How to prepare for a trip to Europe

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Traveling to Europe is something that most people dream of doing at some point in their life. However, in the weeks/days leading up to your trip there is a lot that needs to be done. I have put together an overview of key things to make sure you have done leading up to your Euro trip. This list is mostly to help me get organized before my trip in just a few (!) days. Hopefully you find it useful too!

Get organized:

  • Notify your bank of your travel plans so your cards are not declined upon landing in a foreign country. You should try and travel with some of the country’s currency too so you have some spending money as soon as you land. Once you are there you can decide to pull out more money at a currency exchange counter or ATM.
  • Make sure your passport is up-to-date. (This really should be done well in advance or you can forget about leaving the country!) Depending on the place you travel, they may require that your passport is valid for a certain amount of time after your trip is supposed to end too.
  • Make copies of important documents to bring with you. This would include things like your passport, boarding passes, address and confirmation/contact info for the place you are staying, etc.
  • Decide on whether you want to purchase an international phone plan. There are also a lot of free options for those trying to save some money. Typically, I just use iMessage, Viber, Whatsapp, Facebook, etc. while I am in WiFi areas throughout my trip. (Very easy to find WiFi throughout Europe.)
Hiking in Ireland
Hiking in Ireland

Packing Checklist:

Pack. And then re-pack. Once you have finished packing, see what you can do without- you can usually travel with less than you think. Traveling should be about comfort over glamour. Take the necessities and plan outfits that can be mixed and matched. It’s amazing what a scarf or necklace can do to freshen up an outfit. There are also a lot of ways to find space when packing. Things like rolling rather than folding clothes and packing cubes are often huge space-savers. Think about using every nook and cranny-even the space inside your shoes can be utilized! Here is a general list of things to pack for a trip to Europe in fall (for a girl, sorry guys!)

  • Comfortable walking shoes and a pair of nicer shoes
  • 2-3 pairs of leggings and jeans
  • 2 nice outfits for nights out
  • A couple of comfortable t-shirts and sweaters for layering
  • A fresh pair of socks/underwear for each travel day (okay that one should be obvious)
  • Warm scarf
  • Light jacket for cooler evenings/rain jacket if you are going somewhere that tends to be rainy (it helps to wear your jacket on the plane to save space in your luggage)
  • Travel-size toiletries (pay attention to airline restrictions)
  • Any prescriptions, contacts etc. you will need for the duration of your trip
  • Camera/Phone/Tablet/Laptop—whatever it is you feel comfortable traveling with
  • Passport and other important documentation (carry-on, do NOT check-in)
  • Universal converter
  • Small pouch to keep jewelry and accessories
  • Book, magazine, etc. to bring with you on plane/train rides
  • Empty duffle or backpack to use for overnight trips or to bring back souvenirs

Here is another example of a packing checklist for someone who traveled around the world for a year. Shockingly, I think her checklist could work for someone traveling to Europe for a week or two. It should help put things in perspective in terms of how much you really need to bring!

View from Sacre-Couer
View from Sacre-Couer

Airline Advice:

  • Be aware of baggage policies, size, and weight restrictions for both carry-on and check-in. It is not fun to be hit with a fee when you’re trying to check in.
  • Organize and print out any and all boarding/train passes ahead of time.
  • Have an idea of how you will be traveling from the airport to your destination once you have arrived. It helps to know in advance so that when you land you have less to think about. I assure you that your head will still be in a fog from jetlag.
  • Make sure any liquids, make-up, etc. complies with airline policies. Either check these items in with your luggage or confirm everything you carry on meets the airline criteria and is placed in a sealed bag.

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This list is by no means comprehensive, and is of course personal, but I hope it helps you start thinking about your own planning/preparation. The good news is that anything you might forget at home can typically be replaced once you are in Europe. Check out some other helpful posts with travel tips we have provided right here on Wonderlost:

Happy Travels!

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Posted by

Erin founded the Wonderlost Travel blog in February of 2015 after her experience of studying abroad in Europe. Erin has had the opportunity to travel throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and parts of South America and Asia. She enjoys writing about and photographing her travel experiences in order to inspire others to get out and follow their travel dreams. She has collaborated with tourism departments, restaurants, and other travel bloggers to share reviews and travel advice with readers in over 100 countries. Erin has a passion for traveling the world to experience other cultures and explore nature!

5 thoughts on “How to prepare for a trip to Europe

  1. If you plan on using budget airlines like RyanAir within Europe, try to pack as light as possible, baggage fees can be crazy high. Instead of bringing t-shirts, socks and undies for each travel day, bring enough for a week max. and wash (either sink wash or laundromat).

    What we usually do is pack extremely light on the way to our destination, one half-empty duffle for both of us together plus a carry-on each. That way we have tons of space left for souvenirs and general “stuff” we buy during our trip. Works like a charm 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Most of our trips are either to the US (and include lots of clothes shopping) or to Scotland (and include a lot of whisky shopping 😜), so carry-on only is no real option for the way back. Otherwise, yes, carry-on only is the way to go!

        Liked by 1 person

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