What I Packed for a Fall Trip to Southern Spain

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Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.Terry Pratchett, A Hatt Full of Sky
Ever since I can remember, I’ve enjoyed traveling, longed for it even. Going to new places, meeting new people, experiencing different ways of life and cultures – it fills me up with happiness. Traveling no doubt makes me happier, but it also makes me feel more connected to people in general, which lets me feel empathy/sympathy for others more easily. In today’s world, I think traveling somewhere far away and connecting with local people there could be one of the best remedies for so much of the hate we see/hear/feel in life. What do you think?
Recently, Cesar and I went on a trip with his family to Spain. We had a really remarkable experience and a much-needed vacation, and today I’m sharing what I packed for the trip. For the trip, I wanted to pack pretty light because we traveled to multiple cities in Spain, so I only brought a backpack and a carry-on and will share what each piece held inside. Let’s begin!

What I Packed in My Backpack

I absolutely love using a backpack for traveling because 1) it’s easy to carry and 2) you can fit a lot in a backpack! I actually borrowed one from my boyfriend, and it was the perfect size for the trip. The brand of the backpack was OGIO. It had five zip pockets: the front section had a lot of small compartments and zippers, the main compartment (typically used to hold textbooks if you’re using it for school) had the most open space, the back pocket was a very thin, discreet section that can hold a few tall, thin items, and there are also 2 side zip-up pockets. Both side pockets were tall and could fit a good amount of stuff in them.
Basically, I packed my toiletries, snacks, and entertainment for the 7+ hour flight and had plenty of room left in my backpack for whatever small souvenir(s) I wanted to buy. Here’s a complete list of what was inside my backpack:

Front Backpack Section

  • my passport
  • my flight itinerary
  • the full trip itinerary 
  • my wallet
  • my apartment keys
  • a pack of tissues
  • chapstick
  • snacks (trail mix, granola bars)
  • a baggie full of medicine (ibuprofen, allergy medicine, sinus nasal spray, birth control, lactaid)
  • turtl pillow (first time using it, recommended by a friend and absolutely love it)
  • a pair of sunglasses
  • two ponytail holders (never enough!)

Main Backpack Section

  • my makeup bag
  • a variety of toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, leave-in conditioner, body wash, deodorant, roller-ball perfume, toothbrush, razor, loofah, washcloth, hairbrush, tide to go pen)
  • a selfie stick
  • more snacks!
  • a hanging footrest (first time using it, also recommended by the same friend, and it’s amazing!)
  • a scarf (I wrapped up in it during the overnight flight)
  • one small purse

Back Backpack Section

  • my iPad (I had 3 audiobooks downloaded and finished listening to “The Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes)
  • a small coloring book
  • a small set of coloring pencils
  • a pair of flip-flops

Side Pockets

  • one phone charger
  • one European outlet adapter
  • a sleeping mask
  • one empty water bottle (filled after getting through security)

What I Packed in My Carry-On Luggage

For me, packing for a trip is an exhilarating process; I spend a lot of time thinking about what I’ll be doing while traveling and deciding what items to bring with me (Cesar, on the other hand, packed the morning that we left, haha!). I knew that we were going to be moving around a lot (we visited 7 cities!), so I packed versatile clothing that 1) didn’t wrinkle much and 2) I could mix and match to wear multiple times. Of course, I also checked the weather and was surprised at how HOT it was going to be, I’m talking 90-95 degrees hot. This was a little surprising to me since it was the middle of October, so I tried to pack accordingly. What I didn’t account for was the massive drops in temperature that happened basically every night once the sun went down. It would cool off by 30-40 degrees, which felt like the middle of winter after a 90-degree day. 

Right Inside Half of Luggage

  • Aerie underwear (enough for each day + three extra)
  • three Maidenform bras (I intended on bringing one white, one black, one black strapless but ended up forgetting my normal black bra which was so annoying to have to wear my strapless more often than I had planned)
  • four pairs of socks
  • one pair of dark blue Bebe skinny jeans
  • two pairs of high waisted bohemian pants
  • one pair of TopShop distressed black skinny jeans
  • one high-waisted black pleated skirt
  • two pairs of black leggings (Express and Lululemon brands)
  • one pair Ann Taylor LOFT green shorts
  • two striped Old Navy tank tops
  • five short sleeve blouses 
  • one Target black spaghetti strap dress
  • one Forever 21 floral spaghetti strap dress
  • two long pajama shirts
  • one long-sleeve Indiana State t-shirt
  • one striped button-up (wore on the plane going to Spain)
  • one denim colored button-up

Left Inside Half of Luggage

  • two pairs of TOMS shoes (black + navy colors)
  • one pair of gold strappy sandals
  • one pair of black strappy sandals
  • one pair of Nike sneakers
  • one pair of black ALDO boots (wore on the plane going to Spain)
  • one one-piece bathing suit
  • one bathing suit cover-up

What I Wish I Had Packed

Writing this all down, it seems like a TON of stuff; I can’t say I’ve never been accused of over-packing! However, it did all fit in a carry-on piece of luggage and a backpack. Because it was so hot in NYC the day that we left, I forgot to pack a coat, which I totallllly should have brought. A lot of nights, we sat outside while having dinner, and the shivers were all too real, y’all. Surprisingly, I didn’t end up wearing my sneakers and could have totally managed with only one pair of TOMS. It was so crazy hot, I wish I had packed another pair of shorts – a couple of the days it felt like I was roasting in the sun. Oh! That reminds me – I hadn’t brought sunscreen – you should definitely pack sunscreen!
For anyone planning a Eurotrip to Spain or somewhere with similar weather patterns, I hope you found this packing list helpful. If so, please share this on Pinterest so you can come back to it later. Happy packing!