Packing for Spain

You are here

General Guidelines:  Pack light! 
Bring half the stuff and twice the money you think you’ll need!

Packing for the Valladolid program is complicated by the very different activities you will engage in during your six weeks in Spain.  You’ll spend five weeks in Valladolid as a student, attending classes, spending time in the city, going out at night; during this time, you will probably dress the way you do in Iowa City.  Then, you’ll spend a week traveling in Spain as a tourist, carrying all your stuff with you; during this time, you’ll want to bring as little with you as possible.

What’s the best way to avoid luggage nightmares?

Luggage:  Pack all your things in two bags.  One bag should be a backpack which you’ll use during the week of travel in Spain; the other should be a suitcase with wheels that you’ll leave in storage during your travel week.  You can store luggage at the Madrid airport and/or at the Madrid train stations (Atocha and Chamartín).  Note: it’s cheaper to store luggage at the train station, but it may be more convenient to use the consigna at the airport.  If you plan to store luggage for more than 12 days, it’s best to use the airport consigna.  You can also mail clothing and souvenirs back to the States.  International surface mail is the cheapest way, but it takes up to three months for your stuff to arrive.  Airmail is faster but very expensive.

What to bring?  As little as possible!

Clothing, film/memory chips, toiletries, etc., are available in Spain; however, Spanish prices tend to be a bit higher than in the US.  Keep in mind that you’ll be abroad for six weeks—you may prefer to buy full-size shampoo etc. in Spain rather than bring it with you.

Documents (carry with you while traveling):

[] Passport                  [] Tickets

[] ATM card (check with your bank to be sure your
PIN code will work in European ATM machines)

[] Credit cards with ATM function

[] International Student ID

[] List of emergency phone numbers in Spain
(US Embassy, lost credit card numbers, etc.) and in US

[] Two or three photocopies of documents, stored separately

Clothing:

[] sturdy walking shoes, already broken in
(white sneakers may mark you as an American)

[] sturdy sandals for walking (Teva or Dansko or other sturdy/
sport sandals, NOT flip-flops—be good to your feet!)

[] one nice outfit             [] underwear

[] clothing (washable, little or no ironing, compatible colors)
[I recommend:  3 versatile bottoms (pants/shorts/skirts), 5
summer-weight tops (not just t-shirts), 1-2 long-sleeve shirts]

[] socks (white ones may mark you as American)

[] raincoat/rain poncho or waterproof windbreaker

[] a light-weight jacket or warm sweater (when you first arrive,
it will be cool mornings and evenings; if you plan to visit
Northern Spain, you’ll want a warm coat)

[] pajamas (decent, as bathrooms may be down the hall)

[] sun hat                  [] swim suit

Toiletries and Health Supplies:

[] glasses and contact lens equipment (preferably disposable lenses)

[] extra pair of glasses or contacts

[] sunscreen (Very Important—Sunscreen is expensive in Spain)

[] sunglasses            [] cosmetics (if necessary)

[] prescription medicine in original containers with labels

[] copy of glasses or contact lens prescription

[] band aids and antibacterial cream (Neosporin)

[] vitamins             [] aspirin or Ibuprofen

[] soap and soap dish (for hostels)

[] toothpaste & toothbrush             [] razors

[] small hand towel (for hostels—a small bath towel ain’t a bad idea too)

[] deodorant              [] shampoo/conditioner

[] comb or brush          [] hair accessories

[] manicure items             [] small, unbreakable mirror

[] Kleenex               [] pads/tampons            [] condoms

Other:

[] water bottle             [] safety pins, needle & thread

[] large zip-lock bags (for wet or leaking items)

[] Swiss army knife (put in CHECKED luggage for flights)

[] A day pack or tote bag              [] A neck wallet or money belt

[] reading material                 [] camera (digital is best)

[] adapter/converter for voltage (if necessary)

[] Flashlight (small)               [] battery-operated alarm clock

[] film / memory cards         [] compact umbrella

[] address book and/or journal

[] phrase book and/or dictionary (I recommend
the “Rough Guide Spanish Phrase Book”)

[] nylon duffle bag (i.e., extra luggage)

[] combination locks for luggage (for hostels and/or overnight trains)

[] a few photos of family and friends