To Pack or Not to Pack for Studying Abroad in Spain over the summer

This summer I spent 6 weeks in Salamanca Spain. I over packed while I also forgot things. So I will compile a handy list of what I brought that I didn’t need, and things I am so happy to have made the journey.

What I didn’t need:

  • 18 different scarves. I could’ve worked with one, because Spain happens to be extremely hot in the summer. And they are also pretty fashionable and have scarves.
  • a sweatshirt. I would say a cardigan was sufficient, because sometimes the train got a little chilly.
  • an umbrella. I did not see a single drop of rain the entire time I was there.
  • my running shoes– I ran 3 times. Those babies are heavy. Although I am kind of glad I brought them, they were helpful with the running of the bulls, if you are not an exerciser in America, you won’t be one abroad either.
  • multiple pairs of jeans. Stick with one. See the hint about it being super hot.
  • huge bottles of shampoo. I have long hair, and I only used the travel bottles that I filled from Target for my entire 6 weeks. I was shocked. I still showered every day, and I didn’t actually use that much soap. Also, those are heavy items, so don’t bother bringing the grande size.

What I am SO GLAD I had: 

  • a travel lock– I didn’t have to rent one or buy one at the hostels I stayed at, because you want to lock up your stuff at night.
  • sun tan lotion– that stuff is super expensive abroad. Think $20 for a normal sized bottle expensive. Trust me, pack it with you.
  • contact solution– same type of thing as above.
  • English books– yes, I am super proud of myself that I read an entire 577 page Spanish novel while I was abroad to help myself immerse in the culture. However, it was nice to read to relax as well, where these books came in handy. I would suggest buying them at Half Price Books, and then leaving them abroad. You’ll lose maybe $4 and save weight in your luggage home.
  • good walking shoes– invest in them people, because all Europeans do is walk.
  • a small wallet that held only a little cash- going to night time activities is much safer when you don’t have to worry about losing a credit card.
  • a simple black dress that could be dressed up or down and look like two completely different outfits. I don’t know how men would substitute this, but it’s helpful to bring clothes that can be worn different ways.
  • a Spanish cell phone. I bought this there. But it was a nice thing to have. Some of my friends went without, and they lived too, so it depends on how well you travel.
  • a bottle opener– in case you want to save money and buy nice wine for at home to share with your host family.
  • a camera– take pictures. Just do it.
  • CHARLES SCHWAB DEBIT CARD. This was basically the best decision I made before I went abroad. I took the money I budgeted to go abroad and put it in a Charles Schwab bank account and got myself a debit card. Why is this so special? Well, with this firm, there are no ATM fees internationally. Or at all. This made my life so much easier. I didn’t have to worry about how many times I went to the ATM, or if they said they would charge me fees, because Schwab refunds it. I strongly encourage this.

That’s about all I can think of for now. This website (http://oakland.abroadoffice.net/res/saoffice_static_pages/2068/updated%20Study%20Abroad%20Packing%20List.pdf) I found to be pretty helpful too!

Good luck!

Me, wishing you the best of luck from my school in Salamanca.

Michaella Beatty

Psych Major, AGD, IUDM Marketing, Volunteer, Artist

I am a senior studying Psychology at Indiana University, with a minor in studio art and Spanish. I am looking at going into School Counseling. I am involved in so many things on campus! I am on the Marathon Relations Committee for Indiana University Dance Marathon (nation's 2nd larget student run philanthrophy, ndb). I am an initiated sister of Alpha Gamma Delta (shoutout to my squirrels!). I am also an initiated member of Alpha Phi Omega, which is a service fraternity I am on the Swim Club, I volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club in the art room, and a blogger for WeAreIU.com. I am a very active member of our campus, and am excited to share some of my experiences with you!