80 Packing Tips For International Travel
Packing for an international trip can be overwhelming. You want to prepare for every possible situation but at the same time, you have to make sure that you don’t overpack. No one wants to pay for those fees! Let’s take a look at the best tips and tricks to make sure that you’re sufficiently packed and prepared to enjoy your trip.
Rather watch a video? I shared the 10 most essential packing tips below for those who don’t want to read the full article.
International Travel Documents
1. Before packing your passport, make sure that the expiry date is longer than six months. Some countries won’t let you in if the expiry date is too short. For your specific destination, read their laws for traveler’s passport requirements.
2. Be sure to pack a traveling visa if needed. Some countries require a traveling visa before entry and usually have a deadline for how long you can stay. If you’re a European Union citizen, things are easier for you if you’re traveling to Europe.
3. If traveling with children, get a child travel consent. If a child under 18 is traveling with only one parent, written permission from the other parent will be needed.
4. Print a copy of your travel insurance. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend that you get one, as it’s usually really cheap and protects against medical costs, theft, flight delays, and more.
5. Pack all of your travel documents in a separate bag or a folder and always carry them with you. Never put your documents in your checked bag and always keep an eye on them. Also, it’s better to take pictures of them and email a copy to yourself in case they get lost.
6. Print out a copy of your boarding pass. It will work as a backup if your phone battery dies.
7. Don’t forget other documents: Train, bus, ferry, or plane tickets, hotel reservations, tickets for attractions and museums, a piece of paper with emergency contacts, guides and maps, and local tourist cards.
8. Don’t forget to bring your camera, smartphone, laptop, e-reader, headphones, and a tablet (if you plan on using them.) I usually leave the camera and tablet, as my smartphone and laptop can easily substitute both.
9. Bring dual-voltage chargers for all of your devices. If you’re located in America and traveling to Europe, make sure that all of your chargers are dual-voltage. That’s because the USA uses 110v electricity, but Europe uses 220v. If you don’t have an adequate charger, you will ruin your device. Something like this will be written on your charger: “100v-240v.”
10. Never pack electronics in your checked luggage. Use your hand luggage or carry-on instead. Otherwise, they might get stolen or damaged, and airlines usually don’t reimburse for valuables, such as electronics.
11. Always charge your electronics before boarding. Sometimes the airline security will require you to turn on your devices. Some airlines don’t allow carrying devices that you aren’t able to turn on. If you’ve forgotten your chargers, this could potentially turn into a bad situation. Also, make sure to turn Airplane mode on before setting off.
12. Get a power adapter. In Europe alone, there are three different kinds of power adapters. You should research what kind of plugs that your destination country has and purchase accordingly. There are some universal ones as well which would be a good investment to make if you plan on traveling internationally often.
13. Pack your power bank. A power bank is a must-have, especially for international flights. Most of your gadgets won’t last twelve or more hours while you’re watching movies and tv-series, so make sure to charge them fully before boarding.
Toiletries and Medication
14. Pack liquids over 3.4 oz in your checked suitcase. In your carry-on, you can pack liquids that are in 3.4 oz bottles, and all of the bottles combined have to fit in a TSA-approved transparent bag (usually around ten small bottles.) If you plan on packing something larger, you will have to check it in.
15. If you’re staying at a hotel, leave your shampoo and shower gel at home. Most hotels have these included in your bathroom, free of charge.
16. You’re safe to pack your medication. TSA states that all medicine is allowed both in hand luggage and checked bags. I’d pack it in my hand luggage though, in case I might urgently need some of it. Also, if the medication is in liquid form and over 3.4 ounces, but in reasonable quantities, it’s allowed on the flight. Note that the medicine needs to be in its original packaging.
17. Some medication that you might forget: Something for allergies, motion sickness tablets, asthma medicine, painkillers, cream for sunburns, bandages, digital thermometer, diarrhea medicine, cough drops, insect repellant, antacids, sleep aids, and eye drops.
18. Some toiletries that you might forget: Toothbrush, mouthwash, dental floss, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, and shower gel (if traveling to a hotel, leave them home), sunscreen, face wash, q-tips, make-up, contacts, make-up remover wipes, shaving cream, shavers, hair-gel or hairspray, perfume, and dry shampoo.
19. If you need prescription medicine, don’t forget to bring the prescription with you. Some countries accept prescriptions from other countries, So bring it along just in case you run out.
20. Pack your medicine in a separate, ready-to-go pouch. You never know when you’re going to need it, so it’s better to be able to find anything quickly, rather than re-sorting your entire suitcase.
21. Between two similar options, always choose the lightest. For instance, I never take my big, comfy, black hoodie. Instead, I take a thinner one, which is just as warm but takes up less space. The same goes for boots vs shoes.
22. For longer trips, bring less and wash everything mid-way. Usually, larger hotels have the option to do the laundry for you, which is perfect for two to four-week trips. Even if they don’t, ask around, and they’ll usually tell you where is the nearest place to do laundry. Alternatively, underwear and socks can be easily washed in the sink with regular soap. Just make sure to do this with enough time to hang them to dry!
