15 essential packing items for a Europe trip
So you’ve booked your dream tour and organised your flights… Now you need to pack! Europe is a massive continent with all kinds of different climates, cultures and landscapes. So where do you start? From what to wear in Europe to gadgets and medical essentials, here is our guide to everything you need to pack when planning a trip to Europe.
1. Versatile clothing
Europe has a reputation for being fashionable, from the minimalist clothing of Scandinavia to the elegant style of the Mediterranean. While you don’t need to walk around in haute couture, you also shouldn’t wear sloppy clothing or gym wear everyday. If you want to blend in and be comfortable, go for casual yet refined options. So what exactly do you wear in Europe?
In general, go for versatile layers that can take you from day to night. For example, you can wear dark wash jeans, a light t-shirt and sneakers during the day, then dress it up with a nice jacket, accessories and sandals by night. Or, go for trousers, dresses or skirts that can easily be dressed up or down. Of course, what you wear in Europe will change depending on the season (it can go from blazing hot summers to freezing snowy winters), but in any season, remember to pack light and choose layers you can mix and match.
2. Comfortable shoes
Although you’ll want to blend in with the stylish locals, the top priority is comfort when you’re planning a trip to Europe. You’ll be walking a lot, often on bumpy cobbled streets or hillsides, so you’ll need a comfortable pair of shoes to carry you through your trip.
Depending on the weather, that may be sneakers or sturdy sandals, or you may need hiking boots if you plan to hit the Alps. It’s also good to bring sandals or flip-flops for lounging by the pool or the beach. Whatever shoes you bring, make sure you break them in before you leave to avoid any nasty blisters.
GET INSPIRED BY: Grand European
When you’ve got minimal clothing options, accessories are a great way to jazz up an outfit. You can pack light, colourful scarves, hair ties, hats and sunglasses, or throw on some jewellery (don’t bring any expensive stuff) like earrings, necklaces, bracelets or even use belts to stand out and complete your look.
4. Sun protection
Whether you’re travelling in summer, winter or somewhere in between, you always need to bring sun protection for your trip to Europe. Bring a hat, sunglasses and plenty of high SPF sunscreen.
GET INSPIRED BY: European Whirl
5. Rain protection
You also need to consider the rain when planning a trip to Europe. Come prepared in any season with a raincoat, small travel umbrella or rain poncho.
6. Day bags
When you’re planning your trip to Europe, you’ll probably want to dedicate most days to sightseeing and different activities. Since you’ll spend so much time out and about, you’ll need a secure bag to hold all your daily essentials like your water bottle, sunscreen and camera. Whether you bring a backpack or cross-body bag, make sure it’s lightweight, waterproof, theft-proof and has plenty of pockets. For the evenings, you might like to bring a smaller bag or purse.
Your toiletries are up to you, but we always recommend pouring your products like shampoo and moisturiser into smaller, reusable travel bottles, to save space and produce less waste. If you don’t want to bring a bunch of liquids (that always seem to explode in your bag), you can try solid toiletries, like shampoo, soap, moisturiser and deodorant bars and toothpaste tabs. It’s also handy to bring a hanging toiletry bag to make it easier to reach in the bathroom.
8. Medical kit
While you can usually find everything you need once you arrive, it’s always useful to bring a small medical kit when planning a trip to Europe. You’ll firstly need to pack any prescription medication you need and bring enough for your whole trip.
Other handy items include hand sanitiser, painkillers, electrolytes, antiseptic ointment and bandaids, eye drops, insect repellent and travel sickness tablets. If you’re a light sleeper, bring earplugs and an eye mask. Be sure to consult your doctor for specific travel health advice for your trip.
9. Reusable water bottle
You can help reduce plastic waste and save money by bringing your own reusable water bottle. You can refill it in destinations where it’s safe to drink the tap water, or use the filtered water at your hotel, or drinking fountains and refill stations found across Europe.
10. Smartphone or camera
This is one of the most essential items on anyone’s list when planning a trip to Europe. From the icons like the Eiffel Tower and the Colosseum to the magical landscapes like the Swiss Alps and Amalfi Coast, you’ll want to take hundreds of stunning photos on your Europe adventure. Whether you use your smartphone camera or bring a separate SLR camera, make sure you bring extra memory cards, chargers and waterproof cases
11. Travel adaptor and power strip
Speaking of gadgets – you can’t leave home without a travel adaptor. Check the plug type and voltage of the destination you’re visiting before you go, or bring along a universal travel adaptor if you’re visiting multiple countries with different plug types.
If you have a lot of electronics, or you’re travelling with other people, a power strip is very handy. You can charge everything at once, or if you only have one outlet in your room, you won’t be fighting over who gets to use it first!
