General Question

balzac's avatar

As an American, what should I pack for a 2 week eurotrip?

Asked by balzac (19 points ) September 7th, 2007

I’m leaving for London, Paris, Barcelona, and Munich, and hope to hear what people find to be travel essentials, and maybe things they wish they had brought when they went. Thanks!

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19 Answers

ezraglenn's avatar

outlet adapters.

gailcalled's avatar

Are you a man or woman? IAC, think black. For women, shoes are the issue.

sjg102379's avatar

As little as possible—lugging huge suitcases throughtout Europe is such a pain!

extolsmith's avatar

Generally, I recommend leaving the ATM card at home, when traveling in The State, and using credit cards everywhere. Germany will requires cash.

It was quite the shock to find no places take credit cards (except EuroCard). I had to call up my bank, using Gizmo Project on Wifi at a Germany McDonalds just get my pin number.

England takes credit cards everywhere.

zina's avatar

I always use ATMs when traveling (Europe and elsewhere) and never have had problems – I find that having cash is not only more convenient (and I’m guessing fewer fees?), but opens you up to lots of places/activities (farmer’s markets, roadside stands or even little shops, things out of a big city, etc). Debit cards with VISA logo can also be used like credit card.

I agree to pack light, and one way to do that is by putting smaller amounts of things in smaller containers. For example, for two weeks you probably only need a small bottle of shampoo, so why carry the one it comes in? Try to look at how much you use and how often, do a rough calculation, and put it in a smaller container (which definitely won’t leak!). This applies to a lot of toiletries, though of course, contact solution for instance needs to stay sterile, so you would need to buy a small one, and likewise you can find a little travel-size toothpaste…

For clothes, for two weeks I’d bring 3–5 outfits, planning to wear each thing (in new combinations) 2–3 times, and more tops than bottoms. Like 3 pants, 5 shirts, a couple overshirts and sweaters and/or a light windslicker type thing (assuming you’re going soon and the weather will be fairly warm), a week of underwear/socks (which you can wash daily or all halfway), etc. I always carry one more casual outfit and one nicer outfit, since you never know when the opportunity to go to a concert or a farm (or fill in your interests) will arise.

As above, outlet adapters. Other small misc objects: safety pins, little sewing kit, IDs (passport, drivers license, student, etc), day bag/purse, ear plugs (if you tend to use them), razor if you shave, tweezers, band aids, etc. Also, camera, if digital its cables/plug and laptop or flash drive or other storage, or if film, then film. If you’re checking bags, an all-purpose tool that has scissors and things. Obviously buy or print out maps of cities (and you can find subway maps online), if you want/need basic phrases, travel guide, etc.

Depending on your typical habits and mode of travel, packing light is key! I wouldn’t take more than one backpack or small/medium suitcase for a two week trip (assuming you’re not doing anything out of the ordinary there).

there’s more, but that’s off the top of my head…...........

nomtastic's avatar

plenty of socks. a camera. a good book. pack it in a backpack, not one of those rolling suitcases (much easier to negotiate stairs, etc.)

Hawaiiguy's avatar

if your a guy, backpack that breaks down to a day pack, inside 1 pair jeans, 1 pair shorts, 6 tshirts 1 dress shirt 6 pair socks 1 pair urban hikers(waterprooof) 1pair sandals 6 pair boxers bathroom kit phone/camera and a midweight waterptoof jaclet. Oh and an outlet converter. You could go 2 weeks easy with this. Be the unamerican and travel lightly thats what I do and it makes life so much easier. Nobody cares what you look like on vacation. If you really need something you can buy it there.

Hawaiiguy's avatar

Sorry, jacket

mistermister's avatar

I agree with all fo the travel light sentiments. Travelling is all about improvisation and you can’t improvise carrying a huge bag.

rockvj's avatar

Remember to take everything you need. Don’t take the attitude that you can just buy stuff when you are out here. The pound is quite strong to the dollar and everything will be so much more expensive here!