23. Dress in layers. If you’re traveling to colder climates, an excellent way to save space is to dress in layers. Rather than taking large jackets and hoodies, take several thin shirts.
24. Wear the bulkiest clothes and shoes on your flight. By doing this, you will save some space in your suitcase. You can take something off once you board the flight. (I like to take my shoes off when I fly. (Sorry, if you ever sit next to me!)
25. Choose a color scheme. Basically, you should be able to combine any two pieces of clothing to make an outfit. Avoid packing outfits for every day that don’t go together separately. This way, you can wear your jeans for several days while changing your t-shirts and underwear every day.
26. For your flight days, you can pack a single outfit. For instance, if you’ve gone for seven days, pack for six days, because you’ll be wearing the same thing on your first and last day. Do you care that much how you’re looking on the plane? I always go with comfort over fashion.
27. Research the fashion culture in your destination. For instance, if you’re a woman, you don’t want to wear something that reveals lots of skin in Arabic countries. In Europe, people tend to dress a bit more formally than in America. So, pack accordingly.
28. Underwear and socks. I recommend packing a pair for every day. For longer trips, bring only half and wash everything mid-way through your trip.
29. Jeans, pants, and shorts. Personally, for a two-week trip, I would bring a pair of jeans and two pairs of shorts. I pick one that’s more casual and another that’s for outdoor activities like hiking, horseback writing, etc.
30. T-shirts. If you roll them, they don’t take up that much space, so I take one for every day. (Although, you could take one for every two days.)
31. Hoodies, shirts, jackets. If I’m traveling to warmer climates, I usually skip the bulkier jackets. A single hoodie and a thin shirt are enough. For colder places, I’d pack one for every three days. Don’t bring more than one jacket, as they take up a lot of space.
32. Dresses. I feel that dresses are perfect for traveling, as they take up so little space. Just don’t go overboard and remember to pack a pair of jeans as well for activities and hikes.
33. Suits and formal clothing. If traveling for business, suits and formal clothing are a must. Don’t forget to bring a pair of high heels or formal shoes, ties, a suit or a dress, and other accessories.
34. Sporting gear. I like to continue my exercise routines while traveling so I bring a pair of running sneakers, shorts, and a t-shirt. If you’re active, don’t forget to pack your sports gear if you want to go to the gym or go for a run.
35. Shoes and boots. I usually bring no more than three pairs of shoes: A pair of running sneakers, casual shoes, and flip-flops or boots (depending on the weather.) Shoes take a lot of space, so think twice about bringing extra pairs.
36. Accessories that you could forget packing: Hats, scarves, swimsuits, towels, gloves, belts, pajamas, and jewelry. All are totally dependant on where you go, so it’s up to you to decide if you need them.
Additional tip #1: Ever had bed bugs in your luggage while staying in a cheap hotel? Check out our guide on getting bed bugs out of luggage, and how to prevent them in the future.
Miscellaneous Items That You Could Forget to Pack
37. Take food and snacks. If you’re flying a short flight with no lunches, you should get some snacks to save some money. You’re allowed to pack almost any food, as long as you follow the 3.4 oz rule. The rule states that you cannot pack liquids in bottles larger than 3.4 oz in your hand luggage. This includes sauces, creams, and other liquids. However, checked luggage is totally fine. Also, you should be careful with packing organic food and dairies, as some countries won’t allow you to enter with specific foods.
38. Always take an empty bag for your dirty clothes. If you start mixing your dirty clothes with your clean ones, pretty soon your clean clothes will start smelling. I’d recommend packing a special laundry bag or a plastic bag. Tote bags aren’t that good because they let air through the fabric because plastic doesn’t.
39. Pack a few zip-locks, plastics bags, and a tote bag. They don’t take up much space, and you never know when you are going to need them. I usually take a piece of bubble wrap as well if I’ll be bringing home some bottles of wine.
40. If you have a luggage scale, take it. If you don’t, get one. It’s handy for your return flights, especially if you’re visiting several countries. With it, you will be easily able to weigh your suitcase and tell if you can buy any more snacks and souvenirs for your return flight. It costs just a few dollars and takes up very little space.
41. Other items that you could forget: umbrella, sunglasses, regular glasses and a case, tweezers or a pocket knife, hand sanitizer, paper/pen, a fork, and a spoon, a cup, and a plate, cash, keys.
Preparing for a Long International Flight
42. Download e-books, movies, and tv series before your trip. The flight will be long, usually twelve hours or more. To keep yourself entertained, make sure to download everything in advance. Time will go by faster! (I tend to write/sleep the entire flight.)
43. Pack everything for a comfortable trip. Do you think that sitting in a seat for ten hours will be comfortable? Well, think again, because you’re likely to feel stiff and exhausted after your flight. If you have the room, pack a pair of trainers, a hoodie, soft socks, a sleeping pillow, and a face mask for comfortable sleeping.
44. Pack things that will help you with having more privacy on your flight. You never know who you will be sitting next to. You could be sitting next to someone who wants to talk throughout the flight or is watching movies on a bright screen. Prepare in advance by packing noise-canceling headphones or earplugs and a face mask.