12. Entertainment for the road
When you’re planning a trip to Europe, you’ll probably have some long plane rides or coach journeys. Come prepared with some light entertainment like headphones to listen to music, or an e-reader stocked with books. While paperbacks are great, they can be very heavy, which isn’t ideal when you need to pack light.
13. Sealable bags
It’s always a good idea to bring a few waterproof, sealable bags. They can be small dry bags or toiletry bags, and they’re great for storing wet clothes, liquid containers to prevent spillage, or valuables like your passport, cash or phone.
When you’re planning a trip to Europe with Trafalgar, most of your expenses will be covered before you go, including hotels, transport and some activities and meals. But you’ll still need to bring some extra money for things like souvenirs and extra activities or meals. We recommend bringing your debit and credit cards, and some extra local cash. UK pounds and euros will get you across most of Europe, however you’ll need to check your specific destinations for their local currency.
15. Important documents
You probably won’t leave home without your important documents like your passport and visa (we hope!), but you should also bring photocopies of these documents. In the unfortunate event you lose or damage your documents, the photocopies will be very useful in getting replacements or important information. We recommend bringing copies of your passport, visas, travel insurance and any tickets. It’s also handy to write down local emergency numbers on a small card and keep it in your bag on your trip.
Are you planning a dream trip to Europe? What essentials will you pack for Europe? Let us know in the comments below!
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.
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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.
The Ultimate Packing List: 43 Must-Have Travel Items (by a Full-Time Travel Blogger)
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“What are your must-have travel items?” is one of the most common questions we get asked. And while we’ve written a bunch of very specific packing guides for everything (see them all here), we have yet to create a big ol’ chunky ultimate travel packing list.
So when Encrypt.Me asked us to whip up a guide to our essential travel must-haves, we were stoked! After all, we love nothing more than getting up on our soapboxes and nerding out about our favorite travel gear. We’re finally laying it allll out, from our travel gear to our camera gear to the equipment we bring with us to work on the road – everything a full-time travel blogger (or just like, regular traveler) needs!
So, ahem, *steps up onto soapbox, adjusts glasses* shall we?
Here’s what you’ll find in this massive list of our tried & tested travel essentials:
Table of Contents
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Actual footage of us being horribly lost. JK, this was staged, and you can’t tell so I’m going to explain: we’re looking at a map of San Francisco, but that’s the Oakland skyline. GET IT. Ahhhh we have fun, we have fun
Gear & Must-Have Travel Items
It’s difficult to pare down our favorite must-have travel gear into a short list, but surprisingly, we managed to tone down our extra-ness and make it happen!
There are a handful of tried & true essentials that we bring with us on every trip, whether we’re going backpacking for 4 months or just stuffing everything into a carry-on and heading to the Arctic (both actual things we have done, fwiw).
- Teeny Tiny Travel Clothesline: This teeny-tiny clothesline fits in the palm of your hand but can hang up the entire contents of your suitcase, soaking wet. We always bring it along, because you never know when you’ll have a wet bathing suit that needs hanging or some good old sink laundry to dry (which is how we get away with only ever bringing 7 pairs of underwear along on every trip). Tip: don’t hang it up in your bathroom, where it’s humid and damp – put it somewhere with natural, drying sunlight and plenty of air, like near a window or better yet, outside in the sun!
- Packing Cubes: Whether we’re carrying backpacks or suitcases, we roll up our clothing and organize them in these lightweight packing cubes to stay organized during our trip! We’re still using the exact same packing cubes that we purchased for our year-long honeymoon back in 2016 – they hold up fantastically. We also love how flexible and lightweight they are!
- Reusable Water Bottle: Reusable water bottles are not only the environmentally friendly choice, but they have a major advantage over cheap, clear plastic water bottles: they actually keep your water COLD, even in miserably hot destinations! We bring ours along on every trip, and we fill it up before long flights to stave off that drying plane air.
- Travel Towel: There is absolutely no guarantee that there will be towels available at the hostel, or that towels at your hotel are going to fit around your waist. Frankly, they rarely fit around my left thigh. So just to be safe, we always bring along a travel-friendly, lightweight, quick-drying travel towel!
Ever heard the saying “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing?” Well, it’s totally true! Pack the right clothing and you’ll be comfortable no matter where your adventures take you. Like, in this photo, they took us to Lake Tahoe, which was apparently the perfect place to break out Jeremy’s llama cardigan.
Essential Travel Clothing
The best travel clothing varies somewhat depending on whether you’re going somewhere hot or somewhere cold – which is why we created detailed packing guides for both hot weather destinations & cold-weather destinations. But other than that, we actually pretty much bring the exact same things with us on every single trip!