It may be worth investing in a big hiking rucksack (the 75+ litres type) to make it easier to travel. It can be a real pain to drag a big ass suitcase everywhere, especially in Europe when travelling a lot by train. Suitcases are a lot more convenient when it comes to packing and accessing your clothes etc, but it’s often easier to travel and I’d argue more fun to take the true backpacking through Europe option!

erinford's avatar

Take an ATM card with you – exchange rates are better than travellers checks. If you have an Amex card take that too as they have bureaus in all major cities and provide excellent emergency services if needed. They will also provide check cashing services in case your ATM card fails to work in some countries. The issue with card acceptance seems to be network of the ATM. Local banks or third party ATMs don’t seem to accept foreign cards more often. I have this problem in Canada as well as some European countries. Never had an issue with Amex.

susanc's avatar

Mantra: take half as many clothes and twice as much money as you think you’ll need.
Really works. No penalty if you spend less. I always end up jettisoning
clothing before I come home. I take my most raggedy underwear and some clothing I don’t like too much. Eventually I toss them, it leaves room for presents for friends at home.
You only need two pairs of underwear if you’re willing to wash a pair every night.
You can get really tired of 3 shirts/2 pr pants but it’s awfully nice to have
very little to carry.
It is true that it’s expensive to buy clothing in Europe. But fun….

gailcalled's avatar

For overnight wash/dry underwear for women, or in some cases paper panties (?), check out travelsmith.com or magellans.com

dianalauren's avatar

EAR PLUGS. EAR PLUGS. EAR PLUGS. They are in my top five list of travel essentials. You never know when you need them. Loud french people having sex in the room next door, or kid screaming on the airplane.
and
a camera
a journal
maps!

boydieshere's avatar

as little as possible. If you can pack just one backpack, that would be perfect.

glosski's avatar

look in your medicine cabinet & don’t assume you’ll find what you have in there overseas. If there is anything in there that you use regularly, take it.

sdc100's avatar

A GPS unit with maps of each city! When I was in Switzerland, my GPS unit saved me more than once. Try to get maps with lots of POI (Points of Interest). And make sure the GPS has a walking mode (as opposed to driving, which is configured to one way streets).

Another helpful device is any PDA than can run Metro, a FREE public transportation calculator. You load your cities before leaving and it’ll have maps of all bus and train services and schedules. Then all you have to do is put in your source and destination and it’ll calculate all your connections, arrival times, etc. It even takes into account the time of day. You can download it here:
http://nanika.net/Metro/

In fact, you can buy a PDA that has GPS. Then simply load all your maps, Metro, translation software, exchange rate calculator, etc. Zagat, Michelin and other travel guides often make versions for PDAs. I even have a First Aid book in mine. VERY IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to get an European adapter to recharge your PDA.

And make sure you put contact info on the PDA’s home page. That way, if you’re injured, people will know who to contact, i.e. your hotel.

You can search for PDA travel software here. A search on “travel” produced 683 results.
http://gps.pdatopsoft.com/search.php

sdc100's avatar

Not too get too political, but I’d say with all seriousness, 1) an Obama t-shirt, 2) an anti-Bush t-shirt and, 3) an I ♥ NY t-shirt. Numerous surveys have shown that Obama is incredibly popular in Europe, and seen as a symbol of hope. Likewise, Bush is still very much hated. In fact, YouTube has an ABC news video showing how relieved Americans living abroad were after Obama won. One person said that he can finally admit that he was American and not Canadian. In fact, Americans were so hated that during the Torino Olympics, athletes were told not to wear US-identifying clothes when outside Olympic Village (and Colin Powell canceled his trip out of safety). Bottom line is that my friends tell me that those t-shirts seem to invite better service and smiles. As for the NY t-shirt, it also gets lots of attention because of the geographic mystique. Many exported TV shows take place there.

This advice is not based on personal experience but the experience of many friends living and traveling abroad. Then again, if you want to lay low and not invite any attention, stay away from the above shirts!

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