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Items I find essential when I travel to Europe.
Heading on an European adventure for a month or so and struggling with that to pack? Listed below are 12 items that I find are essential when I travel.
1) A unique suitcase/ travel bag.
If there's one thing I hate its anxiety at baggage claim. Everybody standing there trying to decipher from afar if that generic black bag is theirs or not. I like to be able to spot my bag from a mile away so a bag with a unique design is a must for me. This year I've gone with Billabong luggage. I really liked the pattern on both bags compared to the polka dots I've had in previous years. Perfect upgrade!
2) Lip balm.
Lip balm is fundamental, lips are prone to dry out on longer international flights so always keep lip balm handy for touch ups. I always think I'm not going to need it then BAM! hideously chapped lips and a whole lot of pain! Learn from my mistakes, save yourself from the pain and pop a lip balm in your carry-on luggage.
3) A good pair of skinny jeans.
Skinny jeans are my go-to item when travelling. They are versatile enough to wear if paired with a casual shirt and comfy sneakers when exploring new cities by day, or when paired with your designated "going out" top, jacket, and boots. Joni super high waist skinny jeans from Topshop (pictured) are my current favourites.
4) Neutral shoes.
The "one pair" of shoes that go perfectly with "that one" outfit.... Don't even bother.
Every time I travel international it is always for longer than 1 month, I'm always doing a myriad of activities and traveling to multiple climates whilst staying at varying accommodation (from hostels to 5 star hotels), so I like to take a variety of footwear, at the same time I like to ensure that the footwear, when packed inside my duffel bag or suitcase, doesn't take up much space. I personally take 1 pair of flip flops, 2 pairs of ballet flats (usually one beige and one dark pair), 1 pair of sneakers (white) and 1 pair of heeled wedges (that I wear on flights if I need to save room in my bag once the hoard of souvenirs starts piling). A LOT of people would say this is too many shoes, however, I get a great deal of wear out of each pair. All of the shoes I take are neutral, take up barely any room. can all be dressed up or down and are interchangeable with every outfit depending on the weather.
* If travelling in the middle of winter, Doc Martens (or similar) and cheap ugg boots (so I don't have an issue folding them to fit in my bag) would be replacing sneakers and a pair of flats.
5) A woollen jumper.
If you travel like I do then you are always very go, go, go with little to no downtime, plus if you're backpacking, sometimes finding creature comforts can come few and far between, so conjuring comfort any way possible is a must and a big woolly jumper is a perfect starting off point. Perfect to wear by day and also ideal as an extra layer under your coat when it's freezing.
6) A coat or poncho (if travelling in the colder months).
If I had a dollar for every minute spent praising my decision to pack a coat, I would be a rich woman. On my last trip, I almost didn't pack a coat because I thought I wouldn't need it, although, ended up wearing one almost every day of my trip. Quite often weighing a couple of kilos, the perfect thing about the winter coat is you don't have to pack it in your luggage. Just like my chunky wedges, I wear my coat to the airport or carry it on board the plane. It will fit in the overhead compartment with your carry-on bag.
7) St. Christopher's medal
I'm not necessarily religious, I suppose it is more superstitious, anyway, my friend Paul gave me this medal before I left on my first oversea's trip, and given that the St. Christopher pendant is believed to protect its wearer, I have had to travel with it ever since.
8) Earphones & iPod/ iPhone.
Handy for entertainment on long bus/ train trips and ESSENTIAL for blocking out the occurrence of chronic snorers if sharing a hostel room by night.
9) A good camera (or three) + memory cards with A LOT of storage.
One may say, I am a little photo obsessed. I will always take my DSLR, GoPro (waterproof) and at least one other good quality camera (happily replaced by my iPhone now that the camera is of good quality).
As well as blogging and taking notes on the road, as mentioned above, I take a lot of photos and I like to be able to store my images on my computer as a backup along the way. The laptop also comes in handy for making travel plans and keeping in contact with friends and family. If travelling for a longer period I do recommend a 10" laptop, they are a lot easier to carry around & store.
11) Hair dryer and/ or hair straighter.
After being on the road for a while and going 4 or 5 (sometimes more) days without washing your hair, feeling human again is a mammoth luxury and these two tools of the trade can perform miracles, not only to your appearance but you'll also be able to flatten creases in your clothing by applying the heat or finish drying your clothes if need be.
12) Batiste Dry shampoo
Depending on where you travel to and how long for, sometimes washing your hair just doesn't happen. Batiste dry shampoo is the holy grail of dry shampoo and the reason I am able to go without for several days if need be, without the stress of having to wash and dry my hair. This product has saved me hours and I cannot travel without it.
Pack a change of clothes in your carry-on bag.
Everyone says they're going to do it but not many people actually do. Trust me, after arriving to 10° c in Berlin to no luggage, after a balmy 30° in Athens wearing nothing but shorts and a t-shirt, learn from another one of my mistakes and always pack some extra clothes. Or at least be smarter than me by a) checking the weather and b) Dressing appropriately for the weather.