What to pack for Europe

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Most Viewed What to Pack in Europe

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    What should you pack?

    by Beausoleil Updated Apr 24, 2013

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    Luggage and bags: Your destination and activities will guide your packing. Try to take as little as possible. Many airlines are charging per bag, including carry-ons so it's wise to take as few as possible. Check your airline for allowed bag weight and dimensions. Weigh and measure your bags to make sure you won't be repacking at the airport. We've seen it and it doesn't look like fun.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Many people want to avoid looking like a tourist. You can't. You buy your clothes where you live; they buy their clothes where they live so you are going to be dressed differently. Then there is the matter of class and gender. You can't win this one so don't try. Take comfortable clothes that are appropriate for the weather and your activities. Don't buy all new clothes for your trip. Nothing screams "TOURIST" more than clothes that still have the manufactureres fold lines on them. We simply take our normal clothes, enough for a week and then do a laundry when we need clean clothes. They sell anything you will need so if you forget something, buy it there . . . and you'll have a nice souvenir in the bargain.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Make sure you have enough of required prescription medicines and put them in your carry-on bag so they aren't lost if your luggage doesn't make it with you. Accidents happen so carry an official prescription copy with you too and have your doctor put it in generic form so it can be read by a European pharmacist. Other than prescriptions, don't worry too much about taking what you need. If you forget something, go to the nearest store and buy it there. They sell Ivory soap and Colgate toothpaste in Europe too. They have most of the brands you use at home and it's also fun to try more local brands. We don't take most of our toiletries because we go for a month so we buy them when we arrive and they are usually gone when we're ready to leave. One less thing to put in the suitcase!

    Photo Equipment: This is very personal. I have a reasonable digital camera, two 8G memory cards and 3 full sets of batteries along with a charger. You may want more equipment or you may want less. I also take a laptop and transfer my photos each night into a dated folder listing where we were that day. Then I burn a copy onto a CD and clear my camera disk for the next day. I keep a written journal to jog my memory when going through the photos at home later. It's given me a lot of pleasure but it's probably overkill for most people.

    DO take a dual voltage battery charger. Look on the back label for 110-240 or figures very similar. If your charger says 110-120, go to the drugstore and buy a dual voltage charger so you don't have to carry a converter with you. Most these days are dual voltage but it's a good idea to check.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: We used to put our camping equipment (including tent) into a large duffle bag and check it through. Since 9/11 and hypersecurity, we've given up camping in Europe. We camp where we can drive and in Europe we used budget accomodation, including Gites de France in France, Agriturisimi in Italy and Gasthauses in Germany. Check on the VT Forum for budget ideas in your chosen country. I highly recommend Logis de France (hotels) and Gites de France in France. We love them.
    Logis de France
    Gites de France
    Italian Agriturismo in English
    Italian Agriturismo

    Miscellaneous: Electricity: You can find all you will ever need to know (with photos) at World Electrics
    Basically, if you have dual voltage (110-240 v) appliances, you need only a small adapter so you can fit your plug into the wall socket. In the UK there is a button on the wall socket to turn it on (in addition to plugging in your appliance). This was a surprise to us.

    If your appliance is 110-120v, you will need a converter to change the voltage that goes into your applicance. European voltage is 240 and that will fry your US 110-120 appliances. You can get new dual voltage appliances or get a converter. The converters are available at Radio Shack, Walmart, Target, most drug stores and all department store luggage departments and luggage stores.

    We always take a package of adapters because European plugs are shaped differently from US (UK is different from the continent) so you plug into the adapter and the adapter plugs into the foreign wall socket. These are very cheap so get one that takes 3-prong plugs and is adjustable for different countries. The adapters are available at Radio Shack, Walmart, Target, most drug stores and all department store luggage departments and luggage stores.

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    Put your full itinerary INSIDE your luggage

    by Beausoleil Written Feb 11, 2013

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    Luggage and bags: It is a good idea to put your full itinerary on a luggage tag attached to the handle of your luggage. It is an even better idea to put another copy of your full itinerary inside each piece of luggage. If it is delayed or lost, you will eventually get it. If your home address and phone are on the tag, they will call you at home . . . only you will be on vacation and without your luggage. We've had our luggage shipped to us all over France and Italy when it disappeared. The longest wait was three days and it's usually on the next flight. If your info is with the bag, they can contact you and ship it to wherever you happen to be when they find it. Sounds silly but it works. I've attached a photo of a business card I use in my luggage tag and another photo of an itinerary placed inside the luggage. (The names have been changed for reasons of privacy.)

