What do I need during my first few days in Spain?

As soon as you arrive in Spain, there are some essential things that you will need from the first day. You can buy everything else during your stay, but it is recommended that you bring this already organized from home:

  1. Euros in cash: you will arrive at the airport and you will have to move, either by metro, taxi, or bus. You will need to have some cash, and it is recommended that you bring euros directly from your country. If this is difficult for you, you can always change the currency at the airport itself or in the city center later, however, we definitely recommend that you bring something in the correct currency from the first day in case unforeseen events arise.
  2. Health insurance: in many cases, this is something essential to obtain a visa and leave the country, but, even if it is not, it is more than recommended that you arrive in Spain with contracted medical insurance and the papers in order. You never know when something unexpected could happen and having to return to your country for a minor medical problem that can be easily solved in Spain through insurance would be a huge hassle. More info.
  3. Transportation card: you will not be able to pick it up until you arrive in Madrid, but it is recommended that you do all the paperwork before you arrive to bring everything ready and for the process to go as quickly as possible. The sooner you can get it, the sooner you will start saving money on metro tickets and moving around Madrid freely. More info.
  4. Sim card: as soon as you land in Spain, you will want to contact your family to notify them, you may need to contact someone to confirm your arrival at the accommodation, or simply during the first days you will meet people and you will want to talk to them by phone to keep in touch and make plans. For all this, you will need a sim card with a Spanish phone number. More info.
  5. Bank account: even if you have to carry out the last steps of this procedure in person, you can be far ahead from your home country. There are many steps in the course of your stay that will require you to have a Spanish bank account, therefore we suggest you take care of this as soon as possible. More info.
  6. Housing: it is also important that you have the accommodation managed before you arrive, but it is possible that you will not be able to enter the apartment as soon as you arrive in Madrid, or that you still have to confirm which apartment you will stay in. For this, it will be very useful for you to stay in a central hostel until you can definitively enter to live in the apartment. Here is a post about the best hostels and hotels in Madrid and some more info about housing.

When moving to a new country, review in your mind what you have to do for the first few days and what you will need to do it. It is probably also essential that you take a lot of specific documentation depending on what you are going to study and where. Finally, don't worry too much if you forget something, you can buy most of the things in Spain, focus on the documentation and on what is strictly necessary.