So here you are, getting ready to pack up your life and move to another country as an Auxiliar de Conversación. You’re packing clothes for winter, summer, spring and fall, as well as tokens of home that make you comfortable. I remember when I started packing to come to Spain, I used the Auxiliar de Conversación packing list that I found on the internet, which covered all your basics- clothes, underwear, bathing suits, workout gear, passport…you know, normal packing stuff. But then there are non-obvious things you should pack when you move to Madrid as an Auxiliar de Conversación.
A little side note, but related: I wrote a post about 10 things I wish I had brought when I first moved to Spain. Here it is.
Now that I am a little more seasoned, I can tell you a few items that I think are worthy of bringing trans-Atlantic. This is the:
Non-Obvious Auxiliar de Conversación Packing List
I am a slipper person at home (in the USA) and one thing that can quickly make you feel at home (even in a hotel/ airbnb/ home stay) is your favorite pair of slippers.
- Your computer (with a European charger)
Don’t do what I did and just use a converter on your charger- you will eventually blow it out. Invest in the European version of your charger (you usually can order it from the US)
- Copies of everything
Bring copies of: your passport (all pages), your new visa, you health insurance information, your drivers license, your birth certificate. Keep it all in an envelope and store it in a drawer in Spain.
- A small ‘tool kit’
My first few days, I found myself wishing I had things like rubber bands, paperclips, a Sharpie, a highlighter, maybe a little tape roller, a couple good pens, a small notebook. You can buy more when you are in Spain, but it’s nice to have a few with you and have a good place to take notes for your first few days.
- A small bag of medicines
Instead of bringing the entire box of multiple medicines, I brought just a couple pills of each of my favorites- enough to get me going. I brough Ibuprofen, NyQuil, DayQuil, band-aids, cough lozenges, etc. Just put them in a baggy and write the dosage/ instructions. You never know when you’ll be hungover and you’ll need some Ibuprofen…just saying.
- A special food you like
The first few days, I really wanted to find granola bars that weren’t loaded with sugar. I also wanted peanut butter (which I have since found- post coming soon). Bring enough to get you started.
- Make-up and hygiene products you like
I still have my mom purchase me foundation and bring it from the States when she visits. Not that I couldn’t find something equal or greater here…it’s just what I like. Keep in mind, you can find many of the same perfumes here. You can’t find American deoderant or all face cleansers.
- Something that brings comfort
I brought my baby blanket with me, that I still sleep with. No shame… I love it and have loved it for 27 years, so if you have something that brings you comfort, bring it.
- Trader Joe’s-type specialty foods
I always bring: Dukkah, pretzel thins, gingersnap cookies, Trader Joe’s tea, chili-spiced mango, and pumpkin pie spice. You just won’t find those things here.
What Not to Bring
On the contrary, here are a few of the ‘What Not to Bring’ Items
- Every piece of clothing you’ve ever owned
First of all, if you haven’t worn that too-short and too-tight mini dress since freshman year of college, you mostly likely won’t wear it in Spain. Don’t overpack- most rooms here are much smaller than what you’re used to. Also, you are definitely going to go shopping. Case in point: I no longer wear ANY of the clothing I brought to Spain. I have bought all new stuff.
- Sheets, blankets, towels
You can get these things fairly easily in Madrid, and they are not all that expensive. Save yourself the room and buy them here (or maybe bring ONE towel)
- All of your books
Get yourself a Kindle. Thank me later.