We recently went on a trip to Spain with the kids. We found some super cheap tickets from New York but this airline would not allow anything besides a carry on or there would be an extra charge. I was caught in a dilemma, do I succumb to my cheap ways and just cross the Atlantic somehow or do I try to give up my diva ways of packing everything but the kitchen sink? Those who know me, know even when I was single, I do not travel lightly. I decided to challenge myself and go the backpack route. We had to travel through multiple cities and were taking buses, train and planes so it just made more sense. Hey, everything is worth trying once right?

First, you want to check the carryon luggage height and weight restrictions for your airlines. We went to the outlets and bought backpacks for each of us that fit the criteria. Packing was a bit tricky since we were going to be encountering very different temperatures in the south and north of Spain ( plus we had a layover in NYC). I packed layers and had the kids wear their jackets on the planes. You can always peel off layers if you get too hot but not much you can do if you’re cold. I used the roll technique for clothes and kept makeup and lotions to sample sizes. This will be a piece of cake I thought! I’ll just buy really small souvenirs for people or not buy at all and use my backpacking as a cheap excuse.

We flew to our first city of Madrid. We hadn’t really set an itinerary because we weren’t sure how jet lagged we would be. We stayed in the main area and we shopped and ate and then shopped some more. Uh oh, where are we going to put all of this shopping? So we ended up purchasing a luggage.

From Madrid, we took the train to Granada. The train only goes so far and then you have to board a bus. The train was a very pleasant experience. I still don’t understand how we don’t have more high speed rail in America. We absolutely loved Granda. Lots of halal options and of course the shopping is great. My daughter especially loved the Zara there. I feel that the quality is bit better overseas. After a couple of days, we hopped on a bus to Seville. We stowed our belongings in the bus depot and toured the city and then took a late flight out to Barcelona. We stayed there a couple of days. I had planned to do the laundry and had scoped out a couple of laundromats/ lavanderia close to our hotel before we left for the trip. My son did not like the idea of dirty underwear in his bag even though they were packed in small plastic bags. It was actually an enjoyable experience as we got to explore the area while the laundry was being done and interact with locals who helped us figure out that the machine comes preloaded with detergent. Of course we explored the shopping mall across the street and discovered that we could see ourselves living in Spain. Returning back to Madrid via train, we vowed to return one day. The people were warm and hospitable, the food and weather were perfect in April for us. We did have to pay for an extra luggage and realized a lot of our vacation is about shopping and that was how we bond with each other. Taking out the time to really explore those side streets and marveling at another culture. I do hope you and your loved ones visit Spain soon.

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