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What things would you pack for your first trip to Europe?

Edmonton, Canada
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What things would you pack for your first trip to Europe?

While I travel lots - this summer two of my friends who have never been to Europe are trying to come up with a list of must have items for their travels abroad we spent a good few hours debating about what to pack for a trip to Europe. Here is what we came up with - I would love to know what you guys would add?

Travel Adapter - You will definitely need an adapter for your electronics on your packing list for Europe. We all agreed that will have to have one handy in our carry-on bags or day bag, that way we can charge electronics on arrival or at the airport. Not all adapters are created equal, so do some research. Electronics like flat irons or curlers require different ones if you don't use a right one you could set your hair on fire (true story) or short circuit the electrical (also from experience).

Power-bar - From all the things I have ever purchased at the airport, a power bar was the best. It came in so handy on flights and buses that didn't have power outlets, in hotels middle of nowhere where electricity was sparse. Invest in a quality one because it does make a difference. I purchased one that lasts up to 10 hours, and with two cable plug ins. In Ghana two of us could charge our phones or tables multiple times before I had to re-chard the power-bar.

Water bottle - Refillable water bottle is gonna be your savior, especially in European heat. If you can get one that has a built in filter its even better. Eventho I have never ever had a problem with the tap water in Europe, but I hate wasting money and creating waste through plastic water bottles every day a water bottle was essential.

Day bag/Backpack - My carry on doubles as my day bag that I take with me when out and about. I have one of those big totes, that also has a cross body strap that I load all my carry on items in, and than when I arrive I use as a beach bag. Its big enough to put my water bottle in, face wipes or anything else I need for the day. Backpack are easier to carry as your hands are free. I have purchased a anti-theft cross body bag and a backpack for previous trips, and they make all the difference because you are worry free walking around through markets and busy areas.

Travel pouch/wallet. - I have already mentioned the theft-proof purse, or a wallet. If you go with a simple color like black, you will be able to wear it with everything and still stylish to hold belongings. I have one of those wallets that holds your passport, boarding passes, cards, ID and cash and is safe from being scanned.

Packing cubes - Traveling for extended periods of time can be hard, especially if its your first time. Packing cubes are great for any backpack or suitcase as these keep all of your clothes and toiletries organized. It creates order and it easier to access things – for example if you are moving from place to place, pack your cubes for each city or destination, so you don’t have to unpack and repack every two days.

Ear Plugs/Noise Canceling headphones - If you are a light sleeper, these are essential. Its bad enough you are in a new environment you want to make sure you are getting some peace and quiet.

What else would you guys add?

30 replies to this topic
Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: What things would you pack for your first trip to Europe?

All you need is a credit card.

r c
Portland, Oregon
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2. Re: What things would you pack for your first trip to Europe?


some differences or what i would NOT bring with me (yet).

- power bar. No need for one. I minimize my toys and my plug adapter works just fine.

some comments....

- my plug adapter has 2 USB ports so thats good enough for my 1 smartphone i use now. My camera only uses the outlet when in use.

- I got a battery operated travel size shaver. Its smaller than the one i use at home and the batteries will last the 1 month of use.

- Extra USB charging cable for my phone.

- Extra batteries for my phone and camera.

- reusable plastic utensils.

- travel scale. i use it to weight the packages i send home. If i need to i can weigh my pack with it too.

- i have different size compression sacks to use.

- i print out address labels for postcards, letters and packages.

- i bought a half size micro fiber travel towel. But so far, havent used it.

- spare glasses

- list of contact numbers for credit card, emergency phone contacts and such.

good luck.

Level Contributor
10,034 posts
3. Re: What things would you pack for your first trip to Europe?

I think the OP means an external battery when they say power bar. Usually a power bar means a power strip or some similar name.

I'd suggest learning to read the power labels on devices to understand which ones work and which ones won't

Melbourne, Australia
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for Perth, Antarctic Adventures
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4. Re: What things would you pack for your first trip to Europe?


Credit card


All you really need.

San Francisco, Ca
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5. Re: What things would you pack for your first trip to Europe?

Some of the stuff mentioned would be needed in remote places like Ghana; in London and Paris, not so much. And I suspect most first trips to Europe are to places where you can buy just about anything it turns out you need.

My criteria on what to bring are safety/health, convenience, and comfort. For clothing, I can go 10-ish days without doing laundry, but it's easy enough to get laundry done in most European destinations or do it myself.

I try not to bring clothing that only has a single purpose, so no slippers, no sleepwear. And everything has to work together with everything else. I do have some cold-weather gear (earmuffs, gloves, wool hat), but they don't take up much room and if I need them, I really need them! Same with a bathing suit.

