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Packing for Europe – 8 Essential Items

You know to bring your cell phone. You know to bring your clothes. Nobody needs to tell you to pack a jacket. But what about the less obvious items?

Europe Packing Tips 8 Essential Items

Packing For Europe

I travel frequently enough that I pretty much have a set routine for what to pack. But when it comes to packing for Europe it’s a whole different ballgame. Some of the items on this list are only for my trips to Europe. But some of them have become such a regular part of my packing routine that the item permanently lives in my travel backpack. Either way, I wouldn’t want to board a plane destined for Europe without these items:

+ Mini flashlight – I love this little guy. It’s so small that I usually just clip it onto my backpack somewhere or slide it into my purse and don’t even notice it. It’s just one of those things that it never hurts to have with you. It can also come in handy if you’re staying in a hostel and coming back into your room late at night.

+ Packing cubes – I don’t use these for shorter trips but when I go to Europe I love them. With how much hopping from place to place I do on my Europe trips having everything loose in my suitcase would be a pain. The cubes make re-packing throughout the trip so much easier. I use the small ones the most.

+ GoToobs – There are lots of options for toiletry containers. I’ve found that investing in good quality ones is worth it over continually buying cheap containers that break and constantly need to be replaced. I’ve also never had these ones leak and I’ve used them on almost twenty trips now. The suction cups are an added bonus too. I recommend using the smallest size you can get by with in order to maximize space.

+ Lock – If you’re going to be staying in hostels you’ll want to bring a lock. I’m not a fan of carrying one of the heavy locker locks so I opted for just using a hefty luggage lock. An added perk to this smaller one is that I can use it as a lock on my suitcase when I’m en route somewhere if I feel like it. That also makes it easy to find once I get to my destination. ;) This is the one I purchased.

+ Streetwise map – If you’re going to be in a major city I’d recommend it. Even if you get a data plan for your phone it’s still nice to have the actual map. It’s useful when you’re riding a subway (usually no connectivity down there) and I find that I get more familiar with where I’m going when I use a street map instead of just blindly following Google’s directions. I used the London one constantly last time I was there (the fact that it’s laminated was useful!).

+ Plug adapters – The kind you need will depend on which countries you’re going to. I took these ones when I went to Ireland & the UK. I’m ordering these ones for when I go to France. I recommend bringing at least two per person. I attach mine to my plugs when I’m packing so that I don’t have to dig around in my suitcase to find them later. I’ve never needed a voltage converter, just the plug adapters.

+ Cross-body purse – Unless I want to carry my DSLR I always opt for a small cross-body purse when I travel. Any purse where you can be hands free and not worry about it will work. I recently bought this gray one from Target and I like that it matches any outfit. I also like having this kind of a purse when I’m in crowded areas because I can position it in front of me if I feel the need.

+ Portable battery chargerThis little guy has become my holy grail travel accessory and it now comes with me on every trip. It’s capable of charging any device that can plug into a USB slot. I can charge my kindle, phone, mifi, whatever using it. It’s great to be able to get on a flight with a nearly dead phone and just pull out the charger and keep on going. It also gives me the freedom to use my phone more often during the day without worrying about whether or not I’m going to run out of juice.


On my next trip to Europe I’m planning on using a mi-fi device for the first time. We’ll see if it ends up on my essentials list for future trips to Europe!


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  • This is a great list! I love my Citywise maps and packing cube. :) My husband bought that portable battery charger for our trip to Europe last May, and it really was a life-saver!

    • Thanks! And I wish I had the battery charger with me for my last trip to Europe. I’m really excited to use it on my next trip since I won’t have to be concerned about conserving my phone battery during the day anymore. =D

    • Gabriela Delgadillo

      What type of battery charger did you purchase?

      • I bought this guy: (looks like it’s even on sale right now). It’s been amazing to have with me on trips

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  • Katie Garvin

    Great post! I’ve never traveled out of the country — and don’t think it’s in my future — but I really enjoyed reading your post. A lot of stuff I didn’t even think of, but once you mentioned it I had to agree. Very smart!

    • Thanks Katie! A lot of these items would be useful for non-international trips as well. And I hope you do get to go out of the country at some point in the future! Europe is amazing =)

  • ashortblonde

    I wish I had this list when I went to Europe! I purchased toiletries upon arrival, but those GoToobs look amazing.

    • They are! I highly recommend them. I was turned off at first because of the price but they’ve been worth every cent so far.

    • And now I’m curious, which part of Europe did you visit? =)

  • Plug adapters. Lifesavers!!! It is incredible just how many things I packed that needed to be plugged in/charged/etc.

    • Right?? I brought 3 of them with me last time and it wasn’t uncommon for all 3 of them to be in use whenever I was in the room!

  • Such a great post! What did you use to make the collage at the top? I’m working on an essentials post from our Mediterranean cruise and need to make an image like that!

    • I used Photoshop Elements but it could be done in PicMonkey as well. I recommend making a large image and putting your text on first to make sure it looks the way you want with proportions and all that. Then just add your other images onto that main image and resize and move around as necessary. It turned out to be way more simple than I thought it was going to be! If you need any help just let me know.

  • Oh, and bring a SMALL but good camera! Point and shoot beats DSLR on trips like this! Especially the newer P&S models

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  • Alyssa Mowitz

    What exactly do you hook the lock to besides luggage?

    • I use it at hostels on the lockers. There’s only been one time where my lock wouldn’t work on one of the lockers (they required a certain kind).

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