After 5 years of full-time travel blogging, we’ve both tried & tested enough travel clothing to have a few beloved pieces of travel clothing that we absolutely swear by. They come with us on every trip and we typically end up wearing them embarrassingly often. Here’s what’s on the top of the list:
- : If you’ve spent more than 5 minutes browsing our blog, you’ve probably heard us waxing poetic about Aviator travel jeans. If not, allow me to serenade you: SEVEN. GIANT POCKETS. Including no tone but two zippered/hidden back pockets and a “coin” pocket so big I can fit my phone in it. Oh my lawd, I just swooned. We bring a pair of stretchy, cozy, pockety Aviator jeans with us on every single trip! Read more about why we love them and our other favorite pairs of pants for travel for women & also for men.
- The Best Travel Shoes: We’ve each found a few beloved pairs of travel shoes that come with us on every trip! We both wear a pair of Allbirds Tree Skippers (his, hers) pretty much every day: they’re breathable, lightweight, sustainable, cute, and comfortable enough to walk in for miles.Vivobarefoot makes an amazing pair of cold-weather boots (his & hers) that are so durable we’ve had them for over 3 years – I’ve even gone snow-shoeing in them. And we also each have a pair of leather Teva sandals (his, hers) which are both super cute and the perfect sandal for everything from hiking to white water rafting. Read more about our favorite travel shoes for women & men.
- Hiking & Adventure Pants: We basically throw this single pair of pants in our suitcase to cover absolutely any kind of athletic activity. We’ve worn our quick-dry hiking pants waterfall rappelling, canyoning, snowboarding, and even hiking a couple of times, too! Our favorite pants are both made by prAna: the men’s Zion pant and the women’s Halle pant.
- Quick Drying Shorts (His & Hers): Jeremy picked up a pair of these shorts to double as both his warm weather daily clothing item, and his swimsuit. They’re a 2-for-1, which is super convenient for travel, and they work great! They dry quickly, making them perfect for hopping in and out of waterfalls, rivers, and the ocean and then resuming your normal travel activities. They never got dirty or wrinkly and always look good, whether Jeremy wore them canyoning or waterfall rappelling. There’s also the women’s version, made out of the same stretchy quick-drying material as my hiking pants.
- Wool Undergarments: Wool is one of our absolute favorite textiles for travel. Merino wool is a miracle fabric. It keeps you cool when it’s hot AND warm when it’s cold. When it gets wet, you’ll stay comfortable while your clothing dries. It naturally resists the growth of fungus and bacteria, so it never smells – meaning less mid-trip laundry to do! Performance wool isn’t like the itchy wool of the past – it’s thin, stretchy, and super soft to the touch, like cotton. We wear wool on every trip whether we’re going somewhere cold or warm! Lia wears this sports bra, travel bra, & underwear and Jeremy wears this underwear & these socks.
- Wool, Cotton, Linen, & Hemp Clothing: We have a lot of love for sustainably farmed natural fibers and their amazing properties, which we know way too much about thank to Lia’s degree in Fashion Design. We’ve already told you how much we love wool, and our love for hemp is very similar: it’s naturally anti-microbial and temperature regulating, so it’s perfect for all-weather travel. We’re still working on finding more amazing hemp clothing, but the pieces we’ve field-tested and loved are this comfy t-shirt for women and this men’s button down. Cotton and linen are our go-to fabrics for hot weather travel (leave them at home if you’re going somewhere cold).
- Lounge Pants: Before I discovered the Outdoor Voices CloudKnit pants, I thought all stretchy lounge pants were the. same. I was wrong. These lightweight, super-stretchy pants look awesome and feel amazing. They have 3 roomy pockets and they’re perfect for everything from wearing on 20-hour flights to sleeping to hiking through the jungle (true story). We each have a pair that comes with us on every trip, and we wear them on every flight. Read more about our survival tips for long-haul flights!
- Swimsuits: I’m a size 16/18, and my favorite swimsuit is this one, which I literally have in 3 different colors. It’s amazing. It’s perfect. It’s a freakin’ steal! For more swimsuit picks, check out my guide to swimsuits for curvy girls.
- Swim Leggings: Snorkelling is my favorite travel adventure activity! Unfortunately, I alwys seem to end up with a sunburn … usually on my butt. These swim leggings provide full-coverage sun protection while letting me move underwater without restriction. Quick-drying swim leggings are designed to hold up in saltwater and chlorine and dry quickly once you’re out of the water (they are also incredibly comfortable to walk in, and prevent the dreaded post-swim chub rub). I love Waterlust’s swim leggings line because the brand is super sustainable and supports conservation and anti-racism initiatives, plus their leggings are 100% chlorine, sun, saltwater and sunscreen resistant and made from recycled materials. Oh, and their leggings have POCKETS! Sizes go up to 3XL. For more details, head over to the full review of my swim leggings!
