• Spain's news in English

Barcelona to London: Top tips from the world's most famous commuter

The Local · 31 Aug 2015, 13:21

Published: 31 Aug 2015 13:21 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

He first told The Local back in October 2013 how, having done the sums, it could feasibly be cheaper swap his residence in London for a flat in the Catalan capital, make the 930-mile commute a couple of times a week and still save €387 (£330, or $530 according to prices and exchange rates at the time)

Three months ago, the 32-year-old who works in social media, decided to do just that and is now enjoying a sunshine filled social life in Barcelona returning to London half a dozen times a month.

His story went viral, an example of how property prices had spiraled out of control in London and coinciding with a campaign pitch by London Labour mayoral candidate Tessa Jowell who argued it was now cheaper for a London worker to commute from Spain than live within central London.

An expert at the five-hour commute between his flat in Barcelona and his office in London via Barcelona’s El Prat and Gatwick Airport, the world’s most famous commuter shares his tips with The Local.

1. Booking flights

Firstly, never assume the budget airlines are the cheapest option – just this week I flew British Airways to London, as bizarrely they were the cheapest of all the airlines that particular day. I use www.skyscanner.net to compare routes.

2. Save money on water

Take an empty bottle of water with you to the airport. Barcelona’s Terminal 1 water fountain near the FX bureau dispenses disappointing lukewarm water, but the one next to Pans and Company is ice cold – magic. It saves you spending €3 every trip, which soon adds up.

3. Buy your friends a drink

The Duty Free opens at 6am – when you tell London friends a litre of Tanqueray is currently on offer at €13, you suddenly find an active social life awaiting your arrival.

4. Avoid the germs

A mini bottle of hand sanitiser – essential.

5. GSOH? Not always appreciated

Kurt Geiger shoes have a long strip of metal in their base – it’s a bizarre quirk of the brand that’s known to airport security across Europe. The UK metal detectors seem to be more finely tuned than Spain’s, and always seem to pick them up. After a dozen full body gropes, you give up and realise it’s easier to simply take them off and put them in the scanner. (Do not say “to be honest, I just appreciate the human contact” to the man touching you down again. My sense of humour was *not* appreciated by Gatwick security).

6. Enjoy the views

On the morning flight out, the A seats are the best – the plane banks left up the coast, and you get a great view of Barcelona waking up.

7. Follow the cabin crew

If you’re not in a rush on the way home, take one of the local buses back into the city. They’re a bit slower, but are part of your T-10 pass, so only cost 1€ each way. They’re generally full of cabin crew, which suggests they’re a wise life choice.

8. Avoid the maze and always choose cava over champagne

The quickest route through the obligatory Duty Free is straight on. I know it looks tempting to wriggle in and around the various maze-like stands en route to the exit, but it’s an illusion – just go straight. If you’re lucky, you may get a free shot of whisky (not recommended at 6am, however). There’s a new Moët bar too. This is best avoided. You’re much better off with a decent cava like a Juvé Y Camps, a Mestres, or a Gramona.

Story continues below…

9. Come and say hello!

Spot me in the morning? Best to solemnly and silently nod. I’ll understand. Spot me in the evening? Let’s grab a G&T and change the world.

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.es)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spain jobless drops below 20% for first time in six years
The unemployed queuing up outside a Madrid job centre. Photo: AFP

Spain's unemployment fell below 20 percent for the first time in six years, official figures showed on Thursday.

'Saints not ghouls' insists Spanish church for Halloween
Suggested outfits from the Bishopric of Cadiz and Ceuta. Photo: Shower of Roses

Spanish bishops are urging good Christian children to forgo zombie, ghost and devil outfits and instead dress up as "saints, virgins and apostles".

Tough road ahead, Spain PM warns before return to power
Rajoy will try and form a government this week. Photo: AFP

Spain's acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy warned on Wednesday of a tough road ahead as he prepares to take power again at the head of a minority government with little support.

Russia withdraws request to refuel warships in Ceuta
The aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov was due to dock in Ceuta

Russia has withdrawn a request for its aircraft carrier group to be refuelled at the Spanish port of Ceuta, authorities confirmed.

Bulls replace guard dogs at scrap yard in Valencia
Two bulls will be patrolling the scrap yard in eastern Spain. Archive photo: AFP

Guard dogs were not proving enough of a deterrent to thieves at a car breakers yard in eastern Spain so the owner has brought in a pair of fighting bulls.

Two-headed shark born in Spanish laboratory
Scientists are studying the rare find. Photo: IBIMA / University of Malaga

Scientists at the University of Malaga found the embryo of a shark with two heads and just one body.

Spain under pressure to stop refuel of Russian warships
Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is due to arrive in Ceuta. Photo: Mil Ru / Wikimedia

Spain is facing international pressure to refuse permission for a Russian warship flotilla to refuel in Ceuta en route to continuing airstrikes against the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Most wanted: Fugitive rapist arrested in Tenerife
Mohammed Jahangir Alam was arrested n Tenerife. Photo: Crimestoppers.

Mohammed Jahangir Alam, one of Britain's most wanted fugitives, who fled the country in 2008 after allegedly raping a woman, was found working in Tenerife.

Spain's Rajoy says king has tasked him with forming govt
Photo: AFP

Spain's king on Tuesday tasked Mariano Rajoy with forming a government, taking the acting conservative prime minister a step closer to power again after a 10-month political deadlock.

Two imams arrested in Ibiza resort over 'Isis support'
The men were arrested in the resort of Sant Antoni de Portmany. Photo: Jose A / Flickr

Two Moroccan imams at a mosque on the Spanish resort island of Ibiza were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of backing the Islamic State group and inciting jihad.

Analysis & Opinion
Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
jobs available