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    Travel cash cards -- Caxton fx

    by Getcarlos Written Sep 17, 2012

    Miscellaneous: If you are looking for a cash card to travel with Try Caxton fx. They have a world traveller card which may let you upload cash from from your card, I used it in NZ, Thailand etc from UK fine, but it's one of the lesser known ones but works great for travelling somewhere with multiple currencies, they do have a euro card too. The rates are much lower than those in travel agents and use the banking rates not tourist ones, more cash for us to spend.

    Travellers cheques are also a safe option but you get stung with the commission, much safer than carrying all that cash at least

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  • RoscoeGregg's Profile Photo
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    Go Light, Go Light ,Go Light

    by RoscoeGregg Updated Oct 15, 2011

    Luggage and bags: You are not going to the wilderness. You are going to a very civilized place. Do not try to pack for every possibility. If you need an item that you did not bring you will be able to find it in Europe. Bring a little extra cash to cover the occasional unexpected necessary purchase. A few extra bucks are much lighter and more flexible that any item that you do not use on your trip.

    Focus on items that are flexible and work well with the other items in your kit. Like colors of clothing that are complementary.

    Items that you must not leave
    1. Medications
    2. Copies of Prescriptions
    3. Extra Corrective Eye Wear
    Items to leave at home
    1. Heirloom jewelry
    2. Any Item that you cannot afford to loose.

    Load your bags before you leave and then carry them around for an hour or so. Then repack your load. Do this till you can carry your load with ease. Then you can approach your travels with confidence that you will be able to go anywhere you wish.

    REMEMBER 2 BAGS OR LESS!!

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    Your Feet Are Your Babies

    by RoscoeGregg Written Oct 15, 2011

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: You are allways afoot in Europe. Bring your most comfortable broken in walking shoes or boots.

    If they are new wear them at home till the are broken in. If you do not have a pair that fit replace them with a pair that do. Look till you find a brand that fits your foot. Look for a good shop where they still know how to measure your foot and fit you with the right footwear.

    Break them in at home. A blister at home is an annoyance. In Europe where you reach most things on foot it could derail your fun completely.

    Bring good socks. Wool or synthetic will work much better to prevent blisters than cotton and dry faster when you wash them. Bring at least 3-4 pair so you can wash one pair out each evening and have a clean dry pair always ready

    I know this sounds a bit excessive but footwear and walking are an especialty of mine. I have hiked 10s of thousands of miles and I am on my feet every day. I have fit hundreds of people with boots and shoes. I have not had a blister since 1979. (brag, brag, brag)

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    The most important of all

    by Maryimelda Updated Jun 2, 2011

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    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: The best way to see most parts of Europe is on foot. Throw all thoughts of vanity out of the window and be sure to wear hard wearing, sensible, comfortable non-slip shoes, becfause more often than not you will be walking on ancient cobblestone paths and roads or rough and uneven paving stones. There is nothing that can take the fun and enjoyment out of sightseeing than sore feet or worse still, an injury sustained during a fall.

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    Tea or coffee anyone?

    by Maryimelda Written Oct 21, 2010

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    Miscellaneous: How often do we see when reading hotel reviews that there were no tea or coffee making facilities in the room? These days it is extremely common to find that rooms in three star and less hotels do not have provision for a cuppa in the room. If it is important to you to have a late night cup of tea or coffee, then you can always pack your own little electric jug or kettle.
    Now I can hear you saying that a kettle on top of the fan in my previous tip is taking the packing things a little too far. But if you do what I do, you can usually pick up a cheap little jug at your first port of call and discard it at your last stop. This way, you don't need to take it on your international flight back home. For the few euro it will cost you, it should be well worth it to know that you can still have your late night cuppa and you can easily pick up a few disposable cups and plastic spoons at a minimart to get you by.

