Let’s Get Packing!
How many times have you packed your suitcase, left for your trip, wore yourself out managing your luggage and upon your return found you really didn’t need half of what you brought with you. Bikes Boats and Boots Adventure Travel always provides a list of everything you should need for each tour. We provide transportation and assistance with luggage and are very attentive to your needs, certainly more then what you’ll experience on your average vacation. If you are traveling on your on and trying to manage public transportation such as buses, trains, and boats you will very happy that you aren’t weighed down with too much stuff.
All of the following information will be very helpful especially if you are moving around a lot traveling to different places every few days. Begin packing a couple of weeks before the trip. Start setting things aside that will go into your luggage. If you wait until the night before it is a lot more stressful.
It is completely possible to travel to Europe for an entire month with only a carry on piece of luggage and a hand carry soft-sided travel bag. It takes some thought and careful planning but it is totally doable. The carry on luggage with 4 wheels are especially nice and easy to move. The airlines are becoming very strict and making the luggage issue a big hassle and more often than not adding to the cost of your ticket.
In 2014 I traveled to Europe for a month. The trip included a wedding so I needed different attire then what I would normally bring. I packed 1 carry on size piece of luggage and 1 soft sided carry on bag. I checked the carry on luggage with the airline. Normally this works out just fine, but the airlines lost my luggage. Fortunately, I included the wedding attire in my carry on bag. I also had my personal sundries with me, a raincoat, and one extra day worth of clothing in that bag. The luggage was finally delivered to me just as I was leaving one country and on to another 4 days later. It was quite amazing to me how I was able to make it work. So; the motto to the story; keep the most important items with you along with at least one day’s change of clothes if at all possible.
Here is my Bikes Boats and Boots packing list:
If you are going to be gone for an extended period of time it might be a good idea to consider buying some items once you get there. Things like shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen, deodorant and other personal items that you might not be able to fit into small containers are possibilities to purchase once you get to your destination. Also, consider what the hotels will offer in personal sundries. Hotels in Europe do not normally provide wash clothes so consider a nylon bath puff, they dry quickly. All other personal hygiene, vitamins and cosmetic items should be condensed down into the smallest container possible. The full-size containers will take up too much room. Brushes/Combs – Take travel size if possible.
It is possible that airport security will look at your medications. All medications should be in their original container with your name on the label. You should also keep your medications with you in your hand carry on bag. If your luggage is lost you don’t want to be without medications. Bring any over the counter type medications for headaches or sleep aid needs. Consider 4 days worth of cold medication in caplets just in case you catch a cold. In many countries, you will not be able to buy over the counter remedies and will only be able to obtain these items from a pharmacy. You won’t be able to find your favorite remedy, it’s just not available like it is in the USA.
While in Europe you will need a converter to use an electric razor or hair dryer. Keep in mind most nicer hotels will offer the hair dryer. If possible bring a non-electric razor to save space.
Take a couple of additional ziplock type baggies in case one breaks open, you’ll be glad to have a couple extra, they won’t take up any extra room.
Fill a 3oz plastic bottle with liquid detergent, leave little space on the top for expansion and place in a sealed plastic baggy inside your suitcase. You will only need less than a teaspoon to wash a sink full of clothing.
These can really take up a lot of room. Now that colored walking/running shoes are fashionable you aren’t stuck with your old standby white tennis shoes, in fact, leave them at home. It’s said that one sure sign of the American tourist is the “white tennis shoes”. Think about your comfortable walking shoes as flat-soled dress shoes. Sandals that are waterproof and also comfortable can serve as an extra walking shoe. Unfortunately, your cycling shoes can only be worn for cycling. So ask yourself are you really going to be cycling the kind of routes that you really need them. When we are in Croatia I feel we need them. We have some pretty long hills to contend with, but in Hungary where it’s mostly flat and short distances, we don’t them. Don’t forget to take the pedals off your bike, place them inside your cycling shoes. Always take shoes that are broken in.
The world has gotten more casual and it’s not uncommon to see people in short-sleeved shirts and shorts in restaurants unless there is a specific dress code. Coats and ties are rarely mandatory. Unless there is going to be a specific reason to be “dressed up”, it’s best to leave most of those items at home.
Think about layers instead of heavy outerwear. A light rain jacket over a fleece, if it gets chilly in the evening, could be a better option then carrying or trying to pack a heavy jacket. Scarves can add extra warmth, dress up a casual outfit and also change the look.
In Europe in the nicer hotels include a water heater piping system in the restroom. It is supposed to be a towel warmer which is a very nice feature. It also serves as a clothes drier.
The modern materials of today make packing so much easier. You shouldn’t need to worry about ironing anything or packing an iron. With our 3B trips that normally include cycling, we recommend only 3 cycling shirts. During the day on your bike is when you’ll be the most active so you will be washing out your cycling shirts more often than other clothing items. Two pairs of cycling shorts will also be enough.
5 days worth only – you can wash these items and they will dry quickly.
5 including short sleeve and long sleeve
2-3 pairs. Most churches/cathedrals would prefer if you do not wear shorts and that your knees and shoulders are covered. Even if they don’t require this it is considered appropriate/respectful to cover these areas.
1 – really think about whether you really need this, but if you do try and pack something that is lightweight.
2 casual pairs of shoes, this should include one pair of good walking shoes and one sturdy waterproof sandal that can also be walked in. 1 pair of cycling shoes if necessary.
Belts/Scarves 1 Belt
2 scarves, consider one being a little heavier so that it may be used as a wrap.
Bike helmet – the tour operator may include one, so be sure to check, also bring 1 hat for sun protection
1 – lightweight sleeping shirt. It’s best not to pack a robe, it takes up too much space
1 – Are you really going to wear this?
if necessary this could also serve as a robe should you need one.
These are great and many people use them.
ATM’s are very safe and abundant so that you don’t have to carry large amounts of cash. Place your name and address inside your suitcase just in case your luggage tags are torn off and your luggage is lost. Make 2 copies of your passport, keep one at home and one with you. Make 2 copies of any credit cards you plan to take with you and keep one copy at home.
Extra soft bag
This should be either brought with you and packed empty in your luggage or purchased once you get there. Airlines allow 2 carry on items that are small. This extra bag can be used to bring home purchases and souvenirs. Another option is a computer bag that will house your tablet, camera, and purse along with purchases.
Bring one small purse, as small as you can manage.
This is a flat bag with one or more zipped compartments that hangs around your neck and sits flat on your stomach just below your chest. It is perfect for your excess cash, credit cards, and passport and is with you at all times.
Once you are at your destination and by chance you have forgotten something it makes for a great reason to go shopping. Of course, you’re going to be shopping anyway so leave some room to bring home some new treasures. It’s important to have everything you need, but having too much can really become cumbersome and exhausting. I hope some of these tips make your trip a lot easier.
Although this list is specifically for one of our trips, it is a handy list for any two week travel adventure! Have any tips, questions or suggestions? Join the conversation!