A few tips about getting ready to go away for six months.

We are getting ready to go away for the winter again this year. This will be our 3rd winter in beautiful and sunny Spain and we are getting quite good at getting organized and packing for us and our dog Amy Lou.

First of all, if you go to your destination like us, by plane, it limits what you can bring with you. On most international flights, you can have one piece of luggage per person weighing no more than 50lbs or 23kg. You can also have a carry-on luggage weighing 26lbs or 12 kg. If you travel with a dog in cabin, the carrier must meet certain criteria unique to each airline and will take the place of a carry-on.

Amy Lou, our 7lbs or 3 kilo yorkie, needs her own carry-on for a bit of food, treats, her favorite bed, blanket, raincoat, sweater, cooling t-shirts for hot days, party dresses, hair brush, bows, leash, spare leash, sunglasses, food/water bowl and more! We are not allowed to bring dog food with us to Europe technically but we do bring enough for a couple of days along with her favorite treats.  

We also have a carrier purse to take her to tourist attractions and restaurants incognito. Even if pets are welcome almost everywhere, I find it necessary to put her in that tote when she needs a rest, there are too many people aroung or in restaurant, so I can eat my meal in peace. All of these items fit in a carry-on.

This leaves us with two large suitcases for my husband Terry and me. We bought two extra lightweight luggage last year. They only weight 6lbs each which leaves us with 44lbs of available weight for our clothes, shoes, hats and tons of little things you need to bring along for that length of time.

I keep my toiletries, electronics and important documents in a large tote which counts as my purse. Terry has a large knapsack for his electronics and books.

We keep a very good checklist and update it regularly to make it easy for the next trip. That list is indispensable. If you are going on a long vacation, make sure to start a list early and update it as you think of something you must bring.

Put the emphasis on MUST BRING. That space is limited and after all, you won’t need all that stuff. The most important are your passports, eye glasses, medication if any, wallet, money and other important documents like your Pet passport, Vet health certificates and Visa documents if you are staying more than 3 months in Europe. The rest can always be bought at your destination. 

Make sure to weigh your luggage before leaving. They are very strict at the airport. Leave some room for the things you will inevitably buy during your trip. I told myself last year, that for each thing I buy during the next 6 month, one thing must be left behind. That will make me think before I buy.

As you know, we bought a house in Spain last winter. Returning to our own house will also be a lot more practical. The goal will be in the future to only bring a small luggage as we accumulate what we need at the house.

Stay tuned, we are leaving in 4 days for a side trip to Croatia before heading to the costa del sol for the winter.  We will update you on our adventure!

Amy Lou in her “in-cabin” carrier. Comfy and fluffy interior, she will curl up and sleep the whole way.
Amy Lou in her “incognito” purse. She does not mind being zipped up as well for full concealment.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Susan Burton says:

    Bon Voyage Odette and Terry. Enjoy your visit to Croatia and remember to keep us posted.
    Susan B.


    1. Will do! Thanks Susan. Wishing you a wonderful winter. See you in the spring!


  2. kbXena says:

    Amy Lou look ready to jet to Spain. Love her fuzzy bed.

    You guys have a wonderful time, see you next year. Love Kimberly, Jeff & Remy

    On Mon, Oct 14, 2019 at 2:41 PM Two Retired Canadians & a Dog in Spain wrote:

    > Two retired Canadians in Spain posted: “We are getting ready to go away > for the winter again this year. This will be our 3rd winter in beautiful > and sunny Spain and we are getting quite good at getting organized and > packing for us and our dog Amy Lou. First of all, if you go to your > destination” >


    1. Thanks Kim, Jeff and Remy! Enjoy your winter in magical Point Roberts with the Eagles and Remy in the snow hopefully!! See you next June.


  3. FLORIN FLOREA says:

    Good story,thx florinfl@telus.net


  4. Margaret Dakers says:

    I am considering Nerja for only 4 months, december to march, I am a low level walker but will do gentle hills, any tips on renting, hidden charges whilst I holiday for those months in Spain?


    1. Hi Margaret, if you are non-European, you need a visa to stay more than 3 months in Spain. No problem for walking in Nerja it is fairly accessible. Frigiliana has more hilly streets. Lots of walking around in the area for level 1 walkers as well. You can try Teamstar for rental, they have a dedicated page on their website for winter rentals and you can make an offer to get the best price. That is definitely possible in winter months especially for a long-stay like that. Make sure you ask if heat is included. Aircon heat in apartment is enough but if you rent a house, I would suggest renting one with a fireplace or central heating. Some will charge extra electricity to cover heat in winter. Where are you from exactly? Good luck in your planning!


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