Year Abroad / How to Pack

As soon as I had about 4 weeks to go until I moved to Spain, my mind moved to “What the hell am I going to take with me?”. What do you take to a new country, with a completely different climate for 9 months? How on earth do you pack for that? Packing your life into a suitcase or two is a very daunting prospect.

I thought, seeing as I’ve done it, I would give you a few hints and tips on how to pack, what to take, what not to take, and what you should remember to bring along with you! A little thanks to Verity and Kirstie (who has a great blog by the way!) for helping me out with this one, I thought a lady’s perspective may also help you guys!

Put in what you want to take then take out 20% – What you want to take is completely different to what you should be taking. When it comes to clothes, you don’t need as many as you think. I know you want to move out and have your entire wardrobe at your disposal but it’s pointless and not worth the extra luggage. Remember, you’ll be coming home at Christmas and Easter anyway, so you can always bring stuff back from home! I saw a picture of a girl on Facebook with like 5 massive suitcases, I feel she will be regretting her choices.

Think about the weather – When I was packing, my thoughts were simple “I’m going to Spain, pack all the shorts and vests as humanly possibly”. Look into the country you’re going to, and look at how the weather changes month to month, from when you land to when you’re heading home. I didn’t really engage my brain and realise that before I come home from Christmas, it will be getting colder at some point(Well, I say colder, it hit 15 degrees here the other day and we were all struggling). Pack one or two jumpers, maybe a coat, maybe some boots. You can always bring back some more knitwear etc in December!

Bring stuff you need to set yourself up –I could not imagine anything worse than having to land, get to your new apartment and having to go to Corte Ingles or a supermarket to buy your essentials. If you have the room, bring a pillow and all your bedding, some hangers etc. just so you can settle in on the day without having to head out. I brought all my bedding etc. and it was nice to arrive and make my room instantly a bit more homely.

Travel miniatures – My friend Verity laughed at me when I spent £21 on travel miniatures before I left England (I mean, I laughed at myself too, what a stupid amount of money) but they actually did come in useful, and she actually agrees with me too now. They weirdly scarce here and they come in really useful on weekend trips you might want to go on. Also, they’re super useful for the first couple nights or so in your new place. Like I said above, no one wants to be going to a department store as soon as you land.

Vacuum Packs -I personally didn’t use these but my friends have been ranting and raving about them since moving out. I won’t mock your intelligence by explaining what they are but they are a great space saver and pretty inexpensive. Just be careful though, as you may not have a vacuum on the other end to get everything back at the end of your travels!

Take photos – I’m so glad I made the effort to get photos printed out before I came. I use an app called Free Prints which gives you 45 free prints every month just for downloading, all you pay for is the shipping. It lets you connect to your Instagram, Facebook, general camera roll and I believe Twitter and select all your photos from there. So now, I have pictures of all my friends above my desk! Really nice when I’m missing home.

Photocopy all your important documents – Before I left for Spain, I made sure I had all my important documents (Passport, Drivers License, EHIC card, student ID, Health Insurance etc.) photocopied. You never know what is going to happen when you travel and move, something may get lost or stolen and you should 100% make sure you not left up a s**t creek without a paddle. Also, it might help to bring out some passport photos. Spain in particular loves paperwork and bureaucracy so you may need some at some point!

Take something to remember your Year Abroad with – I’ve read many a blog which encourages you to take with you a journal, notebook or diary or something to record your time. I personally am using an app called 1SE which allows you to film 1 second of everyday you’re away and at the end, it puts it in a nice little 4 minute video for you to watch. It saves writing everyday and I just think it’s a lot cooler.

Medication – This is just a personal one, but for some reason I’d only really want to take pain killers etc. from England. So, before I came out I raided a pharmacy and stocked up on paracetamols, ibuprofen, sleeping tablets, cold medication etc. If you are going to buy them out in Spain, do make sure to check the dosage before you take them because they’re often a lot stronger in Europe.

I’m heading to Granada tomorrow so keep an eye out for the blog post coming on that trip on Monday or Tuesday!



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