Packing Tips

packing-suitcaseTravel light. A good rule of thumb is to gather together everything you want to bring; then take half of that. Eliminate all but the essentials and start packing a few days before you leave. That way, you’ll have time to think—not fret—about what you might be forgetting. To have a varied travel wardrobe, yet keep your luggage light, we recommend you select a color scheme and pack color-coordinated clothing items that can be mixed to create different outfits.

Pack casual clothes. Comfortable, informal apparel is acceptable at each of your destinations. Basic pants, shirts, walking shorts, sportswear, everyday dresses and skirts, supportive shoes, and functional outdoor clothes that are relatively easy to care for are recommended. At dinner, you will not need to don “dressy” clothing; men do not need jackets or ties and women do not need fancy dresses. You may want one or two “smart casual” outfits for the Welcome Reception or Farewell Lunch/Dinner, but it’s completely up to you. You would only need nicer dress if you plan to dine at a deluxe city restaurant.

Winter (November-February): For travel during winter months, take some cooler weather gear—warm pants and socks, fleece top or wool sweater, and windproof jacket. The most practical travel wardrobe consists of items that you can wear in layers. Then you can easily add or remove a layer according to any fluctuations in temperatures. Your outer jacket should be roomy enough to comfortably fit over your sweater or fleece top.

Summer (June-September):  Temperatures at this time can be quite warm, or even hot. Summer outfits are appropriate, with swimwear by day and shorts or jeans and t-shirts by night.  You may want a cotton sweater for air-conditioned interiors and a windbreaker for evening sea breezes.

Comfortable walking shoes: These are essential. The country’s magnificent churches, museums, markets, and shops truly invite exploration by foot. But walking on the cobblestone streets and rather uneven sidewalks can be a challenge—even for the most surefooted traveler.

Rain gear: Regardless of your month of travel, rainfall is certainly a possibility. We suggest you bring a folding umbrella and waterproof shell. Water-resistant walking shoes are advantageous in case heavy downpours pass through.

Packing Your Carry-On:  Using a daypack as a carry-on bag for your flights is a smart solution. We strongly urge you to pack your carry-on with at least one full change of clothes, your camera gear, medications, changes of socks and underwear, your important travel documents, and other irreplaceable items, in case your checked bags go astray. Store camera gear and important papers in plastic bags to protect them from dirt and moisture. With a daypack you can then remove these items on arrival and load your bag with the gear you’ll need on walking tours and excursions.  NOTE: Restrictions on what can be included in your carry-on luggage change frequently. To avoid inadvertently packing any restricted items in your carry-on luggage, we strongly suggest that you consult the Transportation Security Administration website at www.tsa.gov which keeps a current list of restricted items.

What not to pack: do not pack aerosol cans, as they tend to leak during air travel.  Avoid packing glass bottles; use plastic containers instead. Leave at home checkbooks and any credit cards not essential for your trip, valuable jewelry, and anything that
you would hate to lose.

Checklist:

Consider …Daily essentials: toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, hairbrush or comb, shaving items, deodorant, shampoo/conditioner, shower cap, body soap, etc. (body soap is not a standard amenity in Spanish hotels)

Spare eyeglasses/contact lenses and your prescription

Sunglasses with a neck strap

Sunscreen, SPF 15 or stronger

Insect repellent with DEET

Travel money bag or money belt

Moisturizer, lip balm

Swimsuit

Compact umbrella

Wide-brim sun hat or visor (seasonal)

Pocket-size tissues

Moist towelettes (packets) and/or anti-bacterial “water-free” hand cleanser

Flashlight, extra batteries/bulb

Photocopies of passport, air ticket, credit cards

Extra passport-sized photos