45. To freshen up, pack some wet wipes and hand cream in your carry-on. Although this is optional, cleaning your hands and face with wet wipes will make you feel much fresher. The dry air and pressure changes can make you feel like you haven’t showered for several days.
46. Wear glasses instead of contacts. I’m not sure why, but flying with contacts for longer than one or two hours is nearly impossible. It probably has something to do with the pressure changes and dryness. So pack your contacts in your baggage and wear your glasses instead.
Before You Start Packing Your Suitcase
47. Before you start packing, make a list of all your items. This will help you to avoid forgetting something. Some apps help you with creating a packing list. Check out this handy printout PDF!
48. Lay all of your items on the floor or the bed. Reading a list can be one thing, but looking at all of your items in front of you will help you to see how tightly you should be packing. Re-check if you have everything that’s on the list.
49. Determine the weight and size restrictions for your flight. For international flights, you will usually find that the carry-on limits are tighter, so be sure to read up on the airlines’ website and measure your luggage. Here are the most common airline restrictions.
50. Choose the appropriate luggage. If I fly with a checked suitcase, I usually take a backpack and a large suitcase. Make sure that everything is within the size limits. Also, I would recommend taking luggage with spinner wheels if you have to walk long distances.
Editor’s tip: If you’re looking for a new carry-on, we’ve found that the Travelpro Maxlite 5 is the best choice. We’ve compared the most popular luggage brands, and we’re most impressed by Travelpro. It got 90 out of 100 points on our rating scale.
51. If you have an old suitcase, give it a good clean. I recently tried restoring my old suitcase and was pretty successful with it. With proper techniques, you can make your old bag look brand new.
Tips on Packing Your Suitcase
52. Pack these items in your carry-on: Documents, electronics, clothes for one or two days (in case your checked luggage gets lost), chargers, toiletries, and medicine.
53. Pack these items in your checked suitcase: Extra pairs of shoes, all of your other clothing, liquids over 3.4 oz, knives, and other things that are not allowed on the flight.
54. Start by packing your documents. Put all of your documents and printouts in a folder and stash them in an easily accessible place. A good choice would be your carry-on, backpack, or duffel bag, depending on your choice of hand luggage.
55. Utilize packing cubes. They’re a great way to organize your items and save a little bit of space. I usually divide the cubes by their contents. For instance, one is for electronics, another is for chargers and smaller items, and one is for bulkier clothing, etc.
56. Before you start packing, roll, and fold your clothes. For easier packing, I always roll my t-shirts, pants, jeans, shorts, and underwear. This saves a lot of space and usually, the items don’t get that wrinkled (if you do it correctly.) Other than rolling, I fold my shirts and other things that need to be wrinkle-free. If you’re using packing cubes, fold them in the exact size of the largest cube, which will help when you’re packing it.
57. Fill your shoes with socks and underwear. Not only does this save space, but your shoes won’t get squashed after unpacking.
58. If you’re using packing cubes, pack them full. This results in fewer wrinkles on your clothes. Also, pack in a way that your items are easy to pull out. (Rolled pieces help a lot!)
59. If packing without cubes, start packing with shoes and larger items. Ideally, you want to place your shoes and heavier items down at the bottom of the case, because this will result in a better-balanced suitcase. (It’s less likely to tip over!)
60. Fill the gaps with smaller items. When you’ve finished with the larger things like shoes, jackets, jeans, hoodies, and the toiletry bag, fill the gaps with socks, underwear, and t-shirts.
61. If using a carry-on and suitcase, never pack valuables in your checked suitcase. Items packed in your checked luggage could get lost or stolen, and most of the time, airlines don’t cover electronics, valuables, fragile items, and jewelry. If you have no other choice, purchase separate travel insurance for the contents of your checked bag.
62. Pack fragile items and liquids carefully. Here’s a full guide on packing fragile items in luggage.
63. If you’re bringing a knife, follow the TSA rules. You can’t put knives in your carry-on. Instead, you should pack it in your suitcase.
64. Leave some room for the return items. Are your friends, colleagues, and family are already wondering what snacks or souvenirs they will be getting from you when you get back from your trip? Make sure that you leave some space for your return items and souvenirs. I’d say that an extra two to five pounds is enough.
65. Make sure to use the straps in your suitcase to tighten your contents. I’m amazed at how many people aren’t doing this, especially if they’re not using packing cubes. If you tighten them, your clothes won’t be all over the suitcase, and you will have fewer wrinkles because there will be less movement.
66. Weigh your bag and make sure that it’s close to the weight limit. Most of the time, the airline staff will let you pass with a few extra pounds. However, sometimes they will not, so to be safe, you should always follow the weight limit.
After You’ve Packed Your Suitcase
67. Make your suitcase easily visible. Adding some stickers, luggage straps, or other colorful elements will do two things to help you while traveling. First, your suitcase will be easily identifiable on the conveyor belt. Second, if your luggage gets lost, you can better describe your suitcase to the airline staff, which will increase the chances of them finding it. If you bring two or more suitcases, it’s also a good idea to hook them together.
