“What do I take?”is a serious question for a lot of first time travelers. Though the common answer is simply that it varies from one person to the next; what they want/need with them, how much space their clothes take up (based on size and level of fashion).
Personally, I travel with comfort in mind; little to no jewelry, no stilettos, just basics. I like to lay everything out on my bed before I start deciding what goes where.
For 7 to 10 days:
1. Always take enough underwear and socks to have a pair or two extra plus a few bras.
2. I take 3 to 4 pairs of pants (generally jeans and leggings)
3. Take varying shirts that can be layered and make sure they have sleeves (something more than a tank top) base this on the projected weather.
4. A long sleeved sweater and hoodie
5. Rain-resistant windbreaker
6. Second pair of good walking shoes because the first pair could get soaked just like socks (when I pack leggings, I also take tall boots with low or no heels)
7. My own personal washcloth (it’s not overly bleached and it’s guaranteed to be there as not all European hotels carry them…but don’t worry, they always provide towels)
8. Pajamas (I usually just take over sized t-shirts)
I know, you’re thinking it’s not enough, but trust me on this one – it’s plenty. And what’s the worst thing that could happen? Buying European clothes? Best souvenir ever!
Obviously the actual details of what you wear is totally up to you and will likely match what you plan to do when you get to Europe.
That said, if you plan to visit churches or the Vatican, no shorts or bare shoulders are permitted.
It’s usually a good idea to carry a head scarf for women because some of the churches will require you to cover your head…unless you want pictures with a tissue on your head. (Or purchase a cheap scarf there…another great souvenir).
11. Credit cards
12. Copy of passport (though most hotels and hostels will make a copy for their own records) this can expedite replacing lost or stolen passports
13. Folder with tickets, tours, itinerary if you have one
14. Any prescription medication, in their original bottles
15. Pocket flashlight (depending where you go, some areas are not well lit)
16. Small pad of paper and a couple pens (often you will complete duty free forms on the plane)
18. Mini emergency kit: I take a few bandaids, chewable pepto bismol, alieve, dramamine, imodium pills (I travel with friends or family so i like to keep this on hand to take care of minor issues that can ruin our good time, because even if you aren’t the one who doesn’t feel good, it puts a damper on your fun).
19. Cell phone (if you don’t have an international plan, you may come home to a $300 bill)
20. Tablet/laptop (if I’m going to be typing, I take the laptop, otherwise I prefer the tablet which is lighter and easier to deal with)
21. Camera (if the point of this trip isn’t photography, I would recommend a small point and shoot…though I rarely follow my own advice on this – I always take my Nikon)
22. Camera accessories (additional lenses, SD card, charger, etc.)
23. All cords and wall chargers for devices you are taking, only bring car charger if you will be renting a car.
24. Manicure items
25. Shampoo, conditioner and shower gel or soap.
26. European plug adapters* (super important)
27. A tote bag that folds up small (my mom will be so proud of me for putting this on the list) – sometimes to save money you will purchase food or snacks from a grocery store or open air market and many times you will not get a bag, so it’s helpful to have one with you.
Most airports allow you to bring on the plane a carryon and a personal item at no additional cost. Personal item = purse, backpack OR laptop case.
I bring a backpack that holds my purse items and pack my electronics in my backpack and carryon depending on their size and if i want them on the plane.
I split up my clothes between my carryon and checked luggage.
There is always a chance that your checked luggage will be lost, damaged or delayed. Thus the reason why all electronics, valuable items, medications and fragile items stay with you in your carryon.
I keep my jacket in my carryon because it can get cold on the plane.
I also keep my TSA approved amounts of liquids in my carryon. Basically all the 3 oz. Bottles you can fit into a quart sized ziplock bag. This has my liquid foundation, travel size lotion, travel size mouthwash and toothpaste and all my lancome products like moisturizer and makeup remover. This goes in my backpack so it’s easy to remove for security.
Any liquid larger than 3oz. (Like regular size shampoo or other hair products that you can’t find in travel size) go in your checked luggage, but put then in a large ziplock so they don’t spill on your clothes if they bust. Also nail files and tweezers go in checked because they are considered weapons or something…
I used to take my ipod to listen to music or audiobooks when my eyes got tired, but I’ve learned how to use my phone for that which is great. My phone stays with me in the backpack which I keep under the seat in front of me (not an option if you’re in the first row, but you do gain leg room so it’s up to you.)
I also take a mid to large empty purse in case I’m going to a place that doesn’t allow backpacks.
On the way home, toss all your liquids in your checked luggage and all of your clothes because you are going home and you have that stuff there. Now you have room in that carryon for suvenier from your trip…but if it’s fragile, use some of your clothes to protect it.
*the best European adapter I’ve used can be found at Amazon.com. I’ve provided a link below – it charged my phone, Mike’s phone, my tablet, my ipod and those were just via USB, it also allowed us to plug up to 4 things in at the same time.