I bring enough "just in case" medicine to get me to a drugstore to buy more -- so I bring a day's worth to fight diarrhea, indigestion, motion sickness, etc. And I bring a full supply of prescription meds that I need periodically -- for bronchitis, bladder infections, skin rashes, etc. I don't want to have to search out a doctor for immediate relief.

I have a small recharger for my phone that I was given (I didn't bring it on purpose), but has come in useful a couple of times. And I have a shopping bag that folds up relatively small that functions as a second carry-on or to cart around random purchases during the day.

I've recently switched to a small dressy backpack (instead of my bum bag/fanny pack) because it goes from day to night better. But I don't put anything of value in the outside pocket.

There are a couple of rules of thumb for new travelers: take half the clothing and twice the money; if you pack it, be prepared to carry it.

But again, people shouldn't stress about packing... if you forget it, you can probably get it wherever you're going.

London, United...
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for Solo Travel
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6. Re: What things would you pack for your first trip to Europe?

Do not bring anything that heats (hair dryer, hair straightener etc.) unless it is dual voltage. You do not want to carry a step down transformer (as opposed to a plug adaptor) because it will be large and heavy and, more importantly, it won't work.

I had a two shoebox sized transformer to run my American sewing machine in England which worked for years until a house guest plugged a hair dryer into it. With a puff of smoke, it died.

There are stories of hotel guests blowing out the hotel electrics by plugging in a North American hair dryer.

Either buy a dual voltage one (and make sure you change the switch), rely on hotel hair dryers or buy a small cheap local one you use for trips to any place with 220/240 voltage.

I throw a set of silk thermals (long johns and top) in my suitcase no matter what my destination. They take almost no room or weight and have come in handy in surprising locations.

London, United...
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for Cornwall
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7. Re: What things would you pack for your first trip to Europe?

I’m mystified why you think you’d need to pack anything different (apart from possibly a transformer) for a holiday in an unspecified country in Europe compared to domestic travel.

For example, why would you need ear plugs or a daypack in Europe but not in Canada or any other country?

A Europe wide packing list doesn’t work anyway. You might want skis if you’re visiting the Swiss Alps in winter, you certainly don’t need them in London. Equally you might want a swimsuit in Marbella in Summer but not in Venice in Spring.

Your reference to water bottles and heat seems to suggest you're treating Europe as one big country with the same temperature and conditions.

As poster at #1 says, you need a credit card (plus a passport). Don't bring anything (like a hairdryer) which needs a transformer. Job done.

Destination Expert
for Travel Gadgets and Gear, New Brunswick, Almeria
Level Contributor
7,922 posts
315 reviews
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8. Re: What things would you pack for your first trip to Europe?

Credit and debit cards - get cash from the ATM in the airport for good rates. Passport, medicines - in their original packaging, spare eyeglasses, 2charging cords and plug adapter.Forget the hairdryer as most hotels have them. Bring a scarfe or pashmina to cover shoulders in churches . Definitely no bum bag or backpack - pickpockets love them. An across the body bag with zip and flap is best. Carry as little as possible as your bag will feel heavy after carrying it all day. I have tissues, comb, hand sanitizer, some cash, credit/debit card, a copy of my passport and phone in a small across body bag which has a zip covered by a flap.

The water in Europe is quite safe to drink even from the public fountains. Bringing a water bottle is a good idea. For me packing cubes are a waste of space and compression bags can lead to overweight luggage.

I usually take 100ml liquid detergent so I can wash out undies.

Learn hello, goodbye, please and thank you, it will be appreciated. Take sunscreen as the sun is strong in Europe and take clothes you can mix and match. 3 skirts/shorts/long pants, 5 tops/shirts - 1 dressy. Evening touristy places women tend to get a bit dresses up for dinner so a dress is useful. Choose fabrics that do not crease and be prepared to wear some things more than once - not a problem if hung up and aired out overnight. I travel for up to 3 months, including formal events, with a 22 inch carry on.

Comfortable shoes are a must, The most bulky ones and pack any others with undies stuffed inside them.

For me the first thing I pack in my carry on is my kindle

Most importantly have a great time😀🇨🇦🇨🇮🇪🇸🇬🇧

Edited: 10 December 2018, 17:26
Glossop, United...
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9. Re: What things would you pack for your first trip to Europe?


You don't need an iphone. Android phones work just as well in Europe.

Destination Expert
for Travel Gadgets and Gear, New Brunswick, Almeria
Level Contributor
7,922 posts
315 reviews
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10. Re: What things would you pack for your first trip to Europe?

Something I forgot which is important. ATM machines often do not have the alphabet so memorise your pin as a number.

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