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helpful travel tips

General or Family Travelers' Packing Checklist

The following items may or may not apply to your situation. So do not be overwhelmed by this list.

There is a buzz of excitement and anticipation before going on an overseas vacation. In that excitement, people have the tendency to pack for every occasion under the sun. It’s good to be prepared, but you don’t want to lug around an overstuffed suitcase or run into extra fees at the airport. Remember, you’re not going on a exploration of uncharted territory, you’re going to Europe. If you forget something, you’ll most likely be able to buy it there. This is a list of all the small items that can make your life easier when in the Europe and if you remember to pack them, there won’t be added expense.

before you depart ::

For the most part, you will or should have these items. This is a good strong base to work from.

  • read the travel advisory for your destination
  • general weather & temperature info
  • current passport
  • visa (depends on your country of origin and your length of stay)
  • health documentation
  • airline and rail tickets
  • emergency contact information
  • travel insurance
  • hotel reservations
  • traveler's checks (take some for emergencies)
  • currency for country you are arriving in (good to have for when you arrive, you don’t want to exchange money at the airport)
  • ATM check/credit cards (w/a 4 digit pin number)
  • pocket calculator for easy conversion
  • guide books and maps
  • medical insurance cards
  • personal identification
  • photocopies of important documents
  • phone cards (make a cheat sheet for international dialing instructions)

basic essentials ::

Something very important to remember is the weight of your luggage. Added fees for overweight luggage can be costly. Call your airlines to make sure you know the weight restrictions. Also remember to save room for things you want to bring home for yourself or family and friends.

TIP: An easy way to figure out the weight of your luggage at home is to first weigh yourself on a scale. Then hold your bag while on the scale and have someone else write down the total weight. Now subtract your weight from the total weight to get a general idea of what your bag weighs.

  • travel clothing/footwear (light and loose clothing with good walking shoes are recommended)
  • rain protection
  • money belt (very important while traveling for valuables)
  • brimmed hat
  • wrist watch
  • sunglasses
  • camera, extra film
  • camera batteries
  • radiation shield for film
  • scarf/bandanna
  • binoculars
  • insect repellent
  • luggage
  • luggage I.D. tags
  • mini sewing/repair kit
  • extra batteries for electronic devices
  • small toilet paper roll (cost extra in some places)
  • portable lightweight travel iron or steamer
  • mesh bag for dirty laundry
  • travel alarm clock
  • voltage adapter/converter

entertaining items ::

Be creative in this area. Bring anything small and lightweight that will keep you and others entertained. Most people miss music the most when they are on the road for a long time. You can still be very social with the people around you and bring a music player, it can be useful on long rail trips at night when you can’t sleep or when you are walking alone in a beautiful park.

  • language books
  • games/playing cards
  • ipod/ Discman
  • travel journal (don’t forget a pen)
  • reading materials
  • address book

personal items ::

Miniature everything! This will make your life easy and still very pampered. Even if it is lots of different travel size items. Think small. And don’t forget your prescription medications. You can buy a lot of things over the counter that you can’t buy in the U.S. but be prepared anyhow.

  • small mirror
  • manicure set
  • sun block/lip balm
  • shaving cream
  • washcloth (many places don’t provide one)
  • contact lens cleaner/case or glasses
  • tweezers
  • chap stick
  • q-tips
  • moisturizer
  • hair brush
  • shampoo/conditioner
  • toothbrush/toothpaste
  • razor
  • deodorant
  • dental floss
  • hair ties
  • hair dryer (check with your accommodations, they may have one)
  • make-up
  • feminine products
  • condoms/birth control
  • medicine kit(anti-nausea, anti-diarrhea, antacid, prescription drugs)
  • 1st aid kit with Band-Aids, tape, and antibiotic ointment

Some helpful tips ::

Everyday Bag: In transit it will hold all of the valuables you want to keep close: tickets, mini-camera, reading material and any other personal items to get you through the day.

Passport/Money Carrier: It is absolutely essential to keep your passport and money secure. This is where your money belt comes in handy.

Pocket Knife: Travelers might find the following features a bit difficult to get through customs, but you can buy one when you arrive. It is very helpful to have a basic blade w/a bottle opener, scissors, tweezers and corkscrew.

Electrical Converter/Adapter: This allows you to use your personal appliances abroad. They have a kit you can buy if you are going to many different regions w/ all the adapters.

Travel Organizer: The ultimate in convenience for carrying identification, tickets, trip itineraries, receipts and addresses.

Packing Heavy Items: You may be able to save room and weight by wearing some of your larger, heavy items, such as boots and a jacket.

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