Who likes packing? Sure there are the rare few of us who love doing it. But for most of us, it is a chore.
You are all set for that much awaited Europe Trip and packing is standing in the way? We feel you.
It's not just the physical effort right?. One also needs to put in a lot of thought into it.
Did I pack enough clothes, what about toiletries? am I carrying all the documents required? What if I forget something? It is a quite a task.
Wouldn't it be nice if there was someone to tell you what exactly needs to go into your bag?
Well worry not. This here is a comprehensive checklist to follow before embarking on your fun European Vacation.
Let's start from the very basics.
Choosing your Luggage
Most airlines that fly to Europe from India have a carry-on baggage limit of 7-10 kg per person, and a check-in baggage limit of generally around 20-25 kg per person. It varies from Airline to Airline.
Here is a sample of the weights and dimensions for Air France Flights.
Assuming that your trip is around 10 days long, you would ideally need 2 pieces of luggage. A backpack (carry on), and a Trolley Bag (check-in).
Pro Tip: In case you are flying budget Airlines within Europe, the baggage limits are very different. Almost all airlines (e.g. Ryan Air) charge extra for check-in luggage and the weight limits are below that of standard airlines. Keep this in mind while packing.
Your carry-on backpack should be a medium size one that can hold all your use-on-the-go items (e.g. earphones) and your valuables (e.g. wallet, passport etc.).
You check-in bag will contain all the other items (mostly extra clothes and footwear).
Most cities in Europe have well developed public infrastructure (pavements, ramps, escalators etc.). European Airports too are connected to the city centers by Metro lines. You won't have a problem handling your trolley bag in any of these places.
Additionally, you may want to consider getting a smaller sized backpack for your day trips/ for sight seeing in your destination.
This will serve as your go-to-bag for all your day trip essentials such as sunglasses, sunscreen, beach towels, earphones, wallets, sweaters or hoodies, and most importantly documents (yes you need to have these on you at all times).
Your medium sized backpack may not suit this purpose. Instead, a foldable/ packable backpack is a good choice. One that can easily be folded and packed into your check-in bag. Unfold it once you reach your destination, and make use of it while sightseeing. Fold it and pack it back at the end of your trip.
The above are for regular travelers. In case you are going on a hardcore backpacking trip, what you really need is a rucksack. We hope you are aware that you have to check-in these.
What to Pack?
Here are the key pieces you need:
- Jacket: One light or heavy one depending on the weather.
- T-Shirts/ Tops: Around 7-8 of them of them that can be styled with your jackets and bottoms.
- Carry thin cotton ones that are collarless. These are usually light weight.
- If you are planning on a hike or a trek, make sure you carry active wear clothing.
- Shirts/ Dresses: One dressy shirt/ dress for a fancy dinner or a bar/club scene.
- A light jacket/sweater/cardigan that can be packed easily In your backpack.
- 1 pair of dark colored jeans. Wear this while travelling to lighten your suitcase. This is also your go-to clothing in case you have no other options (baggage delay, baggage lost, ran out of fresh clothes etc.).
- A couple of shorts or light weight trousers based on your preference/ location you are travelling to.
- Swimming trunks (for the beach and the pool)
- Socks (including compression socks if you need one to prevent sore feet from long flight journeys)
- Inner-wear (as many as you need)
- A pair of sneakers are a must. You are bound to be doing a lot of walking while in Europe. Carry a well cushioned, comfortable one.
- Flip Flops: A must have if you are planning to hit the beach. Even otherwise this one is pretty useful while you are indoors at the hotel or by the pool.
- Party Wear: The ladies insist on this. The men usually manage with the sneakers :)
- Boat Shoes/ Moccasins: Optional but very useful for casual evening strolls and stuff.
Most Indians travel to Europe during summers. The above lists (clothing and footwear) has been compiled for the summer traveller. In case you are travelling during a colder season, you would need additional clothing such as thicker jackets, thermal wear, stockings, gloves, boots etc.
Needless to say, if you have other activities such as hiking, camping etc planned, do remember to carry the stuff you need for these
Yes, Europe is the land of Amazing food. Wine, Cheese, authentic pizzas, exotic desserts .. you name it. However, it is always advisable to carry some the below mentioned ready to cook/ eat Indian staples :
- Maggi: What if you are hungry in the middle of the night. If your Airnbn or hotel has a Kitchen, these could be a life saver.
- Other Instant Ready to eat stuff such as Poha etc: These can be the perfect solution in case you need a quick meal. A microwave would suffice to prepare these.
