things to stockpile to bring to Europe #hoardersanyone
Right now I am going to take a look things that I want or need to get in the USA to take with to Europe. After living there myself and discussing with others what they think is important, I took some time to compile this list. Some how it turns out that there are A LOT of different products that I use on an everyday basis that I need to bring with me (in excess!) for my long stay in Spain. This may be just because I have bad vision and great coupons for American products, but there are just some things that I wouldn’t want to spend the extra money on or that I just cannot get in Europe. I just recently began looking at all of my crap, and yes I will be honest, most of it is crap and realized that I am going to need a stockpile of certain things to bring with! I am all for leaving behind large bottles of shampoo and buying whatever I need when I arrive, however, there are some things that I simply cannot get once I arrive! Here is a list of things that I am going to bring with that I probably won’t be able to get in Europe (not very easily or not at decent prices).
Can we talk about how Opti-Free (the big size) is 16 euros?! OMG. Anyways, I don’t know ANYTHING about how eye doctors work in Spain. All I know is that I have an annual appointment here in the states and that’s the way I want to keep it! Before leaving the states for a year, you should make sure that your glasses/contacts prescription is up to date and that you have enough contacts to last your whole stay! I have an assortment of daily and 2-week contacts to get me through my time in Europe. In addition, I am bringing a pair of good glasses and my old glasses as a spare.
Again, this is something that I don’t even want to have to worry about while I am in Spain, so I am going to get a supply to last me the whole length of time that I am there. ADVICE: DON’T PAY FULL PRICE JUST BECAUSE YOU WANT A YEARS SUPPLY IN ADVANCE. Talk to your insurance company and the doctors office and they should work with you because you will be leaving the states for an extended period of time. I got an extra eleven sample packs of my prescription (FOR FREE!) from my doctor because I explained to them my situation and how I wouldn’t be in the states to get my prescription renewed, plus I will be gone next year at the time of my annual appointment, etc., etc. So with those sample packs basically my whole time I am gone will be covered by free meds #winning.
3. Cheap (relatively) Make-up
So, the VAT in Spain is 21%! Which means that make-up prices are out of this world in Spain, at least compared to the states. So, whatever you need to beautify yourself, that is something you definitely should try to bring over (and bring enough to last you for your whole stay!!).
4. Facial Cleanser/Moisturizer
I use Murad Redness Therapy facial cleanser and moisturizer from Sephora or I wake up looking like I spent the night in the Sahara Desert (Actually when I was in the Sahara, I looked as normal as I could without having showered and having to use the bathroom extensively…*cringe*) Okay, what I mean is my face gets pretty red and really dried out (I still can’t figure it out and I am 23…you’d think I would have control by now)…so, I need to use this cleanser/moisturizer combo to look normal because I have tried thousands upon thousands of combinations and I finally found what works for me! I won’t need a spare cleanser because that bottle lasts FOREVER, but my moisturizer will last about 7 months so I will bring an extra one of those!
“AXE BODY SPRAY FOR EVERYONE!!!!!!” #saidnooneever…oh wait, some Spanish person must have said it. They do have some stick deodorant but hardly what I would consider a good selection.
PUT THESE IN YOUR CARRY-ON TO AND FROM EUROPE!! All I have to say is THANK-GOD I decided to bring my converter/chargers in my carry-on when I flew home from study abroad. I was stranded in Amsterdam for 27 hours! I wouldn’t have been able to charge my computer to contact my family to keep them updated, not to mention, paying €20 for unlimited WIFI is the best way I think I ever spent €20. So, convenient chargers/converters means unlimited Skyping and Facebook. p.s. NEVER, EVER use a payphone in an airport in Europe…well you can, but it will cost you big bucks!
