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How to Pack for Spain

 

CLOTHES AND SHOES

ESSENTIALS

  • WINTER COAT: A pea coat or down jacket is ideal. Even in the south of Spain, it can get very cold on winter nights. Stick to solid black or gray, patterns or brightly colored coats are not common.
  • WALKING SHOES: Living in Europe means lots of walking, bring at least one pair of comfortable shoes to get around in.
  • 1 FORMAL OUTFIT: You never know when you’ll be asked to go to a family party or some religious festival you’ve never heard of. For girls a nice dress, and for guys dress pants with a button down.
  • LOTS OF LAYERS: Nice shirts, sweaters, and cardigans will get you through the winter.
  • TIGHTS AND LEGGINGS: Great for layering or wearing separately.
  • BLUE JEANS: At least two pairs
  • SOCKS AND UNDERWEAR: Bring at least two weeks worth
  • BRAS: If you’re a larger-chested woman, stock up on bras before you leave. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a good selection of anything larger than a C-cup.

WHAT NOT TO BRING

Europeans tend to dress up more than North Americans. People make an effort to be fashionable and accessorize, so stay away from items like:

  • White tennis shoes
  • T-shirts
  • Sweatpants
  • Cargo pants
  • Sports jerseys
  • Hoodies
  • Basketball shorts
  • Yoga pants
  • College sweatshirts

As a general rule, clothes you could sleep or work-out in should only be used for those purposes.

NON-CLOTHING

ESSENTIALS

  • CONVERTER: Spain uses the standard continental European electrical outlet
  • AT LEAST €200 IN CASH: Kept somewhere very safe
  • PURSE OR TRAVEL BAG: 2 purses is plenty
  • SOUVENIRS: Bring a few small items for friends and students to represent where you’re from. Good souvenirs include key chains, postcards, local food, calendars, and anything with your country’s flag on it.

WHAT NOT TO BRING

  • TOILETRIES: Items such as shampoo, soap, or disposable razors can be bought cheaply in Spain and take up unnecessary space in a suitcase.
  • HANGERS: Any furnished apartment will come with hangers.
  • BEDDING: Most apartments have pillows and blankets, many even have bed sheets.
  • HAIR DRYERS: Hair dryers, strengtheners, curling irons from North America may not work or work as well, even with a converter. Your best bet is to buy one in Spain.

OPTIONAL

  • TOWELS: North American towels are often thicker and bigger than European towels, but they can also easily be bought in Spain if you can’t spare the room in your suitcase.
  • TRAVEL-SIZE SHAMPOO AND SOAP: Important if you plan on staying at a hostel at any point
  • LOCKS FOR YOUR BAGS: Useful at hostels and for general safety

TIPS

  • Don’t over-pack, keep in mind that you’ll need space for all the things you’ll buy while in Spain
  • Weigh your suitcase before going to the airport to avoid extra fees
  • Pack shoes and other heavy items in your carry-on, which is not weighed
  • Beware of pickpocketers in Madrid, have a money-belt or lockable bag when walking around the city

 

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