Quite a few of my clients and contacts are traveling to Europe this summer, so I thought I’d give a few pointers on how to pack for the trip. While you may be inclined to pack for any and every occasion, minimalist is the way to go! You see, traveling through Europe means moving around a lot; and unless you plan to leave pieces of you scattered throughout the region, you will want to keep things as compact as possible. Below are my top 5 tips for packing.
1. Layer the clothes you wear on the plane
You are sure to encounter a wide range of temperatures when traveling throughout Europe. From the cloudy, cool temperatures of London to the sunny climate of Italy. On the plane, I suggest wearing jeans, comfortable sneakers, a short-sleeve shirt (or long-sleeve shirt in the fall or winter) and a versatile jacket that will compliment several outfits. Also, include a shirt or two in your carry-on bag. You’ll have a few outfits before even opening your checked luggage!
2. Leave extra room for mementos and gifts
There is no doubt that as you make your way across Europe you’ll come across mementos that you will want to take back with you; from a delicate glass Venetian figurine to to a German cuckoo clock. Pack with the mindset that the items in your luggage will double when you return home. . . Then limit yourself to 1 carry-on and one checked bag.
3. Don’t pack too many clothes
The name of the game is packing clothes that can be easily mixed and matched to create new outfits. Jeans (good for all seasons), a couple of shorts and tops, and a sundress (for the ladies) is all that you need. If you’re worried about not having enough clothes, there are tons of stores, boutiques and markets in Europe. The added bonus is that you will be able to showcase your European wardrobe to your friends! (Worried about dirty clothes? A number of hotels have laundry services, or take an early morning trip to a local laundromat).
4. Buy your toiletries when you get to your first city
Liquids, gels, perfumes, deodorants . . . It’s amazing how much space your toiletries and accessories can take up in your luggage; precious space that can be occupied by the gifts you’re going to take back with you (see #2 above). As an alternative, head to a drugstore in your first city and buy the things that you need. But here’s the kicker: Limit yourself to $20 per person on your purchases. Remember, minimalist is the name of the game here.
5. Ditch the guidebooks
While guidebooks may serve as a wellspring of information, they are bulky and heavy and are often forgotten the minute the trip ends. Instead of shelling out $15+ dollars on the latest travel guide, browse the Internet for information that you need and print off pages that are of particular interest. If you have an iPad or other tablet, even better. Save necessary web pages there.
The most wonderful thing about traveling through Europe will be the way that it changes you. By walking through centuries of history and observing different cultures you will find yourself testing your own long-held beliefs and assumptions. There is something amazingly beautiful about this experience and bringing all of your prized possessions will only hinder that process. Pack lightly and fully open yourself up to the experience. Then write me and tell me about your trip! I would love to hear about it!
Have an amazing trip!