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Study Abroad Packing List for Spain: The ultimate list

How excited are you to pack your bags and move to SPAIN!? You should be super excited, Spain’s a really cool place, I’m excited for you! And before you go, lets get you prepared with everything you need to know. In this blog post, I will provide a comprehensive study abroad packing list for Spain.

If you’re like most students, you’re probably wondering what to pack for your study abroad experience !

It can be tricky to figure out what you need, but fear not, as someone who has traveled (and lived) ALL over Spain for 6 years, I’ve got you completely covered. So even if this is your first time traveling abroad, I’ll tell you everything you need to know.

This list includes everything from clothes and important documents to toiletries and electronics. So read on, and start packing!

Contents hide

Study Abroad Packing List for Spain: How to prepare and travel essentials you need to bring

study abroad spain

Make sure to pack for your study abroad program in advance so you’re not stressed out. Ideally 1-2 weeks in advance is key.

Next, I would start to buy whatever travel essentials you need with a month in advance. Having extra time gives you a buffer to run errands and buy things from the brands you didn’t know you needed.

We’ll make sure you don’t forget anything important, and this goes back to starting with the very basic travel essentials so you’re prepared.

These are categories to organize important essential items for your study abroad in Spain.

Health & Safety

Our Pick
study abroad packing list spain - Medicine/Supplement organizer

Medicine/Supplement organizer

This stunning super handy medicine organizer is BPA free as it’s made of aluminum. Say good bye to flimsy plastic and hello to sturdy aluminum. Shape the organizer any way you want as it is easily portable and compactable.

It can’t break due to the sturdy materials and the letters of the day won’t fade due to laser carving labels.

It’s also waterproof! Bring this with you on your trip to Spain for a true quality purchase. Best part? This one’s guaranteed to make it back with you after Spain, too.

Go through your prescription medications, and vitamins/supplements and decide what you will be bringing. Allocate space in your bags for this.

Now’s a good time to check in with your doctor for any applicable important medicines such as travel diarrhea, consistent prescription medications, birth control, allergies, necessary travel vaccines/travel hygiene information you should know, and more. (remember we are doing this with time in advance for this reason!)

You should book an appointment with your doctor about a month or 2 before you leave. You should also make sure to have prescription medications for your entire duration of your study abroad program.

Important travel documents

Our Pick
study abroad packing list spain - travel document organizer

Travel document organizer

Rated 5 stars for good reason. This document organizer will easily make travel a breeze. It has over 21 pockets and slots. Conveniently store and have all your travel documents in one place. Need we say more?

Make sure you have all your important travel documents in order and COPIES in a special compartment – passport, visa, travel insurance, how to get to your school program, school id, driver’s license, etc.

Copies are in case you lose them and you need to prove who you are. Very, very, important in case of an emergency during your study abroad program. God forbid but always best to be prepared vs un!

Remember to bring things like your driver’s license and IDP if you want to be driving here. If you want to rent a car in Europe you will need your driver’s license. Some European travel destinations also require international driver’s permit.

If you know where you want to travel to and it requires an IDP for car rentals, you should definitely get this in your home country prior to leaving.

Cell phone & Data

A cell phone that works in Spain and will have service to navigate you and make phone calls to Spain and to your home country. This should work for the entire semester.

Basics

Must have basics – have a good solid reliable suitcase, comfortable shoes, and weather-appropriate clothing for the entire semester abroad.

Toiletries

Our Pick
study abroad packing list spain - sunscreen

High Quality Sunscreen

They don’t call it sunny Spain for no reason. BE SURE to wear SPF in Spain, the sun here is no joke.

This Neutrogena SPF is perfect for students going to Spain. It’s oil free so daily use won’t cause breakouts, and it has SPF 50 for protection. Can’t beat the price tag, a wooping $10 for this quality and that it’s dermatologist recommended.

Don’t forget your toiletries & favorite hygiene products! Sunscreen is an absolute must in Spain, whether you’re at a lake in Spain or walking in the city.. Although you can buy hygiene products in Spain, it is important to note, you might want a specific brand and model. If you know that in advance, bring extra for your trip so you don’t have to worry about finding it in a foreign store when you arrive. (with a possible language barrier on top of that)

Touch of home

Pack items for when you get homesick – your favorite pictures, shirts, souvenirs, etc. This is perfect for when you are feeling disconnected on your study abroad trip and want a quick taste of home.

