What to Pack for Europe
Traveling to Europe means going from city to city with various modes of transportation. It is tempting to pack it all, but it is best to pack light. Walking down cobblestone streets and trying to fit suitcases on trains or small rental cars is a challenge. Here are my tips for what to pack for Europe.
I always travel with a small binder with all of my printed confirmations and e-tickets. I also carry hard copies of maps. I turn off my cell phone and travel old school! Wi-Fi is available most places, but it is easier just to have my documents right at hand. The kids will also appreciate parents not checking their phones all of the time.
Packing cubes are key to keeping clothes organized and knowing how to find items easily without unpacking your entire bag. I also use compression bags for dirty clothes. Compression bags will save space in luggage and keep dirty clothes separate from clean clothes.
A universal plug adapter is a must. A power converter is not necessary unless a device is not compatible. Look on the device for the rating. Most devices are rated for 110-220V. I have an adapter that also has USB ports. I charge multiple devices from one plug. Download a currency converter application as well as offline maps such as CityMaps2Go.
Most European vendors prefer chip and pin credit cards; you may find this is especially true for gas stations. The U.S. has not converted completely over to this system yet, but call your credit card company to see if a chip and pin credit card is available. I also have a RFID blocking wallet with two bill holders so I can keep different currencies separate.
I think the best way to carry things is a cross body purse. Important documents and money are kept close. I know many people insist on a money belt, but I feel very safe with my purse in my sight. A backpack is also needed when traveling with kids. Do not put valuables in the backpack, but use it for water and snacks. It is also perfect for carrying purchases and jackets.
This is your vacation, and you will be walking for days, be comfortable! Pack a variety of lengths of pants, including shorts. Depending where you are going, it can be very hot or cool at times. Bring different types of shoes as well. I like to bring sandals, tennis shoes, and alternate pair of shoes to give my feet a rest. We also always have packable rain jackets in our backpack.
My family has traveled to Europe for 10 days at a time, and we have always only brought carry-on bags. A carry-on provides plenty room for what we need. Taking smaller bags makes it easier to hop on trains, fit our luggage in a small rental car and get through multiple airports and subway systems without carrying bulky luggage. Pack light and there will be plenty of room for souvenirs!
You may also enjoy:
- 8 Tips for Driving in Europe
- Do You Need an International Drivers Permit?
- Tax-Free Shopping in Europe: Claim Your VAT Refund
- How to Protect Your Bank Accounts While Traveling
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Tricia lives in Phoenix with her husband, 12 year-old daughter and 10 year-old son. She is a special education teacher for elementary students. Her family’s favorite memories…