Ultimate Packing List

Getting ready to jump the pond and not sure what the most important things to bring are? It’s important to do your research about what things are easily available to you and what isn’t so you’re sure not to forget the essentials. Smart Insiders is going to break down everything to keep in mind when packing your suitcase. We’re going to give you packing tips so you come prepared and ready to explore.
Packing List Madrid
Packing List Madrid
Packing List Madrid

Packing Tip 1: Decide which luggage you are bringing.


To decide what suitcase to bring you need to keep a few things in mind. First, how big is the room you’ll be renting and what storage is available to you. Rooms in the center of Madrid aren’t big so think ahead about where you can store your luggage so it doesn’t take up a lot of space. Second, what are your traveling plans? If you decide to spend most of your weekends traveling around Europe you want to make sure to bring a carry-on with you for weekend trips. Airlines like RyanAir have a strict weight limit for baggage. Finally, you need to consider the absolute essentials to bring and what can wait for you to buy once you’re in Madrid. Many things are cost friendly so before you pay extra in weight it might be smarter to save your money to spend once you arrive.

Packing Tip 2: Organize your wardrobe based on weather. 


Spain is known for its extremely hot summers, but it isn’t hot all year long. You need to think seasonally so keep that in mind when packing your wardrobe. Temperatures start to drop around October-November so we recommend bringing layers and a winter coat. You’ll want to pack smart with a variety of clothing options, but not too excessive so you don’t over-pack. If you plan on doing different types of activities consider what gear you want to bring with you. Activities could include sports like swimming, hiking, and running so pack what you need and don’t forget it! Again, if you’re planning to do some shopping while you’re here consider what things you want to buy so you can save room in your suitcase.

Packing Tip 3: Pack all your personal, health, and prescription products.


Toiletries are cheaper in Madrid than in other countries. Our recommendation is to only bring important products that you know aren’t available in Madrid. For example, deodorant is different here and many people don’t like the brands available. If you know you want a specific brand pack it. If not, products like shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotions, and more are inexpensive so we recommend saving the space and buy it when you’re here.

If you’re carrying on, remember the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule so you know what size bottles you can bring on. Any liquids, gels, aerosols, creams, and pastes must be 3.4 ounces (100ml) or less per container and they must be in a 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag. Click here to read more about TSA rules about what you can and cannot pack. IMPORTANT: If you have monthly prescriptions talk with your doctor to get necessary information and documentation to take to a medical professional in Spain. If you know your prescription is unavailable bring enough to last during your stay.

Packing Tip 4: Think about your technology.


The next thing you’ll want to do is consider what technology you want to bring with you. Most importantly, Spain has a different outlet to plug in your devices so it’s important to bring a travel adaptor. In Spain there are two different plug types, types C and F. Plug type C has two round pins and plug type F is the plug which has two round pins with two earth clips on the side. Spain operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz so make sure that when you buy your adaptors you check the voltage.

BEWARE: Sometimes appliances aren’t compatible with the Spanish power supply (electrical appliances and heating appliances). If this is the case you’re going to need an adapter that changes both the physical plug to fit into the wall and the amount voltage that your appliance gets.

Packing Tip 5: Don’t forget about your travel documents, cash, and credit cards.


Take all necessary documents with you! Depending on the duration of your stay and your home country you might need different papers to ensure safe travel. Maybe sometimes you can get overwhelmed by the amount of paperwork to take care of, even more for scholarships like ERASMUS. First, before starting your journey prepare an overview of all the forms you need to fill out and their deadlines. Above all, the two most important documents is to have a visa and health insurance.

  • Visa 
    • Certain countries require a visa for traveling and living abroad. Make sure you find out if you need one before you set off on your journey! You can find all the information about it here: exteriores.gob.es
  • Health Insurance
    • Just like with any other trip, health insurance is obligatory.
    • If you come from a country within the EU, don’t forget your European health insurance card.

Next, for Non-EU citizens registering with Spanish authorities is obligatory if you are residing in Spain more than three months. The first step in the process is to solicit, within your first 30 days in Spain, an appointment to take fingerprints. Consequently, appointment date and time is subject to availability as per the Spanish Ministry of Finance and Public Administration’s online system. Look to make your appointment here. Once you made your fingerprint appointment you will then have to gather all the necessary documents to take with you.

  • Documents: Fingerprint Appointment 
    • EX17 Form
    • Physical Passport
      • One copy of picture page.
      • One copy of visa page.
      • One copy of page stamped with your date of entry to Spain
    • Letter proving you are studying at a university in Madrid.
    • 1 recent passport picture.
    • Modelo 790 – Código 012 (Tax Form)

Need additional help? 

Want more information about moving to Madrid? Check out our Settling In page where we have information about housing, SIM cards, banking information, and more!

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