68. Re-check if your documents and valuables are packed in your carry-on. Checked suitcases can easily be stolen or lost. You don’t want to lose your documents while abroad.
69. Consider purchasing insurance for your checked suitcase. Airlines reimburse only small amounts for lost suitcases, as they value everything as used. (Even if it’s brand new.)
70. If you’re above the weight limit, start by removing clothes. 80% of your suitcase is easily taken up by clothes. Most of the time, you’re taking too much. Consider packing for a week and washing your clothes after seven days. Do you really need to bring those boots to Finland in the summer? Do you need that extra jacket just in case it gets cold in Italy? No, you don’t.
71. Add luggage tags to your suitcase. Using luggage tags dramatically increases the chances of your suitcase being found in case it gets lost. Write your e-mail address, the initial of your first name, and last name. (You don’t want everyone to see all of your information.)
72. When locking anything, use only TSA-approved locks. Some beginners might not know this, but everything that you lock in your luggage has to be locked with TSA-approved locks. Whether you’re locking the suitcase itself or a box of valuables inside, the TSA locks will allow the TSA agents easy access inside. Otherwise, they’re authorized to break the lock, and you could end up with a broken suitcase.
73. If you’re worried about your checked suitcase being damaged, use a luggage cover. This protective cover helps with keeping your suitcase look brand-new. In some third-world countries, luggage handlers can be really tough on your suitcase, so protecting it could be a smart move. A cheaper DIY temporary solution would be to cover it with a plastic film.
Money and credit cards
74. Don’t exchange money in money exchanges. You’ll probably need to pack some cash with you. Most of the time, the rate is the best when withdrawing through a well-known ATM at your destination. Airports and money exchanges will always have slightly worse rates. When you arrive, look for a well-known ATM (private ATMs often have higher fees) and withdraw from your ATM card.
75. Use your credit cards wisely to avoid extra fees. It’s not a packing tip, but I’ll include it anyway, as it’s essential. For withdrawing money, don’t use your credit card. Instead, you should use an ATM card. Only use your credit card for paying in another currency with your card, as the exchange rate fee is always smaller for credit cards. Also, when paying with your credit card, you will often be asked if you want to be charged in the local currency or US dollars. Always choose the local currency, as the rate will be better. So to sum up: Pay with your credit card in the local currency, and withdraw with your ATM card from well-known ATMs.
76. Notify your bank and credit cards that you will be traveling. Your bank or credit cards can freeze your accounts if they notice strange transactions and that’s the last thing you need while you’re on a trip. Notifying them ahead of time will help you to avoid this issue because they will add a record to your account for the fraud detection system.
77. Educate yourself on local currency. It can be incredibly difficult to tell the difference between different coins and bills if you’re not from that country. Learning about the currency where you’re headed can save you a lot of headaches and from possibly being swindled, too!
78. Consider getting a wallet or purse that you use specifically for travel. There are a lot of options out there for the safer storage of your personal items. You might want an RFID wallet like this one on Amazon that insulates you from electronic pickpocketing. You can also invest in a waterproof, crossbody bag that will keep your items safe from the elements as well as make it harder for thieves to try to grab from you.
79. Consider using prepaid travel cards. If you don’t want to bring along your debit or credit cards, consider using a prepaid travel card instead. You can load a specific amount of money onto the card before your trip, allowing you to lock in your exchange rate.
80. Hide your money. Hide your money on your body by using a scarf with a hidden compartment, a leg money belt, a security belt with a hidden wallet, etc. If you’re planning on leaving money in your hotel room, you can easily hide your cash if you make a plan. You can tape it underneath drawers, stash it in food packets inside of your mini-fridge, or even inside of the couch cushions.
Packing for your trip will be easier and less stressful if you prepare in advance. Using tips like those listed above will ensure that you’re ready. The most important thing to take away from reading this is how crucial it is to make sure your travel documents are safe. Keeping them in a folder in a place that you will remember and is easily accessible is of the utmost importance.
Something else that’s important to remember is that you need to pack only as many clothes as you will realistically need. Going over the weight limits will end in hefty fines. You might also want some space for souvenirs! Wearing layers onto your flight can also give you more space in your suitcase but make sure you will be comfortable as international flights are long and exhausting.
The best thing you can do is use an app or create an itinerary to keep track of your items. You don’t want to forget items like chargers, power blocks, medications, or other items necessary for your trip. Keep yourself organized and you will have a worry-free experience!
About Oscar Brumelis
Oscar is from Riga, Latvia but he has traveled all over the world. He especially likes trekking and visiting “off the beaten path” destinations. He believes that traveling shouldn’t be complicated or expensive.
The Ultimate Europe Travel Packing List
So you’ve finally decided to take that Europe trip you’ve been planning for ages!
You’ve booked your flights (if you haven’t yet, then find out “How to Book Cheap Flights to Europe“), you know where you’re going, and where you’re staying. This will be the trip of a lifetime and you can’t wait to leave. There’s just one small detail…you still have to pack.
To save you time and stress from this task, we’ve compiled an ultimate guide on the things to bring to Europe. We’re covering everything, from how to pack for Europe to the best travel accessories.
