With a trip of this grand scale, the usual excitement ensues, also with a bit of a panic. The panic being, "What do I pack?" I had already bought an assortment of new Victoria's Secret bathings suits, cute cover ups, and other beachy items, but the trip to port and then the traveling in between warrants a good packing list. So this brings me to my contribution of what my top 10 MUST HAVES are for any trip around Europe or Stateside for that matter.
Article by Brittany Ruth of The Rococo Roamer
Top 10 Packing Tips for the International Roamer
10) Credit Card, Debit Card, Currency, and ID
I'll start with the most obvious. If you aren't a hobo or a vagabond, you will need to bring $$$. I always bring my debit card to take money out of the ATM. If you are traveling internationally this is most times, the best way to get a good exchange rate. Some places offering "Exhange" try to rip you off. Also, I don't want to take out too much cash and be at risk of being targeted by pick pockets or the inevitable (in my case) loss of the money.
Taking out a small bit of cash in the currency of the country is wise when Credit/Debit Cards are not accepted. Use the local currency for small items. Plus, it can be a cool souvenir if the currency is different than the Dollar or Euro.
Credit Cards, I only suggest you bring for emergency purposes. In case of loss of everything or if you need to book a flight or some other tragedy.
ID and passport is an obivous one. But make sure your passport is locked up in your hotel safe. Losing it would be one of the worst things that can happen.
With that said, try to find free things to do or you may come home broke or worse, broke half way through the trip, and yes, this has happened to me.
9) Identifying Info
Pack a piece of paper with a contact number in case something happens to you and put it in your pocket or wallet. I always forget to do this, but if something happens, people can get in touch with someone important instead of trying to break into your phone to try to find "mom" or "husband" in your contacts .
As a side note, always tell someone where you are, but NOT ON FACEBOOK. If your profile is public, or even if it's not, thieves read FB to learn when people will be out of their houses so they can steal. Remember the internet isn't private.
Often I don't want to bring my camera during the day because I don't want to be burdened by lugging it around. I end up taking makeshift iPhone pictures which are great for catching a quick moment, but not so great when you are trying to review your trip later. Find a camera that suits you, but isn't too big. This isn't a photo shoot after all. Or is it?
For traveling, I currently use a Nikon 1 J1 (in red), because it's small enough not to be aburden, but better than a point and shoot. Sure, it's not the most advanced camera out there, but you have to weigh your options and remember to enjoy your trip and not worry so much about getting perfect pictures, unless you are a professional.
7) iPhone with Apps
Bring an iPhone (or other smart phone) that is capable of using Apps. Other than being used for the obvious calling options. When I am in Germany, it is very helpful when I have the Google Translate App instead of carrying around a book. I also use a Currency App to let me know exactly what I am spending. I use the Around Me App to find restaurants and bars around the area to check out. This one is great because it will calcuate your current location and tell you where the closest restaurant is and in most cases reviews. How helpful! I also use Google Maps. I seriously sometimes use it as a walking guide.
Now I know that if you are overseas, you might not want to pay for a plan or worse, roaming, but these all can be used if you do have wifi access or even internet in your hotel! If having wifi isn't an option, then I still use certain apps to plan my trip. If you type the name of the country you will be visiting in your App Store, it will give you a country specific app to help you plan your trip. I've recently used, IAmsterdam and Triposo.
Planning my trips, I use the Kayak App to get the best deals on flights and hotels. It compares 5 different sites for the best deals. You can also set it to send you alerts when a trip that you have saved goes down on the flight or hotel. This is really helpful because a price can literally change in the matter of a few hours and then go away.
Seems obvious, but it sucks when you are ready to take a great picture and you forgot to charge your camera or worse, forgot your memory card, and these have both happened to me. You feel like a dummy too. But you'll go back to Thailand one day right? See my point. Same thing with the phone.
5) Small Purse
If you carry a purse, it might be tempting to bring that really great and super huge hobo bag that is in style right now. Not so much. Don't be so naive to think you are above being pick pocketed because you are in a "nice neighborhood." Pick pockets won't be focused on a small purse that is strapped to your side. Anything that seems too risky will put them off. They will be focused on a big brand name purse that is sure to be filled with some goodies and easy to put their sticky little fingers in while you're waiting in line for a bus. Plus a huge purse can be put down during lunch and forgotten. Yikes.
This might seem random, but it's actually number 4 for a reason. This is one of my favorite tips. You are weary from travel, have been sleeping on and off for hours, and you wake up with godzilla breath. There isn't the time or a place to brush your teeth and Wisps are a perfect fix so you aren't clearing a room. I love how clean my mouth feels after using these after a long flight. They are small and come in handy.
Hoodie, sweatshirt, whatever you call it. No matter if it's the middle of Summer, I find myself wishing I had a hoodie while traveling. It can combat a messy hairdo, hide your face while sleeping on the train, and keep you warm during a cold flight. Plus, they are comfy to sleep in. Simple as that.
For shorter trips, no more than 3-4 days, or someone who is generally a light packer, bring a backpack. I don't want to lug a big suitcase through the tiny streets of Amsterdam or Venice. To make room for all of my clothes, I roll them up. It really adds space. Having a backpack isn't just for high schoolers anymore when you are a serious Roamer. And it rings true to backpacking through Europe. They use them for a reason.
As an adult, there are so many cool looking back packs to choose from like my leather and orange funky material backpack up top. Another thing I have started to do is to buy a pin from every country I visit and pin it to my backpack. It's a great way to remember trips and also a cheap souvenir. That huge painting of Prague you bought will just be sitting in your closet anyways. Pack light and be free.
1) Pack an Open Mind
Okay this isn't a tangible thing, but it's the most important. 90% of the trip is exploring things you didn't plan. I'm a planner when it comes to trips and I like to book tickets in advance and have an itinerary. But the most fun times are the spontaneous ones. Sometimes it will rain. Like the whole trip. But you will just have to improvise and realize that being a serious Roamer isn't for the travel control freak. Go with the flow, learn a few key words of the language, talk to strangers, get lost, try foods that scare you, and most importantly stop to smell the flowers. Seriously.
As I look back on all my trips so far, these have definitely been key in having a successful trip and I am always adding more as I go along. Have these tips been helpful? Do you have tips of your own? Please let us know!
Linking up at:
French Country Cottage
My Romantic Home
Mom on Time Out
Post Cards From Rachel
French Country Cottage
My Romantic Home
Mom on Time Out
Post Cards From Rachel