I thought about and discussed packing strategies a lot prior to leaving. After much consideration I decided to check 1 large suitcase, bring a carry-on that I could use for weekend trips around Europe, and my backpack for school. Packing 4 months and 2 seasons worth of clothing in 1 suitcase is not an easy task. While I was packing I decided I wanted to write tips that I wish I had before I left, so that is exactly what I am going to do! (This is very specific to Europe, especially Southern Spain.)
I started by researching what types of things students wear in Spain. Unlike in the U.S. where we will wear leggings or sweatpants to class, the Spanish people pretty much always dress up. Their typical outfit in the winter season includes jeans, a sweater or shirt, some cute boots, and a light jacket. They also wear some accessories to make it look extra put together. That being said, I left almost all my leggings/sweatpants at home. During my research I started putting together a list of everything I wanted to bring with me. I definitely recommend this because there are a lot of small things that I personally would have forgotten.
The next step was to start packing. I rolled as much of my clothing as I could so that it would take up less room in my suitcase. Another super important thing is to try and create layers in your suitcase. For example, put all your jeans in first and then stack sweaters on top of each other to create a flat surface. This worked really well for me especially when there were small gaps because then I could shove my smaller items in these gaps. Speaking of smaller items, I shoved all my socks and stuff into boots and other shoes to save room. As for my carry-on, I put a few outfits for my first few days in there because I spent 3 days in Madrid and 1 in Toledo before heading to my new home in Seville. This just made it easier to find stuff before I could start unpacking.
Here’s a quick list of things you should definitely pack for Spain:
- Face wash
- Adapter (Big one or more than one)
- Anything else you use often and aren’t sure they have
- Get any medications you take regularly in advance because it is hard to ship stuff here
- Any snacks/granola bars you really want (they only have Pringles, chips ahoy, oreos, and pretzels here)
- Consider bringing slippers if you already have a pair and you’re staying in a homestay (I’ll elaborate on this in a future blog)
A list of things not to pack:
- All your toiletries (they have American brands of shampoo and conditioner)
- Gloves (gets warm towards the beginning of February in Seville)
- Hairdryer/straightener/curler (their outlets can’t handle the voltage)
- Any shoes that you can’t walk miles in
- Flips Flops
- Formal Dresses
- Greek Life clothing
Packing was definitely a long and frustrating process, but it has to be done. I also made sure to weigh my suitcase at home before heading to the airport because I really didn’t want to pay the extra $100 for it being over 50 pounds. The majority of regular everyday items can be bought in Spain, and for much cheaper than the U.S. For example, my roommate bought Advil for 2 euros and I got a nice pair of boots for 20 euros. I also want to note that I planned from the beginning to buy a lot of clothing in Spain, especially dresses and styles that we don’t have in the US. I left a little extra room in my suitcase for this and hopefully my parents can take home my sweaters and stuff when they come to visit.
In my next blogs I’m going to talk about my homestay and my first few weeks in Spain. Good luck packing!