It’s finally summertime, AKA the season of travels. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had the travel bug for quite some time, and I’m more than ready to get out there and explore this summer. If you’re headed to Europe this summer, I’ve got your back, girl.
After six years of hopping around this beautiful continent, I have sort of nailed down the art of packing. From obvious essentials to things you probably wouldn’t think of, here are the essential items you’ll want to pack for your Europe trip coming up.
Pack five to ten short-sleeved or long-sleeved shirts or blouses in a lightweight fabric, depending on how long you would travel. A good rule of thumb is to have versatile clothes that you can layer and match with various other things that you pack in your luggage.
If you travel during summers, be sure to pack at least two pairs of shorts, especially since you’ll be walking around a lot. Cotton or linen pants are also a good option. Girls can alternatively also pack dresses or skirts.
Underwear & socks
The more, the better. The faster it dries, the better too.
At the very least pack one comfortable pair of walking shoes, one pair of formal evening shoes or sandals (for summer), so you can dress up a bit if you hit fancy places. Flip-flops are always a good idea especially if you plan to stay in hostels and share bathrooms.
Bring a light and water-resistant windproof jacket, preferably with a hood. Denim and leather jackets are also quite popular in Europe if you’d like to stay on the fashionable side. Add to this a winter jacket or coat, if you plan to travel in winter.
To use public area pools, you’ll need a swimsuit. No one would care much if you didn’t wear a swimsuit at the beach, but if you bathe in a dress, expect to get stares. It’s quite the opposite of what one would expect in conservative countries, but then again, most of Europe is anything but.
Comfy sleepwear such as shorts, leggings, T-shirts, tank tops, yoga pants, and other lightweight clothes make for excellent down-time clothing.
Bring a mix of an international debit and credit card, and a mix of cash in USD or EUR, just so you have enough no matter which situation you find yourself in.
Take your passport, plane, train, bus and rental car documents, driver’s license (international permit if applicable) and any other useful cards (student ID, membership cards, etc). Photocopies and a couple of passport-type photos should always be with you as well as an online version on your phone. Make sure to also add insurance policies and all major tickets in your luggage. Ideally, each person traveling should have one copy of these major documents.
Guides & maps
Although most hostels and hotels where you will stay will provide this for free, it doesn’t hurt to keep an extra copy. Who knows, you may be stuck in the middle of nowhere in the Italian countryside, with no internet and this old, road map just may come in handy.
A reusable water bottle
An essential travel accessory and one that helps reduce waste. In Europe, especially in the western region water is edible even from toilets at railway stations. You can refill your water bottle on the go, and save a couple of euros per day on having to buy a mineral water bottle. In eastern and southern Europe, I would stick to buying mineral water.
I always travel with at least two small extra locks. Whether you plan to use them in a hostel, as a backup lock for a dysfunctional lock, this is a must-have item.
A small pack with basics in a hanging or foldable toiletry kit is always an excellent idea. For your international flight, put all bottles (100 ml max) in sealable plastic bags to prevent leaks, and breeze through security in Europe. Girls may want to keep enough space to add tampons, sanitary pads, etc.
Carry your usual medicines with prescriptions, multivitamins and any other over the counter medicines that you may need in Europe. Translating a simple medicine that you may take for granted might be a nightmare to find in a small village in France. Do keep some medicines with you in your carry on or handbag for emergencies.
Sealable plastic bags
It is always a good idea to take a couple of sealable plastic bags in different sizes. You can pack leftover food, liquids, even small socks or clothes that may be dirty, this one item is a life saver.
If you plan to travel long keep some laundry soap. Laundry service in hotels can be extremely expensive and laundromats hard to find. You can easily do small laundry in the bathroom sink if you have some soap or detergent along with you.
Another lifesaver. Do not forget to pack safety pins as well.
Another item I almost always pack. Everything from wanting to wipe a body part, to feeling refreshed on a sunny day, wet wipes can be a great companion during travel.
While it sounds nearly impossible to squeeze all of these essentials into a carry-on, trust me — it can be done. If you have to cut down on a few items, evaluate what your priorities are and identify your travel style to see what you’ll really need in the long run. Happy traveling!
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