7. Peanut Butter
I am a peanut butter addict (I think everyone says that…) and I am sorry to announce that I have heard that no one besides Americans really gives a shit that PB&J’s are not a staple to every elementary school children’s diets outside of the U.S., this is an outrage! How can this be? What a versatile meal, have a PB&J on toast for breakfast, throw it in for lunch with some apples and even for dinner…just have two, what a great great thing and no one outside of the U.S. truly appreciates it. I am saddened. Actually, nah, it’s totally cool, really, I love bocadillos de jamón y queso and I suppose the amount of peanut butter I eat is probably unhealthy so getting away from it for a year won’t hurt…I guess…However, if you truly need some PB with your J then you better bring at least one family size Jif.
8. Hot Cheetos (Snacks we love)
An ENTIRE COUNTRY without hot cheetos. That’s not the point. Spain is missing some other great snacks, too. However, they do have salt & vinegar chips, lots of pipas & corn nuts, pringles, chucherias and aquarius. Not to mention jamón flavored Lays. I suppose a girl can’t complain too much.
9. Baking supplies!
It was so difficult to get everything I needed to make scotch cookie bars for christmas when I was in Spain last year. Had to use Vanilla bean instead of extract, couldn’t find stick butter and had to use white sugar instead of brown. The results were really fluffy and not as tasty Christmas treats. Can’t forget, Thanksgiving is something I truly missed when I studied in Spain. So, anything to get you through the holiday time, might be of big help. However, a 15 pound turkey probably won’t fit into a Spanish oven, so don’t even try that.
10. Paperwork/Copies of paperwork
Okay, make your copies of everything you used to get your Spanish Visa. DO NOT forget your original FBI background check nor your medical statement both with Apostille’s of Hague! Plus your CARTA DE NOMBRAMIENTO. These are essential when applying for an NIE!
11. Comfy shoes (Click for my post about shoes!)
Shoes. Is it possible to buy shoes that are already broken in? Europe has shoes. Cute shoes, comfy shoes, GREAT SHOES! But, can you truly buy a pair of shoes and wear them all day the first time you wear them? I think not. The first few days you will be traveling, you will be walking, a lot. More than you are used to. Yes, yes, I know you go to the gym 3 times a week and you enjoy running 5k’s in your free time. This is different, not to mention you won’t be wearing your nice running shoes while wandering your city to get acquainted with it. Extensive walking is something most people aren’t used to. Think of your American routine: wake up, get dressed, drive to work, at work, drive home from work, drive to gym, at gym, drive home from gym, watch Netflix. Let’s turn that into a European routine: wake up, get dressed (look normal, at least brush your hair), walk to work, at work, walk home from work, walk to gym, at gym, walk home from gym, cry (because there is no Netflix in Europe) So, please, your feet beg you to go with cute & practical shoes. Click here or the link above for some more reasons as to why I think good footwear is of great importance!
Thanks for reading and did I emphasize enough that these are things you should stockpile and bring with a million of each of these things? If not for yourself, then for the other Americans who left their venus razor refills behind. You are going to be so popular!
More about shipping things over when you simply can’t fit everything:
If you can’t fit everything, BRING LESS THINGS! There’s that time when many people think, “Oh, I really really need all of these things, so I will just have someone ship (insert item here) to me from the states so that I can save money”. *BEEEEEEEP* WRONG ANSWER! Depending on the size of the package, it will cost a decent amount for someone to ship a box to you from the states, THEN it will cost you money to get it from Correos, that is ASSUMING the package ever makes it to Spain! I had many friends who got things shipped to them when we studied abroad and I always heard stories of lost packages (Depending on the company, many items cannot be tracked after leaving the US.) or €50+ euro retrieval fee for a box containing items that didn’t even cost that much to begin with. If you really CANNOT fit your winter coat in your checked bag, just buy a new one in Europe, it will save your sanity plus your time, money and then you will have a new coat! Sometimes things have to be shipped (prescriptions that you cannot get in advance, etc. ) so, when there is no other option please be smart about it, save your euros my friends, the economy is awful!!
Thanks for reading and happy packing!