Making new friends and socializing abroad

Our Pick

Card games that start conversations

You might be thinking card games are only for kids but think not! This is the perfect thing to have packed for your study abroad experience to help break out of your shell.

What better way to make friends and get socializing by having a game everyone can play? Get to know your fellow abroad students and let the conversations begin! No brainer it’s a best seller on Amazon.

Bring items that will help make friends with other international students. Things like a soccer ball, deck of cards, or anything else that can be social! These can be super tiny and convenient to fit into your carry on.

Finally, don’t forget to pack your sense of adventure and enjoy your study abroad trip!

Study Abroad Packing List for Spain: What luggage to bring and how to pack

Firstly, you’ll need a check-in bag. This is the large suitcase where you pack the majority of your clothes and heavy things, such as shoes and jackets. This does not go with you onto the plane. You drop this off at the airline check-in counter at the airport 3 hours before your flight.

Checked bag

Our Pick

Swiss Gear

Meet your new ideal travel companion, this swiss gear checked bag is designed to navigate through busy airports with ease.

Key benefits:

This Swiss Gear check-in luggage is not only stylish but also practical, equipped with 360-degree multi-directional spinner wheels and a locking retractable handle for effortless mobility.

  • Designed for durability, the suitcase is crafted from a scuff-resistant polyester fabric that can withstand the rigors of travel. Inside, you’ll find a fully lined interior, complete with adjustable tie-down straps to keep your garments securely in place.
  • The suitcase boasts multiple front panel pockets, inclusive of a built-in ID tag for easy identification. Its generous dimensions of 30 x 18.5 x 12.5 inches (including wheels and handles) provide ample packing space.
  • This Swiss Gear suitcase doesn’t just offer abundant space, it’s also about effortless organization. It comes with a removable zippered wet bag, a large mesh lid pocket, and an additional packing pocket, all designed to hold your small items and accessories neatly.

Choose from 7 beautiful colors and easily upgrade to get a luggage set.

When you purchase your flight make sure you are reading the fine print about suitcase cargo. Majority of airlines that issue international economy flights provide atleast 1 checked in bag.

If you have to pay a checked bag fee for your flight, it’s worth paying so you’re comfortable with what you’ve packed when you arrive.

You can bring a majority of the things you need with you in this large suitcase. Don’t forget to weigh your bag so you are within the airport’s guidelines and pay for your one suitcase online (if applicable) vs at the airport. It’ll be cheaper.

Put all the heavy things into your check-in bag and have ways to identify it’s your bag.

Some very useful pro tips: Consider packing cubes that help organize your bag by the department. Get apple air tags so you can locate your bag in case it gets lost.

This way, you’ll have immediate access to this information and this beats being on phone hold with any airline.

You can purchase apple air tags in your home country before you depart.

Carry on suitcase

Our Pick

SwissGear Carry on Bag

Make travel easier with this lightweight classic SwissGear carry on bag. Travelers love the fact that it has lots of pockets.

Perfect for storing away those travel essentials. Customers also love that you can upgrade and get this as a luggage set and the ease of mobility with the 360-degree multi-directional spinner wheels.

Carry on is the tinier suitcase that will go with you on the plane. This is what you can use for shorter trips when you’re abroad in Spain. Travel sized toiletries and liquids can not be more than 3.4 fl oz/100 ml so keep that in mind if and when packing liquids.

Anything more than that needs to go into your check-in bag or airport security will throw it out. Pro tip: if you are worried that your large suitcase might get lost, do consider having emergency clothes in your carry-on. Toiletries you can always buy abroad in Spain, so I would make sure you have some clothes worst comes to worst.

Personal bag

Our Pick

Anti Theft Back pack

The perfect blend of comfort, functionality, and style designed explicitly for the modern traveler. This backpack is not just an accessory; it’s your reliable travel companion, designed to make your journeys as seamless as possible.

