What to pack for a holiday to Spain

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pack for spain

As a nation we Brits seem to have a love affair with Spain, which is often voted our most popular holiday destination.

For families looking to save time and money, Spain is only a short flight time away making travel supplements and taxes lower. It also offers fabulous beaches and glorious sunshine for a child-friendly family beach holiday.

As any mum knows, packing for that long awaited holiday can involve the whole family wanting to take everything including the kitchen sink. Airlines are getting ever tighter on baggage allowances so let us help to take stress out of the holiday packing chore.

Clothes in Spain

Unless you want to scream ‘tourist’ wherever you go it’s probably useful to understand a little about the Spanish approach to clothes.

The Spanish really care about their personal appearance and image. On the whole they dress conservatively and make an effort when they go out, even if it’s just doing the daily shopping. And they love their shoes! For them, a pair of shabby shoes can let down a whole outfit.

That said, jeans are as popular in Spain as in the rest of Europe, and – except perhaps in the height of the summer when they could be just too hot – they are a great holiday staple.

That said, if you’re planning a trip to a resort destination like La Manga, then it really is all about sport. During the day most people wear trainers, jogging pants or shorts and a sports top. In the evening, it mainly stays pretty casual but definitely at the smart end of casual.

If you’re planning more than the beach for your holiday, then Church is still an integral part of Spanish life but please do bear in mind that wearing shorts or being scantily dressed while visiting a church will not be appreciated. If you are going to visit any religious sites then be sure to cover your shoulders and bare legs.

If you’re visiting early or later in the season when the weather can be cooler, dressing in layers will help you cope with the temperature changes.

For a pared down summer holiday wardrobe that will take you and your family through two weeks in Spain, here are our suggestions.

For mum & daughters

  • Shorts or cropped trousers
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 2 pairs of trousers
  • 1 skirt
  • 1 dress – something you can wear sightseeing and in the evening
  • 3 plain tops
  • 2 casual tops
  • 1 evening top
  • 1 smart cardigan or unstructured jacket
  • 1 pair of comfy flats
  • 1 pair of summer sandals
  • 1 pair of fabulous flip flops
  • Swimwear
  • A large canvas bag with plenty of room for all your day trip essentials
  • Pashmina; this is my must-pack item: it’s so versatile and great as a cover up, to glam up an outfit or just to keep a young one snugly
  • Costume jewellery; never underestimate how it can transform an outfit
  • Sunglasses
  • 1 cool kaftan
  • 1 sarong
  • Hat

For dad & sons

  • Jeans
  • 3 pairs of trousers
  • Shorts
  • 4 casual shirts for the daytime
  • 1 jumper
  • 2 smarter shirts for the evening
  • 1 jacket
  • 1 pair of comfortable walking shoes
  • 1 pair of smarter shoes for evenings
  • 1 pair sandals/flipflops
  • Swimwear
  • Sunglasses
  • Belt

Our top tip: Keep your packing simple and stylish! You really don’t need that many clothes and you can save a fortune in time, stress and money. By planning ahead and making sure your items all work together, you’ll have lots of outfit options.

Happy holidays!

Helen Hutchings heads up WhatToWearOnHoliday.com which aims to help take the stress out of what to pack for holidays. It includes packing guides and tips on how to pack less but wear more, how to save money and be appropriately dressed wherever in the world you go!