22 abr. 2015

Coming to Madrid: What to Pack!

So you’ve booked your Spanish classes, arranged your accommodation, and are taking the great leap
to Madrid! Now, what to pack??
After 10 years of experience bringing new students to Madrid, we’ve assembled a great list of essentials you’ll want to fit in your suitcase for the best experience possible! Check it out:


Passport: this is a no brainer but so important! Even if you’re European or driving in from a neighboring country, you’ll want this handy ID in case you decide to take a quick weekend trip to Morocco or need to finalize a visa. As all you seasoned travelers know, your passport is your best friend in every adventure!

Unlocked cell phone: One of the easiest ways to make the transition to a new country is to keep your contacts and photos from home and simply change your SIM card. Just ask at the AIL front desk and we’ll set you up: you won’t even have to leave the building! If you are unable to change the SIM card in your phone or unlock it from the company plan in your home country, we have smart phones for rent at the desk as well.

Light Layers: One of the best things about Madrid is the huge variety of climates within very short distances. If you’re visiting in spring, you´ll find yourself skiing within 30 minutes of the sunny city center or on one of Spain’s renowned beaches in under two hours! By packing light layers, you’ll be ready for wherever your adventures may take you!

Walking shoes: Almost everyone who visits Madrid says that the best way to get to know the city is by foot. Download ‘Hidden Madrid’ (a great book featuring walking tours of the lesser known corners of the city) on your kindle and hit the streets!

Bathing suit: in the warm seasons (spring, summer, and fall), Madrid has tons of public pools, as well as many private ones (encouragement to make Spanish friends)! Additionally, the beach makes a great weekend getaway that’s easy and affordable!

Sun glasses: Madrid is incredibly sunny, so be sure to pack your favorite pair and get ready to wear them! Madrid boasts sunshine roughly 65% of the year, raising your chances of taking in a few rays to an all time high.

Purse with a zipper: While Madrid is an extremely safe city and you’ll feel at home no matter the time of day or night, the very center of the city does feature the occasional pickpocket. This, however, is easy to remedy by using a purse with a zipper/magnet or by keeping your wallet in your front pocket. Take in some of the best sites in the city, worry free!

Adaptor: While this is also easily purchased right here in Madrid, having a converter on you (for those of you from outside of Europe) can make your transition that much easier. Plug in as soon as you arrive!

A good book (kindle): In Madrid, a good book goes a long way. Having a kindle makes commuting, if you’re moving here for work or traveling for pleasure, an absolute joy and can be a great addition to a sunny afternoon in a Spanish café!

Overnight bag (small): with numerous, fantastic destinations within a stone’s throw of Madrid, you’ll definitely want to bring an overnight bag! Whether you’re visiting some of the nearby historical cities or branching out to neighboring countries for a long weekend, a little overnight bag is sure to come in handy (especially with RyanAir baggage regulations)!

Camera: Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a photographer, you’ll never want to forget your time in Madrid, so even your camera phone will do! If your experience is anything like ours, some of your most enthralling memories will one day belong to Madrid and you’ll want to relive them as often as possible.

Something from your home country: does your country or state have an easy to transport specialty? Whether its maple sugar candies, music, a style of dance, or maybe even a mindset, take a minute to think about what’s important to you/your culture and how you can share it with others. This is a great way to make friends in a new city!


Finally: remember to pack light! Madrid is home to some of the best shopping on the continent, no matter your budget. So be sure to leave a little space in your bag for new purchases, or wait to discover what all the Spaniards are wearing before deciding on your seasonal wardrobe.

For those of you on your way, congratulations on your impending adventure, we can’t wait to see you! And, if you’re already in Madrid, feel free to share your packing insights and tips in the comments- we love hearing new ideas!



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