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Traveling between Madrid and Barcelona

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I am a woman traveling alone to Spain for 12 days in February 2016. I will be flying into Madrid and then taking the train to Barcelona. Will stay in Barcelona for a week before taking the train back to Madrid for the rest of my trip. My questions are surrounding train travel. I know that I should use the Renfe website for information/reservations, but 1) Do I need to buy my ticket ahead of time, or can I just walk up to the ticket window at the train station and purchase then? I'd like to be able to count on my flight being on time, but you never know... 2)Should I try to navigate public transportation with all my luggage when I'm going between the Madrid airport and Madrid train station and then again from the Barcelona train station to my hotel? Or is it worth it to just spring for a taxi in these situations? This will be my first solo trip and I'm a little nervous (but mostly excited!) Any tips or advice would be most welcomed. Thanks in advance.

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