How to pack for a European vacation

When figuring out how to pack for a European vacation, the first step is to not forget to bring your kitty with you (just kidding, leave'em with a house sitter) ... photo by CC user nerdcoregirl on Flickr

Heading over to the Old World for two weeks, or for a long term trip? Europe is one of the world’s more complex continents; as such, packing for this journey will require considerations that one doesn’t need to think about when traveling to other regions.

By the end of this article, you will be a pro when it comes to knowing how to pack for a European vacation, so be sure to pay attention and take copious notes…!

1) Pack light, but think in terms of layers

It’s tempting to pack for every conceivable scenario … resist this impulse, as there is nothing that sucks worse than lugging around your entire wardrobe (which can weight in excess of 30 pounds) around Europe.

Don’t be a ruthless minimalist either, as you’ll regret not packing that sweater when dour weather quickly swoops in to steal away a sunny day in the Scottish Highlands, as it does countless times every year.

In addition to the shirts that are suitable for warm summer days, pack a hoodie or a fleece to slip on during chilly mornings. Additionally, when showers roll in suddenly off the ocean during your hike along the Irish coast, it is crucial to have a water proof jacket to keep yourself dry and happy even as the North Atlantic attempts to rain on your parade.

2) Bring at least one pair of comfortable walking shoes

You’re traveling to Europe, the world’s largest open air, living history museum. You’re going to doing a lot of walking as you take in the amazing museums, castles and architecture of timeless cities, so be sure your footwear is up to the challenge.

Flip-flops will fail you quicker than you think, so be sure to bring shoes with adequate arch support. If you anticipate going on a trek in the Alps (even for just a day), invest in some good hiking boots … you’ll thank us later!

3) Invest in a universal travel adapter for your electronics

It shouldn’t come as a surprise on a continent with 23 office languages, that the electronics are equally as complicated. The British Isles, Switzerland, and Italy all have electrical sockets that differ wildly from what is standard throughout the rest of the European Union.

As such, purchasing a universal travel adapter that can fit a variety of European sockets is your best bet. If you encounter an exotic socket that it won’t cover, visit a local hardware store, as they will likely carry an adapter that will allow you to plug into that recessed socket that you just can’t get your plug to fit into.

4) Defend yourself against pickpockets: get a money belt

With all that gear, you will have every pickpocket licking their chops. Even if you do your best to blend in, your accent, and your mannerisms will eventually give you away as a wealthy foreigner.

While most travelers will come away from their European trip without getting nicked by these professional thieves, the misdirection ploys they use and team play with other accomplices can make it very easy for even the most seasoned traveler to fall victim to their sticky fingers.

By keeping valuables that you can’t afford to lose in a money belt, you will be safe from all but the most brazen of criminals, increasing your odds of having a trip without incidents dramatically.