I packed for a five-day trip to Spain using only a backpack and my mini-purse. Everything worked out okay, but I do have some reflections about what I packed.
Things I packed and used:
- Underwear and socks (I think I used all but one but these are things you want a backup for!)
- Every shirt/sweater packed (mix and match was a great philosophy)
- Scarf (used as a blanket, shawl, and scarf throughout the trip)
- Pants and shoes (worn on plane)
- Camera, iPhone, laptop, Kindle (and camera cord, iPhone and laptop chargers)
- Toothbrush and deodorant
- Water bottle
Things I packed and did not use:
- International phone (I just used wifi on my airplane-mode iPhone the whole time)
Things I did not pack but wish I had:
- Baking soda for hair washing and tooth-brushing (so expensive in Spain – 4.75 euros ~$8ish)
- Extra pants. One pair would have been fine for leisurely stuff, but running around airports and then walking several miles a day means a backup pair would have been nice. My “I wear the same pair all week for work” argument didn’t hold when I thought about my mostly-sedentary life at work compared to walky walky walky of Spain. I could have washed them in the tub, but I didn’t want to risk them not being dry when it came time to wear them again. Next time: backup pants.
- A different suitcase/bag. The backpack was convenient but pretty heavy, and I had to pack everything just right to not stab myself awkwardly in the back with stuff. A backpack with different dimensions for easier packing, or perhaps a rolling carry-on suitcase, would have been a better choice.
- MORE SNACKS because American Airlines missed the memo when I said “Vegetarian/non-dairy” so my meals on both flights consisted of a small salad and crackers because I couldn’t eat the cheese ravioli, pasta with cream sauce, or cheese pizza (though I did try to remove all the cheese of the pizza, which clearly didn’t work because I had a massive lactose stomachache the rest of the flight).
Things I didn’t pack and didn’t miss:
- A separate outfit for every day
- Pajamas (Hey, tee shirt and underwear work just fine)
- Towel (hotel provided adequate towelage)
- Liquids (no hassle with security over my shower gel being a secret bomb)
I’ve had a request for talking about how it was eating vegan in Spain. I will be totally honest and tell you that I allowed my veganism to take a little hiatus in Spain. There was one restaurant that touted vegetarian and vegan dishes, but unfortunately we didn’t make it to try it out. I wish we had made a special trip there. There are not a lot of vegan options in Spain, outside eating fruit or salad, and I really don’t care for salads and I didn’t want to eat food I didn’t enjoy. So I was a little lax in my dining decisions.
There was a bit of a language barrier too. I do speak Spanish, but I’m not entirely fluent, so at best I just asked if something had milk or cheese and if no, I ate it. I told them I had a milk allergy. I did eat some chocolate items, which probably had milk. I definitely had eggs (potato tortilla/omelet is delicious). I had vegetable paella which, while without meat in the rice, may have been made with a non-vegetarian base (chicken stock, for example). I am not 100% sure. I tried Iberian ham (a bite from my mom’s plate, and I didn’t care for it, but I wanted to give the cultural delicacy a try). I may catch some flack for my indiscretions about my eating choices, which is understandable given my moral opposition to the dairy, egg, and meat industries. I don’t really have a good excuse other than that it was hard for me to communicate all of my eating preferences in my second language and I didn’t want my vacation to be overly frustrating trying to find the few options that meshed with my preferences. I’m really happy to be back to the U.S. where I can read all my ingredients and ask all my nitpicky questions in my first language to see if something has a hidden animal ingredient.