Solo Traveler Packing Checklist: The Essentials for Your Next Vacation

Whether you’re planning a quick getaway or a longer vacation, if you’re traveling solo to Barcelona, you’ll need to pack carefully. This packing checklist will help make sure you don’t forget anything important. Barcelona is a beautiful city with plenty to see and do, so you’ll want to be prepared for all the possibilities.

What you need to prepare 1-2 months before traveling

When it comes to a travel packing checklist, it’s not only about the things you must carry but also about all the things you need to prepare. To ensure as minimum trouble as possible, prepare these things 1-2 months before traveling.

  • Make sure your passport is in date. Keep in mind that passport renewal can take up to 6 weeks. To enter Europe, your passport must be valid for at least 3 months after the date you intend to leave the EU country you are visiting. Your passport also needs to be issued within the previous 10 years.
  • Check if you need a visa. You can click here to check.
  • Make sure you have the medical insurance required to visit your destination country. Click here to see the medical insurance criteria to enter a Schengen country.
  • Check the entry requirements for your destination country, especially in relation to COVID and vaccinations. Arrange vaccination/COVID test if necessary.
  • Book your flight tickets. Once you know your travel dates, it’s time to book your flights. Try to be flexible with your dates and times to get the best deals on tickets. And don’t forget to factor in any layovers or stopovers when booking!
  • Make hotel reservations.

If you are still looking for a flight and/or a hotel, you can use the calendar and map below to pick the right ones for you.

It’s time to pack! Here are the essentials you need to bring on your holiday

Whether you’re looking to explore Gaudi’s architecture, relax on the beach, or try some of the best food in Europe, Barcelona has something for everyone. But before you can enjoy all the city has to offer, you need to pack your bags. Here are a few essential items you won’t want to leave home without.

Essential documents

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • ID card / Driver’s license
  • Boarding pass
  • Tickets and booking confirmations (for hotel, rental, etc.)
  • Credit / debit card
  • COVID-related certificates (if required)
  • Travel insurance (if required)
  • Medicine prescription (if any)

First and foremost, you’ll need your passport. Make sure it’s up to date. It’s also a good idea to make copies (digital or physical) of your passport, as well as your driver’s license and credit cards, in case of loss or theft. If you’re traveling with medication, be sure to bring along a copy of your prescription. Other items to pack include travel insurance documents, airline tickets, and hotel reservations.

Essential clothes

  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • T-shirts
  • Other tops (blouses/shirts)
  • Long-sleeved shirts
  • Sweaters
  • Jacket
  • Dresses
  • Shorts
  • Jeans
  • Dress shirts
  • Pants
  • Easy-to-layer clothing articles
  • Sleepwear
  • Swimsuit/trunks
  • Sandals
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Scarf
  • Collapsible tote bag
  • Winter clothes (if needed)

When packing for a vacation, it is important to make a packing list beforehand. This will help ensure that you don’t forget any important items. For clothes, it is a good idea to pack two pairs of everything – one for each day of the trip. When packing for a vacation, focus on packing neutral colors. This will allow you to mix and match different outfits easily. Be sure to also pack items like a money belt and travel gear.

Essential toiletries and medicines

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Mouthwash
  • Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Deodorant
  • Perfume/cologne
  • Facial wash
  • Sunscreen
  • Moisturizer
  • Other skincare products
  • Makeup
  • Makeup remover
  • Comb/brush
  • Hair ties
  • Shaving kit
  • Towel
  • Tissue
  • Sanitary pads/tampons/menstrual cup
  • Birth control pills
  • Prescription medication with the script so you can buy more and to avoid questions at immigration
  • First aid kit
  • Vitamins
  • Face masks
  • Hand sanitizer

For toiletries, you always want to bring them in small travel bottles. Don’t bring the whole 1L of your body wash with you because you’re not going to use all of it and it’ll just be a waste of space. Per TSA’s 3-1-1 rule, pack no more than 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) per item.