- Instant Tea Mixes: Some of us are tea lovers. Not the bland milk-less sugarless ones you get in the west. Real Garam Indian cutting Chai. All you need to do is open the pre-mix tea packets and pour the contents into a hot mug of water. Most hotels and even hostels have an electric kettle.
These are the obvious culprits you tend to forget. A few of them have the power to make or break your trip
- Moisturizing Cream: You skin will thank you for this. Carry them in cute travel toiletry bottles if you please.
- Earphones: We know you won't forget these. But reminding just in case.
- Sunscreen & Sunglasses: Essentials.
- Lip Balm: You'll thank us for this later
- Travel Adapter: for obvious reasons
- Medicines: You need a prescription for most medicines abroad. Trust us. You don't wanna be spending your valuable vacation time searching for Dolo.
- Medicine Prescriptions: In case the customs at the Airport ask you why your bag resembles a travelling pharmacy.
- Travel PIllow: Because you want to arrive at your destination ready to have fun; Not tired and with neck pain. Memory Foam ones work the best.
- A Water Bottle: Airports in Europe have free refill stations. Carry these if you want to save money and save the planet at the same time (Plastics are killing us)
- A Travel towel: You may end up in hostels/ Airbnbs/ beaches that do not provide towels. Avoid carrying your regular bulky towel that takes up too much baggage space, and takes forever to dry. Carry Micro-Fiber travel towels that are light weight, quick-drying and can easily fit into your backpack.
- Umbrella: It can rain anytime in Europe. Happens even in the peak of summer.
- Wet Wipes: Some of us need these cause the toilet paper simply won't do the job.
- A water-proof cell phone cover: So that you have peace of mind when having fun on the beach.
How to Pack
Now that you know what to pack, we're gonna tell you how to pack all of them in your bags.
For starters, wear the Jeans, the Sneakers, and the light jacket. This will lighten your suitcase and also save you space. Attach the Travel Pillow using the loop (most pillows have one) to your backpack.
Your backpack should contain all your during-travel-use items and your essentials and valuables. Here are the key ones:
- Documents (passport, copy of bookings etc.),
- Electronics (laptop, Ipad, camera, phone chargers, earphones, power-banks etc.),
- Essentials clothing for a day or 2: Couple of t-shirts, a pair of shorts, inner-wear, and socks
Pro Tip: It is not un-common for check-in bag to get delayed. Make sure you carry your essentials and enough clothes for a day or two in your carry-on bag.
- Tooth Brush
- Moisturising cream
- Lip Balm
- Travel Adapter
- Flip Flops
- Toiletries for immediate use,
- All your medicines (including prescriptions)
- Pair of warm clothing: You'll need these on the go.
Also, keep in mind that you don’t want your backpack to be too heavy as you would be carrying it around quite a bit.
Your check-in Bag:
You check-in bag should accommodate everything else apart from the above:
- The rest of your clothing
- Extra pair of footwear
- Complete Toiletries
- All other items such as extra medicines, foldable/ packable backpack etc
Here is something else to consider.
A typical EuroTrip involves quite a few destinations. That means a lot of moving around and check-ins and check-outs leading to a lot of packing and unpacking.
One way to make this task easier is to use packing cubes. Suitcase organizers that can make packing and unpacking way more easier for you. They come with separate pouches for each of your items.
You could pack what you need for each destination in a pack so that you have less to pack and unpack during each check-in and check-out.
You could also pack each of your items (shirts, socks, dresses, electronics etc) in separate cubes so that you won't have trouble finding them.
A European backpacker once told us that packing cubes were a lifesaver for her as it helped her a lot in organizing stuff in her large rucksack.
Besides who doesn't want their suitcase looking like this.
We also recommend that you get yourself a toiletry bag to carry your shampoos lotions and stuff.
European hotels and Airbnbs often have tiny bathrooms that that lack platforms. A hanging water-resistant toiletry bag is quite handy in such situations.
One last thing to take care of. Securing your bag when it is out of sight. Be it at the hotel or in check-in, make sure you secure you bag using a number lock (convenient to use). Use a fashionable one to stand-out at the Airport.
That sums up packing for your much awaited Euro-Trip. We hope you have a wonderful journey.
P.S: Even with a complete check-list and extra cautions, one is bound to miss out 1 or 2 items when packing. Not to worry. Stuff happens.
That said, there are three items one must never get wrong when preparing for a foreign vacation. These are
Get these 3 sorted and any other issues that arise can be sorted out using these 3. Check out our International Travel Checklist for a lowdown on these 3 essentials or check the info-graphics below to get a fair idea