What to Take When You Travel to Europe: 10 Top Functions!

Understanding how to pack for your trip and how to optimize your suitcase can make a big difference in how smoothly your whole trip goes. Pack too much, and you’ll be struggling with a heavy suitcase getting on and off trains and in and out of hotels. Pack too little, and you’ll find yourself wearing the same clothes over and over again, and shopping for essentials in unfamiliar stores with unfamiliar products.

Finding the right balance is essential. Doing a good job with your trip preparations will ensure that your days of travel will be comfortable and hassle-free.

Think of packing as preparing to perform all the necessary functions you will need to handle during your trip. Anticipate what you will need to be able to do, and take whatever you will need to be able to do it.

Start with these 10 Critical Functions and take what you need to be ready to perform them.

#1: Be prepared to Carry your own bags.

You may be accustomed to valets and luggage carts and other assistance with your baggage. But Europe is different in this regard. Often you will find yourself carrying your own bags. So do yourself a big favor and trade in your old suitcases for the lightest and best bags you can find.

Your suitcases must meet airline standards too. Carry-ons are limited by dimension and checked bags are limited by weight. Your airline will make these requirements clear.

But the key point is that you need to start out with bags that are as light-weight as you can find when empty, and have 360°-spinner wheels for easy lifting and pulling..

ABSOLUTE NECESSITY: very light 4-wheel, 360-degree spinner luggage


 #2: Be prepared to pack, unpack & repack efficiently.

Use a packing system that maximizes space, minimizes time to unpack and repack and prevents wrinkles.

#3: Take comfortable, adaptable clothes.

Carry clothing for warm and cool, sunny and rainy weather. Take comfortable, cushioned shoes to be ready to walk miles each day, including on cobblestones and up and down hills and stairs.

#4: Manage and handle your money and passport.

Safely carry passports, credit and debit cards and cash. Use cash knowledgeably, with ready access to more when needed. Bring photocopies of passports and cards.

#5: Be Prepared to Readily Access your Travel Documents.

Organize tickets, accommodation contact info, reservations, maps and Day Pages into plastic folders. Bring an envelope for receipts.

#6: Use phones and electronics abroad.

Be prepared to make calls and use essential phone apps (maps, Internet and translators). Take power adapters that work in Europe and any recharging cables you’ll need. Carry along an extension cord in case power outlets are sparse and inconveniently placed.

#7: Have what you need with you as you set out each day.

Take a day pack that is light enough to carry with you every day, packed with umbrella, water, Day Pages, phone, camera, tickets and vouchers. Carry a sunhat and a light wrap when you need it.


#8: Stay healthy for the duration of your trip.

Arm yourself with practical items to handle any likely physical challenge and prevent lost days. Band-Aids for blisters, Tums, Metamucil, Melatonin for jet lag, sun block, decongestant, Advil.


#9: Ship home treasures and gifts.

Take tape and labels to ship boxes home and keep down the weight.

#10: Capture your trip.

Pack a camera (or iPhone) and a journal to record your trip.