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european adventure
packing and to-do List
 

A few important notes before getting into the packing list:

 

Luggage Warning: Keep in mind that we will be checking into 3 different hostels and traveling via car, metro, and train. Most European buildings don't have elevators. Therefore, bring a big suitcase at your own "risk." ;) Many people bring a big suitcase and really regret it. It's smarter to pack less and pay a little to do laundry if you ever need to.

Don't forget: Important items to not forget are: (1) a padlock to lock up your things during the day, (2) a European outlet converter, and (3) your passport

$$$: We wrote a whole paragraph about using credit card versus cash, getting Euros, how much to bring, where to exchange, etc. Scroll down to the bottom of this page!​

Weather: Prepare for colder temperatures. Bring a winter jacket and good shoes for walking in the cold.

Rain: It may rain a few days on the trip. You still may want something to cover yourself and your day bag for the chance it does. Ponchos can work great and are much smaller to pack than a rain jacket. 

 

Main Luggage: Backpack or Suitcase​

Most of your flights come with a free checked bag. We recommend bringing just a carry on size backpack or suitcase and then a personal size backpack or purse as a day bag. Even if you have a free checked bag, it’s much easier to travel with just a carry on size bag. Jess and I always travel with the same size bags, no matter how long we’re traveling. We each have a 40-45-liter backpack and a 20-liter laptop bag/day backpack.

Reminder: buildings in Europe often do not have elevators, and the roads are often cobblestone. Bring a big suitcase at your own "risk." ;) 

 

I personally love backpacks as opposed to suitcases because they are easy to lug around. I love the brands Gregory and Osprey, but they are more expensive. They last several years, so, if you plan on taking a trip in the future, I recommend making the investment! Here are my recommendations:

  • Great combination bag (has a detachable day bag - saves you from buying 2 separate ones) for 1 week - 6 week trip length. I have a few friends who use this and love it! The day bag attaches and detaches with a zipper and the backpack also opens like a suitcase, so it's very accessible. 

  • If you’re looking for an intro backpack, I recommend this Mountaintop on Amazon. I used it for around a year, and it never failed. It even held up well during a 4 day 30 mile trek!

  • If you’re looking for an intro backpack, I recommend this Mountaintop on Amazon. I used it for around a year, and it never failed. It even held up well during a 4 day 30 mile trek!

Day Packs

 

Day Packs are a must! Usually on trips like these, you leave all of your stuff in your main backpack or suitcase at the hotel but use a smaller bag to carry around your phone, money, jacket, camera, water, and everything else for the day. You can use anything for this including your school backpack, purse, string gym bag, or, if you want something to not hurt your shoulders while exploring all day, here's what I use:

 

  • This bag is a little pricey, but is incredible. I can't stress how nice it is to have a good day bag over everything else. You are doing everything with it and I believe it is 100% worth the cost. It can fit so much and feels really nice on your shoulders. It also has a netted back that helps you keep the sweat away! 

Other Bags

 

Here are a few other bags that I think bringing are very necessary and shouldn't cost any money.

  • Dirty clothes bag (can be any bag from a trash bag to a HEB bag​) - needed to separate the clean from dirty clothes while traveling between places.

  • Ziplock bags help immensely when organizing everything. You could also make the switch from plastic and use small reusable bags to hold your things. Jess uses reusable cloth bags to hold jewelry, hair ties, etc. 

 Clothes

 

This is a very hard thing to recommend, but here are our best recommendations! I want to point that it is very easy to over pack. The trip is only 9 days. It's smarter to pack less and pay a little to do laundry if you ever need to.

  • One winter jacket

    • This is a "can't forget" item! It will especially be cold at night!

  • Raincoat or Waterproof Shell 

    • For those budget hunters, ponchos can work great and are smaller to pack than a rain jacket. 

    • You could also just bring a compact umbrella! 

  • One to two pairs of jeans or other pants

    •  Good for if you want something nicer at night that can also be worn casually during the day.

  • One to two pairs of comfortable pants

    • These are great for travel days and walking around!

  • One pair of shorts or pants for sleeping in

  • One hat 

    • ​We recommend packing a beanie or other hat that can help keep you warm on colder days!

  • Gloves 

    • A lighter pair of gloves may help keep you warm on any particularily colder days!

  • Scarf (Optional)

  • Six to eight shirts

    • Any mix of colors and styles work for dressier outfits, casual outfits, and sleeping. 

 

 

  • Underwear and Bras

    • ​The number of pairs depends on if you want to do laundry​​​ or not.

  • Socks 

    • Depends on which shoes you plan to bring (see below).​

 

 

  • Optional: one-two "nicer" outfits (such as a maxi dress, but keep in mind the colder temperatures!)

    • Good for the photo days or going out at night if you want!

Shoes

  • Walking/hiking shoes

    • I live in my Trail Runners. I've owned and used many hiking boots and different kinds of shoes for traveling, but these are by far the most comfy and useful.

    • Any running or walking shoes will be perfectly fine for this trip!

    • You definitely need something comfy to walk in, even for days spent walking around the city. 

  • One pair of night time dressier shoes (optional)

    • ​Not a necessity, but some people like to bring them.

    • Jess packs a pair of booties as her third pair of shoes.

Toiletries 

 

Here is a short list of toiletries that are a must! I recommend bringing the travel size of everything to save yourself some room!

 

  • Sunblock (You may want some while walking around the cities, depending on weather!) 

