Fashion & Beauty Packing

What I packed: Spain in Spring

Curious about how editors pack for trips? Here’s a peek.

I spent six days in Spain in mid-May on Monograms’ Barcelona and Madrid vacation package.

Where: Barcelona and Madrid, Spain.

When: May 7-13

Packing Challenge: I wanted to go all carry-on so I could speed through my connection at JFK Airport in New York. (Disclosure: I went all carry-on on the way there, but because I brought back Spanish vermouth and cava, I needed to check a bag on the way home. That’s why you’ll see a folded-up bag in the photo; it was my checked-booze bag.)

Weather: 70s and low 80s during the day, 60s at night.

Type of Trip: I needed to pack for a variety of activities, including a flamenco class, a late-night tapas walking tour, an art class, and evenings out. And plenty of walking.

How Long: 5 days on the ground, two days traveling

Mouse over the photos below for detailed explanations of the items I packed. Any time you see the Thinglink icon on a photo (bottom right), you can mouse over it to interact with the image.

'""''""''""'What I Should Have Left Behind: I easily could have done without the long-sleeve shirt and one fewer pair of pants. And I would have been fine with one dress (I would definitely opt for the Leota Sheath dress) rather than two. That would have left me with three shirts, two pairs of pants, and one dress, plus two cardigans and a jacket. I didn’t end up needing the bathing suit, but when it comes to swimming I’d always rather be prepared than not.

What I Should Have Packed: Sunscreen that wouldn’t stain my clothes. I prefer mineral sunscreen, but it’s often thick and white, and can ruin a dark-colored shirt (which you’ll notice in the photos above is all I brought). I ended up doing more hotel-room-sink laundry than expected just to get sunscreen stains out of my clothing. You can bet I’ll be researching mineral sunscreens that don’t stain and rub in easily. Have any suggestions?

By Christine Sarkis

There's a 95 percent chance Senior Editor Christine Sarkis is thinking about travel right now. Follow her on Instagram @postcartography and Twitter @ChristineSarkis.

Christine Sarkis is an SATW-award-winning journalist and executive editor at SmarterTravel. Her stories have also appeared on USA Today, Conde Nast Traveler, Huffington Post, and Business Insider. Her advice has been featured in dozens of print and online publications including The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, and People magazine. She has also shared travel tips on television and radio shows including Good Morning America, Marketplace, and Here & Now. Her work has been published in the anthologies Spain from a Backpack and The Best Women's Travel Writing 2008. She is currently working on a travel memoir.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: The Trtl Pillow. It's easy to pack and comfortable, and makes it so I can actually sleep on flights.

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: Seeing the Aurora Borealis from the comfort of somewhere warm, like a glass igloo or hot spring.

Travel Motto: Curiosity is an amazing compass.

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: Aisle all the way.

Email Christine Sarkis at

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