    By the way, the kettle in my pic cost me $13.95 and weighed very little, so I am still carrying it around with me.

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  • Maryimelda's Profile Photo

    A word to the wise....

    by Maryimelda Updated Oct 11, 2010

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    Miscellaneous: Not many budget hotels in Europe are air conditioned. In fact there are very few indeed. Germany and Austria come to mind as being more inclined to heating than cooling in their hotels. It can sometimes get quite hot in some of the rooms especially during the summer months. You may be able to open a window, but in many cases, there will be a lot of noise from traffic etc outside the window. I have been caught once too often and now I carry a small desk fan, which, though not always totally effective is far better than nothing. My little fan weighs about 1kg, which some might think is excessive when trying to watch baggage weights, but to me, it is worth ten times its weight in gold. Even in Vienna in mid-September, I needed my fan. It is the first thing that goes into the case when I am packing.

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  • Maryimelda's Profile Photo

    Be prepared.....

    by Maryimelda Written Jun 3, 2010

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    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: It is always wise to travel light, there is nothing new about that bit of information. Do be aware that in Europe, the weather can change dramatically in a matter of hours so always have a light rainjacket of some sort and a compact umbrella in your day bag. I have a very lightweight waterproof bag that I wear like a backpack and in it I carry nothing else but my rain jacket and umbrella. It is no weight to carry and is my insurance against the rain and cold.

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    Applying for visa from the US

    by ATLC Updated Mar 11, 2008

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    Miscellaneous: for to the UK
    http://www.britainusa.com/visas/index_visa.asp?i=41000 or click here
    for visa to Germany
    http://www.germany.info/relaunch/index.html or click here
    and specifically (for forms):
    http://www.germany.info/relaunch/info/consular_services/visa.html or click here

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  • travelfrosch's Profile Photo

    What to bring to Europe?

    by travelfrosch Updated Feb 17, 2008

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    Luggage and bags: In general, I advise you pack as light as possible. Try to fit everything into one checked bag (or a single carry-on if you're resourceful). If you're planning to take trains and buses, I recommend you use a backpack. If you must bring a suit or formal attire (say, for a business trip), then take a single hard-sided garment bag to check. You can bring one small carry-on bag to hold what you need for the flight; this can also double as a day bag during your travels.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: For clothing, less is better. Bring multi-purpose clothes (e.g., a turtle neck for warmth that is nice enough to be worn out to dinner). Bring as few shoes as you can get away with: a pair of black or brown walking shoes nice enough to be worn to dinner can be enough for some trips. I've even gotten away with a pair of plain black sneakers that can pass for shoes to a casual observer. If you plan to hike, do bring hiking boots (you can wear them while traveling to minimize luggage weight). Finally, don't scrimp on rain gear. Bring a good Gore-tex jacket for warmth and comfort. Of course, rain gear is less vital if you're traveling to a hot, dry climate...

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Most toiletries are readily available throughout Europe at pharmacies and grocery stores. You might want to bring your own aspirin, band-aids, etc, as they can be significantly more expensive in many European countries. If you have prescription medication, be sure to bring it in a marked bottle along with a legible copy of your prescription.

    Photo Equipment: A camera is a must, of course. Digital cameras are really nice because you can see what you just photographed immediately, rather than having to wait for the film to be developed. Don't scrimp on your XD memory card; I recommend you splurge and get a 1 GB card. Memory cards are available in Europe, but you might have to pay more, and you might have difficulty finding a compatible card for some camera models. Also, be sure your battery charger is multi-voltage, and bring a plug adapter for it.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: For me, I advocate bringing a minimal amount of stuff. A bathing suit may not take up too much space, but other items can be bought/rented in Europe if you need them. Of course, if you're a hosteler or backpacker, a waterproof sleeping bag is a good idea to save on those pesky sheet rentals. I generally don't camp (too much like work... ;), but campers don't need me to tell them what they need to bring anyway.

    Miscellaneous: I recommend bringing 2 ATM cards and/or Mastercard/Visa credit cards. You can generally get the best exchange rates by simply using a local ATM, though check with your bank to see if they charge foreign transaction fees. I also recommend bringing about US$50 worth of local currency, enough to settle down before hunting for an ATM. Finally, bring an amount of your home currency with you in large bills (US, Canadian, and Japanese currency are the most easily exchanged). Carry these valuables in a money belt or neck pouch for safety.

