By Sarah Phillips
My normal packing list is actually pretty thorough. I don’t like to forget anything, but I also don’t like to over pack (trust me – lugging a suitcase around Venice will cure that in no time). When I do pack though, I’ve got a few items that are absolute must-haves for Europe, besides the obvious things like clothes, passport and medicine. Here are my must haves:
Comfortable shoes. I’m all for coordinating outfits and looking snazzy while on vacation, but trust me when I say this – you won’t just want comfortable shoes in Europe, you’ll need them. There’s a lot to see and that means a lot of walking. In this case, choose comfort first. There are lots of options besides tennis shoes. Check out some different retailers, like zappos.com, for multiple options. One of my favorite pairs is from Land’s End, a comfy and cute pair of Mary Jane trekkers that carried me through a 9-day Mediterranean cruise with minimal pain.
A Scarf or Shawl. When visiting Europe, a lot of places (especially churches and historical sites) require your shoulders and knees be covered before you can enter. As summers can be warm in Southern Europe, this is a perfect lightweight option to make sure you’re ‘covered.’ I have a lightweight, white, almost sheer scarf I use whenever I travel to Europe and it’s come in handy multiple times.
Camera. This seems like a given, but you’ll want to remember this vacation. Smart phones take great pictures, but on vacation, I just have to have my digital camera. My camera has more options than my smartphone and don’t have to worry about storage space. Plus, with memory cards being relatively cheap, bring multiple cards and change them every day. This way – if anything happens to your camera, you’ll have pictures from previous days on your trip.
Read our Ready, Set, Cruise articles on Europe.
Charger Adapter. Most of you are already aware there’s a difference in electrical outlets between the US and Europe. But you may not be aware just how easy it is to find a converter so you can still charge your phone, iProducts, cameras, etc. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on one – amazon.com has them as low as $0.01 (yes one cent). If you do want to spend a little more, you can find some neat converters with multiple inputs and options.
Bags. Yeah, this one’s plural. There are 2 kinds of bags I always pack: 1) An empty foldable bag that packs flat 2) A comfortable, medium-sized bag that’s not a back-pack. The empty foldable bag is more for the return trip home. I bring it to make sure I have enough packing space to bring back souvenirs and trip purchases. This gives me an extra option for bringing items home either on the plane or by checking a 2nd bag. If I don’t use it, it’s flat and doesn’t take up much space in the first place. The 2nd bag is for carrying around Europe – things like your scarf, camera, and guidebook. Don’t use a backpack if at all possible. I have a cross body mail bag that I love to use because I can see it at all times. As a similar note, several experts also recommend a money belt that stays tucked under your clothes to hide away your money and passport.
Copies of Important Docs. Even though I have my passport and credit cards with me when I travel, I also bring a photo copy of them with me. My copies include my passport, credit cards, Driver’s License and important phone numbers including my banks and the US Embassy. I keep this in my cabin or room as a just in case. If something happens to my important travel docs, I’m in a much better position to replace them and get home with no problems.
So, there it is – my must haves for any European adventure. What about you? What are your must-haves for things to pack for Europe? What do you always pack for your trips?
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