Spain is a wondrous mix of the old and new. To help navigate this great country, here's a packing list.
Neck wallet. Pickpockets are extremely common in Spain, especially if you plan on heading to Madrid, Barcelona, Seville or anywhere with large crowds. A quality neck wallet makes it next to impossible to become a target of thieves. This one is sturdy yet inexpensive, RFID safe, can easily fit your cell phone, cash, ATM cards, and passport without feeling too bulky. To be extra vigilant, wear this pouch tucked under your shirt and you won’t encounter a problem.
Power adapter shall you need one.
Portable charger. An external battery pack is a fantastic way to keep an easy device-charge on hand at all times. It uses the USB cord that most devices come with to transfer charge, and is of a small size! This makes it easy to carry around with you for those times when your device needs to be charged but you don’t want to go back to your room to wait for it to charge via an outlet. This small but powerful charger is a must-have.
Deodorant wipes. Deodorant wipes are fantastic because Spain is hot and if you’re planning any full day trips you are inevitably going to get sweaty and stinky. Instead of stressing on whether your body odor is too much, just carry along a few of these little puppies. You can bust one out when you are in the bathroom and with one quick wipe, you will feel refreshed.
Comfortable flats. Footwear is definitely noticed in this country – and flip-flops are not acceptable beyond the beach. Additionally, you will find that driving in sandals is actually illegal, so keep that in mind if you plan to rent or drive a car while in Spain. Given the amount of walking you’ll be doing on a daily basis, a solid pair of comfortable flats, both stylish and supportive, will be a helpful addition to your wardrobe here.
Stylish backpack. In Spain, fashion matters. And yet, you are probably going to be leaving your hotel early and spending a lot of time walking, visiting museums, taking buses, trains and many other modes of public transportation. A stylish (yet extremely inexpensive) backpack like this one fits all the essentials, has a comfortable design for those long days, and it’s fashionable enough that you won’t feel like a tourist.
Quick-dry towel. This item is a true travel staple item for a reason: you never know what your accommodations will be like in some circumstances, and you never know when you’ll need a compact, quick-dry towel while you’re traveling in Spain. Even if you know you’re staying in a place that will provide adequate, clean towels, it’s still wise to have a packable version.
Water bottle with built-in filter. Water quality is tough to predict in many parts of Europe – Spain tends to have good water in most areas, but in other towns it’s not wise to drink the tap water. Bringing a water bottle with you is a good idea regardless, but bringing a bottle with a built-in filter means you’ll always have control over whether the water you’re drinking is safe for consumption.
As for clothes, fashion and personal image are taken seriously in Spain. Beach clothes are for the beach, and nothing screams ‘tourist’ more loudly than men in tank tops (vest tops) and flip flops (thongs) or women with sarongs over their bathing suits, in the city center (or, anywhere other than the actual beach).
Typically, Spanish people strive to be stylish all the time, but when they head out in the evening for dinner, drinks, or to meet friends, they turn up the ‘style dial’ even more.
For men, travelling with a light travel blazer is the difference between looking nice, or not..
For women, a dress with smart shoes and accessories will do the trick.
Sun protection. Whether you’re visiting Spain in summer or winter, there’s likely going to be enough sun to do some damage, so cover up! Obviously you’ll need to bring sunscreen, but don’t forget SPF lip balm, after-sun care, and a nice hat if you’re out walking, hiking or exploring somewhere where you’ll be out all day, like the huge Alhambra complex in Granada. You also really need to consider the climate. If you’re traveling to Spain in March until mid-September, it’s going to be pretty warm most days. If you sweat a lot, consider bringing some dry-fit shirts with moisture wicking (for men, dry-fit polo shirts are a good bet so you don’t look like you’re on the way to the gym; for women, merino wool tops are a good bet, and you can usually get some fitted and fairly stylish “basic t-shirt” options).