It’s all about European travel essentials this Porch Time with Tracey!
If this is your first Porch Time with Tracey, it’s a place where we sit on my porch and I share new finds or interesting subjects!
Something that I’ve been fortunate enough to do is travel internationally. Getting outside of the good ole USA is such a life enhancing and soul changing experience. The majority of trips have been to European countries because you can see SO much by moving around on a train.
Since it is “Royal Wedding Day”and I just returned from Milan and Bellagio, Italy plus Zurich, Switzerland today, I thought it may be helpful (while it is fresh in my mind) to share with you my go to products when traveling abroad!
Much of this blog post was written as I traveled by train from Milan to Zurich…
The picture below is at the start of my journey at the JFK airport and the only luggage I traveled with was what you see on me: a carry on suitcase, backpack, and a cross-body bag for 7 days!
Yes, with all this hair I have to travel with my high powered hair dryer and a flatiron too. So I pack a TON in this little bag 🙂
European and General Travel Essentials
Here are the essentials that I find the most helpful and hope they help you too!
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European flights are overnight, so it’s time to get comfortable because you are going to be sleeping! If in coach, you need some extra help! I like to travel in high-tech performance pants that don’t wrinkle and can be rinsed out to dry if you get them dirty.
You can sleep and go out in these pants plus be more covered up than just leggings – I am over 40! These types of pants I get in black or a neutral color and dress them up with a nicer blouse in the evening or a T-Shirt when I am more casual. This trip I traveled with 2 pair and wore them a lot!
Then if I have the room to carry this do it, which is a roll up memory foam pillow. It is great on the plane and also in the hotel if you get a crummy pillow! It has a travel bag and can be tied to your backpack or luggage.
This pillow saved the day on my LONG flight to Australia! Then of course you need to block the light from those in other time zones, who stay up to read or watch movies when you want to sleep.
I typically don’t like eye shades, but these were amazing because they breathe and don’t get hot. My eyelashes didn’t get stuck either because they curve out.
Outerwear and Comfy Shoes
The GREAT thing about Europeans is they walk everywhere and public transportation is cheap and readily available! A comfortable pair of shoes should be the FIRST thing you figure out. Yes, I like to look as stylish as possible but leave my “cute shoes” and heels at home 🙂
Europeans often favor black and neutral colors. It’s safe to stick with navy, gray, khaki, and black. Plus it’s an easy way to dress, when you only have a limited number of clothes.
These shoes are AMAZINGLY comfortable straight out of the box! Make sure you buy shoes and test them before you travel. They are a steal and I think pretty cute too, so I got them in a black and natural.
Plus I found these great almost “no show” socks to wear with slip on sneakers! I wear these all of the time because normal “pedi” type socks fall off of my heel and end up in a ball in my arch!
I’ll wear the slip on shoes during the day for sightseeing excursions and then at night put on a cute pair of comfy flats. That way you change it up and feel a little dressier at dinner 🙂
Since the weather can be changeable and you want to be protected, travel with a simple packable weather resistant coat. Most nights it gets cooler as the sun sets and if it rains, well you will want to protect your clothes too!
In ONE day, the weather changed from 50F to 80F plus at points in the day it was cloudy, pouring rain, and then hot sun so LAYER your clothes.
I found this CUTE and flattering plus affordable trench coat. My mom and I actually bought the same one, so we looked a little goofy while traveling together – oh well! PLUS it packs in it’s own sleeve to tuck away in a day back or back pack. With a removable hood, you can’t beat it.
Then of course you need a cute umbrella that is very small, packable, and preferably automatic up at a minimum!
Safety and Theft
Sorry folks, but this is a reality while traveling and especially in major cities. A few of things to be concerned about are RFID credit/debit card data stealing, pick-pockets, and general cut and run thieves. I’ve heard too many stories and experienced aggressive gypsy pick-pockets, so I do everything I can to protect myself.
Leave you passport locked in the safe at the hotel and carry a paper copy of it when out and about. It’s not perfect, but the best option.
Protect both the data contained on your passport and credit cards by using these simple sleeves.
Then of course you need a bag for all of your things, since you will be away from the hotel hours at a time. I LOVE cross-body bags because of their comfort. Look for one that can carry the basics plus a point and shoot camera and small umbrella.
The KEY word is “Anti-theft” when it comes to this bag! If you buy this bag, you won’t need RFID protection because it is built in!
It has safety lock zipper plus the straps and body of this bag are SLASH proof. Yes, I’ve heard stories of people on trains or buses having their laptop, iPhone or whatever cut out of the bag without ever noticing. So better safe than sorry!
This bag looks small, but holds a TON! I was able to fit my Canon Camera (at the bottom of this article), a small umbrella, the charger, cords, glasses, etc. without issue. To say I love this bag is an understatement!
This one is light weight, but with lots of storage! It fits my more petite frame, so that is another reason I like this. If you want something larger, this won’t be perfect for your travels.
It makes for a good day pack, if you do any hiking or biking. Plus you can attach your back up iPhone charger inside of the bag and attach your phone on the outside.
Power Adaptors and Converters
This is VERY specific to the country you are going to and in the US we have different voltage than in other countries. So if you don’t want to fry your hair dryer or flatiron, you’ll need an adaptor AND a convertor.
Having naturally curly hair a flatiron is a MUST for me. I’ve hunted down converters that can handle the high wattage of hair dryers. Many common hair dryers are 1800W+ and need a specific converter. This I used in Sydney, Australia last summer plus on this trip and it worked perfectly!
This is an adapter (for the plug in the wall) and a converter to change the voltage of your small appliances. The small size was perfect to carry in my cross-body bag to charge my iPhone during the day – more on that below!
When my son and I traveled together, this was a nice adaptor for charging my laptop, camera battery, and both of our iPhones. In total it can charge 7 devices!
One thing I ran into is with being in another country the cell phone signal is constantly searching and drains your phone battery FAST! Which is very stressful, if you are on a 9.5 hour tour or daytime excursion.
If you plan to rely on Google Maps for directions or Uber for much of your transportation outside of trains, you need a functioning phone. Having a charged up iPhone is critical, so plan to back a back up power supply.
Travel with both your adapter in your daytime bag for emergency back-up and also a back-up charger.
OK, planes and especially international ones are dirty and germ filled. You are on a LONG European flight, so make a point to wipe down EVERYTHING right when sit in your seat. It can’t hurt right and you want to be healthy on your adventure.
Also, sometimes European restrooms in out of the way places are not the best, so you’ll thank me for recommending you have those wipes to clean the toilet and make sure to take tissue with you! Most of the public bathrooms don’t have toilet paper and you don’t want to get stuck.
Last, but NOT least. I want to recommend my amazing camera. It is the one I use for all things Porch Daydreamer and also for capturing gorgeous shots on vacation.
It’s so slim, but high on features with lens that drops down for macro shots at 8.8mm and up to 36mm for those stadium shots (my son is playing football in Milan!). Plus it is Wi-Fi enabled creating it’s own hot spot so you can transfer pictures on the spot to share with friends and family! That’s how I got the pictures into this post 🙂
There are the essentials! I hope you found this helpful and a start at least for your planning stage. Someday, I’d love to write about how I pack for a long trip and only use a carry on. It’s all about the mix and matching of the clothes for new looks 🙂
Enjoy any travel adventure you have in front of you and stay safe my friends!
If you would like to see my travel adventures, there is a HIGHLIGHT titled Milan & Zurich on my Instagram profile CLICK HERE