Things to do before moving to Spain

moving to Spain checklist

You got your plane tickets long ago, the days have flown by and you will be moving to Spain in a few days. Your suitcases are all over the place, and you’re consumed with what to pack and what to leave out.

I know, sometimes it can be overwhelming. I’ve been there so here’s a list of a few important things you need to do before you fly to Spain. I hope it eases the burden.

Finish packing

One of the first questions you might encounter is: how many suitcases do I need?

It usually depends on how long you are going to be in Spain for, and your relationship with stuff. I would say the fewer things you bring the better. Bear in mind that after a few days in Spain odds are that you’ll find something you want to buy and, unfortunately, that’s something you’ll have to take with you whenever you decide to go back home.

In my opinion, if you are going to spend a few months in Spain two suitcases is the way to go. A big suitcase and a smaller one.

Why? Think about dragging two big ones all over the city. Sometimes it can take time to be finally settled and ready to unpack, it sounds like a lot of work, right?

The next question is: what clothes do I pack?. There are some regions in Spain with cold weather and some others with milder temperatures, once you know where you will be, go to Wikipedia and find the average temperature.

Weather in Madrid

As you can see above, Madrid is cold in winter (sometimes as cold as 27F) but it hardly ever snows. On the other hand, summers are hot and dry.

My favorite months in Madrid are April, May and June, the weather is comfortable and not as hot as the following months. Sometimes all you need is a light jacket.

Get your documents ready

Probably the most important document you’ll need is your passport. Needless to say, without your passport, you won’t get very far. I would advise you to make a photocopy and to keep a photo of it on your phone. You’d be surprised how many times I had to pull out my phone to check my passport number. It’s way more convenient than carrying your passport all the time.

Medical history: if you have any condition or anything that you need medication for, don’t forget a copy of those documents. It might be worth it to get them translated into Spanish too.

Visa: you’ll need a visa if you are planning to stay in Spain for more than 3 months. Sometimes it takes longer to get a visa than you would imagine, so start the applications as soon as you can. If you are traveling to Spain to work as a teaching assistant, the program will give you all the info with the steps in advance.

Get an adapter

You’ll need an adapter to plug all your devices. You can use the same one for all your travels within Europe except the UK, which uses a different plug.

I would get one universal adapter so it goes with you on all your trips.

International adapter Spain

Cancel all subscriptions and other fees

During your time in Spain, you probably won’t need to pay for Hulu and other subscriptions like your gym membership or your phone plan. Canceling all those payments before you come to Spain might save you quite a bit of money. It’s better to do it a few weeks before you move to Spain, it can take more time than expected.

Get a Spanish phone number

If you are planning to live in Spain for a while you’ll need a Spanish phone number. Especially, if you want to integrate in the Spanish social scene. In this case, Whatsapp is a must.

The first thing is to find out if your phone is unlocked, in other words, whether you can use a Spanish Sim Card or not.

As a rule of thumb, if you bought your phone in a tech shop it’ll be unlocked, however, I would recommend calling your phone company to double-check. If they say no, you can either unlock it in the States or wait and do it once you get to Spain. The process takes a few minutes and you can even do it online.

Once your phone is unlocked you’ll only have to decide what company works better for you and get a new Spanish SIM card.

I hope you got some value out of this post and hopefully, I helped you a little bit getting ready for your time in Spain. Let me know in the comments what other things you did before moving to Spain.

If you are coming to Spain as a language assistant, you might find it useful to bring some things from the States. Some stories for kids, maps from various tourist attractions and photos. You can later use this material for your private lessons.

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