Essential mobile apps

Airalo app

This one is a huge lifesaver! Instead of buying a local SIM card, you can use a digital eSIM of a local provider.

MAPS.ME

You never know when you’re going to be lost without an internet connection. Use MAPS.ME to download local maps so you’ll be able to use it offline.

Google Translate

Even with its context-understanding errors, Google Translate is still arguably the best translation app for traveling. It’s got a camera function that translates signs and you can also speak into the mic to get your words translated.

Blablacar

This one is a must if you’re trying to stay on budget in Europe. Blablacar is an app for travelers looking to carpool to places in Europe and the rates are relatively cheap. For safety measures, there’s a rating feature so you can see if someone is legit.

Lens Buddy

Instead of setting your timer over and over, Lens Buddy takes multiple photos. It’s different with burst mode because you can set how long you want the duration between shots to be.

TravelSpend

Track your expenses, set budget plans, and convert currencies using TravelSpend.

Your favorite hostel/airbnb/couchsurfing app

This is especially important if you’re traveling for a long time and don’t have all your itinerary planned out yet. Airbnb has a feature that’s perfect for solo travelers where users can share their itinerary with trusted family and friends as a safety measure.

Other essential items

  • Chargers
  • Earphones (consider the noise-canceling earphones to work as ear plugs too)
  • Portable battery
  • Waterproof phone case (especially those that you can sling around your neck)
  • Neck pillow
  • Travel blanket/pashmina
  • Sleeping eye mask/ear plugs
  • Glasses
  • Spare contact lenses
  • Empty water bottle (fill it once you got through security)
  • Travel umbrella (folding umbrella)
  • Plastic bags/laundry bags

You might want to consider also bringing:

  • Tripods (both the standing one and the gorilla one)
  • A defensive weapon like pepper spray (you have to put it in your checked bag) or this TSA-approved emergency alarm.

Keep in mind that for some of the things listed, it might be easier to just buy them at your destination if it could cause a hassle at immigration (pepper spray) or if it’s cheap and disposable (sanitary pads, tissue, etc).

Choosing the right travel bag

Whether you’re taking a quick weekend getaway or embarking on a long-awaited vacation, choosing the right travel bag is essential. The last thing you want is to be lugging around a heavy suitcase when you could have packed lighter. Here are a few tips for choosing the right travel bag for your next trip:

Size matters: Choose a bag that’s large enough to fit everything you need, but not so big that it’s cumbersome to carry.

The longer your vacation the more stuff you’re going to bring, hence the bigger the luggage you need. However, the bigger the luggage the more hassle it becomes since you have to check it in. The standard carry-on luggage size is usually only 18″ – 20”.

Bringing only one 20” luggage (plus one personal item like a handbag) is suitable if you’re traveling for only 2-3 days. If you’re staying more than 3 days, we suggest you give it up and bring more and bigger bags.

Even for checked bags, there’s still a limit to how big of a bag would still be comfortable for you. Typically, a 25” – 27” luggage is already considered large, anything more than that is just bulky and difficult to maneuver.

Think about how you’ll be traveling: If you’ll be doing a lot of walking, look for a bag with wheels. If you’ll be taking public transportation, choose something that can easily be stowed away.

Rolling vs duffel bag? For most people, there’s no question here: rolling luggage is the obvious winner. It’s a lot easier to carry, more durable, and more elegant-looking. However, some might prefer duffel bags because of their flexibility, making it easier to fit into the overhead cabin.

Hardshell vs softshell? Softshell luggage bags are made from fabric, they’re lighter and more flexible so you can stretch them out more to fit in your clothes and it’s easier to squeeze into the overhead cabin.

On the flip side, hardshell luggage bags are more durable and sturdy. The outer layer is coated with plastic material so it’s waterproof and easier to clean. If you need to bring something fragile, it’s better to opt for hardshell luggage.