All of our tips and tricks are also summarized in the Europe Trip Packing List at the end of the article.
Where Do I Pack Everything? – Your Luggage Guide for Europe
First things first! Before you know what you’re bringing, you should know where you’re putting them. It is best to start by choosing the right type of luggage. What is right depends on who you are and how many places you are travelling to.
But in general, you have two choices:
- A wheeled suitcase
- A travel backpack
Each one of these choices has pros and cons, so it depends on the preference of the person.
A wheeled suitcase will not put weight on your back and will generally be better organized. Soft-shell suitcases fit in most places and are not easily damaged. Hard-shell suitcases will protect any fragile items, but they crack very easy if thrown around.
So think about what you will be doing during your trip and decide. We recommend a soft-shell suitcase since it provides more flexibility.
The cons of wheeled suitcases are that they are difficult to move in Europe’s cobblestones and long-winded staircases. That is where travel backpacks perform better. They are easier to carry and do not take much space. You can have them as carry-ons for the flight or check them in.
Aim for spacious backpacks with a lot of pockets to store your things.
The downside of travel backpacks is that they are heavy on your back. They also become very uncomfortable if a lot of things are put in it and they are more difficult to pack than a suitcase.
Whichever you end up choosing, make sure it is the right size and will fit your packing list for Europe. Choose a colour that stands out from all the usual black bags you see everywhere. It will be easier to notice your bag amongst many others and it will decrease the chance that someone else will accidentally take it.
How Do I Look? – Your Clothing and Style Guide for Europe
Europe has a notorious reputation for the most fashionable people. So when people make travel plans, they stress a lot about what to wear in Europe. Europeans claim they can guess someone’s nationality just from looking at what shoes they’re wearing (hint: American sneakers). So if you want to blend in, we’ve got you covered.
While you want to look stylish and nice, you also need to be comfortable. We’ve put together tips that will answer what to pack when travelling to Europe.
A general piece of advice is to pack light. Everyone has the urge to pack a lot of things. But what usually happens is that we either wear them only once or we end up not wearing most of the things at all. So the best way to go about packing is to mix and match clothes.
Try to create outfits based on the weather and the destination. Make sure that whatever you bring, you can wear it more than once and it will look different. One such piece is dark wash jeans that you can wear during the day with sneakers and a casual t-shirt, but you can also wear them during the night for a more refined look.
You should always start with the basics. If you are on the lookout for a packing list for Europe for spring or summer, then t-shirts are a must. Whether you are a man or a woman, a white or grey t-shirt will always look stylish if paired with the right accessories. So try to mix and match 3-4 t-shirts in different colours.
For women, blouses and shirts will also be comfortable and will break the monotony of t-shirts. A few of these, like 2 to 3 will most likely come in handy and create fashionable outfits you can wear while sightseeing or out at a bar.
For men, packing lightweight shirts is also a good idea. We recommend 2 to 3 long-sleeved ones so that they are more versatile. When it’s warm, you can roll up the sleeves and fit right in with the European men.
Everyone should also bring something to layer up with. Europe’s weather is constantly changing and you’ll be sweating while walking into a museum and start feeling chilly once you step out of it an hour later. So make sure to bring a cardigan or a sweater, as well as a lightweight jacket. We recommend windbreakers with hoods so that you are protected in case it starts raining.
Finally, you might want to bring an elegant outfit. You never know whether you might end up deciding to have a fancy dinner somewhere or there will be a dress code in one of the cool bars you’ve planned to visit. A nice dress for women and an elegant shirt for men should be in your suitcase.
Depending on the time of year you are visiting Europe, you should also have a mix of comfortable and fashionable trousers.
You can start with a pair of dark wash jeans which as we mentioned above can be worn whenever you want to. Try to fit in another pair of lightweight trousers if you know the weather will be warm.
Shorts are not much used by Europeans, but you can bring in a pair just in case it is too hot and you cannot be bothered to wear long or Capri trousers. For men, shorts could also be used as swimming trunks, but just make sure they are not heavy cargo or chunky shorts.
For women, skirts are also easy to pack. They do not take much space, so you can bring 1 or 2 with you. Combining a skirt and casual t-shirts will look good no matter where you go. Make sure you bring different lengths that you can wear in different situations.
If you are making a packing list for Europe for autumn or winter, you should make sure to bring something warmer. Wool leggings or long underwear will keep you warm and comfortable when visiting your planned sightseeing destinations.
Europeans always stand out with their choices of shoes. So travellers are always stressed out about them. Well, we are here to tell you comfort is key. You will be walking a lot and going through different streets, so your feet must feel good. You won’t enjoy anything when your feet are in pain and all you want to do is lie down.
Shoes also take a lot of space in your luggage, so we recommend bringing 2 pairs. One pair should be the most comfortable walking shoes that you will wear during the day. These might be tennis shoes or sandals, depending on the weather. Another pair can be used to wear during the night when you go out.
Also, make sure to bring a pair of those cheap flip-flops. You might be staying at a hostel or Couchsurfing, so you never know how clean the showers are.
