Not sure what to pack and what to leave home on your trip to Spain? No worries, we have got you covered.
What to Pack
Most things you might need in Spain you can find once you get here. Over the counter pharmaceuticals and health and beauty aids are inexpensive and easy to find if you don’t feel like bringing them along with you. Replacement power cords for laptops are a little more difficult, but if you have a cellphone that charges on microUSB you can easily obtain a charger for it anywhere in Europe.
We do recommend that you see our page on Climate when packing your clothes. While Spain is known for fun and sun, there are definitely areas that will require heavier outerwear.
- So what do I need to put in my suitcase?
Here’s our recommended list:
- Adaptors and Converters
The current in most of Spain is 220v – bring an adaptor for any electronic devices you may want to use, including laptop and cellphone chargers, hair dryers, etc, and a converter for any device that uses a different voltage. It is better to buy the adaptor in the United States if your device has a grounded (three pronged) plug, as these types of adaptors are not common in Europe./div>
- What is the difference between an adaptor and a converter, and when do you only need to use an adaptor?The simple explanation is, the converter changes the amount of voltage that goes into your equipment, so it doesn´t fry the electrical parts inside by giving it more energy than it can handle. An adaptor is simply a differently shaped plug which adapts your plug to a foreign outlet.So, to find out if you need a converter, look on the “brick” of the device for the voltage number. If it is less than 220v, you will need a converter to use the device in Spain. Most laptops have a converter in their cord, so check and see. If you are still unsure if you need a converter, ask someone at your local electronics store.2. DocumentationWe always recommend that our travelers have a photocopy of their passport with them when they travel. It will not function as an actual passport, but it can help in a pinch.3. Sunscreen and SunglassesThese can obviously be purchased while in country, but it is not something we advise our travelers to wait on. Year round, Spain gets lots of sun. Even on a cloudy day, you will need some sun protection. Also, either before you come or after you get here, purchase some Aftersun skin balm if you are prone to burning. Once you think you are getting a burn, apply the Aftersun immediately, and it should help prevent a severe burn.4. Travel InsuranceWe always encourage our travelers to purchase travel insurance in the US before coming abroad. While any medical center in Spain will of course help you if you are sick or injured, you might incur the cost without the insurance from the US. Normally, Emergency Room visits do not cost unless special services are required, and you will never be denied care.5. Allergy MedicationSome allergy medications which are over the counter in the US are not available in Spain. If you do have a seasonal allergy, we recommend bringing along a small amount of your preferred brand of medication. Remember that plants and pollens are different in Europe, and so you may well be allergic to something here you never knew about.6. CashCash is used frequently in Spain, and credit cards less than you might expect. Major stores in big cities will accept credit cards, but some small establishments and eateries do not. It´s important to bring enough liquid cash, taking into account the exchange rate. Also, American Express and Discover cards are not usually accepted. Visa frequently is, where credit cards are accepted at all.7. Address/Telephone Number BookWhile this may seem old fashioned, given technology today, it is easier and safer to have essential numbers written down in a booklet, always carried on you. This is because there are many places in rural Spain where a cell phone might not get coverage, or, a traveler might find themselves without battery or a place to plug in to access a number from their digital rolodex.
- We also recommend that if you are traveling alone and not with a group that you take down the number of the US Embassy in whatever part of Spain you are going to. You can locate these numbers at www.USEmbassy.gov8. A PhrasebookSpanish is a wonderful language, because it is pronounced phonetically. Therefore, if you get yourself a phrasebook, you should find it easier than in some other languages to read from it and communicate. In some of the smaller cities and towns, there isn´t much English language influence, so coming prepared to say a few basic phrases for when you´re out on your own will go a long way.
- We recommend looking at our Basic Spanish Guide for tips on pronunciation and tips for Castillian Spanish. Also, if you are a tablet or smartphone user, we recommend download the free app called DuoLingo. It is a speaking and listening application that you can practice with a few weeks before your trip, with proven good results.9. Comfortable shoes are a must. Even in cities, people in Spain do a lot of walking as opposed to driving; blocks are smaller, and there are many pedestrianized roads. You should expect to be on your feet several hours a day, though of course there are always places to sit down and rest.
- If you are a Colorfully Spain client, we always recommend you pack a pair of shoes with good strong soles, or comfortable hiking boots. We also recommend that if they are new, that you break them in by wearing them for a week or two before your trip. Blisters from new shoes are your worst enemy on a nice vacation!