Imagine you have just spent 13 hours on an airplane and you can’t wait to get off the plane and start a new adventure exploring Europe for the first time ever! You go to reach for your bag full of goodies from the long trip but you realize you didn’t research what you will need for the rest of your trip… Have no fear that is what I am here for! I traveled to Europe last summer thinking I had researched enough on what I would need for the trip and boy was I wrong. So this is what I believe are the ten most important things to have in your bag when you take that first trip to Europe and why they are so important:
First off you will want to make sure that you have plenty of extra room in your bag! You may think you will not need much room but plan for a little extra because I mean it is your first time in Europe and you will want things to remember that! If you don’t pack enough room you will either end up having to mail it home or buying another suitcase to get it home and that is so expensive! I suggest taking a suitcase that has extra expandable room and zippers and just don’t use that extra room until you get over there. And also leave some space in that back pack so that if you buy something while out and about with out your suitcase you have room in your bag and don’t have to lug around an extra bag all day long!
Second you will need cash and a credit card with a chip. I thankfully had family that had lived in Europe for a few years and new that I would meed these. Make sure to take cards that were readable there, as well as US dollars in your bag so that when you get to the airport you can go to the money exchange desks while still in the states and get some money for whatever country that you will be entering. I recommend if traveling to multiple countries trying to only get one country’s money at a time and exchanging any extra at the different airports you stop at. That way you wont come home with tons of extra money and no way to use it….yes I am speaking from experience, I don’t recommend it!
Third you will want European adapters!!!! I recommend getting the type that has all the different countries adapters in one, it is a pretty penny but will allow you to charge your devices and do your hair in any country you travel. Also it will be cheaper for you to buy it state side then it will be to find it in Europe. I found mine in the travel section at Target and it worked just fine. If you don’t have one you will fry your hair dryer when you try to use it. And you can’t charge your phone so be smart and PLEASE be sure to get one before you head out on your trip!
Fourth a map. You could get lost without one! Any form of one really, if its on your phone, paper, a book….really what ever way you want but it will help so much! In France I didn’t have one on me and we had to stop and ask for directions and it was just very confusing with the language barer. It will save you a headache and being lost! If you for get to pack one just pick one up on arrival into country.
Rick Steve’s latest “Best of Europe” book is number five. This book will give you things and ideas to go do, a variety of what kind of places you can stay at, depending on how much you want to pay, and what kind of adventure you are looking for, as well as what each city provides, what kind of culture they are, and all sorts of fun facts! I almost didn’t pick this up but my Mama told me I should pick it up before leaving and I was very happy I did, it gave me something to read on planes and it showed me what I could do in each country, seriously the best! Don’t get magazines to read on the plane, you will just throw them away, get this book! It is a thick book but so worth it!
Sixth make sure to have train, flight, bus, and taxi schedules. If a possibility have your tickets printed before the trip so you have them with you already and don’t have to worry about your bar code not scanning off your phone at the airport. Also depending on the country schedules for trains, buses, and taxis can be found at help booth’s at the airport once you land in Europe, or you may have to do some research on the internet to find the schedules. I highly recommend doing this and having the information prior to your trip but checking it daily on your adventure so that you are not stranded once you land just waiting for a ride. Also Europe is known for strikes on different transportation lines so be sure to watch the news for any canceled transportation due to strikes. Do this so that you can find other ways around if needed. Also a lot of transportation will not start running super early in the mornings so if you have an early flight to catch either plan on spending the night at the airport to be safe or pray that your transportation gets you places on time!
Seventh is probably the most important, the passport!! This one is self explanatory but if you get to the airport and don’t have it you are not going any where out of the states! Without this you can’t leave the country or get into any other ones. Be sure to get it stamped in every country you visit! It will be fun to look back and see how many places you have visited. And if they don’t stamp it for some reason just ask someone at the airport and they can see about getting it stamped for you!
Eighth if you do not speak the language of the country you are visiting you will want a translator app or tool. There are a few companies that make apps you talk into then hold out your phone and it can translate it into another language and then the person you are trying to communicate with can do the same thing! Or I have also heard of a new devise you put in your ear and when someone talks to you in another language it takes it and reads it in your ear in your native language so you can speak back and forth. It is amazing because then you can have a conversation in two different languages.
Number nine is a camera or phone with an amazing camera and an extra sad card. You don’t want a crappy camera on this trip of a lifetime! So if you don’t have some way to take a ton of photos figure out a way! I took my phone and took pictures and lost them when my phone broke on me a few months later so please, so you don’t end up in tears, like I did, please either save the pictures on an extra SD card or on I Cloud so you don’t loose them! And take photos of everything, even if you feel like a silly tourist! Guess what?! You are one so embrace it!
And tenth be sure to pack a light rain jacket. Depending on what time of year you travel to Europe you will want the correct clothing, especially a rain jacket that does not take up much space. I purchased a light layer rain and wind breaker by Columbia and used it almost every day! Be prepared for any kind of weather!
I hope you enjoyed the top ten things to be sure to have when traveling to Europe! If this was helpful maybe I will do some more articles such as what to do when traveling alone, what kind of clothes to pack, how to pick a hostel to stay at, what to see, what to eat, and any other questions someone may have about traveling through Europe! Happy Traveling!