You're planning a trip to Europe. Awesome. There's plenty of things to see and do and you'll want to spend as much time as possible exploring new and exciting places. One way to do this is by packing the necessities and leaving the extra "things I need" at home.
When you think about it, there are only so many items you need to take. The kitchen sink isn't one of them. All too often, travelers pack anything and everything they "think" they'll need when in actuality all it does is mean carrying and transporting extra luggage that is not necessary. Leave these non-necessities behind. They will be okay while you're away.
Granted, there are some items you must have but at the end of the day, seven pairs of shoes, nearly unlimited T-shirts, and five pairs of pants is crossing the line into "you're packing too much."
Even if your trip is an extended vacay there's a process known as coordinating your wardrobe so a few items "fit" together to make more than one good-looking outfit. This simple process can streamline, organize, and downsize the packing procedure. This leaves more room for things you do need while eliminating the need for a truckload of luggage.
Consider the "yes, I should pack" and "no, I shouldn't pack" process and items. Then, before packing, make a list of what you do and don't need and check it twice before snapping, zipping, and locking up your luggage.
20 Leave At Home - Electronics are a No-Go
Yes, just about everyone on the planet is connected in some way to the internet, but you're going on a Euro vacation and some things just aren't necessary. If you've checked with your cell phone provider and verified or update your plan to cover international travel, then you're covered with communication, internet, and picture-taking and video recording. The more gadgets you bring the higher the risk they'll be stolen or lost. If you're traveling on business, then a camera or laptop may be necessary.
19 Leave At Home - Leave the Bling at Home
Just like not bringing excessive electronics and gadgets, the same holds true when dealing with expensive jewelry. Wearing diamond studs in your ears, your mom's favorite antique necklace, or adorning a dress shirt with expensive cufflinks just isn't the wisest move. Things can easily be lost or stolen anywhere along your travel itinerary. Plus, wearing a lot of expensive bling puts a target on your head. You'll stand out from the crowd as a potential victim of theft. Even wearing excessive faux jewelry can result in would-be thieves taking an interest.
18 Leave At Home - Books Begone!
Not in the real sense, just when traveling. If it's a long flight, having a book along helps make the time pass faster. The downside is books are heavy and will weigh down your luggage or backpack. If you're an avid reader and want to have your favorite author along for the trip, an exception to the "leave excess electronics at home" suggestion is to bring along a Kindle. It's lightweight, offers a lot of variety, and takes up minimal space.
17 Leave At Home - Cashing In
Cash (converted into European money) is good for many reasons, like if you're at a souvenir shop in a very small out-of-the village, for example, otherwise, leave excess quantities of "the green" at home. Two reasons; if you're flashing around a wad of money, unscrupulous persons may be nearby. And, there's the risk of losing your cash, which puts you up that famous creek. Bring credit cards and take advantage of many ATMs available throughout Europe and keep only a limited amount of cash on your person for when it's the only option.
16 Leave At Home - Staying Dry
Unless you're planning to pitch a tent, bath towels are going to be available at your choice of accommodations, so don't burden your luggage by packing a big, bulky, bath towel. If you're concerned about a lack of towels or your plans have you hiking trails and working up a sweat, consider bringing a travel towel that is quick-drying. This will solve the problem of not having a towel when you need one, and keep the sweat off your brow when necessary.
15 Leave At Home - Going "Too" Casual
Vacations are about enjoyment, entertainment, sightseeing, exploration, and discovery. To do these activities you want to be cool and casual in your attire. That's fine but keep in mind Europeans tend to dress up more, meaning jeans, shorts, and flip-flops may not be what you'll see a lot of in certain situations from dining and bars to museums and art galleries. When coordinating your wardrobe, include clothing that's a step up from casual with a quality pair of slacks, pants, a skirt, or dress, jacket, and dress shoes, and a nice shirt or blouse.
14 Leave at home - Guidebooks Won't Get You There
A basic guidebook to Europe may cover a little bit of this and that, which is fine if you're looking for basic and generic information. A generalized guidebook provides a few details about some of the most popular places in a wide range of cities and countries. A basic guidebook won't tell you all the cool and out of the way places to visit, much less how to get there. Leave the basics at home and bring guidebooks specific to the cities you'll be visiting.
13 Leave At Home - Overpacking101
It's human nature to want to have more than enough so we don't run out and that includes clothing. When packing for a trip, it's too easy to get hung up on thinking there's a need for an outfit every day you're away. The key to not overpacking is to pare down the number of outfits. This is easy to do; by coordinating and mixing and matching. This goes for guys and gals. Depending on the length of your vacation, estimate how many outfits you can create by mixing and matching using the few items you've packed. You may be surprised.
