Packing List for a “Puente” Weekend Trip in Spain

If you’re working as a language assistant in Spain or simply living abroad there for a time, you’ll inevitably be treated to long weekends, or puentes as the Spaniards call them, since they are often formed by holidays that fall on a Thursday or a Tuesday that then make a “bridge” to the weekend, taking Friday or Monday along with them.

Toledo, Spain
What better activity to do on these long weekends than travel around Spain? Now, it’s one thing to pack up your life for nine months into a suitcase, backpack, and messenger bag—you have a little leeway in packing extra clothes, books, and “stuff.” But on weekenders, it’s best if you only take a bag or two at most, to make walking around and keeping track of your luggage easier. This isn’t extreme minimalism by any means, but after taking four city trips and planning a fifth, I’ve figured out the essentials that can fit into a single bag.

Tilework, Chapel of San Bartolomé, Córdoba, Spain


* 2-4 shirts
* 2-4 pairs of socks
* 2-4 pairs of underwear
* basketball shorts for sleeping
* flip flops for showering
* swimsuit (in the summer)
* coats, gloves, hat, and scarf worn in transit (in the winter)

Castle of the Christian Monarchs, Córdoba, Spain


* toothbrush & toothpaste
* shampoo
* body soap
* deodorant
* razor & cream (if applicable)
* lip balm
* lotion
* bandages & antibacterial ointment
* painkiller pills
* anti-diarrhea pills
* upset stomach pills
* sunscreen (in the summer)
* prescriptions (if applicable)
* feminine products (if applicable)

Granada, Spain

Personal items

* book/e-reader
* camera
* cellphone & charger
* ID & passport
* iPod & headphones
* journal & pen
* snacks
* sunglasses
* water bottle

Black cat, La Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Travel tools

* combination lock
* duct tape
* flashlight/headlamp
* guidebook
* microfiber towel
* plastic shopping bags
* plastic zip-top baggies
* pocketknife
* tissues
* umbrella/rainjacket
* wet wipes

Note that this all fits into one 40-liter backpack, and I didn’t include a sleeping bag or pillow since all hostels I’ve stayed at so far have provided bedding. In writing this list, I assumed you’ll be wearing your pants, a belt, and shoes (which I hope I’m not naïvely assuming!), and that you’ll be packing miniature versions of things like shampoo, duct tape, or tissues.

This packing list is what works for me, so I hope you find it useful when trying to whittle all your clothes and things down to what fits in a single bag.

How do you pack for a short weekend trip? Comment in the thread below!

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