoped it could be!! We will remember it always and will be using you on our next adventure!!
Nancie Oetter
Nancie Oetter
21:04 08 Oct 18
Our family trip to Spain was wonderful. Thanks to Sarah, our itinerary wasplanned so well, it took the stress and time out of planning daily events, and allowed us to relax and enjoy every minute. Everything she recommended was worth it, only wish we had time to do more. The "My Trip" App worked like a charm. At our finger tips when needed, with times, tickets, recommendations.... It was flawless . Not to mention how attentive Sarah was at any moment. She responded immediately in the planning stages and during the trip, which made everything move smoothly. Can't say enough, if we go again we will definitely contact her, and I will recommend her to anyone considering a trip to the Iberian Peninsula.
Pablo Gersberg
Pablo Gersberg
21:45 27 Aug 18
Sarah planned our summer trip to Spain this year. She was incredibly patient as we revised and finalized our itinerary. The app she provided us was the best I have seen and used on any trip - it had all the information we needed, even for things that we booked on our own. Sarah was also available and checking in on us during the trip. I highly recommend Sarah for your Spain trip!
Hugh Abernethy
Hugh Abernethy
19:10 23 Jul 18
My family and I were delighted by the Spain vacation itinerary developed by the team at Spain Savvy. The hotel recommendations, the restaurant reservations and tours were superb. Spain Savvy took time to understand what we were looking for in a trip to Spain. They balanced active tours with time to recuperate. This trip was our third trip to this beautiful country. We wish we know about Spain Savvy before the first two trips! If you want someone to thoroughly understand your needs, develop a comprehensive itinerary - CHOOSE SPAIN SAVVY!
Tim Chapman
Tim Chapman
13:49 27 Jun 18
Sarah Gemba is the best. She is there for you from the first time you are in touch with her until you are home. She gave me everything I wanted within my budget and I wanted somewhat of a particular trip to Spain. I feel so lucky that I found her. Indeed, Sarah is savvy about Spain.

Destinations

These are just some of the very special destinations available in Spain, Portugal and Morocco.  There are endless combinations and possibilities – let Spain Savvy help you figure out which ones are the right fit.  Contact us today to get to work on your very own custom itinerary.

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Services

COMPLETE TRAVEL PLANNING

Spain Savvy is a full-service travel agency offering trip itinerary design and logistical planning for every minute of your trip.  We provide the following services, which you can pick and choose from for your overall package.  We do not offer packaged vacations, each client is treated individually and every product is unique.
01. CUSTOM ITINERARY DESIGN

Spain Savvy works with clients to curate a travel itinerary based on their needs and wishes and including all the desired destinations, including our personal recommendations for off-the-beaten-path spots.  We are experts at making your dream trip a reality!

For a sneak peek at a one-of-a-kind custom itinerary we recently prepared for a client – click below!  Remember, each of our products is unique and priced according to the items you wish to include.

Spain Savvy Custom Itinerary – Best of Andalucia

02. INTERNATIONAL AIRFARE

Spain Savvy can recommend the best flight routes, and if you wish, we can book your international airfare.  We would just need your passport picture page and the information for any airline loyalty programs you belong to.  Let us take the hassle out of booking your long-haul flights!  We’ll even manage your boarding passes, seat selection and special meals if needed.

03. IN-COUNTRY TRANSPORT

Spain Savvy will handle your transportation needs from the moment you step off the plane until the moment you check-out of your lodging on the last day of your trip.  We work with reputable transfer companies and can provide vehicles for a variety of needs and for any number of travelers.  We can also handle your train and bus tickets if included as part of your itinerary.  Let us figure out how you’ll get from point A to point B.

We also provide customized Google maps for all of our clients based on their specific itineraries.

04. ACCOMMODATIONS

Spain Savvy prides itself on offering only the best accommodations in all of Spain.  You tell us your price point and ideal lodging situation and we will be sure to make a perfect match.  We will even work with you to help you choose your Airbnb accommodations and act as a go-between between you and the local property-owner to work out logistics.  On our blog we showcase just some of the special properties we work with all over Spain, Portugal and Morocco.

05. ACTIVITIES

We will fill in all the holes in your itinerary and give form to your trip by suggesting activities based on your interests and physical level.  Your days will be busy and full, but will still include plenty of time to sit back and relax to take it all in and enjoy yourself.

If you decide to include guided visits as part of your trip, you are in for a real treat.  We work with some of the best guides – knowledgeable and warm people who share the Spain Savvy passion about showing visitors the real Spain.

We also include our exclusive Dining Guides for each destination on your itinerary.

For our travelers who wish to incorporate a language acquisition element in their trip, Spain Savvy is pleased to partner with LaCasa Sevilla, specialists in custom Spanish classes.  LaCasa offers Spanish language learning outside of the traditional classroom space with a private, expert and native Spanish teacher. With the flexibility of LaCasa, you can learn Spanish in real-time communicative situations –  while ordering a coffee at a local café, over tapas at an authentic bar or market, or while shopping in the city. LaCasa Sevilla offers Spain Savvy clients the unique opportunity to learn both the Spanish language and culture in a totally immersive environment. Sevilla will become more than just your vacation destination, it will also be your classroom.  Should you choose to include a language element during your trip, Spain Savvy and LaCasa will collaborate to custom-design an educational program just for you!

06. WHAT’S ALWAYS INCLUDED

-Our administrative fees

Our fees are usually rolled in to each service we book for you, unless you are just booking itinerary design in which case we will propose a price dependent on the number of days of your trip

-Personalized assistance and coordination from bilingual/bicultural on-site staff including professional pre-and post-program coordination

-Personal recommendations and arrangements for special meals and activities throughout your trip including restaurant reservations if needed

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Programs

These are just some examples of themed programs for groups and individual travelers designed exclusively by Spain Savvy in Spain, Portugal and Morocco.  There are endless combinations and possibilities – let Spain Savvy help you build your very own custom itinerary.  Contact us today to get started on yours!

Are you a group organizer?  Contact us today to find out about our group discounts

Contact us!

Blog

SHARING OUR SECRETS

Learn some of Spain’s best-kept secrets and travel tips – we want our blog to help you make the most of your trip to Spain.  We’ll be sharing information on some of our most popular destinations in our “Destination Spotlights”, delving into the festivals and other customs of this country in our “Culture Corner” section, and showcasing some of our very special collaborators in our “Spain Savvy Partners” posts.  Please participate by leaving comments and sharing our posts on social media!

October 2018

August 2018

Spain Savvy Destination Spotlight: Mojácar, Almería

By |August 31st, 2018|Categories: Almería, destination spotlight, family travel, gastronomy, properties, sustainable tourism, travel planning, travel tips|

The Spain Savvy family is back from our summer vacation and while it's still fresh, we want to share what we discovered in this beautiful corner of southeast Spain during our six-day jaunt as a [...]

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

December 2017

Contact

LET’S TALK!

We are happy to set up a phone call, Skype chat, iMessage or whatever method of communication works best for you to get started on your trip planning. We are certain you will be more than pleased with our swift response systems and effective correspondence methods.

Contacto

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