Key Benefits :

Choose from 15 different colors and 4 different sizes

Comfort is at the forefront with a soft padded back design and thick but soft multi-panel ventilated padding, providing maximum back support.

The breathable and adjustable shoulder straps are designed to relieve shoulder stress, while the foam padded top handle ensures long-time carrying comfort.

Safety and functionality go hand in hand with this travel backpack. A convenient luggage strap allows the backpack to fit securely on your suitcase for easier mobility.

An added bonus is the hidden anti-theft pocket on the back, safeguarding your valuable items from potential thieves—making it an ideal choice for international airplane travel or day trips.

Stay connected on the move with our innovative USB port design. Complete with a built-in USB charger outside and charging cable inside, this backpack offers a convenient way to charge your phone while walking. Please note that the backpack itself doesn’t provide power, but the USB charging port facilitates easy access to charge your devices.

This is the backpack or purse/tote travelers use and pack onto the plane for personal items. This is where you’ll keep things like a computer and passport. You can multi-use this as your school bag and travel bag for day trips abroad in Spain. If not, you can use a different one for school and outdoor activities.

Day bag

Our Pick

Anti Theft Day Bag

This bag is crafted from high-quality, water-resistant nylon. Not only does it exhibit strength and sturdiness, but its anti-scratch properties also ensure long-lasting durability.

This backpack promises a secure and comfortable usage experience, making it resistant to easy breakage or tears.

This sling bag is designed with multiple pockets, providing ample space for all your essentials – be it your wallet, cash, phone, cards, or passport.

The hidden anti-theft pocket offers additional security, safeguarding your valuable items. Now, you can travel or queue up without worrying about potential thefts or easy access to your bag.

Its multifunctional design allows it to be used as a sling bag, chest bag, travel bag, messenger bag, shoulder bag, crossbody backpack, or casual daypack.

You will probably want to pack your favorite small purse with you for your day-to-day. If you are a man think of your favorite shoulder bag or backpack. A wallet might be enough but if you need more space consider those for the daily.

Make sure you have a purse or bag that is theft-proof. Pickpocketing in Spain is a real problem, try to have bags that have zippers and always have the zipper in front of you.

Additionally, you can also consider bringing a beach bag or an extra small tote for pool/beach days. If you don’t have space, simply get it once you’re abroad in Spain. A small canvas tote is inexpensive and will cost you around 3-25 euros.

Study Abroad Packing List Spain – what to pack and what to leave behind

study abroad packing list spain

The packing lists below are perfect ideas for students traveling abroad. These are broken down into categories and certain travel themes so you can try to pack light. Factor these things below into your study abroad packing list in Spain for the ultimate packing list catered to YOU!

  1. Where – where in Spain will you be going & what region (look into that, it will help with packing)
  2.  Why – why are you going to Spain – what’s the purpose of the trip, outside of studying abroad what do you want to see and do?
  3.  When – when will you be going and what is the weather like during this time? (not everywhere in Spain is mediterranean climate)
  4.  How – how long will you be there for and how are you going to get around when you arrive (think comfortable walking shoes!)
  5.  Who – who will you be doing these activities with (think age and environment)
  6.  What – what will you be doing outside of studying abroad in your free time? Are you going hiking, traveling, clubbing, or to cooking classes?

Answering these questions will help you learn how to pack items instantly. You should get familiar with Spain’s geography as not every single part of Spain is sunny.

For example, the north of Spain is gloomy and can reach cold temperatures. Wherever you’re studying abroad in Spain, you want to make sure you’ve packed accordingly.

Study abroad packing list Spain what to leave behind:

Don’t bring these things, leave them at home. These are things that you will not use or will only complicate your life if you bring it or try to use it in Spain.

Please read through this section carefully, things like burnt hair and getting eletricuted are things I really wouldn’t want you to experience! Unfortunately I have due to incompatible voltages haha!!

Bank accounts or credit cards that aren’t foreign-friendly

For your bank account abroad, you don’t want to get charged pesky fees to access your own money. I recommend Charles Schwab High yield investors checking account to access cash and for ATM cash withdrawls.

This bank account is the best travel friendly in the game for Americans, I’ve tried over 10 bank accounts and no one compares to Schwab.

