Packing for any trip comes with its share of decisions — depending on where you’re going, you could find yourself stranded without a key item. When leaving the country, it’s important to do your research before you leave. Other countries have various rules and regulations on what you can bring with you, and if you forget something, you could be forking over a lot of money to replace it after factoring in the exchange rate. Margi Arnold, CTC, luxury travel advisor and president of Creative Travel Adventures LLC, shares tips on packing for a trip to Europe.
Creative Travel Adventures LLC
A luxury travel professional since 1989, Margi Arnold has owned and operated Creative Travel Adventures, LLC, for more than 15 years. A seasoned traveler, Arnold enjoys customizing travel packages to meet her customers’ needs. Creative Travel Adventures offers vacation packages and experiences of all types, including many European destinations. Coordinating everything from a romantic honeymoon in Paris to a family getaway in the Swiss Alps, Arnold has extensive experience with requirements and necessities for traveling to Europe and a variety of other destinations.
Some cities in Europe are synonymous with fashion, such as Paris and Milan, but it doesn’t mean that you need to rock 5 inch stilettos everywhere you go. In fact, Europe has some of the most walkable cities in the world, with many attractions within walking distance of one another. As such, Arnold strongly recommends bringing a pair of shoes in which you feel comfortable walking.
“[For] shoes, [remember] comfort and arch support. You will do tons of walking so these things are critical. Remember that it will likely be hot and humid for summer travel. Take a pair of flip flop style shoes with arch support. Arch support is very important for comfort on long walks,” she says. You can still bring those designer heels for a night out, but make sure you have some comfy kicks as well.
First-time travelers to Europe are often unaware that the electrical systems are different. Not only are the plugs shaped differently, electronics and appliances also run on different voltages. Arnold recommends stocking up on adapters prior to leaving for your trip.
“You can buy adapters at your local electronics store, such as Best Buy,” she notes. While there, ask the sales people whether or not your electronics can be “switched” to run on European voltages. Get all of the information you can before you leave so you don’t fry your phone or blow a fuse in your hotel.
Since you’re probably going to be walking a lot, you want to be sure that your purse isn’t too heavy.
“Backpack style bags allow you to be hands-free and still carry a water bottle, snacks etc. during the day. Another option is a cross body bag, but security should be kept in mind too. Remember that your purse goes with you everywhere, so think about the size you need and pick something easy for you to get into and out of, put maps and other items in, etc.,” explains Arnold. If you take public transportation, you’ll want to make sure that your card or train fare is easily accessible as well.
Regardless of where you travel, you can be sure that the weather will be unpredictable. As such, it’s important to pack lots of layers.
Arnold recommends the following: “Take a light sweater or two to go over in case you need for a church or museum or something that requires one. Sweaters are also a good idea for night, though it never gets that cold. Pick tops that do not wrinkle and that go with multiple bottoms.” Taking more than one item to layer will help you mix up your wardrobe without looking sloppy. If you find that you don’t have what you need, just pop into a shop and pick it up.
“European cities are well-equipped with anything you may have left at home from toiletry items to electronics to adapters to cameras to clothing,” says Arnold.
In general, many people in European cities don’t wear shorts. Arnold offers the following recommendation for female travelers.
“People usually wear longer, dressier shorts with sandals — never tennis shoes. Skirts are the European alternative to shorts, and everyone wears them.” You can bring whatever is comfortable for you, but if you don’t want to stand out as a tourist, pack skirts and comfortable day dresses. In general many Europeans dress less casually than Americans, so go for dressy casual if you want to blend in with the locals.
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