Packing for Spain – What you Need and What you Don’t

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It’s getting closer to your big move abroad, which means it is time to plan & organize your trip. Aside from organizing your flights, your accommodation and your transport from the airport, you will need to start actually packing for Spain! It’s time to move that pile of clothes from your floor to your suitcases. It may take a while to decide what you should bring with you and what you should leave behind. To make the choice easier for you, we have collected some really helpful tips and tricks so you can pack as efficiently as possible.

If you want to read more about Madrid, make sure to check out our other articles about its amazing neighbourhoods and its climate and culture.

1. Choice of Luggage

Travel Backpack

These bags are the best choice if you will be traveling a lot while you are abroad. These usually can fit the same amount as an average sized suitcase, but are much easier to carry if you will be spending a lot of time commuting.


If you are going to be staying in one location for most of your stay, a suitcase could be better for you. You can usually fit more in these bags and the wheels make it easy for you to navigate the airport just fine.

Carry on

Bring a large handbag or small duffle bag for your carry on. You can eventually use this bag when you travel on the weekends. These bags are usually allowed to sit under the seat during the plane ride and will not have to go in the overhead compartments.

2. Clothing & Shoes


If you are packing for Spain for a trip that will cover multiple seasons and want to save space in your luggage you will want to pack clothing that is good for all climates. Instead of packing big bulky winter clothes, think about how you can eventually layer certain items to keep you warm and remove layers when it gets warmer.

Diverse & Reusable 

Make sure you bring some colourful, more formal items, but don’t forget about the everyday clothing. Bring a lot of black and other dark colours that you know will go with anything. You will be able to change each outfit with accessories and footwear.


Always bringing a warmer pair of shoes no matter what seasons you will be living in. You can wear them on the plane ride over to save space in your bags and then set them aside until they are needed

Depending on your personal style and where you will be going, you will have to decide what shoes are practical for you. If you love wearing heels or dress shoes bring pairs with neutral colours. Also remember that many of the streets in Europe are cobbled and not easy to navigate in a thin heel.

A good pair of comfy reliable shoes will always win, everyone has that pair of shoes that gets worn almost everyday – make sure you pack yours.

3. Toiletries 

There are only 2 kinds of people who truly need to pack their whole bathroom with them when travelling to Spain. A tourist visiting for a few weeks or a person with specific needs and prescribed items. Essentially, Spain is an extremely modern city which offers a wide range of hygiene & beauty products. Not only will you be able to find most of your favourite brands from home at the bigger shops, but you will also be introduced to some new and amazing European brands that are totally worth it.

In short, don’t waste precious luggage space by bringing months and months worth of shampoo, lotions, body wash, hairsprays, razor, deodorant etc!

4. Electronics

Europeans won’t have to worry about charging their electronic items when packing for Spain because the sockets and plugs are all the same. But those non-europeans out there will need to buy some European adaptors.

One of our biggest pieces of advice goes as follows: Buy yourself a power bar that matches all your plugs from back home, and buy an adaptor to plug in that power bar. This way you can charge multiple things at home at once without needing to buy 5 different adaptors! That being said, it’s always a good idea to buy an extra adaptor so you’re not constantly running around looking that 1 key to all your electronics!

5. Money

If you will be gone for a long time you cannot take out all your savings and carry it around with you. However, it is always smart to have a couple hundred in cash taken out before you travel. This money can be used for emergencies and for while you are commuting. Remember to carry it on you at all times while commuting.

Call your bank; It is very common for banks to detect activity on your accounts that would make them think your card was stolen. To prevent your cards being frozen when you really need them, call the bank and tell them where you will be heading and for how long. Use the opportunity to get advice from your current bank on banking and money transfer options! Read more here!

Leah has been living in and exploring Madrid since 2013 when she moved to the city for a simple summer abroad. She started the Citylife Blog in 2014 with the goal to share everything there is to know about her favourite place on earth!

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