For the best travel credit card, I highly recommend Capital One venture X. You get great perks such as easy mile conversons, unlimited capital one offers, extended warranty on purchases, and more! These are the best travel accounts for Americans I have tried and recommend.

Trust me, out of the 10 bank accounts and 8 credit cards I’ve tried, these are #1 with my experience.

Pro tip: Don’t ignore this. Conversion fees and non-ATM fees add up, try to have this organized before you leave.

Uncomfortable walking shoes

High heels for cobblestone streets and stairs in the metro – unless you want to be uncomfortable walking (which will probably be your biggest form of transportation as a student), consider leaving high heels behind. Shoes also weight alot so this will not help to pack light.

Non-European style

A lot of sweatpants and leggings for going out – Spain is a very particular country, people here get very dressed up when they go out. That means you’ll barely see Spanish people wearing sweatpants, even to run errands. If you’re from a different country that might be a weird thought, but it’s true.

Try to not stick out so much, I would avoid all sweatpants and leggings when going out unless you’re going to work out or to the gym.

Hair appliances from the US or foreign country

Hair appliances from a different country (non European) or America – Buy hair appliances once you’re in Spain and you won’t have to worry about random dangers with voltage. I’ve burnt my hair like this due to incompatible voltages ;D, so definitely a bad idea.

Limited suitcase space

No space in your suitcase- Dont come to Spain with a full suitcase. This means you won’t be able to shop (which is one of the best things you can even do in Spain). Pack light, as light as you can and leave room for memories.

You are going to buy things while you’re here, and your fashion style might even change! Spanish brands are a must-see. And whatever you buy, you’re most likely going to want to take it home. Leave room for those special things.

Too many shoes

Too many shoes – you are only one person and the odds of you using more than 3-4 pairs of shoes are unrealistic. These also might be hard to put in your carry on suitcase or check in bag since it will take up space.

Household items

House maintenance items – the majority of apartments in Spain come furnished and you probably won’t need to buy much. It’s in your best interest to purchase what you need after you arrive to save space and audit what you truly need once you’re physically there.

International packages

Avoid getting anything sent from your home country that can be stuck in customs, for a LONG time! Shop local or wait until someone in the area can bring it to you. If that’s not possible, wait until you’re back. Not to mention, customs tax is pricy.

I’ve had really bad luck with international packages sent to Spain. I don’t recommend it especially if you will only be here for a limited time. This is why we keep going back to the main rule, pack to study abroad prepared and bring everything you need BEFORE you go!

School Supplies

International students shouldn’t worry about bringing basic school supplies like notebooks and folders. It’s super affordable in Spain, you can buy it once you arrive.

You can easily buy your school supplies in Spain at the Hiper Bazar which is like a dollar store or Carrefour which is a supermarket chain.

You also have papelerias which are known as printshops in English.

Study Abroad Packing List Spain for the summer experience

  • 3 shorts
  • 3 shirts – 1-2 being dressy
  • 1 lightweight linen pants or maxi skirt
  • 2 camis or A tank for men
  • 2 bathing suits
  • 1 swimsuit coverup
  • 1 pair of comfortable sandals
  • 1 pair of walking shoes
  • 1 set of summer pajamas
  • 10 underwear
  •  7 socks – ankle and light
  • 1 pajama
  • 1 light sweater/light jean jacket for nighttime
  • 1 summer hat
  • 1 water bottle

The ultimate Spanish city experience in spring Spain Study Abroad Packing List

  • 1 pair of quality dress shoes, also comfortable for walking
  •  1 pair of walking shoes
  •  1 pair of sandals
  •  10 underwear
  •  10 socks
  •  2 dresses – 1 for day/1 for night
  •  1 bathing suit and swimsuit cover-up
  •  1 pair of pajamas
  •  3 dressy shirts/tops
  •  2 casual t-shirts
  •  2 light camisoles for women or guinea shirt for men
  •  1 pair of shorts
  •  1 skirt
  •  1 sweater/light jacket
  • 1 jean jacket
  •  1 pair of dressy pants – trousers, khakis
  •  1 pair of dressy jeans – no rips, tears, chains, or slits
  • 1 reusable water bottle