Whatever you, do not, and I repeat, do not bring new shoes. They will cause blisters and take time to break-in, which will completely ruin your trip. Your shoes should be well broken in so that you are comfortable and enjoy your trip.
Since you will spend much of your time outside sightseeing and doing different activities, you will need something to hold all the necessary things. We recommend a small backpack that you can put your daily necessities in.
This includes things like your money, documents, toiletries, electronics, and so on. There are many choices in terms of these backpacks, but we recommend theft-proof ones to keep your things safe.
For when you go out at night, you can get a small crossbody bag to look more stylish.
Accessories can make or break an outfit. For long trips like this one where you will have to pack light, stylish accessories will make you feel like you’re wearing a brand new shirt, even if you’ve already worn it three times.
Accessories to pack include things like:
- Jewellery – you can mix different earrings, necklaces, and bracelets to create a more complete look.
- Watches – most people have a smartphone to check the time, but a good watch is still trendy, especially in fashionable European cities.
- Scarves – you can wear what you think are the most basic and casual clothes, but a good scarf with interesting patterns will make you stand out.
- Sunglasses – this is extremely important during spring and summer, and if you have vision problems, you can get vision corrected sunglasses.
- Tie – for men who have planned a fancier evening, a tie is a must.
Underwear and loungewear
What people can see on the outside is important, but it’s what’s underneath that matters more. If you pack uncomfortable underwear, you will end up being uncomfortable the whole trip.
We recommend packing around 5 pairs of underwear. Make sure they are breathable and will dry quickly. Good travel underwear is pricier, but it is worth the investment. Since they are easy to wash, you can wash them in your hostel sink and they will dry by morning.
Additionally, pack a pair of leggings and a tank top to use as loungewear or pyjamas. You might want to be more comfortable at the end of a long day and these will help you feel better than if you wear a pair of jeans.
Similar to underwear, socks must also make your feet feel comfortable. Invest in breathable material for your travel socks. The investment will definitely pay off. You do not want to come back to your hostel at the end of a long day and have cracked and sweaty feet. Good travel socks will keep your feet dry and healthy.
Again, we recommend bringing around 5 pairs, which you can wash and dry as needed.
What Do I Take Awesome Pictures With? – Your Electronics Guide for Europe
In this day and age, we don’t go anywhere without electronics. But for an important trip such as this one, electronics are a must-have. You will be left wondering what to take and what to leave, but we’ve compiled the most important electronics on how to pack for Europe.
This item is number one on anyone’s list. You will be able to connect to public Wi-Fi or get cheap travel data to plan to post all your perfect travel pictures, or call your family and friends and tell them of all the fun you are having.
We recommend checking out Prepaid Europe Travel SIM Cards by SimOptions and saving 100% on roaming charges by using international SIM Cards when you travel to Europe.
Why you should get a prepaid SIM card for Europe?
- High-Speed Internet all over Europe
- 100% No Roaming Charges
Click here to get more information about getting Prepaid SIM Cards for Europe
Lately, most people are choosing to bring a tablet with them instead of a phone. Since you can now talk to people through different apps, you won’t even need a phone to call. You can simply connect to Wi-Fi and do everything you need to.
Paperbacks are great, but they are heavy, especially when you need to pack light for a trip to Europe. So instead, you can bring an E-reader such as a Kindle which can hold your books for when you’re on the road or want to take a break from the walking. Additionally, you can put maps and travel guides there which will be helpful and better than packing them in your suitcase.
Laptops can be great to bring with you, especially if you are planning to do some kind of work during your travel. They are on the heavier side and we would not recommend it, but if you must bring one, try to bring one that will not make your bags too heavy. Also, if you are bringing a tablet, you might not need a laptop and vice versa.
This is probably one of the most important pieces of electronics you will bring. If you do not like taking pictures with your smartphone, then a camera will be great for you. You will be visiting amazing places, so make sure to capture all of your memories on it.
Outlet plugs, power strips, and chargers
European outlets and voltage are different from other countries, so you want to make sure your electronics will fit. We recommend bringing a few voltage plug converters to protect your devices from frying and breaking due to differences in the electricity.
Also, if you have many electronics, bring a small power strip. You might not have enough space to charge everything during the night if there are only two outlets in your room. And as a final reminder, pack your chargers. You do not want to arrive at your destination without them and spend money on getting new ones.
So Is That All I Need to Pack? No, Not Even Close – Your Guide to Travel Accessories for Europe
Besides looking nice and having all your electronics, there are also some other things you must pack. These are the more boring, but nevertheless, extremely important items.
Tickets and travel documents
You cannot leave without your tickets and travel documents. You will absolutely need your passport if you are travelling by air, especially if you need a Schengen Visa on it. Additionally, take the originals and make copies of all your aeroplane, train, and bus tickets as well as your accommodation confirmations.
Online reservations for Hotels in Europe and WorldWide – Find & compare the best deals
Needless to say, you won’t be able to do much without some money. Take your debit and credit cards with you, but make sure you also have some extra cash just in case of emergencies.
Safety padlocks and accessories
If you are travelling with something valuable on you, do not forget to bring a small padlock. You can program it however you want with a safety code and have some peace of mind that your things will be safe.