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    Packing List

    by tahte Updated Sep 17, 2007

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    Miscellaneous: The absolute best program I had on my Palm was METRO. It's great for those times you find yourself standing in front of a metro station, ready to go back to the hotel, but you don't want to scream, 'I'm a tourist!' by staring at a subway map for 2 hours.

    Metro calculates the shortest route between 2 subway stops in seconds. It will tell you what train(s) to take, how many stops and an estimated travel time. Also, it includes some major places of interest, so if you're in Paris, it will tell you how to get from fhe Arc de Triomphe to the Eiffel Tower. Subway systems in Europe, Asia and the U.S. are available.

    The program is available for Palm, PocketPC, Symbian OSs, as well as WAP. It is updated frequently, and best of all, IT'S FREEWARE!

    Get it at http://www.nanika.net/Metro/

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  • pepples46's Profile Photo

    Packing List for North and South Europe

    by pepples46 Updated Nov 4, 2006

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    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: be aware of the weather differences in Europe. the North with Countries like Norway or Finnland can be much cooler then the South, Greece, Portugal or Spain.....pack some warmer clothes, good shoes and wet weather gear, Sunhat for the South....and of course: Mosquito Repellent when in Finnland, lotta Suncreme for Greece and Spain

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: ask your GP when on Medication, but you shouldn't have any problem getting what you need

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: if you have bagpacking in mind and are a big fan of camping, bring your own gear and make sure you make a reservation, campsites in Europe are crowded

    Miscellaneous: actually..Europe has everything covered..
    as I always say, travel light, then you have the choice to buy all those nice souveniers, shoes in Italy, wine in France..you get my drift.
    and when they're is no space anymore..just send a parcel home...thanks trekki

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  • Elodie_Caroline's Profile Photo

    Don't leave home without it!

    by Elodie_Caroline Written May 27, 2006

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    Luggage and bags:
    Go for very sturdy and not easy to get into luggage and bags, make sure that you keep your eyes on them the whole time too. If you have any very personal and/or expensive items, try and keep them on yourself, preferably via a bumbag of some kind. Carry debit/credit cards rather than a pile of money on your person, just keep enugh money for short journeys, coffeee shops etc...

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear:
    Depending on where you are going, take various types of clothing and shoewear, you can have hot sunny days, warm evenings followed by cold and/or wet and rainy, so always be prepared, have well fitting comfortable shoes for sightseeing, as well as pretty, dainty high heels for evening wear.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies:
    Well, toiletries can be obtained anywhere in the world,contrary to what some might think?. But, if you need to carry medical supplies?, make sure that you get a medical note/medical passport from your own Doctor before you leave home, so that if you are stopped at customs etc, you have all the relevent information upon you.

    Photo Equipment:
    Camera, Video camera, batteries and of course, film if it's not a Digital camera!

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear:
    Hm, if you are going on a lay on the beach holiday? then obviously swimming gear, sun tan lotion and beach towels.
    If walking/hiking? the a good pair of boots and weatherproof gear.
    Camping: A Tent might be a good idea? gas bottles and stove, tea, condiments, other food you can buy locally. Sleeping bags, groundsheets, blow up mattresses.

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  • Beware the local pick pockets and petty thieves

    by eurfirst Written Dec 29, 2005

    Luggage and bags: Keep them small and light, especially if you are traveling by train. Women's purses should be zippered and have secure straps, not the kind that clip on and off. If you are only going for two weeks in the summer, you should be able to pack into a small backpack. Also, if you plan on using trains, a light wheeled backpack beats other luggage. You want to be able to carry the bag up stairs from subways.

    Photo Equipment: Keep it small and easily concealed.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Bring only the most essential things with you....sleeping bag and pad. If you need other stuff...towels, pans, etc. you may want to pick them up there. We traveled Europe by rental car and didn't get cooking gear until we reached France and we left the equipment for the hotel housekeepers when we flew home.

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Europe What to Pack

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