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Packing & Travel Tips


The good news is, you are going to Europe, anything you forget, you can buy there.  That being said, I like to be as prepared as possible, because who wants to spend vacation time trying to buy a plug adapter?

These are some things I like to always pack for a trip to Europe:

Adapters vs. Converters

An Adapter makes our US plugs fit into their different shaped plugs, while a converter actually changes the voltage for our US products.  For the most part, adapters are all you will need in today's times because most of our plugs are ok to use with a range of voltage.  iPhones, camera chargers, etc. generally work with an adapter only.  The way to tell is to look at the writing on the back of your charger.  If it has a range, then it is good for those voltages.  Adapters are relatively cheap and can be purchased at travel/luggage stores, or even just on Amazon.  I google the place I'm going, and find out what type of plugs they have.  Be aware that it can change from country to country in Europe, and even within the country (I'm looking at your Italy).  I like to have at least 2, but usually get 3 (and often they come in 3 packs)


Things that typically don't work with just an adapter are hair dryers, curling irons, flat irons, etc.  Good luck getting those to work with converters.  I have never had much success.  So I just use the hair dryer in the room because it's not worth the trouble to bring your own.  If you just can't live without these type of products, you probably want to do some research so you don't ruin it.  You can purchase converters at the same type of places, and maybe even in the luggage section of Walmart, Target, etc.  

Selfie Stick

Are the obnoxious?  Yes.  
Will you feel silly using it?  Maybe. 
Will you see thousands of people using them?  Absolutely.  

I know the argument against them is that you could just simply ask someone to take your photo.  While this is true, here is why I'm against it.  First of all, we are most likely talking about you handing them your phone.  Your lifeline.  An $800+ device.  Would you hand a stranger $800 to hold on to for you?  No?  You wouldn't?  Then don't give them your phone!  Same goes for a camera.

Second, I have rarely ever been happy with a photo that a stranger took of me.  I never want to ask them to take it again.  If you are in charge of your own picture, then you can take as many as you need to be satisfied with the picture.

Third, I think of my selfie stick as a bit of a weapon.  I could whack someone good with it...so bonus!

Just be mindful that museums, palaces, etc. will likely not allow you to walk around with your selfie stick inside the buildings.

Proper Clothing

I try hard not to look like a tourist, but walking around with my camera kind of spoils that for me.  But I try really hard not to look like an American tourist.  Like it or not, we aren't everyone's favorite, so I don't want to stand out.  That being said, I think that translates into dressing nice.  No tennis shoes.  No shorts.  No ball caps.  These 3 things will make you stick out like a red, white, and blue sore thumb!  Another thing I'm not packing on my upcoming trip...plaid.  We wear lots of plaid here, but I swear I was the only person in Italy with a plaid shirt on earlier this year!

Obviously you want to be mindful of the seasons and pack according to those needs.  I prefer traveling in December and January, so you have to be prepared for some cold weather.  Last year, I got a great packable Bernardo down parka from Nordstrom.  This is this year's version, but mine is similar...


I like to take 2 scarves and 2 pair of warm gloves (in case I lose one, which has happened), and some sort of hat.  

I also like to pack a couple of cuddle dud tops for layering in case it's really cold (I found some at Sam's Club a couple of years ago for a great price).  For the bottom half, I prefer to take fleece lined tights.  They provide a warm layer without bulk, and work especially well if you are wearing leggings or skinny jeans.  The fleece lined tights can be trickier to find (fleece lined leggings seem more common), but I think they are worth the search.  I've purchased some at Target and at Nordstrom Rack.

I often will throw in some hand warmers.  If it gets really cold, you could put them inside your gloves, but I often just carry them in my pockets and I can stick my hands in when they need a warming up. 

For the rest of clothes, I often take:

Cashmere Sweaters (these are similar to ones I got at Neiman's on clearance)
A vest to layer under my coat if it's really cold
A cardigan
Tunics/Dresses to wear with leggings underneath

Shoes

Ok, so I told you to leave your tennis shoes at home, now what are you suppose to wear?  In the Summer, I've worn slip on style sneakers like these (These are Tom's Avalons.  They are a fav)...
Or basic Tom's...
And OMG.  I LOVE my Tieks.  
And I know Crocs are NOT cool, but dang they are comfy.  And waterproof.  If cold isn't an issue, then I have traveled with some Croc Ballet flats that don't automatically look like crocs.  They were great.  (These aren't mine, but are similar-ish)...
Here I was walking the Freedom Trail in a rainy Boston in them, but I've also worn them in London and Quebec...

My last two winter trips to Europe I wore boots similar to these...

Because of my love for the Crocs ballet flats when it's raining, I ordered Crocs boots two years ago.  They worked great one day, then the next day it had been raining.  I swear I almost killed myself on the cobblestone streets and bridges of Prague.  I don't know why, but they were so slick.  I went back to the hotel and took them off, and returned them once I got home.  I don't know if I had a faulty pair or what.  But they were comfy.  Moral of this story, don't bring just one pair unless you KNOW they will be everything you need them to be.


This year, I've ordered these Uggs.  They are waterproof and have great reviews, so I'm hopeful they will be everything I want them to be on my upcoming trip.

So that's a round-up on things I like to pack when traveling to Europe.  Hopefully it was helpful!

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