Heading on a Europe trip for the very first time? You are in for the adventure of a lifetime! Now all you have to do is relax, count down the days till departure, and get packing of course!
We checked in with a few of our most seasoned travel advisors to find out what you absolutely need to pack when you travel to Europe. Here’s what they had to say:
Any Europe trip planner worth their salt will tell you that the first and most important things you need to pack are your passport and important travel documents. Ideally, you want to make copies of all your vital information and keep it in separate places while you travel (e.g. your day pack and your main luggage, which will remain at your accommodation venue while you explore). It’s also recommended that you make digital copies of these documents and store it in a cloud-based space (e.g. Dropbox) that you can access from anywhere in the world. While you’re at it, share your itinerary with your immediate family and a trusted friend or two, so these people know exactly where you’ll be in case of an emergency back home.
IMPORTANT: If you’re going on a guided, pre-organised tour of Europe, please be aware that you will be unable to continue on your trip if you lose your passport somewhere along the way. You will have to stay in the country where you lost it until your consulate can supply you with stand-in papers, which also means you’ll have to foot the bill for continued accommodation that was not included as part of the original tour. In short, take care of your passport!
Although it’s normally simple enough to exchange currencies once you arrive in most European countries, it’s always convenient to have a moderate sum of the local currency at hand when you disembark. Take this along in a money belt that you can wear beneath your clothing, close to your body, along with your passport, etc.
Travel Tip: Remember to inform your bank that you will be travelling abroad. If you neglect to do so, they may block your cards and accounts when you try to use them overseas.
Next up on your holiday planner should be any electronic items you wish to take along. This includes your camera, cell phone, wearable fitness monitor (you may want to log those steps!), laptop, etc. as well as their assorted chargers. Make sure to check whether you’ll need a power adapter for any of the countries you visit on your European trip. Purchase these beforehand to ensure that you have no trouble charging your devices while on holiday.
Travel Tip: It can be very helpful to invest in a waterproof sleeve or bag to store your cell phone and other devices you will carry with you every day.
Stock up on any chronic medication you use prior to your trip. This also includes non-prescription meds like antihistamines. Another thing that might come in handy is a basic first-aid kit with bandages, gauze, antibacterial cream, etc. Remember that some medications you can get over the counter in your country of residence may be subject to prescription abroad, so rather take along the meds you know you might need while you travel.
Travel Tip: Wear sunscreen every day in summer, and even on clear days in winter. The last thing you want to take home from your trip is a painful, flaky sunburn. It’s often best to purchase sunscreen upon arrival since local brands are tailored to the climate of the country you’re visiting.
If there is one single item you have to include on your packing list for Europe above all else in the clothing department, it’s a pair of comfortable walking shoes. If you’re travelling in winter, be sure to invest in a pair of water-proof shoes or boots that will hold up under wet and/or snowy conditions. Most European cities are best explored on foot if you want to discover all the wondrous nooks and crannies. That’s tough to do when your feet are killing you due to a poor choice in footwear.
The rest of the clothing you’ll pack will depend on the country you’re visiting, the activities you have planned and the season you’ll be encountering on touchdown. Start by packing any occasional wear and/or technical gear you may need, e.g. a swimsuit and amphibian shoes for a trip to the coast, or a ski jacket and goggles for a visit to a ski resort. Then create three or four capsule outfits (pants/skirt/dress, button-down shirt/T-shirt/blouse, socks/stockings/leggings, cardigan/sweater/jacket) in neutral, travel-friendly colours (whites get dirty very quickly on busses and public transport…) that can be altered with the addition of a few accessories like hats, scarves, and jewellery. Prepare to dress in light layers that you can shed or add to as the weather changes.
Travel Tip: Don’t overpack. Most European cities and towns have laundromats, where you can do a load at very reasonable rates. Alternatively, you can send out your washing from your hotel if you don’t mind spending a bit more. This way you can leave valuable space in your luggage that can be filled with keepsakes, souvenirs and gifts for your loved ones back home.
There you have it – a list of the absolute must-haves you need to include on your packing list when you are preparing for your Europe trip.
With these essentials packed and ready to go, you’ll be paving the way for a hassle-free journey and enjoyable holiday. Bon voyage!