We’ve traveled enough to have some useful suggestions.
Even though we have a support van to carry luggage, it’s to your advantage to limit your luggage as much as possible! We’ve traveled enough and loaded enough luggage to have some useful suggestions.
- Packing Hint #1: Limit your luggage to two medium-sized pieces (a.k.a.: a carry-on suitcase) The best combination of luggage is a medium-sized suitcase, duffel bag or backpack and a small or medium carry-on bag. If the suitcase or duffel bag has a shoulder strap, it’s even more convenient.
- Packing Hint #2: Eliminate and combine containers (bags inside bags). Do you really need the toilet "kit," cosmetics "case," passport "case," camera "case," etc. or do you need the contents? Your toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush and shaving items could go in a plastic bag in a pocket of your duffel bag or backpack. Also, combine the contents of a camera case and purse or fanny pack to eliminate unnecessary items. Stuff an empty, lightweight nylon bag in your luggage for laundry or souvenirs.
- Packing Hint #3: Travel samples save space and weight! Visit the ‘trial-size’ section of your drugstore or supermarket to see if your favorite shampoo, conditioner, hand cream, toothpaste or deodorant is available in a smaller size. If not, transfer contents to small plastic bottles, which can be purchased in the size you need.
- Packing Hint #4: Pack light! Keep in mind that you will be toting your luggage at different times during your vacation. For example, you may have to carry your bags up and down the stairs at some hotels. Or, more cumbersome can be the lengthy trip from the airport bus through the train station. We suggest you do a trial run and pack your bags ahead of time. Try carrying them around the block or up and down the stairs to test how comfortable you are toting them around.
What to Bring
- PASSPORT (required: check it now for expiration)
- Shoes: Whatever you bring, break them in now! If you have a good, tried & trusted pair of sturdy walking/hiking boots or shoes, bring them. If you are not sure they are tried and trusted, then bring two!
- For walkers, we suggest heavy-duty walking shoes or light-weight hiking boots (something with a waffle soles; not just tennis shoes or sneakers). Your choice on either a high- or low-top profile. This depends on your need for ankle support.
- Cyclists should bring good trail running shoes plus bring your cycling shoes if they clip to your pedals.
- We recommend that you change into Teva style sandals or comfortable shoes after bicycling or walking each day.
Lightweight, fast drying, mix & match clothes are best:
- light raingear (jacket and pants, or poncho)
- clothes that can be layered
- wind jacket, sweatshirt, long-sleeved cotton shirt, flannel, or cotton sweater
- 2-3 pair slacks and skirts (women)
- 2-3 pair shorts
- 2-3 t-shirts (or the like)
- 2-3 wash & wear (cotton/polyester) shirts or blouses
- 5-6 pair socks
- light weight gloves for early mornings in spring or fall
- swimsuit (depends on the season)
- scrunchable hat
- undergarments (4-5 changes)
- Cyclists need a cycling helmet
- Cyclists: bring cycling shorts, bright jerseys, mirror, and gloves.
Note: While we hope for great walking weather, spring and fall don’t always cooperate. Some places, because of the geographic location (coast, mountains, etc.), run the chance of an occasional shower and cooler weather.
- a small pocket guidebook (remember our tour library has several larger ones)
- small notebook or diary
- address book/pen
Cosmetics, toiletries, medications and sundry items
- sunglasses – bring some good-quality eye protection
- a back-up pair of contact lenses or glasses (you never know)
- sunblock or suntan lotion
- lip balm
- liquid soap (or baggie of Woolite for your clothes. Some hotels do piece laundry, but there are not many laundromats in Europe)
- plastic bag for damp swimsuit/laundry
- portable laundry line (to dry your laundry)
- deodorant, toothpaste, brush, comb, etc.
- shaving materials for those who indulge
- insect repellent (bugs are not a problem but mosquitoes are sneaky)
- allergy medicine for pollen or bee stings
- Kaopectate tablets or equivalent (it never hurts to have these)
- aspirin, Tylenol, or the like
- wash cloth (hotels provide only towels)
- small chamois cloth or other quick-drying towel (sometimes European towels are quite thin)
- small calculator (for ease in figuring currency exchanges)
- travel alarm
- a 220-volt outlet adapter
- camera and film (more expensive in Europe) and extra batteries for the camera
- small pocket knife for picnicking
- small travel binoculars
- small flashlight
- telescoping walking sticks (1 or 2, your preference)
- money belt or passport pouch
What to leave home
- Evening gown, jacket and tie, gold or silver jewelry
- Work from the office
- Your laptop
Frequent Packing Errors or general travel mistakes
- Bringing new walking shoes that are not broken in
- Bringing a new camera that hasn’t been fully tested (shoot at least one roll of film and develop it)
- Grabbing the wrong passport on your way out the door (make sure you’ve got yours!)
- Bringing a ‘medium-sized’ duffel large enough to hold a small person. We give special awards for body bags like these. Remember: if it’s too big to carry on the airplane, it’s probably too big for this trip!