Important documents

1. Passport:

This is the number one travel essential for trip, so don’t forget your passport! Also, make sure it has at least 6 months validity and one blank page. I would further recommend having a photo of your passport on your phone and a scan of your passport printed out and left in your suitcase. If your passport is lost or stolen, it is much easier to organise an emergency one if you have a copy of the details in a safe place.

2. Visa:

Firstly find out if you need a visa, and if you do, make sure you organise this 3 months before your departure date.

3. Wallet:

Another essential!

  • credit/ debit cards
  • driver’s license/ ID
  • student card (if applicable)
  • cash (there is no need to carry more than €100 at once as most services in Madrid can be paid for by card.

4. Travel insurance and EHIC card (if you are part of the EU):

Travel insurance is vital for travelling to Spain, as well as anywhere else in the world. While it is unlikely you will have to use it, Spanish health care is expensive, so a good travel policy can make all the difference if you suddenly need to use it. Besides your health, you want to be protected against your flight being cancelled, or if your baggage is lost.

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Important items

5. Adapters:

Spain uses the standard European two-pin plug, so if you are coming from the UK or from outside the EU don’t forget to bring your adapter! There is nothing worse than arriving in a country and not having the correct adapter, or forgetting it all together.

6. Notebook and pens:

Both essential items you will need for studying at a language school for writing down vocabulary, completing exercises, and practicing grammar in class, and at home. Both the textbook and grammar book are provided to you by the school, but you might want to bring some of your old Spanish notes (if you have studied the language before), or a dictionary (if there is room in your suitcase).

7. Snacks from home:

Moving abroad often means that it can be hard to find your favourite snacks from home. But don’t panic, I have now reminded you to pack some! Also, even if they don’t all fit in your suitcase, you can always pack them in your hand luggage. Traditional sweets, chocolates or cookies from your home country would also be a lovely present to give to your class mates or Spanish teacher on your first day at the school. While it may be a small gesture and might not mean much to you, it could be really mean a lot to the person who receives the gift.

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Things you don’t want to forget

8. Sunglasses:

Madrid is one of the sunniest cities all year round, having an astonishing average of 300 days of sun a year, so you don’t want to forget your sunnies. Additionally, in the summer months, it often reaches 40 degrees so remember to bring your sun cream and water bottle as well!

9. Comfortable footwear:

Madrid is a beautiful place to explore by foot, with much to see and places to visit, coupled with its perfect weather, I can guarantee you will be walking A LOT, so don’t forget to bring appropriate footwear or comfortable trainers. Furthermore, only one hour by bus from the city is breathtaking mountains and great hiking paths. So if this is something you are interested in then pack your hiking boots!

10. Clothing:

If you are only visiting for the summer, then light weight, cool clothing is imperative. Clothes that are made of cotton or linen are great breathable materials, whilst denim and polyester can be quite sticky and sweaty, so not ideal materials for when temperatures rise above 30 degrees.

However, if you are visiting during the winter months, a warm hat, scarf, gloves, and a good thick coat is recommended, as the mornings and evenings can get pretty chilly. Also, throughout the winter, Spaniards continue to drink and eat outside in restaurants and bars. While there are outdoor heaters and good parasols to keep the heat in, warm and decent clothing is definitely vital, especially if you’re holding a cold glass of sangria or tinto de verano!

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