So you’ve decided to come to Spain! Whether you’ve made the decision on the fly or it’s been a long time coming, you’ve already done the hard part, right? Perhaps, but you still have yet to pack. Deciding what you’ll need for the next year or more can be a nerve-wracking experience. Thus, we’re going to discuss some of the things you should be sure to bring along, as well as some of the things you may want to consider leaving home.
Most foreigners have the idea that Spain has a climate similar to that of a tropical island, which may be true if you’re heading to the Canaries. However, depending on where you’ll be residing, this will probably not be the case. I myself hail from a subtropical climate and had been told the winter in Madrid was “short”, only to be told by madrileños upon arrival that the city has nueve meses de invierno y tres meses de infierno (nine months of winter and three months of hell). So, make sure you research the climate of the place where you’ll be staying and pack accordingly.You’ll probably find that you’re Hawaiian shirts and flip-flops won’t cut it all year, or even most of it!
Aside from outside temperatures, don’t expect for the temperature inside buildings to always be comfortable; air-conditioning is a luxury in Spain and heating is not necessarily considered to be a necessity. I was once told by a Canadian colleague that the coldest winter of his life was spent in Seville on account of limited heating.
Logically, no one is planning on bringing their entire home theater and electric bass guitar rig, but some things you certainly won’t be able to live without. Whatever you’re planning on taking, the most important thing to consider is the difference in voltage. Continental Europe uses 220v electricity and a round, 2-pin plug, which differs greatly from what you may be used to back home. Assuming you’ll bring a laptop, Apple computers merely require a different plug and you’re good to go; the adapter is ready-made to handle a wide variety of currents. If you’re not sure about your device, check out the tech specs. Other small electronic devices usually have a similar arrangement.
Large electronic devices are difficult costly to transport, so they are probably best left at home. If you’ll be staying any length of time, you can think about investing in these items here in Spain, although keep in mind that electronics are very expensive, as they are generally imported.
Regardless of what you plan to bring, just make sure you don’t forget your camera!
Toiletries and Medicine
Toiletry items are rather expensive in Spain, which becomes apparent as soon as you step on the Metro in Madrid. As a result, even after years living overseas, I still buy all my deodorant in the United States; it’s much cheaper to spend sixteen bucks on two four-packs that seem to last forever than to spend up to twice that in-country. You may also find that stocking up on razors is a good idea. Also, if you have a special preference for any particular items you may want to bring some along. However, bulky items such as shampoos and gels are usually not cost-effective to transport and better purchased once you arrive.
An absolute necessity once you’re here is Spain is to take a multi-vitamin. Heed my word! On changing countries, and especially continents, your body will be exposed to a whole lot of bugs and viruses that it has not previously encountered, resulting in colds and flu that can sour your stay. I recommend picking up a multi-vitamin and vitamin C tablets before traveling, as they are also expensive in Spain.
If you take any medication certainly bring it with, although you may be asked to show a prescription upon entry.
And keep in mind..
Although you may be traveling far from home, you’re not going to the Amazon or anything of the sort. Whatever you wind up needing you can readily purchase here, even on Amazon if you want! (the UK site, of course). Hopefully I’ve given you some things to consider, but you be the judge. And of course, not being able to prepare for every detail is part of the adventure!