Your Packing List for Summer Travel in Spain
With thousands of miles of coastline and a laid-back culture, Spain is the perfect escape for the summer. If you’re wondering what to pack for your Spanish vacation, you’ve come to the right place!
As a former expat and frequent visitor, I’ve come up with a list of the most essential items to pack for Spain as well as the items to leave at home. Here is the ultimate packing list for your summer vacation in Spain.
This post contains affiliate links as explained in my disclosure policy.
This is the fifth post in the Spain Bucket List Series. Here’s the complete list:
Culture: 9 Experiences You Must Have in Spain
Off the beaten path: 8 Underrated Cities You Need To Visit in Spain
Barcelona: A Self-Guided Walking Tour of Barcelona
What to pack for your summer holiday in Spain
When visiting Spain, don’t overpack! You really don’t need much so keep it simple. Assuming you’re not staying longer than a month, you can travel with just a carry-on and one or two additional bags. As I write this, I am in Madrid, on a 25 day trip across Spain and Morocco. Here’s the luggage I brought with me.
- My trusty Cabin Zero carry-on backpack – I put my clothes, shoes, towels, and electronics here. Read my review of the Cabin 36 L carry-on backpack.
- A small backpack – contains my toiletries, books, makeup, and medications
- A small leather purse – for casual days out, going to grab a bite, and sightseeing
Pack lots of casual, lightweight clothes plus a few cardigans and a jacket. In the summer, the temperature in most of Spain is scorching hot and dry during the day then breezy and slightly cool at night. Given that, you will want to pack mostly shorts, summer dresses, skirts, tank tops, and short-sleeve tops.
For pants, I would recommend something light fabrics as opposed to jeans. I went out in jeans this afternoon in Madrid and wished I could take them off! Terrible idea! It was about 80 degrees (Fahrenheit) outside. Here’s a rough breakdown of the types of clothes you should pack for your summer getaway to Spain.
- Shorts and skirts (25%)
- Tank tops and short-sleeve shirts (25%)
- Summer dresses and rompers (15%)
- Loose pants (15%)
- Bathing suits (10%)
- Long sleeved tops and cardigans (5%)
- Jeans (3%)
- Jackets (2%)
Now onto accessories. The accessories you take with you to Spain depends on what activities you plan to do as well as your personal preferences. Are you mainly going to relax on the beach or tour palaces? There isn’t really any right or wrong when it comes to accessories. That said, it would be a good idea to pack these items, regardless of what your plans are:
- Sunglasses – I love DIFF eyewear because they not only make beautiful shades, but they also donate reading glasses to people in need for every purchase. Use my discount code to get $20 0ff your first order!
- Hats – big summer hats will come in handy for the beach.
- Medium-sized tote or backpack
- Small umbrella (there may be a few days of light showers)
- Small handbag
It may seem like a no-brainer to pack a bunch of sandals if you’re traveling to Spain in the summer, but I would highly recommend you don’t. Why? You’ll probably be walking a lot – Spanish cities and town tend to be accessible by foot. Unless you plan to relax at a beach resort the whole time, I would recommend you pack mostly comfortable walking shoes. Here’s a breakdown of the types of shoes you would want to pack:
- Sneakers or athletic shoes (50%)
- Ballet flats (20%)
- Sandals (10%)
- Flips flops (5%)
- Low-heel wedges (5%)
Of course, you can also bring heels if you want to dress up for a night out on the town. I’m all about comfort though so I stick to wedges and flats for fancier outings.
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Health and Beauty
I’m going to be a bit of a hypocrite here. As I mentioned before, it gets scorching hot in Spain during the summer. So of course you should bring sunscreen! Being a melanated lady, I almost never wear sunscreen. I barely know anything about SPF levels. Don’t be like me! It’s a good practice to wear sunscreen whether you’re a Lupita N’yongo or a Dita Von Teese. Maybe I should take my own advice!
*I do wear foundation with SPF 15 or 30 sometimes so my face is protected. I just need to protect the rest of my body.
Here’s a full breakdown of the beauty essentials you should have in your carry-on, not including makeup:
- Face wipes
- Lip balm
- Shea butter
- Facial spray
- Beauty blender
- Toiletry kit
- Makeup remover
- Hand sanitizer
You may also like:
Beauty products to leave at home:
- Hair dryer
- Shaving cream
- Nail polish
- Hand lotion
What gadgets should you take with you to Spain? The bare minimum. Again, you don’t want to pack too much. Given that electronic devices are normally heavier than clothes, it’s especially important to be picky about what you take. Here’s all you’ll need.
- Cell phone – if you have an international plan, great. If not, you can also purchase portable wifi or a local SIM card. Portable wifi is better unless you plan to stay abroad for a couple of months or longer.
- Portable wifi – I just started using the Tep Wireless portable wifi for my travels. It’s reliable and works great in Europe. It didn’t work in Morocco, but that’s going to change with their new upgrades.
- International adapter – I’ve been using the same Newvanga international adapter for 5 years! I use it to plug my electronics into different types of sockets in other countries. This adapter works in 150 countries.
- Camera – you could just use your phone but I always recommend the Nikon D3400 camera for beginner photographers. The features are easy to navigate, and the quality of the photos is superb.
- Noise-proof headphones – I swear by the Sony noise canceling headphones I purchased in Japan last year. The sound quality is way better than Beats, which I think is a waste of money.
I also take my laptop with me because to get work done on the road. I take my IPad to watch Netflix but could easily just leave it at home if I wasn’t so addicted to Netflix.
Google maps tend to give terrible directions in Spain. Sometimes it will direct you to take the longer route. Other times, it will send you in the wrong direction! A better alternative for getting around is the Moovit app. It’s much more accurate with directions and timing. Here’s the complete list of useful guides:
- Moovit app – don’t let Google maps send you wandering around the city – it’s not that great for finding directions in Spain. Download the Moovit app. It’s available for both iOs and Itunes and it’s completely free!
- Lonely Planet Spanish Guides – Lonely Planet makes some detailed, informative travel guides and the one for Spain is no exception. They cover the highlights of all the neighborhoods in every city. If you want to learn what to eat, see, and do in Spain, you can also check out my Spain Bucket List series!
- Penguin Spanish Phrase Book – all the basic, essential Spanish you need to express common desires and questions
- GPSmyCity app – this app gives you access to self-guided walking tours in top Spanish cities like Madrid and Barcelona.
There you have it: the ultimate packing list for your summer vacation in Spain. Now you’re ready to make the most of your Spain getaway. Any questions? Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you in no time.