Travel Tips

This is a place of advice, links and tips I have picked up from my various adventures! It will be an evolving list as something new is learned on every trip. Happy adventuring!

-Elissa

  • Backpack/Suitcase:
    • Choosing the right type of bag is essential to making your life easier when you travel. Depending on the type of trip you take might influence what you choose to bring. Consider these factors when deciding on a backpack or suitcase.
      • Do you have to repack due to multiple destinations? Are you going to be on and off trains or in and out of cars and busses? Will you have multiple layovers? Going through customs more than once?
      • If the answer is yes to any of these consider taking a backpack. I traded wheels for shoulder straps and was very thankful on my last tour through Europe. There is often no elevator or you walk over uneven cobblestone streets and the typical roller suitcase doesn’t fair well.
      • Check out the Patagonia Black Hole Duffel. It worked pretty well overall for me in Europe, just don’t overpack…
      • A backpacker style pack may be the best overall choice, though I haven’t used it on a multistop trip as of yet. After observing others on my trip I was jealous of the extra pockets and hip support on those longer walks to the hostel. Something like this one from REI would be nice as it has a rain cover as well.
    • Bring a smaller pack to use during the day. Something big enough to store your daily essentials, jacket, scarf, snacks, camera, hat and water bottle. Side pockets are a must for easy access to your water or other beverage.

 

  • Must Have Travel Accessories:
    • Reusable Water Bottle. This is something you don’t want to forget. Water is expensive, often in glass bottles and cumbersome liter sizes in Europe. I used a hydroflask with a handle lid and a carabiner that I clipped onto my pack when not in use.
    • Portable Charging BankThere might not always be an outlet open to reboost your phone or tablet. Having a small portable charger can save you on those long train rides, or times where you forget to grab power when near an outlet. Plus it is safe and secure and you won’t need to leave your phone unattended at an inconvenient outlet.
    • Self Cleaning WipesYou might find yourself needing a bit of freshening but don’t have access to a shower or clean sink. These saved my life after a long day followed by questionable bathroom facilities on the night train. These are also great to wipe surfaces you may come into contact with like airline trays, and train windows.
    • Ear PlugsSometimes headphones aren’t enough to give you the quiet needed for some rest or peaceful moments. I used silicon ear plugs and they worked perfectly for giving me the quiet needed without poking or discomfort.
    • Cheap Flip FlopsShared showers in hostels aren’t always clean (read about my hostel shower experience here). I wished I had a cheap pair like these instead of my nice pair. These can also be great for when you want to just hit up the coffee machine in the am without hunting for socks. Plus if you leave them behind or lose them you aren’t out much.
    • Tupperware. I know, I know, but seriously! There are so many times you’ll have a snack like trail mix, gummy bears or pastries that would be much easier and less messy if you could just seal it up in a togo container.
    • Long Open Ended Scarf.  Most must see places in Europe and all over the world are churches or sacred grounds. It is required or generally more respectful if you cover your shoulders and at legs to your knees. A lightweight scarf can serve as a shall or sarong for those moments when you are dressed in shorts and a tank but want to go see the Duomo or Notre Dame.

 

  • Take Pictures but also Live in the Moment. Don’t spend the entire time on your phone or behind the lens of your camera. Live in the moment, try new food, even better try it with someone else! It is fun to experience things with others. Snap a few pictures then concentrate on building memories with those around you.

 

  • If you have Verizon Try the $10 a day International Roaming Plan. For $10 you get 24 hours of access to your regular plan. This was great as I facetimed my dad from the Colosseum on Father’s day and could facebook and text all I wanted just like I do here at home. It was also nice for those days where I wanted to use google maps instead of preplanning my route. I didn’t use it everyday but it was nice to have just in case.
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