One surefire way to stay safe? Go to an island in the middle of nowhere. No people, no electricity, no WiFi, no worries! These are the beautiful, indigenous-owned San Blas Islands in Panama.
Travel Essentials for Safety
Nothing ruins a trip quite like getting robbed. We hate to be bummers, but it’s true! Bad luck seems to have a habit of following us around, so we’ve learned to be overly cautious so we don’t end up lost, confused, taken advantage of, or worse.
Here are the non-negotiable travel safety essentials that come with us on every single trip:
- Money Belt & Bra Pocket: Carrying a wallet in your pocket is pretty much an open invitation for pickpockets. Stash your cards and cash away in harder-to-reach places, like underneath your clothing, instead! Jeremy wears a money belt on every international trip & Lia wears her bra pocket … every day. Yes, even at home.It’s just so convenient!
- Virtual Private Network: You might already be in the habit of keeping your valuables tucked away, covering your debit card number with your hand at ATM’s, and being aware of your surroundings, but are you protecting your digital information? Like, say … the logins to your bank and email accounts? Digital theft is sadly common and even scarier than getting your wallet stolen. Plus, it’s really hard to see it coming: your bank account can get drained while you’re sipping coffee at a cafe and using their conveniently free, open WiFi. Yikes! Protect yourself with an encrypted Virtual Private Network service, like Encrypt.Me, to keep both your phone & computer safe – learn more here.
- Lightweight Locks: As backpackers who often stay in hostels, we got into the habit of bringing locks along with us on every trip long ago. The other advantage to having a couple of locks on hand is that you can lock your luggage, which dissuades would-be thieves and pickpockets looking for an easy mark.
- : Oh, how we love travel insurance! Travel insurance has saved our butts SO many times, y’all. From lost & stolen items to mysterious illnesses to really painful ear infections to an entire canceled trip, we are endlessly grateful to World Nomads travel insurance. They treat us right time & time again and are always there to bail us out when sh*t hits the fan! These days, we absolutely NEVER travel abroad without booking a travel insurance policy. We tried skipping it once and everything went horribly wrong and we immediately regretted it – never again. Not sure if travel insurance is worth it? We’ve got a detailed guide to travel insurance that will help you decide.
- Travel Credit Card: We book all of our trips on our favorite travel credit card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Not only do we earn cash back that we can spend on more travel, but the card also offers fantastic travel perks, like no foreign transaction fees, trip delay and cancellation coverage, lost baggage reimbursement, and rental car coverage, all of which helps protect us on our travels. We’ve filed several claims and the card has saved our butt many times! We’ve got a full review of the card. (Psst: shopping for an upcoming trip? You can put your purchases on the card to help you meet the sign-up bonus minimum spend!)
- Cloud Storage: Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud – there are a ton of great cloud storage services out there, and most of them let you upload lots of stuff for free! We recommend using a cloud storage service to upload important documents like a copy of your passport, your travel insurance policy, a copy of your itinerary, etc so you can access them easily even if something happens. We also recommend using Cloud Storage to back up your photos, especially if you’re taking them on your phone, just in case of theft! Phones are replaceable, but those photos aren’t. So back them up! Speaking of….
- Old Unlocked Phone: I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been traveling and our phone has gotten damaged – or worse, stolen. It’s happened so often that we’ve long been in the habit of stuffing our old, unlocked phones in the bottom of our bags, just in case. On our most recent trip to Colombia (with 16 high school students in tow), we brought a total of FOUR back-up phones between the two us. And they ALL got used – 2 by chaperones who couldn’t unlock their phones to use them with a SIM card abroad, and 2 by students whose phones were either broken or stolen.
- Backups of Everything: We bring backup plans for our backups, y’all. In addition to keeping our old phones stashed in our backpacks, we also bring digital & physical copies of our passports and emergency credit cards and US dollars hidden in like 3 different places. BACK. IT. UP!
Sunscreen is REALLY important when you’re this pale, y’all! It’s also a great excuse to wear like, a fun hat. Or heart-shaped sunglasses. Both of which I am doing in this photo of us in Cartagena, Colombia. #extra
Essential Travel Items to Stay Healthy
Travel is tough on your health, and we say this after getting sick in like, 4 continents. Whether you’re going somewhere without drinkable water or somewhere with really rich food, there are a few essential travel items you need to pack to keep yourself healthy. Because nothing ruins a trip more than getting violently ill …