I feel like it’s that time of year when people tend to book a very specific type of trip or vacation… the European tour. Heck I did it myself after graduating college. I know more people this spring taking a big trip like this either due to graduation or just a trip that has been on the checklist for sometime now. With that comes preparation. I feel that many people are unaware of the preparation that comes with a trip like this. on the other hand some are good ole fashion pros! I guess I was inspired to share my thoughts about this because of a email I had received from a family member, with a ton of questions to help her prep her college age son for his upcoming trip. I am not a travel expert, but I do feel I have traveled to enough countries thus far to have figured out a few tips and thoughts on prepping for international travel
How to pack
This took me awhile to figure out the best way to pack without being that one girl with two suitcases, one being solely for shoes (J/K.) But seriously I tend to think about each and every scenario possible, and then I tend to over pack. First piece of advice, do your research on the places you are traveling to. what’s the weather like? whats the fashion like? What are the do and don’t in that culture for clothing? With that in mind pack with the idea of monochromatic and mix and match pieces. Staple pieces that you can create 10 outfits with by only packing a few items. Using the items below I can literally create seven outfits. A list like this can easily get you through a week in Paris for sure.
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9
You obviously need to put your attire in something, so lets talk about what to use. Depending on your trip whether it be straight up back packing or just easing through a variety of cities, you need to be prepared. There is never a need for a humongous suitcase when doing this type of traveling. Especially if you are moving from place to place on trains, buses, cars, etc… You need to be able to maneuver with ease. Other things to consider are toiletry bags, are space saver bags to make room for things you buy and shoes, an outlet converter, and a lock if your suit case doesn’t have them already built in.
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
One thing I will say that is nice is the evolution of our phones, money and how we carry around our belongings as we travel. we no longer have to use travelers checks (if you don’t want to), pay credit card fees, or carry hideous, “Hey look at me I am a tourist” type bags we live in a time where phone carriers can turn on international roaming or some just need a simple sim card to switch out as soon as they arrive in that country. Credit cards are starting to jump onto the no international fee bandwagon, which is wonderful since many like myself hate to carry around large amounts of cash. And how we carry this all around is another story. there are so many better moods of carrying your travel items with you and on you in this day that don’t cause you to look like a total tourist ready to be pick pocketed, and accommodate a camera.
1 | 2 | 3 | 4
Other things to consider while traveling are hotels, tours, excursions, dinner, and museums. This can all seem overwhelming, but again we live in a day and age where we can literally get to, and find, everything we need with the click of a mouse or the tap of a finger. Here are some other great links to help you on planning your European excursion
Hotels and Hostels and other options:
Italy – You can pre-order your tickets and avoid all queues to get into places like the Colosseum, and art museums like the Uffizi here.
Paris – You can buy the Paris Museum pass. This allows you into 60 different museums and monuments for either 2, 4 or 6 days depending on your stay and budget
London – Similar to Paris, London also provides a London Museum pass option.
sometimes finding a place to eat can also be an adventure. you go from place to place looking through each menu deciding if you like what they offer, and if it’s in your budget. Then you decide on the place you saw three places prior, but you can’t remember where it is. Well now we have our phones. if you get a sim card or open to international usage you can use these apps to help you find restaurants, ratings and all within you budget.
Droid – Restaurant Finder
iPhone – 42 Restaurants
Otherwise, when in doubt ask the locals!
Tours and Excursions:
I have found that when it comes to tours and excursions here is where you really need to do your own research. this really all depends on the types of excursions you like. Here are a few ideas I am personally a kin to.
I have found that Cycle Cities provides information for day bike tours for cities all around Europe.
If your into Hiking I highly suggest the Cinque Terra and the Dolomites in Italy. I am sure there are literally tons more around Europe, But I have personally experienced Cinque Terra, and my best friends swears the Dolomites are amazing! You can read her review and story about them here and here
*I also Highly recommend reading her Blog to get some other great ideas on where to travel and her own experiences.
Other great sites to get day trip ideas are Viator and STA.
Lastly, make small talk with the locals and learn where the hidden gems of the city are from them. Those hidden gems, I have found, tend to be the best places and I have yet to be disappointing with this method.
I hope this post helps all those getting prepped and ready for that upcoming trip whether it be this year or next.