Everything is sorted – your tour is booked and paid for, your visa has arrived in time (phew), and the only thing left to do is pack your bags! While packing may not always be fun, it is an inevitable part of any trip – no matter the destination.
Any seasoned traveller will tell you that planning thoroughly and getting organised are essential first steps in the packing process. We’ve asked our most experienced packers, the Expat Explore tour leaders, to share practical packing tips, tricks of the trade and cures for the over-packer.
“I am getting very excited for my upcoming trip! What kind of baggage do you recommend your travellers bring? The type with wheels or the ‘backpacking’ type?” – Expat Explore traveller
On Expat Explore coach tours your luggage may not weigh more than 20kg/44lb. Most of the time you are required to carry your luggage when on tour and not all hotels have elevators. We strongly recommend that you use a light suitcase and pack only what you can comfortably carry.
Be realistic, keep it minimal and make life easier for yourself. It’s better to get by with what you have than to carry a heavy suitcase around.
– Expat ExploreTour Leader
Wheeled suitcases are the most common suitcase used on tour, but backpacks are also popular among younger travellers. Both options have their pros and cons to consider:
You are permitted to take one piece of main luggage with you on the coach to a maximum weight of 20kg. Maximum dimensions are 75cm x 43cm x 90cm. Please note that you need to carry your own luggage on tour (for example, from the tour bus to the hotels – and some hotels may not have elevators) so please ensure you can handle the size and weight of the bag you choose to bring.
You may bring a carry-on bag, also known as a daypack, with you on the coach. This will hold everyday things you may need while travelling and sightseeing such as water, a camera, sunscreen, a hat etc. Maximum dimensions for carry-on bags for the coach are 42cm x 30cm x 18cm.
Related: Take a look at our blog to find out more information about how to pack for a rail tour.
The amount of time you spend in a specific area/country will influence your travel wardrobe the most. Pack one casual outfit for every day and one or two smart outfits for when you have to dress up. For longer trips, remember that you can wash clothes at a laundromat. Laundromats or laundry services can be located in or near most hotels. We recommend doing your laundry in destinations where you spend 2-3 nights. When packing, remember that you’ll have to repack almost daily, so distribute weight evenly when you pack and keep it organised. It’s so much easier if you know what you are looking for.
A lot of people think that Europe is always cold. Do your research and find out more about the weather. Dress yourself mentally from head to toe to make sure you have everything you need. Remember that you always need less clothing than you imagine.
– Expat Explore Tour Leader
Whether you are looking forward to sun, sea and sand on a summertime trip or are touring Europe during the chilly festive season, you will experience different types of weather as you travel and should be able to adapt your clothing accordingly. You can find all sorts of information online about the seasons, weather and even the amount of rainy days to expect. Keep an eye on trusted weather sites like Wunderground when you start packing. Allow yourself enough time to shop before you leave. The best way to master the weather on tour is to choose outfits that you can mix and match. Remember, quick-dry and wrinkle-free clothing is best – especially in summer.
Related: Wondering what suitcase essentials you need when heading out to Europe in the chilly winter months? Find out here!
Refer to your trip itinerary to see how active you’ll be when on the road. You might need special equipment and should find out if you can hire what you need from the intended destination.
Comfortable shoes are an absolute must. Think about a pair of sneakers that can pack up away neatly and always throw in a pair of flip-flops. They are versatile and can be used as “slippers” in your hotel. When travelling in fall or winter, wear your bulkiest pair of shoes on the plane.
Walking is by far the activity you do the most. If you’ve got your passport and comfortable walking shoes, you’ve got everything you need!
– Greg Fleming, Private Groups Manager
Don’t carry large sums of any currency. Europe widely accepts major credit cards and cash cards. Make your bank aware of your travel plans.
– Expat Explore Tour Leader
One of the most annoying things is coming home after two weeks in Europe, unpacking and finding things that you did not use or wear a single time. Consider leaving the following items at home to save some much-needed space:
Ready to get back on the road? Have a look at our upcoming tours! If you’ve already booked a tour you can find more packing information and other travel essentials in our Help section. We’d love to hear about your packing headaches and how you solved them! Share with us in the comment section below.
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