Study abroad Packing List for Spain

Tips on what to pack and how to pack for your study abroad adventure in Spain

When packing for studying abroad in Spain (or any international destination), the number one packing rule is to “pack light”. It’s a simple concept but can be very difficult to obtain when studying abroad for an extended amount of time.

Here’s how you can be sure that you bring everything you need to Spain (and leave what you don’t need at home) so you can successfully pack in just a carry-on suitcase and one personal bag. Even if you can check in a suitcase, I recommend trying to stick to a carry-on and backpack when packing— it’ll be much easier for you to travel if you limit yourself to one suitcase. (Plus, you’ll be the cool person who can pack light and claim that you’re at least semi backpacking across Europe).

Essential travel items

First things first- safety. Do you take any prescriptions or have a medical condition that requires special items? No matter what packing list you follow, health is always the most important concern when deciding what to bring for international travel. Make sure that you have everything you will absolutely need health-wise to travel, and a lot of room in your suitcase or backpack for those items when packing. Next, you will need to decide which clothes to pack, what toiletries to bring, and then figure out how much room you have left in your suitcase and what other special items you would like to bring on your study abroad program in Spain.

Pack efficiently!

To pack efficiently, you must always keep 2 things in mind: location and occasion. What region are you traveling to in Spain? When are you traveling to that region? Is the weather cold, hot, rainy, or sunny? Will you be traveling to multiple destinations? How long will you be in Spain? What is the main purpose of your travels? Are you going to participate in any athletic or outdoor activities? Answering all of these questions will help you to narrow your focus with a practical mindset and figure out what items you need to pack so that you can create your own personalized study abroad packing list for Spain that perfectly suits all of your needs.

General study abroad packing list for Spain

  • RX/meds (this includes glasses and contacts- pro traveler tip: always bring backups!)
  • Clothes… Think: what season(s), activities, how long?
    • Pair of jeans
    • Pair of shorts
    • 1 skirt or 1 other pair of pants
    • 1-2 camis/undershirts
    • 2-3 plain t-shirts
    • 1-2 plain long-sleeve or quarter-length sleeve (depending on season and area)
    • 1-2 light sweaters (think: layers are key!)
    • 1 jacket/coat (depending)
    • 1-2 “nice” shirts
    • 1-2 dresses (depending)
    • 2-3 pairs comfy shoes (all of your shoes should be comfortable when traveling!)
    • Underwear!
    • 1 set of “comfies” to sleep in (comfy t-shirt and shorts/sweatpants)
  • Camera (or just your smartphone) 
  • Sunglasses
  • Accessories (optional- the less, the better, and if possible don’t bring or wear anything of high value)
  • ESSENTIAL toiletries (you can buy whatever you need once you arrive unless there’s a specific face cream or leave-in conditioner that you can’t live without!)
  • Laptop (only for work or school if applicable)
  • Phone and chargers (with any necessary plug adapters! If this is your first time traveling abroad, keep in mind that different countries have different outlets, so prepare ahead of time!)
  • Wallet (preferably containing cash that is already converted into the currency you will be using during your travels)
  • Passport, IDs (school ID, driver’s license, international student card, etc.), and any other necessary documentation
  • Small purse or backpack to be carried throughout the day
  • Refillable/collapsible water bottle
Study abroad packing list for Spain

All of this should easily fit in a carry-on suitcase and last an entire semester abroad. For shorter lengths abroad, you can decrease this packing list depending on your personal travel circumstance. (Location, one city or multiple cities, what season, purpose of travel, activities, etc.)

The general study abroad packing list for Spain above is just that: a very generalized packing list to serve as a starting point when you are deciding what to pack for your program. Out of all the items, choosing what clothes to pack is usually the most difficult, most variable, and takes up the most space in your suitcase. Let’s make it quick and easy like a band-aid and decide which clothes to pack first with some example situations.

Study abroad packing list for a summer study abroad program in Spain

  • Pair of shorts
  • Long maxi skirt (or light pants)
  • Regular skirt (or another pair of shorts)
  • Neutral cami/tanktop, 1 color cami/tanktop
  • 1 sundress/beachwear
  • 1-2 bathing suits
  • Neutral t-shirt, 1 color t-shirt
  • 1 “nice” shirt or blouse
  • Light sweater (and scarf if you would like)
  • Good pair of walking shoes (hiking sandals are perfect)
  • 1 pair comfortable shoes (regular sandals are good)
  • Underwear (5-10 pairs)
  • Comfy shirt and shorts/pants to sleep in

Study abroad packing list for an educational tour in Spain, with hiking activities

  • 1-2 pair of shorts (that can also be worn hiking)
  • Pair of comfortable jeans/pants (to also serve for hiking)
  • Pair of athletic shorts/pants
  • 1-2 neutral t-shirts, 1 color t-shirt
  • 1-2 long-sleeve shirts
  • 1 light sweater
  • 1 good jacket
  • 1-2 camis/undershirts
  • 1 pair hiking shoes/boots
  • 1 pair walking shoes/sandals
  • Underwear (5-10 pairs) and socks (3-5 pairs)
  • Comfy shirt and shorts/pants to sleep in
  • Scarf/gloves/beanie (depending on what time of the year you are going and altitude of your hikes)

Study abroad packing list for a multicity program accross Spain

  • 1 pair of nice jeans (without holes)
  • 1 pair of pants (khakis or black pants are good for this situation)
  • 1-2 pairs of shorts/skirts
  • 1 business skirt/pants
  • 1 nice sweater/light suit jacket
  • 1-2 neutral t-shirts, 1 color t-shirt
  • 2-3 “nice” shirts/blouses
  • 2-3 camis/undershirts/tanktops (remember: layers!)
  • 1-2 comfy shirts and shorts/pants to sleep in
  • 1 pair nice dress shoes (that are comfortable!! I suggest black flats or something you may also wear around town)
  • 1 pair walking shoes/sandals
  • 1 pair comfy sandals
  • Underwear (5-10 pairs)
  • 1 bathing suit
  • 1 sun dress/”party” outfit (most likely there will be a dinner celebration at the end of your long and intense study abroad trip!)

Study abroad packing list for a winter program in Spain

  • 1 very good coat
  • 1-2 jackets/sweatshirts
  • 1-2 sweaters
  • 2-3 long-sleeve shirts/sweaters
  • 2-3 t-shirts/undershirts
  • 1-2 pairs of jeans
  • 1-2 pairs of pants
  • 1 pair comfortable boots or snow boots
  • 1-2 pairs athletic/walking shoes
  • 2-3 scarves/1-2 pairs of gloves/1-2 beanies
  • Underwear (5-10 pairs) and thick socks (5-10 pairs)
  • Comfy shirt and sweatpants to sleep in


Well, there you have it. Here are your general guidelines and basic packing list for what to bring to Spain! If you follow these packing guidelines, then you will have everything you need to enjoy your travels abroad without stressing out about too much luggage! I will repeat again to pack light (this cannot be stressed enough!); it may seem typical and redundant, but it is the absolute unavoidable truth- the lighter you pack, the happier you will be, and the easier your travels!

And hey, look at it this way- if you end up needing a different type of shoes, an extra pair of pants, lotion, or even more toothpaste, look at is as an opportunity to buy something foreign and new in a different country! It might end up being your favorite souvenir at the end of your trip.

All will work out in the end and you will have developed into a very seasoned pro packer and international traveler. Bon voyage!

For more information on what to pack for your study abroad adventure in Spain, visit our FAQ section!

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