 

  • Chapstick

 

  • Deodorant 

 

  • Toothbrush/Toothpaste/Floss

    • ​They make covers that help keep them clean while traveling. We get ours from Walmart in the travel section.

 

  • Razor

 

 

  • Lotion

    • ​Travel size only!

 

 

 

Optional toiletries based on what you need

 

 

  • Contacts/Contact Solution

 

  • Small bottle of Advil or Ibuprofen 

 

  • Q-tips and tissues

 

  • Brush or comb 

    • ​Jess brings a mini brush. 

 

  • Makeup 

    • ​Jess recommends travel or compact sizes whatever makeup you want. She uses one travel compact that has brows, shadow, and face all in one. 

    • A lot of activities are active, so she also recommends waterproof mascara. 

    • There are small packs of makeup wipes in the travel size section. 

 

  • Headbands and hair ties 

    • ​Jess puts these in a little bag. 

 

  • Hair tools 

    • ​Jess doesn't recommend bringing these, as they take up a lot of space. 

    • If you do want a blow dryer, there are very small compact ones that fold up. These are a better option, but the best option is using on at the hotel.

 

  • It's also recommended to pack feminine products rather than relying on buying them there. 

other

  • Padlock

    • For locking up your passport, extra money, and electronics while you're out during the day!​

  • Eye-Mask and Ear Plugs

    • To get the best sleep on the go!​

  • Reusable Water Bottle

  • A Pen

    • Handy for filling out forms at customs.

 

  • Sunglasses

    • ​Don't forget your favorite pair of sunglasses :)

  • Quick-dry Towel

    • Bringing a towel (quick-dry are the best) is a necessity. Two of the accommodations do not include towels, but it's possible to rent towels for just a few dollars. 

  • Masks and hand sanitizer!

    • Prep for your travel days with a pack of comfortable masks and hand sanitizer.

electronics

  • You need a European Outlet Converter. This is a good affordable option from Amazon.

    • For France, Belgium, and the Netherlands, there are two associated plug types, types C and E. France operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.

    • The Netherlands uses the Type F electrical plug. The standard voltage is 230-volts, but some hotels have special plugs for 110 or 120-volt shavers.

    • Electrical devices from the United States are usually 120V and 60 Hz so be sure to check the voltage range on your devices. This information can usually be found labeled on the back or bottom of electronic devices.

  • ​Phone + Charger

 

 

  • Headphones

 

  • Camera + Charger

    • ​If you're looking at buying one, let me know and I'll connect you with Jess. She knows a lot about them!

  • Optional: Go-Pro

    • ​Not gonna lie, this is a great place for any action cam.

    • I personally use an older version of the Sony Action Cam.

  • Power Bank (Portable Charger)

    • So, so, so useful!

    • ​This is great, so you don't have to worry about being somewhere with a dead camera or phone.

documents

  • Passport! 

    • Check right now and make sure your passport isn't expired! 

    • I also like passport covers because you can keep other important information in them. sport covers because you can keep other important information in them.​

  • Proof of vaccination status. For example, your white CDC card. Bring a copy of it as well. 

    • List of accepted vaccines (this list is updated as needed):

      • Tozinameran-COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine (Comirnaty®; BNT162b2) Pfizer/BioNTech Manufacturing GmbH.

      • COVID-19 Vaccine (Ad26.COV2-S) Janssen-Cilag International NV. (Johnson & Johnson)

      • COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna (mRNA-1273), Moderna Therapeutics.

  • Cash

    • What currency?

      • France, Belgium, and the Netherlands use Euros.

    • Cash or card?

      • The majority of places will accept cards. Paying for things during the trip with a travel credit card is the easiest way to get the best conversion rates. 

      • We recommend planning to use mostly credit card, but we always like to have a bit of cash in the correct currency on us as well as credit card.

    • How much should I bring in cash?

      • If you were to only use cash. we would recommend bringing around 300 Euros. These amounts are a high estimate for spending money. It's possible to spend less if you prefer, but, of course, depending on your preferences, you may want to add in more.

      • If you plan to mostly use cards, you would then bring less cash than listed above. Again, we personally prefer at least have a small amount of cash on us just in case, so you may prefer that as well.

    • What is the best way to get cash? Your bank at home, exchange at the airport, or ATMs in Europe?

      • The most cost-efficient way to get cash in Euros is to order it through your bank. You most likely will have to order the currency ahead of time. Make this request through your home bank. Although you don't want to carry a lot of cash around, it can be a hassle and costly to pull money out of an ATM.

    • Tip: During the days, leave any extra cash locked in the safe or locker in your room, and only walk around with what you will need for that day.

  • Travel Insurance

    • ​As stated in the contact, travel insurance is required. You must have proof of a policy that ​(1) is valid for their entire period of travel, (2) covers $50,000 USD of medical expenses, including those related to COVID-19, and (3) covers $2,000 USD of lodging expenses in the event of a COVID-19 quarantine. 

    • We also recommend that you add these coverages to your policy: A MINIMUM MEDICAL, EVACUATION, AND REPATRIATION COVERAGE OF US$200,000 covering all applicable dates of travel. This insurance should cover personal injury and emergency medical expenses. 

    • Any questions? Always call the specific insurance providers to make sure you’re covered for what you need!

  • Drivers Licence 

    • ​If you go out, you might need an ID, and I don't recommend bringing your passport out drinking.

  • Money Belt

    • ​These are great to assure that no one is going to take your valuables.

    • Jess uses them, and you can wear them under your shirt. She says it helps her keep track of her IDs, phone, and money.