Before Departing

Orientation meetings:

  • Attend the Pre-Departure Orientation meeting (beginning-mid March).
  • Liberal Arts Group General Orientation and Attend the Get-To-Know-Each-Other meeting (beginning-mid April).  


  • Get your passport! If you do not have a passport, you will need one to travel.
  • Apply for your passport at the U.S. Passports and International Travel. Make sure that you start the process at least 2 or 3 months in advance.
  • If you already have a passport, check your passport expiration and confirm that it is valid for at least three months beyond your planned date of departure.
  • Make a copy of your passport (bio page). Leave a copy of your passport at home and/or make an electronic password-protected copy of your passport bio page.

Visa Requirements: 

  • A tourist visa is not required for stays less than 90 days in Spain.
  • If you are an international student, please check with the Penn State Education Abroad Office or your Embassy.
  • For more information, visit the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Register with the US Embassy: 

  • Before leaving, we highly recommend you register in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (U.S. citizens only).
  • If you are an international student, please contact your embassy or consulate.

Buy your Plane Ticket: 

  • A number of online ticket vendors are available.
  • Be smart! Remember to check the total flight time and number of connections of your flight before purchasing. 


  • If you are taking prescription medication, remember you pack enough so you have sufficient supply (pack some extra too).
  • Take copies of your prescription medicines, and write down the generic drug name (active principle of the drug) and not the brand name drug in case you need to purchase medication in Spain or you need to tell a doctor what you are taking.
  • If you wear glasses/contacts, please take your prescription too.
  • Pack your medicines in their original package and place them in your carry-on luggage (your checked baggage could be delayed).

Credit/Debit cards:

  • Call your bank to confirm that your credit card works in Spain. Also, let them know your travel dates since your bank may turn off your card as a security measure.
  • Most of the Spanish credit cards use the chip-and-PIN technology.
  • Usually, U.S. credit cards that offer no foreign transaction fees use the chip-enabled cards.
  • Only carry with you the credit and debit cards that you expect to use.

Cash (Euros):

  • Not every place takes credit cards, so bring some cash. You can use an ATM in Spain if you need more cash. It will be cheaper than using the conversion centers at the airport.
  • Packing:
  • Pack lightly! Do not overpack. You need to move around easily, you may encounter stairs and not have access to an elevator or you may need to run to catch your connecting flight. 
  • You will need to walk or run with your luggage more than you would have thought.
  • Once you have packed, give yourself a test. Put on your carry-on backpack, take your suitcase and walk on your street and climb at least two-floor flights of stairs. Were you able to do it comfortably? If it is a “yes”, then you are good to go. If your answer is “no”, then unpack unnecessary items.


  • May and June daytime temperatures could reach highs of around 29°C (≈84°F). At night, could drop down to 14°C (≈57°F).
  • You can check the weather and climate/temperature graphs here and here. Check current weather here.


  • Bring six or seven short or long-sleeved shirts, three tank tops, four pants (jeans, yoga pants, etc.) and one pair of shorts.
  • Do not forget to pack your favorite Penn State t-shirt! Bring at least six sets of underwear and socks. 
  • It would not hurt to pack a dressy casual attire. Regarding footwear, bring comfortable walking shoes, sneakers, and sandals or flip-flops.
  • If you have space, it would not be a bad idea to pack your slippers. Also, we could have cool nights so make sure you pack a sweater, a lightweight fleece, and a light waterproof hooded jacket.
  • Do not forget your sunglasses!
  • A swimsuit is also a must!


  • Pack electronics in your carry-on. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the current U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requirements pertaining to electronics. 
  • Laptops: If possible, bring a charger adapter so you can use the Spanish outlets. If you cannot find one, you can easily buy one cheaply in Spain.
  • Cell phones: Check with your carrier if you are able to make international calls and have them enabled. There will be a charge, but it will be better than paying roaming. You can always use free WIFI when available. If you have an unlocked phone that uses a SIM card, bring it with you! You can get inexpensive pay-as-you-go plans in Spain.
  • Camera: Do not forget your camera, your charger, and your cable for downloading your awesome pictures! Bring an extra memory card.
  • Headphones/earbuds: Bring them so you can listen to music or watch a movie on the plane.

Driving in Spain:

  • If you are planning to rent a car and drive in Spain, you need to obtain an International Driving Permit prior to your arrival. The International Driving Permit is not valid by itself so you must carry this permit with your license.
  • You can obtain an International Driving Permit in any of these two automobile associations: American Automobile Association and National Auto Club.

Extending Your Stay: