Are you ready to pack?! I recently spent an entire week exploring Madrid, Spain, and Lisbon, Portugal. I mean, they’re so close, it’s easy to visit them both on the same trip, right? While these countries are very different, your packing list can be the same for both. So, if you’re planning to knock out the Iberian Peninsula on an upcoming trip to Europe, this is the packing list for you. And yes, you can fit it all in a carry-on—I did!
3 Dresses or Jumpsuits
I love dresses! And if you’re visiting Spain or Portugal in summer, you’ll be glad you brought a few. Madrid was definitely 10-15 degrees hotter than Lisbon when we visited in late August and early September, so be sure to bring dresses in natural fabrics like linen and cotton. Prefer jumpsuits? Also acceptable! (P.S. I love jumpsuits as much as I love dresses!)
More here: 8 Things You Forgot to Pack for Europe
1 Pair of Leggings and a Flowy Top (or two)
I’m a huge fan of leggings with pockets and consider them pants. I also make sure to wear them on flying days—this girl needs pockets! Be sure to pack one or two flowy tops to go with them. I chose a billowy linen top to dress up my leggings a couple of days, and an oversized t-shirt to wear on the flight home.
Read more: What to Know Before You Visit Portugal
This should go without saying, but don’t forget your undies and socks. Yes, even I have forgotten to pack socks before. So here’s your friendly reminder! If I’m going for a week or less, I usually pack one pair of socks and one pair of undies for each day. If I’m going somewhere over a week, I’ll pack a week’s worth and plan to wash them all halfway through. Choose your preference! The ones below will wash and dry quickly.
Read on: What to Know Before You Visit Spain
1-2 Pair of Shoes
Leave the heels and flip flops at home, lady-friends! Both Spain and Portugal are historic in every way, including their roads, sidewalks, and steps. Throw in five to nine hours of jet lag, depending on where you’re flying in from, and you are going to want your most solid, most sturdy shoes!
I love a light pair of sneakers for travel days, but as far as what to pack, I always pack my running shoes (whether or not I plan on actually running) and one pair of sandals with an ankle strap and arch support. There are cute options out there!
More here: The Ultimate Guide to Travel and Your Feet
If you’re going carry-on only like me, you want to leave all non-essentials behind, right? I’ve got a newsflash for you: Accessories are essential! They change up your outfit, give you confidence, and take up practically no space.
Earrings are my favorite. They always fit, they can make a statement without taking up a lot of space, and they’re fun!
The right necklace can change up an outfit without taking up a lot of valuable packing space! Here is a great set of options.
I’m personally not a fan of bracelets (they get in my way when I’m trying to write!), but they can also give you a totally different look when you need to rewear an outfit.
Is it sun protection? Is it a headband? Is it a statement piece? Sure! It can be all three in one trip if you like. They always are for me.
A scarf is perfect to use as a light wrap when the sun goes down, a shoulder covering when you go inside a conservative cathedral, or just a pop of color when you need to change up an outfit.
More here: What Every Woman Should Pack for Every Trip
Maybe these are “extras,” maybe not. It’s yours to decide!
There are two kinds of travelers: Those who use hotel toiletries, and those who lug our own around the world. Even as a carry-on only traveler, I value having my own products! Here are some I love.
They don’t call it “sunny Spain” for nothing! And you’ll want some sun protection in Portugal, too. Solid is best for packing!
This is my dirty little secret! Okay, it’s not dirty, but it’s certainly not something that lots of people brag about. It’s the absolute best for women who are built like me, whose thighs rub together and cause chafing. If you’re like me, this is for you! It’s also great for feet if your shoes start to rub blisters on you, or for any part of your body that’s prone to chafing or rubbing together uncomfortably!
My knees need a little extra support sometimes, so I bring KT Tape with me when I travel. It’s come in handy in the past for rolled ankles, too!
2-3 Sets of Athleisure
This goes under the “extras” section because not everyone works out on travel! For me and my husband, this is the magic that helps us beat jet lag and handle our stress levels, so we always pack accordingly.
Keep reading: The Best Apps for Active Travelers
Want more? Check out my dedicated Spain and Portugal Pages! And get all the best packing tips, strategies, and hacks on my Packing Page, too!
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