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"Minimal-ish" Packing List for a Year of Teaching Abroad

"Minimal-ish" Packing List for a Year of Teaching Abroad

I'm heading back to Spain for a second year of teaching abroad, and it's time for my least favorite part: PACKING! I thought I would write out a packing list, to make the task seem more fun, but also to help me and potentially others with the dreaded task in the future!

This go-around, I'm hoping to be much more "minimalist" than I was before. I put that in quotations because I know to some, this list would not seem minimalist at all. Seriously, watch some youtube videos on real minimalism before you start packing. It inspired me to knock tons of stuff off my list. I'm afraid I have a long way to go until I'm a true minimalist though.

I know the idea of packing light will probably be funny to some of my friends because A. I left a big (daunting) bag of winter clothes with friends in Sevilla and B. I did complain about my limited wardrobe was at times last year. HOWEVER, all of that was before walking my stuffed carry-on to the Sevilla train station at 5am, nearly falling out of the train trying to get it on the storage shelves, through the metro in Madrid, up and down flights of stairs and all the way to the airport. The whole time I was cursing to myself and gasping, "never again." So in my opinion, it's definitely preferable to minimize in the beginning rather than having to purge in the end or deal with the nightmare of getting an overstuffed suitcase home.

Now obviously I can't tell everyone what the ideal packing list would be for them, but this is what it looks like for me given my circumstances, the climate and other factors of where I am moving. I will say, I was trained in packing by my fairy godmother/ superhero flight attendant Aunt Melissa, so hopefully I know a thing or two by now! I hope this list will be a good resource, whether you need to double check that you have everything, or just need help getting started! Let's get to it.

Carry-On "Survival Pack"

I pack my carry-on as if either my checked bag will end up lost and gone forever or I will somehow end up stranded. A negative outlook, I know. But basically, I want to know that if worst comes to worst, I can survive with everything I have in my carry-on. My anxious brain needs that security, am I the only one who thinks this way? Here's a list of stuff that makes the cut:

*Important things folder*

Get yourself one of these. This is all the stuff I will need at the various checkpoints along my journey made easily accessible in a secure folder. Small things might be better left in a purse or wallet. Trust your judgement!

  • Printed plane tickets
  • Passport
  • Other important forms of ID
  • Other documents relevant to the trip (on my journey I will take my carta: proof of Spanish employment, regreso: document granting permission to leave Spain while residency is pending renewal, etc.)
  • Travel Itinerary with any specific instructions, important things to remember, etc.
  • A list of addresses and phone numbers relevant to the journey (I like to have a back up in case something happens to my phone)
  • Walking directions from the airport (or other drop off point) to my accommodation, if applicable
  • List of important phrases in the country's official language, if needed

Clothing

  • Shirts (4)
  • Shorts (2)
  • Pants/ Trousers (1)
  • Pajamas (1 pair)
  • Raincoat (1)
  • Hoodie/ Sweater (1)
  • Underwear, bras, etc.
  • Socks (2)

Electronics

  • Outlet adapter
  • Laptop/ Kindle/ Tablet, etc. + chargers
  • Phone charger
  • Camera + charger/ batteries
  • Headphones

Toiletries

  • Deodorant
  • Compact hairbrush
  • Dry shampoo
  • Feminine products
  • Small make up bag
  • Toothbrush + Toothpaste
  • Facial cleansing wipes
  • Disinfectant wipes

Miscellaneous

  • Quick-drying towel
  • 1 Book
  • Journal/ pen
  • Medications
  • Sunglasses
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Neck pillow
  • Eye cover/ ear plugs

Checked Bag:

Clothing

  • T-shirts (4)
  • Long sleeved shirts (3)
  • Tank tops (5)
  • "Going-out" tops (1-2)
  • "Nice" shirts (3)
  • Dresses/ rompers (2)
  • Skirts (2)
  • Shorts (2)
  • Pants/ Trousers (4)
  • Hoodie/ sweatshirt (2)
  • Sweaters (3)
  • Jackets (1-2)
  • Versatile wrap/ sarong (1)
  • Work out leggings (3)
  • Work out tops (4)
  • Work out shorts (3)
  • Bras, underwear, etc. 
  • Bathing suit (1)
  • Fuzzy/ hiking socks (3 pairs)
  • Normal/ sport socks (7 pairs)
  • Slippers (1 pair)
  • Sandals (1 pair)
  • Running shoes (1 pair)
  • Hiking shoes (1 pair)
  • Boots (1 pair)
  • Gloves (1 pair)
  • Giant scarf (1)
  • Winter coat: Mine is already in Spain and I would suggest either wearing it on the plane or buying when you get to your destination to save space if possible!

Electronics

  • Anything you feel comfortable leaving in your checked bag, though I personally take these things in carry-on

Toiletries

Place your liquids bag at the top of your checked bag. This should be a quart sized zip-sealed bag with whatever liquids necessary, leave bigger stuff behind and purchase upon arrival. In mine I'll have:

  • Travel shampoo/ conditioner bottles
  • Deodorant (stick is hard to find in Spain)
  • Coconut oil
  • Dr. Bronners soap
  • Any additional make up products

Miscellaneous

  • Favorite games (I love Bananagrams, plus I think it could be a great English teaching tool!)
  • English language teaching materials (books, stickers, signs, flashcards, etc.)
  • Fun things from home to show your classes (post cards, pictures, cash, etc.)
  • Headlamp (for hostels or camping)
  • Fahrenheit thermometer
  • Nighttime running light
  • Armband for phone
  • A couple books
  • Empty backpack for carrying supplies to work
  • Smaller backpack for day trips
  • Any jewelry
  • Printed pictures from home
  • Medicine, etc: vitamins, Icy Hot, melatonin
  • Water bottle

How did I do?! Is there anything you'd add or subtract? I hope this list helps make the overwhelming task of packing up your life for a year a little more manageable. You're about to have the experience of a lifetime! No sense in worrying too much. I'm sure I missed something, so feel free to let me know in the comments and I'll be happy to add in your suggestion!

 

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