As someone who has now packed to live abroad twice, I figured I can share some items I wish I packed, as well as some items I wish I left behind. If you do all your packing last minute like me, hopefully this list can save you some stress. Even if you’re someone who packs weeks in advance, this list should help save you some valuable time and energy. Luckily, almost everything you’ll need can easily be bought in Spain, and you’ll even see a few of the same stores you would in the states such as Zara, Sephora, Levi’s, etc. So besides the essentials such as medications and clothes, here are 5 items you may not have considered bringing along.
First and foremost, deodorant. This may already be a well known packing-for-Spain essential, but if not, I advise you bring some. You can buy most toiletries you need here, such as shampoo, conditioner and lotion, but unfortunately deodorant is pretty hard to find. Be sure to pack some extra unless going deodorant-free is an experiment you're willing to conduct.
Next up, snacks from home. You’ll be hard pressed to find any conventional snacks here unless you go to an american specialty store such as Taste of America. However, these stores are pretty pricey and you might find yourself paying over 10 euros for a box of Captain Crunch. Don’t get me wrong, Spanish tapas make some of the best snacks, but sometimes you just want a bag of Flavor Blasted Goldfish. So far, the only traditional american snack food I’ve found is an abundance of Pringles in an overwhelming amount of flavors.
3) Sauces + seasonings
In addition to bringing a few of your favorite snacks, if you have a particular hot sauce or seasoning you like, be sure to pack it. Or, if you’re from the midwest, bring your favorite ranch. I have been able to find some condiments such as sriracha, ranch and sweet chili sauce at the supermarket within Corte Ingles, but in general, there is not a huge variety of sauces and seasonings sold at most grocery stores.
4) Familiar scents
My next recommendation is to bring a favorite candle or lotion from home. I’ve found having scents that remind me of home really help when I’m feeling homesick. You can of course buy both candles and lotions here, but I think it's worth it to save a little space in your suitcase for a personal favorite.
5) Dry Shampoo
A problem I recently encountered was finding dry shampoo. As a serial dry shampoo user, I was a little disheartened to find that the cheapest and only dry shampoo I could find was at Sephora for 27 euros. So now I'm left counting on a visitor from to bring some.
One thing I wish I left behind is more of my clothes. No matter how good you think your wardrobe is, I can almost guarantee you will get here and want an entirely new one. So if you can, only bring your favorites and set aside a little money to go on a shopping spree when you arrive. It’s always smart to leave some space in your suitcase regardless as most people come home with more belongings than they started with.