Anyone else a chronic over packer? Raise your hand with me!

I packed wayyyyy too much stuff when I moved to Madrid. I really regretted how much stuff I brought with me. Lugging around 3 suitcases and 2 duffel bags was not a fun experience and staying in a hostel for 2 weeks with all of my stuff was even worse. Pack as light as possible because there are many things you can buy at your new home in Spain!

After 3 months of living here, I have reflected on the things I wish I had done differently; 1 of the main things has been my packing situation.

90% of your suitcases will be filled with clothing. Choose wisely!!!

Good rule of thumb: Don’t pack anything you haven’t worn in the last 3-5 months

Ask yourself the following…

What clothes do I already wear frequently?

What shoes do I wear the most? And which are the most comfortable?

suitcase with essentials to pack for a move abroad

Essentials to Pack

  • Prescription medication and vitamins

Some things are just difficult to find in Spain and if you’re lucky enough to do so, it’s not exactly the same. So! Do yourself the favor of getting you medication sorted and stock up on your favorite vitamins.

  • Paperwork (copies of passport, school acceptance if applicable, medical records, etc.)
  • Camera, cell phone, laptop, chargers, etc.
  • Bras/Underwear/Intimates (for obvious reasons)
  • Comfortable shoes (2-3 sandals, 1-2 athletic shoes)
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Foldable bag/backpack
  • A book or two
  • Headphones
  • Sunglasses
  • Eyemask 
  • TSA locks (keep your things safe always!)
  • Warm weather clothing (shorts, tank tops, 3-4 dresses
  • Work/School appropriate clothing (1 full interview outfit, dress pants, belt, blazer, 3-4 shirts)
  • Cold weather clothing (except coats, see below) 5-10 sweaters, 3-4 jackets, 1-2 sweatshirts, 5-6 pairs of pants/leggings, 2-3 pairs of boots, 1 rain jacket

YES IT GETS COLD IN SPAIN and it rains often. Don’t be fooled by the stereotypical view of the weather here.

Traveler standing in the rain in Madrid Spain

*Unless you have a deep personal attachment to a non essential item, DON’T pack it*

Packing TIP #1: Get space bags to pack your clothing

Packing TIP #2: Roll your clothes very tightly

Packing TIP #3: Do NOT pack the items listed below 🙂

Recommended to NOT pack because it takes up too much space in your suitcase: Buy it there!

  • Bed sheets, pillows, blankets
  • Towels
  • Your closet full of shoes (seriously, bring the shoes you wear the most, 5-6 pair max)
  • Umbrella
  • Hairdryer/Straightener (different plugs, remember?) Even with an adapter, my hairdryer from the US shorted out 😦
  • Hangers (very cheap to buy in Spain)
  • Coats (you can find great coats at Primark, Zara, Sfera etc. for cheap ~ €20-50)

female traveler walking in the rain in spain

I packed all of the above listed and it was complete overload. I’ve never had such a difficult time moving stuff around. Lugging so much baggage around really made some of the travel days very difficult. Moving abroad is already overwhelming , so lighten your load, have a smoother transition, and a better travel experience! 

If you’ve ever had the experience of moving abroad and think I left something out, please feel free to leave a comment below!

More to come about living the Spanish lifestyle coming soon!

Thanks for reading,


Posted by:Salina

Just an American who moved to Madrid, Spain and didn't look back. Searching for sunshine and tapas along the way :)

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