BlaBlaCar is… to use a phrase that we picked up during orientation and couldn’t stop saying… súper guay. That’s to say it’s super cool. The first time I used the app, to travel the 90 minute drive between Málaga and Granada, I paid only nine euros. But not only that, it was an opportunity to practice my Spanish and get to know a masters student studying physics at the UGR. As fate would have it, our flights lined up so that he also gave me a ride back home to Granada at the end of the weekend. We talked about our favorite music, our experiences with school and the coolest places to travel within Spain.
Okay, so what is BlaBlaCar? As you might have guessed, it’s similar to a rideshare app. Actually, BlaBlaCar is considered a social network because it does not offer rides but rather connects drivers and passengers to help them carpool. It's available in 22 counties, most of which are in Europe. On the app, drivers post the routes they will be taking, and you can search by origin, destination and date to find the route that’s best for you. You’ll be able to see how much the journey will cost, and information about the driver. When you request a ride, you will note the number of passengers in your group and the driver will have a certain amount of time to approve your request. From there, all the payment is facilitated within the app, so you don’t have to worry about bringing cash. The app also has a messages section so you can communicate with the driver.
Obviously, carpooling with one or more strangers opens up a host of safety concerns. To address these, the app has a rating system much like Uber or Lyft. You can read reviews of the driver that other riders have posted. You also see how many other passengers will be with you, allowing you to avoid riding one on one. Another feature I like is that you can become “verified” by uploading your passport to confirm your identity. It’s super important to stay safe, especially when living in a new and unfamiliar country. Thankfully, with the safety features BlaBlaCar offers, my friends and I have all felt comfortable taking rides together.
One ski day, we wanted to leave earlier than the earliest bus to be there right when the lifts opened. How could we make that happen? With a BlaBlaCar! The three of us got a ride from a young couple who was equally excited to ski, and caught a beautiful sunrise as we approached the Sierra Nevada mountains. Another Tuesday, with school off, we decided we wanted to spend our holiday relaxing at the beach. What was the cheapest and fastest way for us to get there? In a BlaBlaCar of course. We got a ride from a very friendly police captain who was on his way to a medal ceremony for his team.
I think you get the idea. If you’re studying abroad in Spain, BlaBlaCar just might be your BFF.
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Jaden is a sophomore studying Sociology and Spanish at Tufts University. He loves the beach and lakes, hiking, biking, cooking, and playing video games.