With your student visa approved, your plane ticket purchased and your send-off party over, you’re about ready to begin your new life in Barcelona! The final step is deciding what’s worthy of making it into your suitcase, and what’s better left at home.
Here are 7 essentials every expat should pack for their move:
- Photocopies of everything
It’s better to be safe than sorry when you’re moving to a foreign place. As the saying goes, “Hope for the best but expect the worst.” To be as prepared as possible in the event that your passport, visa or other important document goes missing, make sure you not only email a copy to yourself, but also bring multiple printed copies with you—you’ll thank yourself later.
- A VPN provider
If you haven’t heard of a VPN, or Virtual Private Network, it’s a service that legally privatizes your device’s internet connection. Why would you need one? Your device recognizes the IP address associated with where you are in the world, and oftentimes, certain websites, apps and programs that you use at home, may not be available in Spain. Buying a subscription to a reputable VPN service takes the guesswork out of any tech-related issues you may encounter abroad. They’re easy to use too!
- The right shoes
Comfortable shoes are a must-have item to live in Barcelona. Whether you’re walking to the nearest metro or to the nearest bar, be prepared to put some serious mileage on your trainers. You don’t want to worry about nursing blisters while you’re trying to explore the city, so do yourself a favor and get a pair of shoes that will last.
- A backpack
Along with comfy shoes, another practical item to bring is a backpack. Not only are they handy for carrying things like laptops and books, they’re also useful when you’re planning to be away from your flat all day long. This way, you can pack everything you’ll need for the day, and you can skip a trip home for things that you didn’t want to carry.
- A collapsible hamper
Ahh, laundry, everyone’s favourite chore. Although most flats have washing machines, they’re normally quite small and won’t fit a full load of clothing in one wash. If you don’t have time to wait for multiple cycles, your best bet is to take a trip to one of the many ‘lavanderías’ around Barcelona. Most places cost between 4€-10€ per wash, depending on machine size, and about 2€-3€ per dry. It’s money well spent when taking into account the time you save waiting for only one laundry cycle, plus the opportunity to dry your clothes on site. Pro tip: Bring a collapsible hamper from home so you don’t have to transport your dirty clothes in garbage bags.
- Your favourite snack
Being sick in general isn’t any fun, but getting sick in a foreign place without family and friends around can make you feel even worse. What’s the best way to feel better? You guessed it—snacks from home! Pack a sleeve of mom’s homemade cookies (you can freeze them!) or a bag of candy from your local grocer to save for a rainy day. Your tastebuds will thank you!
- Power adapters and converters
Everything we do nowadays requires electricity, so it’s important to remember that your gadgets, devices and chargers will likely not fit into Spanish outlets. In Barcelona, plug types C and F are used, and they operate on a 230V supply voltage. Both adapters and converters can be purchased for relatively cheap online, however, normally only Americans and Canadians will need to buy converters, as the majority of Europe uses a similar voltage. You may want to buy multiple adapters if you own a lot of devices.
Barcelona has a lot to offer, and as a newcomer, you want to feel as prepared and confident as possible in order to make it feel like home. Be sure to include these essentials when packing your suitcase! You’ll be happy you did.