You’re on your way to embarking on a journey of a lifetime – your year abroad. During this year you will test your limits, meet new, amazing people, broaden your horizons, have highs and lows, experience many firsts, and become a great storyteller for years to come. The question is, what do you bring for all of this? How will you fit your whole life into a suitcase to survive for a year in Spain? Well, the truth is, you don’t have to bring your whole life. Here at Citylife Barcelona we have prepared a packing guide to help you get started!

Step 1: Research your destination

Spain is a country of many climates. From the warm, dry south, to the temperate, rainy north and everything in between! The first thing to consider is that no region of the Spanish peninsula has hot summer weather all year round. Spain has seasons and you should always pack generic items for both cool and hot weather. But to get a more specific idea of the kind of weather you have to look forward to, take a look at About Travel’s detailed article called Weather in Spain. Here you can see the length of seasons in the many regions of the country, the average temperatures to expect throughout the year and statistics on rain and sunshine!

Step 2: Be practical with your clothing choices

packing2Packing is a huge pain in general. Usually because people like options but their luggage can’t fit all those options! Try to focus on packing a little bit of everything. You can always go shopping while here and most cities have amazing “sales seasons” that you will certainly take advantage of – even more of a reason to leave some space in that bag! Layers go a long way and it’s smart to think of clothing that can be easily mixed and matched with other items to make several outfits. You can save a lot of space by planning ahead – if you’re arriving during the warmer seasons, save space by not packing a winter coat and boots and just buy them here or have them sent over later!

Spanish culture is very much about being out on the town and the Spanish like to look good while doing it! If you’ll be living in a big city definitely pack some nice formal attire so you’ll be ready for those dress codes! Girls have plenty of options in this category. But boys, this means a collared shirt and a decent pair of shoes!

*Note: Vacuum sealed bags are great for fitting a ton of stuff into a small space. Also, try rolling up your clothes rather than folding them.

Step 3: Kick most of your toiletries off the list

If you’re coming here for a year, 6 months or even 3 months, there is no need to bring these things from home. Unless you have specific items like contact lenses, medicated creams or that one face wash you just can’t live without. You can buy all the same things (shampoo, toothpaste, face wash, body creams, razors, etc.) here in Spain. This will save space, as well as the risk of all your toiletries exploding in your bag on the flight over. Spain has pretty much all of the major international products as well as some amazing local ones for you to chose from.

Step 4: Sort out your electronic needs

packing3If you’re coming from somewhere outside of Europe, your electronics will have different plugs and possibly different voltage. This is important to keep in mind if you wish to bring several electronic devices with you to Spain. You have a few options here and unless you plan on buying all new European cords, you’ll need to invest in an adaptor. Certain regions of the world have different shaped electronic sockets and plugs. What an adaptor does, is enable you to plug in an item from one region, into a wall socket of another. Europe, The Americas, Australia & Asia all have differently shaped sockets! Your first option is to buy a few adaptors that fit into the European sockets or buy just one and your devices can take turns to charge. The best option is to buy a multi-socket extension cord from home and one adaptor for Europe. That way you can have several of your items plugged in while only needing one adaptor for the wall! Multi-socket cords are way cheaper than adaptors so you will save money in the long run!

Step 5: Choose your bag

This is where the inner struggle between practicality and comfortability comes into play. For smart and savvy travel we highly suggest a standard travel back-pack. They are big, easy to carry, durable and leave your hands free to carry any extra baggage as you travel! If you have a lot of stuff and know that you won’t be moving around too much you can go for the classic luggage on wheels. These usually have more space, but are a real pain if you plan to do some country hopping on weekends or at the tail end of your trip. Lastly, if you aren’t worried about bringing all that much with you, you could bring a carry-on luggage and a large hand-bag. Combined, these could store the same amount of items as a medium luggage bag (give or take) and you won’t have to check anything in!

Travel Discounts: Feel free to use the discounts below when organizing your trip to Spain

travel-discountsSending Luggage in Advance: Are you a heavy packer? Do you prefer to have all your things waiting for you in Barcelona? No problem! Ship your belonging with Cangobox or PackLink and receive a Citylife Barcelona discount of 5%!

Places to Stay during your first few nights: Not everyone is lucky enough to have their flat all sorted out before arriving in the city. Book a hostel or hotel for less with the Hostel Club & Citylife Barcelona discount! As an alternative we suggesting checking out Couchsurfing and Airbnb!


Flight offers and extra luggage
 – We are working on it, stay tuned for updates!

Airport Pickup Services: Arrive stress-free by organising your airport pick-up, or your metro trip early on! Get hint, tips and discounts by heading to our Saving Money to and From the Airport article!

Renting a car in Spain: If you want to rent a car during your stay, head over to carrentals.com!

Your friendly neighbourhood travel guide,

– Leah

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