Travel Tips for Europe Part 2: Packing

This post is part of a series called Travel in Europe, the first part was all about How To Plan & Research For Your Dream European Holidays and the part 3 is all about What To Expect Once You Land in Europe.
Okay so you took your time, researched your dream European holiday, planned it meticulously, applied for the relevant visas and booked the travel tickets & hotels. Phew all the tedious chores sorted! Well done!
Now as the travel date comes nearer, excitement rises and you are in your head forever packing your clothes and unpacking them. You have gone shopping a couple of times, bought more than you can pack and now can't decide which ones to take with you and which ones to leave behind. With so many gorgeous photo ops, decisions can be harrowing! So many Indians I see in Europe struggling with super heavy suitcases. Even though you are tempted, don't go that route.
Pack light: There are no porters in European airports/ train stations, nor would a bell boy spring into action Wes Anderson movie style in an average hotel or B&B. So pack light and be ready to carry your suitcases up and down flights of stairs, steep slopes, and long walks. In the Italian seaside town of Sorrento from the bus station we walked for 10 minutes dragging our suitcases and then met with a flight of about 100 steep stairs going down to the sea level where our hotel was situated. Lugging the heavy luggage down those stairs was no fun.

Tip1: Take suitcases with wheels, they make life much easier.
Tip 2: Each of you carry a backpack, helps tremendously while carrying water bottles, umbrellas, raincoats, cameras etc.
Tip 3: Give the kids their mini backpacks to store their water bottle, little snack portions and a favourite toy.
Tip 4: Keep some space in your luggage for a bit of shopping and those gifts that you need to bring back home.
Tip 5: If you are travelling with your toddler, don't forget to carry a stroller for the kid. Tired kids can be grumpy ones.
Tip 6: Don't forget your phone & laptop chargers and the converters. Also extra camera cards, batteries, transfer cords etc help if you are planning a longish trip. You can easily buy these from airport shops but then you will have to spend precious Euros doing that.
Tip 7: A must if you are visiting the UK are the umbrellas and/or raincoats. For the other European countries check the weather forecast. 
Clothing: Just because it's Europe don't assume that it's cool. Research the weather of the places you are visiting and pack appropriately. Like if you are visiting Spain/Italy/Hungary in August warm clothes won't be needed. But if it's a rainy summer in the UK, you might need a light sweater, specially in the evenings. The further north you travel chances of the weather being cooler is higher.
Tip1: Carry clothes which are light and comfortable and do not crush easily. Try and wear them at least a couple of times during the trip, this will save you precious luggage space. Remember in the cooler climes your clothes don't get spoiled that easily.
Tip 2: Carry ample amount of underwear & socks so that you don't have to start washing those up during the trip.
Tip 3: Wear comfortable walking shoes & cotton socks. Ladies if you are planning photoshoots in glamorous footwear  be ready with band aids and lotions to treat angry red blisters. Don't carry new shoes, break them in before your holiday.
Tip 4: Don't carry multiple purses. I know a fashionista who is fond of doing this. She carries almost as many purses as her number of dresses. Though from a fashion point of view it makes perfect sense, practically it is rather inconvenient. If you must, invest in a good purse in a neutral colour which goes with most of your clothes and spare yourself all that heavy luggage lugging. Same rule applies for the shoes.
Tip 5: If you are travelling in the hotter parts of Europe carry headgears like caps, sun hats, scarves. The Mediterranean sun packs a mighty punch. And don't forget your glares.
Tip 6: Carry water based sun creams and apply liberally before stepping out in the sun.
Things to carry while travelling:
Please carry your passports, relevant visas, pens {there are often forms to fill up as part of customs clearance, these are mostly given out by the flight attendants before the plane lands, if you fill it up in the flight, it helps jump the customs queue at the airport on arrival}, relevant invitation letters from a company/university or whoever is hosting you and a printout of the hotel booking or address of your accommodation. Customs officers usually ask about where you are going to stay (the specific address) and for how long, apart from the purpose of your visit. It is handy to have all the information ready. 
Carry some currency: Even if you top up your travel card, carry some local currency. Don't carry big denominations like a 100 pound notes, those are a bit more difficult to change. Rather carry 20 pound notes and also carry some coins. There are easier to use.
Carry a small medicine bag: If you take regular prescription medicines, don't forget to pack those. Also pack some aspirins, digenes, balms, band aids, throat lozenges etc. This just saves the hassle of trying to buy medicines in a foreign language. Also prescription medicines you won't get over the counter.
Carry some toiletries: If you are travelling for a long time, with lots of changes and waiting at various airports, don't just pack in all your toiletries in your check-in luggage. Carry some in your hand baggage, the European rule is the bottles/tubes have to be below 100 ml, and carried in a clear plastic bag. Each passenger is allowed one clear bag not bigger than 20 cm by 20 cm, you need to take it out during the security check and put it on the tray. For more details about the UK regulations check here.

The next & last part of the series will be on what to do once you land in Europe!
And in case you are looking for the part one which is all about planning & research you can find it here.

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