What’s on your packing list can make or break your vacation experience.
My recent 15-day trip to Europe (we visited London-see travel guide here, Paris, Venice, Florence, Rome and Madrid) was my second overseas trip, but the first time I’d been across the pond in 7 years! I studied abroad in Italy (Florence, to be exact) during college, and my packing list back then was super weak. I was very unprepared, and vowed to myself that this the next time would be different!
Doug and I spent hours researching and planning leading up to our trip, and a lot of that time was dedicated to our packing list. It paid off! Not only were we prepared, but we also saved money and avoided lots of unwanted stress during our vacation.
If you want to be prepared, save money, be safe, and look and feel fabulous on your next international trip, then you’re in the right place. Keep scrolling to see the 13 items that every woman needs on their Europe packing list!
Headed somewhere tropical? Check out my tropical vacation packing list here!
Packing List Essentials: 13 Items No Woman Should Ever Travel to Europe Without
1. All in One Universal Adapter Converter
These are a must for your European travels. No countries in Europe will have the same outlets as what we have in the US, so finding a good converter is super important.
The one we used was awesome! Had multiple outlets and USB ports in one, which made charging all of our phones, laptops, portable chargers, etc. a breeze. I recommend getting something similar, and have rounded up the best ones for your packing list below.
2. Portable Luggage Scale
We saw SO many unprepared people digging through their bags and having to throw things away at airports because their bags were too heavy. Don’t be like them!
Having a portable luggage scale saved us so much time and heartbreak. I am always right at the tipping point when it comes to luggage weight, and I didn’t go over once the entire trip (we flew 6 times during our trip, and I brought home lots of souvenirs). If you plan on checking any bags, you need one of these.
3. Anti Chaffing Stick
We went to Europe in the peak of chub rub season, and I was not here for it. I wore lots of shorts and dresses, so in order to avoid chaffing, this glide stick was a must.
After walking between 10 and 15 miles a day, I never had any chaffing or irritation. I felt moisturized, comfortable and confident. It was a life saver!
And pro tip- you can rub this on your bra line, heels, toes, or arms to prevent chaffing, blisters and general irritation. Trust me, you need one of these.
4. Dual Voltage Hair Straightener
When I studied abroad in Florence, I learned the hard way that this hair straightener was a necessity. I thought that since I had an adapter or converter (like the one we talked about earlier) that I’d be in the clear…but nope. On day one, I plugged in my American straightening iron and it immediately fried and was dunzo. Finding a new hair straightener in Italy when you can’t even speak or read the language was not fun, nor was it an expected expense.
You’ve got to have a dual voltage straightener! This one that I settled on exceeded my expectations, and was under $20! I used it every single day of my trip to straighten and curl my hair (see photos here), and it did such a good job. I’m actually still using it as my main straightener right now #soyouknowitsgood. Shop my top dual voltage hair tool picks below.
5. Portable Hand Sanitizer + Antibacterial Wipes
6. Passport Cover
Securing the passport is a high priority when traveling abroad. I got this rose gold passport cover for myself, and a hunter green one for Doug. They were a last minute purchase that made traveling so much easier, and us feel safe and secure!
Definitely recommend getting one of these. Make sure you get RFID protection so the scammers can’t get you.
7. Portable Charger + Charging Cords
If you want to roam around a foreign country with a dead phone, then keep scrolling. If not, then you’ll need a portable charger or two. Doug and I had 3 or 4 fully charged and on us at all times. We used our phones for navigation, conversions, translations, taking photos and more, so it was crucial that we had a reliable charge at all times. You also need to make sure you have enough charging cords on hand to charge all of your gadgets.
These are really two packing list items you don’t want to skimp on! Luckily for you, I found some good portable chargers starting at $12??
8. Portable Wifi Hotspot
This might have been the best investment of the entire trip. Doug and I both got International data plans with our mobile providers, but the plans were extremely expensive if you went over 1GB (which is so easy to do), and the coverage was super spotty.
The portable wifi allowed us to stay connected everywhere we went, including on long train rides, boats and navigating through the complex canals of Venice. We rented our portable wifi from Tep (for $9 a day), but there are also options that you can buy like Skyroam (starting at around $150).
The Tep was the best option for Doug and me since it was the most affordable. It was pretty reliable, but not perfect. I recommend upgrading to the prime wifi (especially if you’re a blogger or you plan on using social media) and getting the insurance. Get 10% off your Tep rental by using code “tepon”.
9. Digital Apps
Now that you’re connected with your portable wifi, there are a few apps you need to make it through. This is your digital packing list.
- Google Translate– This app was crucial. It will translate anything and everything; including text, talk and photos, in real time. You can use it to translate menus, street signs, get translations in live conversations, and learn how to say whatever you want. Download for Apple here and for Android here.
- Citymapper– So clutch! Citymapper will help you get to your destination with ease and accuracy. This app offers multiple routes with a variety of transportation methods (metros, subways, walking, train, boat rides, etc.), and ensures the most efficient and quick path. It’s not available in all European cities (like Venice) yet, but is a must-have app if accessible. Download for Apple here and for Android here.
- GlobeConvert– This app converts everything for you! From measurements to distance to currency to time, this was such a helpful tool. Download for Apple here.
- Google Maps– Although Citymapper is the recommended GPS app, it’s not available in all cities. Google Maps is one you’ll want to have on deck, especially if you’ll be traveling to Venice (although it’s still tricky to use there, it’s better than nothing.) Download for Apple here and for Android here.
10. Comfy Shoes
Being cute is great, but being comfy is better. Especially on days where you’ll be walking 15+ miles and have a day packed of standing and exploring. You don’t need to sacrifice your style for comfort!
There are so many affordable, stylish and comfy shoes out there. These sandals with soft leather and padded footbed were the MVP, these espadrille sneakers were so cute and so comfy, and these low top Vans were trendy and supportive. See my other comfy shoe picks below. Check out my vacation outfit picks here!
If I don’t eat a ton of vegetables throughout the day, I just don’t feel like myself. I knew there would be days where I would subsist on wine, bread and cheese, so to counteract that…veggies!
This veggie and fruit powder was a complete lifesaver. It made me feel energized, healthy and nourished- even on the most hungover of days. It was also delicious and so easy to make (we just mixed ours with a small cup of water)! Doug loved this, and agreed that it was one of the best things we had on our packing list. Make sure to bring all of your medications, supplements, etc so that you stay healthy and feeling good throughout your trip.
12. Laundry Soap for Sink Washing
If you’re on a long trip and plan to re-wear clothes, you’ll probably be washing some of your clothes in the sink or bathtub. Regular hotel soap just isn’t going to cut it.
PS- Doug and I were shocked at how expensive it was to do your laundry at a hotel. Think $6 per pair of underwear, expensive. Do yourself a favor and invest in some laundry soap!
13. Self Care Items
So this one was major for me, but may vary from person-to-person based on your needs. I have a horrible back and suffer from sciatica. I know that if I walk for long periods of time that I will have a flare up, so I made sure to get in front of this problem.
The two things that were absolutely critical to my health and sanity was a portable TENS machine and pain relieving gel. It was amazing being able to come back from a day of adventuring to a guaranteed back massage from my TENS machine, and I definitely wouldn’t have made it through the trip without that guarantee. I also brought my tiny machine (it’s about the size of my cell phone) and travel-sized packs of Biofreeze for on-the-go relief.
Shop some of the self care items that were on my packing list (and some that I wish were) below!
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What is a must-have item on your Europe packing list? I’d love to know!
Thanks so much for reading and sharing!