Additionally, invest in some good wallets or money bags. People use different things, such as small pouches around their waist or their neck. Pack whatever is more comfortable for you, just as long as your money and documents will be safe.
Just because you are travelling, does not mean you need to disregard your health. Packing your health-related products is extremely important and you won’t enjoy your trip if you are sick or in pain.
First of all, bring any prescription medicine with you. You do not know what the policies of each country are, so instead of risking your health, you might as well bring your own.
Second, bring any vitamins that you regularly use. You don’t want to waste time looking for a pharmacy in a city you do not know, and working hours will be different, so you don’t need the extra stress.
Finally, bring a few painkillers. You never know when you might need them, so you might as well pack a few pills.
Most people bring their own toiletries on their travel. Unless you are going to a remote place, any store will have shampoo and toothpaste. If you are bringing your own, then make sure to do it in a hanging toiletry bag. This will make it easier to organize everything and ensure they are within reach in the small European bathrooms.
Having a few sealable bags is always a good idea. You can put any liquid containers you have with you in them and make it spill-proof. Bring a few of different sizes, since you never know when you might need them (hint: you can put your passport in one to prevent anything from damaging it).
You might have booked a nice hotel that has all the amenities you might need, but most people will travel on a budget. This means hostels, Couchsurfing, or cheap hotels, and these places might not have everything.
So you can bring some toilet paper just in case you need some, wet wipes, and tissues. They will always come in handy, whether you’re on the road or you need them where you are staying.
If you are planning to do any laundry, then items for it are essentials for travelling to Europe. You can bring a small laundry soap or packet of detergent, a portable clothesline, and some stain remover. There are great choices in grocery stores and they will not take much space but will be incredibly useful when you need to wash your underwear or socks.
What if I Get Sick? – Your Guide to Travel Insurance for Europe
While planning a trip, people are excited and optimistic about how it will go. It is great to prepare yourself for having a great time, but you should also take some precautions if something goes wrong. Like your health.
You won’t be able to enjoy your trip to Europe if you have an accident or get sick. So to make sure that you’re covered in case something happens, it is best to take out travel insurance.
Travel insurance will cover you if you have an accident and need emergency medical attention. This is one of the most important aspects because you never know what might happen. If you don’t have insurance and you need to go to the doctor somewhere in Europe, it might cost you thousands of dollars.
Travel insurance will also cover any personal liability issues, such as getting sued or causing any injuries. Finally, some travel insurance might also cover the costs of getting your bags stolen or lost and if your trip gets cancelled or delayed.
So you should hope for the best, but also prepare for the worst. Find yourself good travel insurance that doesn’t break your bank and you are set to start your journey to Europe. We recommend Europ Assistance and Mondial Care.
How Far in Advance Should I Pack for a Trip?
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How soon is too soon to pack for your trip? Do you pack months in advance or the day before your trip? Read these tips to find out why you should start preparing for your travels as soon as you book your trip!
When to Pack for A Trip
It’s never too soon to start planning for a trip but the amount of time you spend packing can vary. Many people will wait until the last minute to pack their belongings in their suitcase but others might have their items stored away for months. So what’s normal?
Regardless of whether you wait to pack 15 minutes or 15 days before departure, the important thing is your preparation time.
Allow as much time as possible so you have plenty of time to gather everything you’ll need to bring on your trip. As soon as you book a trip create a checklist jotting down general items you’ll need such as:
At first you won’t have all the details but it’s good to note the main items you need. Depending on your activities you’ll also need to include specialty gear such as camping equipment, road trip essentials, and other items.
Now don’t confuse your initial checklist with a packing list. Start with something general and as you go through the steps below you can create a packing list with the exact items you’ll want to bring on your trip.
Start researching as soon as you know you want to travel to a specific destination. Get an idea about what type of weather you’ll encounter, special gear you’ll need, and appropriate clothes to wear.
Allowing ample time to plan gives you the opportunity to take advantage of discounts on seasonal merchandise, time to try on various types of clothing and shoes, and also helps give you peace of mind as your trip gets closer.
Room for Error (or Others)
When you allow plenty of time to pack in advance you allow room for error. You have time to fine tune your outfits, leave out unnecessary items, and also help other pack for their trips.
Not all of us are solo travelers. We travel with our partners, families, and friends and it’s challenging when we pack light but our companions don’t.
When my friend and I traveled to Europe together she massively overpacked and I ended up carrying her luggage because she fell ill. I was upset with myself for not giving her some packing tips (even though this was several years before I created TFG).
I wish I would’ve gently suggested some tips. It would’ve made both of our lives much easier.
While not all travel companions appreciate our packing help (our partners in particular) if you travel with children then you also need to prepare them for the trip.
Click here to access the editable Google Doc printable checklist that corresponds to this article. You can also download the print-friendly, PDF version here.
Another reason why you should start planning far in advance is so that you have plenty of time to choose your luggage. An adventurous overland trip across Africa requires different luggage than a business trip to Europe.
First and foremost, consider the type of travel you will be undertaking: will you be checking your bags, dealing with difficult terrain, or is your travel for business purposes?
