When you travel to Europe, you want to maximize every second of your time in this incredible continent, soaking up all of the culture and history. You certainly don’t want to spend valuable hours searching shops for that one irreplaceable item that you left sitting on your kitchen table back home!
Make the best of your vacation by carefully planning the packing all of your essential travel gear, so you won’t be left stranded. Here is a list of ten critical items of travel gear you need to bring to have the best possible holiday in Europe.
Travel Gear for a Europe
European travelers often visit several countries in one trip, and take advantage of the continent’s excellent public transportation system. You may be hopping trains and even ferries in your adventures. You certainly do not want to be laden down with a bunch of heavy bags.
If you have to invest in one essential piece of travel gear, buy a suitcase that is lightweight, rolls easily over cobbled streets, and can be lifted into overhead compartments with no problem.
For extra convenience, you can find hi-tech luggage options which allow you to track your bags once they are checked, charge your phone, or even convert into a scooter!
International Power Adapter
You will not be able to charge your American electronic devices like your phone, Kindle or tablet in a European outlet. You are going to need an adapter.
Countries in Europe do not all use the same kind of electrical outlet (England and Ireland use different plugs than the rest of Europe), so purchasing a universal power adapter is your best bet.
Remember that voltage capacities are different as well. In America, the standard is 110 volts, while in Europe it is 220. High-end electronics like phones are built to operate on either voltage, but lower end items like hair dryers or razors may fry if you plug an American version into a European outlet!
Pouch for Your Valuables
Europeans may giggle at Americans with their “fanny packs,” but the prevalence of pickpockets in highly traveled tourist spots makes this travel gear important. You need to find a bag that keeps your passport and cash close to your body.
If you don’t want to strap something around your waist, consider a flat passport pouch which can be hung around your neck and placed under your clothes.
When you are struggling with jet lag or a map, thieves can take advantage of your disorientation and snatch your bag in a second. Make sure your valuables are secured to your person at all times in order to prevent your holiday from becoming a nightmare.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
Another key piece of travel gear you should bring with you to Europe is a set of noise canceling headphones. You will use them to listen to music as you are exploring the sights.
You will also rely on them when you can’t sleep because of the thin walls in your hotel, or when the companions in your train compartment want to chatter the night away.
Because you want to make the most of every day of your European travels, you will probably be out of the hotel for hours at a time. Bring a day pack!
You will want to carry a snack and a water bottle, plus a map. You may want to stash your sweater if the weather changes over the course of the day. You may pick up a few souvenirs.
Choose a lightweight backpack that can double as your carry on for your flights.
Personalized Medical Kit
Make sure you pack enough medication to last your entire trip, with extra in case you lose something or extend your stay. It may be difficult to fill your American prescriptions in a foreign country…travelers medical kit.
If you are prone to headaches or allergies, make sure you pack some of the over-the-counter medications that you prefer. You may not be able to find your favorite brands in other countries, and it may be difficult to convey your needs to a non-English speaking pharmacist.
Bandaids, aspirin and muscle ointment may also be important if you plan on doing a lot of walking or other vigorous activities.
Although it depends on the time of year you travel, it is likely that at some point during your European vacation you will have need of an umbrella. Pack a small collapsible umbrella so you are prepared.
You will be able to buy one anywhere if necessary, but umbrellas sold at tourist attractions during a rain storm are likely to be significantly marked up in price. Save yourself a few dollars/euros by packing one of your own.
Kindle or Nook
There’s nothing like sitting at a Parisian cafe with a book, or diving into your favorite Dickens novel as you travel the British countryside. However, lugging large bound volumes of literature around on your holiday may prove burdensome.
The invention of these convenient electronic devices to store books has revolutionized the idea of reading while traveling, where before Americans would have to search out English language bookstores in foreign cities. But with a Kindle or a Nook you can access and find the information you need when you need it.
Upload as many books as you can before you take off. Not only is it easier on your body, it will save you the money of trying to purchase reading material on the road.
Travel Toilet Paper
Americans are sometimes surprised that the amenities they take for granted at home are not always the same abroad. Toilet paper varies from country to country in softness and pliability.
If comfort in the bathroom is high on your list of priorities, you should include toilet paper as an essential bit of travel gear to include your packing.
Alcohol in many European countries is highly taxed; you may be taken aback at the cost for a bottle of beer in Scandinavia, for example. You also may not always be able to get a drink when you need it: in your hotel room at 2 in the morning when you are suffering from jet lag, for example.
A small hip flask can give you easy access to a shot of schnapps or whatever local liquor you prefer. You can transform a soda into an adult beverage at half the price!
Smart Travel Gear Makes for Smart Travels
These ten tips for essential travel gear will help take the stress out of your journey and allow you to enjoy every moment.
For more tips on how to make the most of your European adventure, check out these travel secrets.