Outdoor activities: Study Abroad Packing List Spain

  • 1 Quality waterproof jacket – appropriate for the weather
  •  1 pair of hiking shoes
  •  1 set of hat, scarf, and gloves if needed for weather
  •  1 pair of comfortable walking shoes or sandals
  •  1 pair of water shoes if swimming (to prevent walking/bruising from rocks in lakes)
  •  1 light sweater
  •  1 long-sleeve shirt
  •  3 t-shirts
  •  2 sets of workout clothes
  •  10 underwear, 7 pairs of socks
  •  1 pair of stretchable jeans/trousers
  •  1 pair of pajamas
  •  1 pair of flip-flops to use in hostels/accommodation
  • 1 reusable water bottle

The winter escape: Study Abroad Packing List Spain

  • 1 very good coat
  •  1 quality coat
  •  1 pair of boots
  •  1 pair of walking shoes
  •  7 thick socks above the ankles
  •  10 underwear
  •  1 hat gloves and scarf set
  •  2 jackets
  •  3 long sleeve shirts
  •  3 sweaters
  •  3 t-shirts (that can easily layer)
  •  2 jeans
  •  2 pants (dressy if possible)
  •  1 pair of pajamas

Electronics: Study abroad packing list Spain

  • A cell phone that works and has data every day (works with GPS, off of Wifi, can call home, can call local)
  • Universal Phone adapter to use your electronics
  •  Camera & tripod
  •  Chargers & proper wires like HDMI
  •  headphones
  •  Portable charger

Study Abroad Packing List for Spain : Footwear what shoes to pack

  • 1 pair of athletic shoes
  •  1 pair of dress shoes
  •  1 pair of boots if studying abroad during fall/winter
  •  1 pair of water shoes if going to beaches, lakes, and rivers (these waters can be rocky)
  •  Can buy 1 pair of flip flops pre-first trip for showers in travel accommodations such as camps and hostels

Clothing: Study abroad packing list Spain

  • 2 sets of workout clothes
  •  7 casual outfits
  •  1 coat
  •  1 jean or leather jacket
  •  1 summer hat
  •  1 set of hat gloves and scarf
  •  1 rain jacket if in gloomy weather
  •  3 going out outfits
  •  Intimates to last you a week – 7+ bras, 7+ underwear, 10 pairs of socks
  •  1-2 bathing suits
  •  7 complete casual day-to-day outfits
  •  1-2 sets of PJs

Hygiene products: Study abroad packing list Spain

You won’t need more than travel size toiletries to help set you up at the beginning of your stay, after that you can go to the supermarket.

  • Travel medicines – travel diarrhea, malaria, etc
  •  Prescription – birth control, contact lenses
  •  Oral hygiene – toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash
  •  Body wash & hand wash
  •  Hair products: brush, shampoo, conditioner, leave-in, styling cream
  •  Deodorant, razors & shaving cream if you shave
  •  Feminine products such as cups, and tampons if like a specific style

Study abroad packing list Spain: Beauty products

  • Cleanser
  •  Toner
  •  Exfoliant
  •  Moisturizer
  •  SPF
  •  Makeup & makeup brushes

If you like a brand try to pack it with you, if not travel size should do the trick and you can buy it in store later if you need to top up.

More essentials to probably consider for your Study abroad packing list Spain

Safety first, consider your safety when studying abroad and invest in a good quality lock. As a student, odds are you will probably be staying in affordable accomodation such as hostels. Arrive prepared with protecting your belongings with a lock.

Waterproof attire and waterproof bags. Spain is very sunny, but the north isn’t. If you are planning to travel to certain parts of Spain or Northern Europe at that, consider investing in waterproof attire and waterproof bags. It’d be a pity to buy souvenirs for it to then get ruined in the rain. Save yourself the worry and get waterproof travel essentials.

Portable scale to weigh your bags will be a godsend. This tiny thing works wonders and saves surprises at the airport

Not to mention budget airlines in Europe are no joke. Read the fine print of your airline cargo to know what you can and can’t bring and the weight limit.

FAQS on Study abroad packing list Spain

As a trusted resource, I’ve got you covered with everything you’re probably wondering. Check out these FAQs.