12 Necessity - Security!
You know there are things that you just don't bring with you on an airplane. You leave these at home or check them so there are no issues. Sometimes, especially for those planning to go on hiking and camping excursions, you may forget and pack a Swiss Army knife in your luggage or tote to use when you're on the trail. You won't pass through security with it, so, double check your luggage, totes, and pockets to make sure there's nothing that can slow down the boarding process.
11 Necessity - Basic Info
You want to be sure you have enough of your favorite hand cream, toothpaste, mouthwash, and other assorted items like a hairdryer. This is natural, but, you have to consider the weight of full-sized containers and accessories and the amount of room they'll take up. Remember, you're packing light so there's less luggage to deal with. Keep weight on the down-low and maximize the available space by purchasing travel size toiletries and leaving the hairdryer at home.
10 Necessity - Extra! Extra!
You've packed light and right to maximize your wardrobe, accessories, and gadgets. This helps eliminate time to wait at baggage pickup and dealing with a lot of luggage to transport via taxi, train, rental car, and shuttle to your accommodations. Another reason is you want to keep the weight down because you'll most likely bring back a souvenir or two, or you found the deal of the century on designer attire. Be prepared by bringing an extra tote or carry-on to use if you need it.
9 Necessity - Luxury Items (Very Few)
While doing your lightweight packing, another purpose is to allow space and weight for one or two luxury items. For everyone, it will be different. Maybe you want to bring along your favorite pair of bedroom slippers. It's okay to bring something that's ultra comfortable and makes you feel at home no matter where you're staying, just be sure to keep it simple with only one or two items that you've allocated room for. We're creatures of habit and regardless that you're in Europe, sometimes something from home just adds an extra touch to your travel experience.
8 Necessity - Passport Protection
The goal of your Euro trip is to have a good time and not worry about losing your passport or having it stolen. Like many bustling cities, pickpockets thrive on unsuspecting tourists. One easy way to protect your passport, credit cards, identification, and cash is to carry it all in a convenient passport pouch. Pouches are lightweight with a cord, so you can hang it around your neck versus carrying your credentials and other important items in your back pocket (where it's a tempting and easily "picked" piece).
7 Necessity - Staying Connected to the Big Picture
While you're out and about sightseeing, there's always the possibility of your devices running out of juice, especially your Smartphone. It can be a challenge when you're trying to navigate an unfamiliar city without the help of the internet and access to city maps. To avoid being disconnected, pick up an external portable charger no larger than a tube of lipstick at the local electronics or department store. Easily charged using an adaptor, the mini power bank adds about 14 hours to your phone to keep you functional and connected.
6 Necessity - Speaking of Adaptors...
Keep in mind the power outlets in most European countries are not the same as they are in the U.S. This means you need to bring along an adaptor to plug into an outlet, so you can use your devices. Adaptors come in a variety of styles from just a standard plug for items like electric toothbrushes and cell phones to more elaborate models with USB ports. You can plug a power strip into the adaptor and charge several items at one time. They're available as a single unit or in multi-packs.
5 Necessity - The Hydrating Process
Chances are you'll be out and about for the better part of the day taking in the sights, taking a tour, exploring, hiking, biking, and more. This is part of the vacation itinerary. Unfortunately, depending on your destination locations, having access to drinkable water may be a problem. To avoid being thirsty and having no way to quench it, bring along a water bottle equipped with its own filter. Having a water bottle ensures the water you drink is safe.
4 Necessity - Dressing to the Nines
When in Europe, do as the Europeans do and make a subtle yet memorable statement with your evening attire. Going casual during the day is A-okay but make your own signature statement by packing at least one top-shelf outfit. Whether you're planning a romantic dinner at a high-end restaurant or taking advantage of the nightlife scene, you'll want to fit in with the crowd. Go simple but chic with a splash of pizzazz and you'll be just fine. This tip is for both men and women.
3 Necessity - Settling Things Down
For most people, changing their regular diet, disrupting the routine of dining, and introducing an assortment of new cuisine often results in an upset stomach. The last thing you want is to experience an upset stomach and all that goes with it while on vacation. To help stop problems before they get started, pack a bottle of activated charcoal. The capsules absorb the bad stuff in your system, so you can continue your journey without extra pitstops.
2 Necessity - Outsmarting the Elements
Your itinerary is set and you're planning to visit several countries. You've chosen a season to travel and you know what to expect with the weather. No matter how well you plan, Mother Nature doesn't always cooperate and do as it's expected. To stay dry during unexpected downpours and to keep the chill away while the raindrops are sprinkling, invest in a rain jacket. They're lightweight and easy to pack, and you'll be glad to have the coverage.
1 Necessity - Travel with Confidence
Like any vacation, things can go wrong. You may get sick, have a minor or major accident, or some other unfortunate situation arises. While this may be normal, the problem is, you're in Europe when it happens and your "at home" insurance plan isn't going to help. This is why travel insurance was created so international travelers can cross the pond in confidence. Before boarding your mode of transportation to exciting places near and far, purchase travel insurance for peace of mind.