On Having Packed for Granada

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Carmen Miller
May 9, 2024

It’s hard to believe that just about four months ago I was sitting on the floor of my room, trying to figure out what to bring to Granada and how to fit everything in my suitcase. Now that the semester is winding down and I’m starting to think about packing to go home, I thought I’d return to my packing list and apply my experience this semester to some advice about what to bring and not bring. I hope this list is helpful for anyone planning a semester abroad!

Do bring: 

  • Clothes for layering: Granada is in the mountains, so in addition to cold weather during the winter there can be significant temperature changes during the day, with mornings and evenings being quite cool even when it’s hot at midday. This means that it’s important to wear layers – people often say that you dress like an onion in Granada. In addition to sweaters, I was very happy to have tank tops to wear under my shirt for days with big temperature swings and long underwear for the first few weeks of the semester, when I was consistently cold.
  • Warm clothes: This goes with the above point, but unlike some other towns in Andalucia, Granada does not have tropical weather year-round. Winters can be cold and unpredictable, so warm clothes and a jacket are a must. I brought a warm jacket that packs down small and I was very happy to have it. I would also suggest a scarf. 
  • Enough underwear and socks: In my homestay, laundry was once a week, and depending on the weather it could take a few days for clothes to dry. So while I would generally say that you don’t really need more than about a week’s worth of clothes, bringing some extra underwear and socks was a good plan because it meant I didn’t have to worry about running out. Extra socks were also good for the times I unexpectedly got caught in a rainstorm and had wet feet!
  • A coin purse: I was surprised by how quickly I accumulated what seemed like a huge quantity of coins – pretty much any cash transaction resulted in coins, especially closer to the beginning of the semester when I only had larger bills. It doesn’t really matter whether you bring a coin purse or buy an inexpensive one as a souvenir, but having a coin purse will make organizing your money so much easier. 
  • An umbrella: Similar to a coin purse, it doesn’t really matter whether you bring one or plan to buy one – but make sure you have an umbrella before the first time it rains. It often rains very hard and sometimes without a lot of warning, and the few times I’ve been caught in a rainstorm without an umbrella were not fun. I had a travel umbrella that packs down small, so I brought it with me, but there are tons of stores that sell umbrellas if you’d rather not take up the space in your luggage. 

Don’t bring:

  • Rainboots: I brought rainboots and wore them exactly once. My logic was good, I thought – they’re short black boots so I could wear them for going out too, and on rainy days I’d be happy to have them. What I didn’t know is that many of the sidewalks in Granada get very slippery when it rains, so my rainboots didn’t offer enough traction to keep me from slipping. I ended up wearing my hiking boots every time it rained, since they were more comfortable than rainboots and gave me a better grip. Long story short: while I’d definitely recommend a pair of waterproof shoes, if you’re also bringing hiking boots (which I would recommend) or anything else that you can wear in the rain, rainboots aren’t worth the space they take up. 
  • Lots of toiletries: Unless there’s a product that you absolutely can’t live without (for me it was curl cream) I would suggest bringing just enough of your toiletries to tide you over until you can get to a store (think 3-ounce airplane sizes). There are lots of stores selling all kinds of products for relatively low prices, so it saves space and weight to bring small amounts of toiletries and buy full-size products when you arrive. Plus, this way you’ll already have small containers for traveling!
  • As many clothes as you’re (probably) planning to bring: Unless you’re a remarkably light packer, bring fewer clothes than you’re planning on. The advice to ‘pack light’ is everywhere, and I thought I’d followed it pretty well, but I’ve realized over the course of the semester that I would have been fine with quite a lot less than I brought (and it would have made my packing easier). 

    So, some thoughts on how to actually lighten your packing: don’t bring anything that you think you’ll only wear a few times or would only wear under certain circumstances. Also, only bring one pair of jeans – I brought two, and while it was nice to be able to swap them out, the second pair wasn’t worth the suitcase space. Similarly, I could have gotten away with about three fewer sweaters – I’d recommend one warm sweater, one lightweight one, and maybe one that you can wear as a light jacket for the in-between weather. Solid colors make it easier to mix and match – one thing I did well was only bringing clothes that can be worn in several different combinations. Don’t worry about under packing – if there’s something really missing from your wardrobe, Granada has tons of stores where you can buy clothes, including lots of secondhand stores with a great variety of clothes for cheap. 

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Carmen Miller

I’m a Comparative Literature major at Haverford College with an interest in how cultures and stories interact with each other. I love baking, writing, hiking, and exploring new places. And I can never resist the siren song of a good library!

2024 Spring
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