If a suitcase makes sense for your trip, these are the factors you should consider when choosing a suitcase:
Not one suitcase works for all your trips and if you’re planning to get “off the beaten path” then you might prefer a travel backpack instead! Some remote locations like these are easier to travel without wheels. Read this post if you’re unsure whether to use a backpack or wheeled luggage.
Next, I highly recommend you consider using packing organizers like these to help you travel efficiently. But just like luggage, each type offers different benefits. Learn how to choose the best luggage organizer !
If your goal is to downsize your luggage and even travel carryon only, items such as packing cubes not only help you organize they help you compress, too. Why is this a good thing? It means you can pack more stuff in less space!
Watch the packing tutorial on Youtube!
In 2017, I launched Compass Rose Travel Accessories and my very first product was a 4-Piece Set of Carryon Packing Cubes. These are the only packing cubes sized to fit the exact width of a carryon suitcase and they also have a unique color-coded and numbered organization system – the only kind currently available anywhere on the market.
I put together a five-part YouTube series showing you the different methods to use packing cubes. If you use this specific packing strategy, they can also compress your belongings. This is the secret to traveling carryon only!
Buy Compass Rose Packing Cubes here!
Ultimately, the better prepared you are the more positive experience you’ll have. Which brings us to the next point…
One of my biggest travel fashion fails is being absolutely clueless about what locals wore in places like New Zealand and what travelers wore in other destinations such as Thailand.
Know before you go!
You can find information for specific destinations on Travel Fashion Girl. You’ll find the regions listed here or you can use these quick links:
As you start researching your destination you’ll get a better idea of what clothing you should and shouldn’t bring. This is the biggest reason why you want to start planning for your trip far in advance.
You wouldn’t want to show up to South Africa in shorts and sandals in winter or wear this type of outfit in modest India. It’s important to be prepared both for the weather and cultural sensitivities.
The good news is that unless you’re planning an outdoor adventure your regular clothing should work on most trips. However, if you do need to buy any extras then it’s helpful if you don’t wait to plan for last minute. Remember, packing is one thing but planning is another.
Take a look at these sample packing lists for inspiration on how to create the travel wardrobe that’s right for you.
There’s no better way to find out exactly what you need for your trip than by asking travelers that have already been there. The free Travel Fashion Girls Group on Facebook is an incredible community of women that love to help each other.
You can post all your packing questions in this group and expect several (if not dozens) of replies from travelers that have already been to where you’re going.
Remember, it’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed at the idea of packing for a trip to the unknown. We’ve all been there and we’re all here to help.
That’s what Travel Fashion Girl is all about! Thousands of other women sharing their best tips, tricks, and cheering you on.
Please take a second to leave a comment and let me know what’s been your favorite TFG find so far, or what else you’d like to see on the site!
How far in advance do you pack for a trip? Share and comment below!
For more packing tips, please read:
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Great tips. I use an app (Closet) to create a packing list from my favorite outfits. I can start making the list as soon as we know we are going. I can see exactly what is needed to add in if necessary. Since many of our trips include multiple places / multiple climates I may create more than on packing list with as much as possible overlap. I then use packing cubes to isolate those things not needed at the next location.
Yay, thanks Cathy, so glad you found the article useful!! Thank you for sharing your recommendation of closet, awesome way to create a packing list!!
look for a laundry facility. ask if your hotel has one or is there near by. after many year’s of visiting family we never used their washer/dryer. this last time we did and it saved us. take a mesh bag to put your dirty clothing in.
Hi Sara, this is great advice, thank you for sharing your travel tip with us!!
I start thinking at least 1 month before. I create one outfit (sometimes wear it), make some changes. Take pictures! Than create a directory Trip to… One week before the trip I start organize the clothes, I my home become a mess (LOL) because I take them for the closet and star to make loads of clothes… 2 days before the trip everything will be organized in pack cubes, and I really get (even if stay foir than that) clothes for 7 days.
Hi Cristina, thank you for sharing your packing experiences with me, this is fantastic!!
I start planning my packing at least a month in advance and actually pack a week before. This way I can plan what I’m taking, make sure that everything I want is clean, mended (If needed) and available. There’s nothing worse than the night before running around packing only to find something doesn’t fit or is dirty.
I tend to start packing about a week in advance. It gives me time to add things as I think of them and also to rethink my choices and remove items.
Thanks for the comment Kim! We are glad you’ve found a method that works for you! Enjoy your travels!
Cruising Canary Islands in 6 weeks time to celebrate 50th Birthday. Clothes more or less sorted with everything I might want to take washed and ironed. Have learnt so much from TFG, my colour scheme is black, white and coral. I even bought a mannequin to put outfits together then take a photo. Worked brilliantly even though people thought I was mad. Accessories & jewellery sorted with earrings in a pill box. I’ve printed Fab Sugar outfit planner which is 2/3 completed and all TFG advice should stop me from over packing. I also use a storage bag or box to collect any other items I might want to take.
That’s awesome Rhonda! So glad we’ve been able to help you plan out your packing for your travels! Enjoy your trip!