What do college students wear in Spain?

College students in Spain tend to have a stylish and well-put-together wardrobe that mirrors the country’s overall fashion-forward culture. They typically opt for a mix of casual and chic elements, often leaning towards more dressy attire than what you might find on a typical American college campus.

One thing you must know about Spanish people is that they dress well wherever they go and for whatever occassion. They don’t look like they just rolled out of bed which I can’t say is the same for my American university.

What to wear and what not to wear to college in Spain

Do not wear sweat pants, yoga pants, or leggings to college campus if you want to avoid sticking out and looking like a foreigner.

Women in Spain generally dress very stylishly, often wearing nice pants and shoes. They also wear dresses, skirts, and shorts, particularly in the warmer months. Light layers such as t-shirts, shorts, and dresses are essential for spring, which is generally mild but can get warm during the day.

Men in Spain wear oftenly wear button up shirts, polos, and non logo t shirts. Avoid excessively baggy sports tees and gym shorts that will make you look overly casual.

In terms of footwear, dress shoes, sandals, and sneakers are all common choices. However, it’s worth noting that flip flops could label you as a tourist. Avoid them if you want to blend in. Flip flops are not the most comfortable to walk in big Spanish cities so outside of aesthetic, I don’t recommend flip flops for your study abroad Spain experience.

When the weather gets cooler, students in cities like Madrid often wear trench coats, puffer jackets, leather jackets, and fur-like vests. Stripes are also a common theme in Spanish fashion, often seen in combinations like striped pants with a solid top or vice versa. Matching sets are also a common theme.

While this gives a general idea, remember that individual style can vary greatly from person to person. However, the emphasis is often on looking polished and put-together rather than overly casual.

What do people wear to go out in Spain?

When planning a night out in Spain, it’s important to note that the dress code tends to be more formal than in other countries. Many clubs and upscale venues won’t admit patrons who are wearing t-shirts. Instead, Spaniards often opt for more stylish and polished outfits.

For men, jeans paired with a nice shirt or classic button-down are common choices. Some men even choose to wear joggers or athleisure pants, especially in smaller to mid-sized cities.

Women, on the other hand, often choose to wear dresses, pants or skirt with a blouse, or form-fitting tops. In the summer, light fabrics and linen garments are preferred, but showing too much skin may identify you as a non-local.

Footwear also plays an important role in Spanish nightlife fashion. Both men and women typically opt for dress shoes, nice sandals, loafers, leather shoes, or fashionable sneakers.

Despite the heat, it’s not uncommon for both men and women to wear trousers or jeans even in the daytime. Overall, locals tend to put on their most presentable looks – think tailored pants and shirts, modest dresses, and cute accessories.

In summary, when going out in Spain, the general rule of thumb is to dress up elegantly rather than down. This doesn’t mean evening gowns or suits, but rather stylish, well-put-together outfits are the norm.

Do students use backpacks in Spain?

Yes, students in Spain do use backpacks. According to various study abroad programs like IES abroad, a backpack is a common sight on Spanish university campuses. This is primarily because students often need to carry multiple items such as books, laptops, and other personal belongings.

Backpacks are not just practical but also versatile. They are suitable for classroom use, weekend trips, and outdoor activities like hiking. It’s recommended that the backpack is comfortable and supportive, as students can end up carrying quite a lot.

For students studying abroad in Spain, packing tips often include bringing a backpack that can serve multiple purposes. For instance, students may use the same backpack for school, travel, and carrying heavy items.

However, it’s important to note that while backpacks are commonly used, they are not the only type of bag Spanish students use. Some students prefer large bags or even carry-on suitcases, depending on their needs and school programs.

In conclusion, if you’re planning to study in Spain or simply wondering about students’ habits there, rest assured that backpacks are a typical part of the Spanish student landscape.

Conclusion

These are just a few of the many packing Spain tips and tricks that will help make your study abroad experience in Spain everything you’ve ever dreamed of – and more! To study abroad in Spain will be super fun, enjoy!

With a little bit of planning and some savvy packing techniques, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying all that this amazing country has to offer.

Thanks for reading and Hasta pronto!

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