Hey there! This week’s Tips for Traveling in Europe focuses on what and how to pack for a trip to Europe. Thanks for joining us again! Last week, our discussion centered around research, specifically, itineraries, hotels, and airfares.
Dora here. I confess I tend to be a bit of an over-packer. But in my defense, we’re usually on a cruise ship and formal dining nights require something dressier than casual attire. Of course, it’s a vicious cycle because then you need to bring appropriate shoes. But a couple years ago, we had a tight connection in Toronto to reach our cruise departure destination in Copenhagen. Our bags were “no shows” on the luggage carousel. What were we to do? It’s not like we could rush out to the nearest Target and buy unders or personal items to tide us over. We could barely decipher the words on the airport signs.
We filed a missing baggage claim and boarded the ship. Cruise personnel assured us that they would help track down our luggage and even offered to express launder every night for free so that we’d have clean clothes. To get by, we purchased the basics from their gift shop. After three days of wearing the same outfit, we arrived back at our stateroom late that afternoon to find two heavy suitcases parked outside our door. I think I might’ve squealed.
Yes, I was happy to see my bag, BUT…I also discovered freedom. Why pack ten outfits when we can get by with five? So, for this twelve-day trip, we determined only to pack five outfits. How and why did we do it? So happy you asked. We’ll share. 🙂
First, the why. Simple. We refused to lug fifty-pound suitcases around two airports and six different train stations, and navigate cobbled streets and thousands of stairs. Especially since now we realize how little we can get by on and how material possessions weigh us down. Maybe next time, we’ll squeeze everything in backpacks. No promises, though. 🙂
Now, the nitty gritty. How…
Wear quick dry clothes
Hubby and I shopped for quick dry clothing, including unders. Polyester, nylon or a blend of polyester/rayon/nylon/spandex dries extremely fast. Don’t just buy the most expensive items you find online. I found my tops and bottoms at Stein Mart, and Ernie found his favorite pants at Academy Sports. Which brings us to our next point…
Plan to hand launder
Because of the high laundry costs during our last cruise, we’d already purchased hooks, foldable hangers, a rope, and mini packs of Woolite, which we brought.
Don’t let your dirty clothes pile up or you’ll never get them under control. Every couple of nights, we squirted Woolite in the sink and washed/rinsed our clothes. Ask for extra towels, lay out the wet clothes on the towel and roll them up (burrito style) for a few minutes, the longer, the better.
After about an hour in the towel, hang them up. In every hotel, we had ample space for hanging, most even provided a line so we didn’t need to use our rope. By morning, our clothes were dry.
We each only brought one pair of comfortable walking shoes. Black Sketchers for me, a pair of Merrell’s for hubby. I wore holes in my socks, so make sure you bring comfortable shoes and definitely not new.
Every outfit matched our shoes. Also, my tops were colorful and could match other pants. Go for comfort, versatility, and material. No matter what season you travel, we recommend packing a sweater. It was blazing hot until we hit Amsterdam where the temperature plummeted to fifty degrees with a brutal wind and rain. I was so happy that I’d thrown in a black sweater and scarf. Umbrellas were useless at that point, but it wouldn’t hurt to toss one (or a raincoat) in the suitcase.
Other items to pack
Adapters and multi charging devices are a must. Between us, we have two phones, a tablet, and a laptop. We brought three adapters and used them all.
Ladies, no need to pack a blow dryer. You’d just waste valuable real estate. Wash cloths were a rarity, so definitely pack a wash cloth or scrubbie inside a ziploc. I’m making a note of that myself for the next trip. Also, if you tend to get weezy from sitting backwards on fast moving trains, better bring along some Bonine or Dramamine. Unless you favor a certain brand of deodorant or shampoo, bring just one and use the hotel’s or buy more as needed. For the plane, pack a quart sized Ziploc bag with a mini deodorant and toothpaste and toothbrush.
How big is too big?
I joke around about packing everything in a backpack next time, but truth is, this time I chose the smallest of our suitcases. The darn thing doesn’t expand, so every time we moved, I had to repack my bag and squish. You know how your clothes seem to expand and get bigger while you’re gone? How does that happen? Lol. Anyway, I regret pulling the tiniest bag out of the closet, and I worried about the bag busting. Then what? Overall, maybe a bigger pack and less clothes would solve this issue. But, if you’re stuck like I was, rolling your clothes consumes less space.
Load your tablet/phone with books and games
Don’t forget to load reading material and games on your phone/tablet for the long flight. Cramming five or six print books would take up too much space. Keep your portable battery charger within reach.
Did you learn something new this week? Would you add anything to this list? Next week, we’ll go over the actual traveling part. Like the long plane ride, apps, eating, sightseeing, and so on. Plan to join us, won’t you?
Has your luggage ever missed your connection? What did you do to get by until it caught up with you?
Do you roll or fold when you pack?
What one item would you have to bring?