I did a lot of planning before I packed my bag for our month in Europe. I read online articles, I made a list, and I edited it. (And yet somehow it was my sister who got made fun of for planning too much! Ha!) But even so, once we got to Europe, though I was glad of packing some things, there were also several things I wished I had, and several things I didn’t really need. If you’re interested, here’s my personal run-down.
I was glad I had:
-A summer scarf. Fashionable addition to a tank-top, but also could keep me warm if the morning were just a bit chilly. Easy to tie it to my purse strap when I wasn’t wearing it.
-My ipod. I considered not bringing it, but I really enjoyed being able to listen to familiar music on some of the long train rides.
-A purse (with a long shoulder strap) big enough to fit a water bottle, my wallet, my camera, a small journal, and a sandwich if need be.
-My sleep mask. Not essential, but there was a night or two when I went to bed before the lights in our hostel dorm room had been turned off, or a morning when I wanted to sleep later than sunrise, and the sleep mask was nice.
-Hand sanitizer. Every once in a while, I found no soap or no paper toweling in a public bathroom.
I didn’t use:
-My laundry supplies—a sink stopper, travel detergent, and bungee cord clothesline. If our trip had gone differently, maybe we would have, but the way we did it, twice the families we were staying with did a load of laundry for us, and once we gave in and paid to have the hostel wash and dry it for us. $5 spent in exchange for not having to hand-wash or find a place to line-dry our clothes seemed worth it to us.
-Ear plugs. We didn’t stay in any party hostels, so I never had a problem with the area being too noisy when we wanted to sleep.
I wish I’d had:
-A pair of regular shorts or a short skirt. I’d read that European women don’t wear short shorts, so I brought a pair of capris, a pair of bermudas, and a knee-length skirt. Thing is, when it’s 95 degrees and you’re outside walking around all day, you stop caring so much about blending in with the locals. Plus, chances are, you’re going to find yourself in a heavily touristed area where I guarantee there will be other tourists who are wearing comfortable clothes. There’s no harm in blending in with them once in a while.
(I also wanted to make sure all of my clothes would be appropriate to get me into a church in Italy…I don’t know why I couldn’t just plan ahead the days in Italy and bring shorter skirts for the other 3 weeks of our trip).
-A working umbrella! I bought a brand new one right before the trip, and the first time I went to open it, it snapped in two. Just my luck! Make sure you test your umbrella before you leave for Europe. Thankfully, we only had 2 rainy days on our entire month long trip, and I did have a raincoat along.