On our trip to Europe, my girlfriend and I brought Northface hiking backpacks, the kind that have shoulder straps, waist straps for the breast and chest area, and multiple, zippered pockets. Northface is one of the best namebrands available for durable, high quality camping gear.
When you’re planning your trip to Europe, it’s paramount that you purchase high quality gear. Do not underestimate the importance of this. If you’re used to buying cheap gear and clothes made from cheap material, it’s time for you to change your mindset.
Europeans dress well
Europeans tend to dress very well. For the most part, they wear clothes that are fitted, made of high quality material, and are namebrand. Even when you see them in jeans in sneakers, the jeans and sneakers are new looking and clean.
When I was in Paris, France, it was easy to spot the American tourists as they were the ones who were usually fat, wearing oversized T-shirts, shorts that went down to their knees, and some with fanny packs.
The French and other Europeans, however, were the ones with form fitting clothes that looked high quality and comfortable. Also, they were well groomed.
On the subway ride into Paris, 4 guys sit across from me, wearing suits, black and white, with beautiful looking shoes. All of them were well groomed and handsome. Maybe they were business people, but the way they dressed really made them look handsome, classy, and serious in their profession.
What to take on your trip
Here is a list of items you will need for your trip, along with a description of where you can buy the items. Within this list, you will notice blue links. Click those, and another window will open to a website that sells the item.
When you make a purchase from the website, I receive a commission, and you pay the same low price, without having to drive to the store and stand in line. Useful websites include Sierra Trading Post and Amazon.
1. comfortable sneakers
If you have a decent thrift store nearby, one that sells namebrand sneakers in new
condition, go there and buy a pair. If not, find a shoestore nearby or go to Target or another outlet clothing store.
2. T-shirt (poly-cotton blend – H&M)
When you’re traveling, it’s better to have one good T-shirt than 3 lousy T- shirts. By lousy, I mean cotton, those junky Fruit of the Loom cotton T-shirts that come in 3-packs or 6-packs. Do not bring those. Cotton t-shirts retain moisture, so if you sweat, the moisture sticks on the shirt. This causes problems if you wear layers, then sweat in the t-shirt and then keep the t-shirt on later that day and it gets colder.
Why? Because the sweat will freeze on the shirt and this will cause you to be cold. When traveling, bring clothes that are synthetic. I did, and I was glad I did. I went to H&M, in the Palm Beach Garden’s Mall, and bought some T-shirts (gray, black, white) that were made of a blend of cotton, polyester and, I think, elastin. I wore them a lot in France and Germany, as they were comfortable and were not sweaty or itchy like the cheap cotton t-shirts that are 100% cotton.
3. good socks (smart wool, micro wool, nylon, synthetic)
Buy good socks. Buy micro wool or synthetic. Do not buy cotton, as they retain
moisture and dampness. You can buy micro wool and synthetic socks at these
websites. When you use these websites, I receive a commission on your purchase
and you pay no additional fees. It’s easier to buy online, as you’re paying a reduced fee due to lower costs.
Use the websites below to find high quality clothing and gear:
Click the link below to be taken to SierraTrading Post website. When you use the link below, an affiliate link, I receive a percentage of the sales and you pay the same price as you would normally, so use the link.
4. 3 pairs of underwear
Buy synthetic underwear, a combination blend of polyester, cotton, nylon, silk, elastin. Try it on at the store to make sure it is comfortable.
5. toilet paper (smushed, in ziploc bag)
Buy 1 roll of toilet paper. Set it on a table. Smush it down so the tube inside is flat, and the toilet paper is like a speed bump shape. Then, slip the toilet paper into a Ziploc back. This is useful in case you cannot find a bathroom, or don’t want to pay for a bathroom as some bathrooms in city areas have pay toilets. Find a quiet spot in the bushes somewhere and go to the bathroom.
When you travel, bring a laptop. It’s essential gear. You can use it for Skype, to
make phone calls, for the internet, for e-mail, and for watching movies, as well as keeping a journal, updating your blog or website, and uploading photos. I recommend you get a MacBook Pro or another Mac laptop. Even if you pay twice as much, the durability and reliability are worth the price.
7. european strip plug adapter
A 6-outlet european strip pluga dapter is valuable when traveling Europe, since the outlets are different. This will allow you to use your laptop, and recharge your digital camera battery. I ordered this from Amazon. You can, too, using the link below.
8. european outlet adapters
Bring 3 single european to American outlet adapters. These are individual adapters
that are useful if you do not need the 6 outlet adapter. Click the link below to one or two of these.
9. digital camera (optional)
Do not bring one that uses batteries, as it eats up battery juice, and it’s a hassle to buy batteries every few days. A digital camera is essential for your trip to Europe. Knowing I was in Europe, I took a lot of photos. I’m glad I did. Most nights, I would upload the photos to a file on the computer and, sometimes, to an online photo site
10. warm jacket
When I was in Europe, I brought a capilene jacket, that was left behind by my friend’s roommate. It proved to be useful, as it was lightweight and warm. A warm jacket is essential, as it can get cold in Europe. Buy a lightweight jacket that has a synthetic shell and an inside lining made of fleece, down, or other warm material. Use the websites below to find one.
Buy a book to read. This is useful for train trips, to read at night before going to bed, and for breaks between work.
Great for writing down activity plans, lists of things you need to do, phone numbers, websites, e-mails, bus schedules, train schedules, and even for playing games while on the train or bus.
Sharpie markers are useful for writing signs for hitchhiking or for being picked up at a bus station or train station by your Couchsurfing host or WWOOF host. For hitchhiking, write the destination with a smiley face. When you arrive at bus station or a train station and are waiting for your Couchsurfing host, you can write “Couchsurfing” or your names. If you’re waiting for your WWOOF hosts, you can write “WWOOF” or your names. Either way, a sharpie marker comes in handy. For
cardboard, you can find some in a dumpster or in a trash can somewhere.
Raegan and I played a game where she wrote out a bunch of interesting questions. I answered them. Then, she said it was my turn to write out questions, which I did, and she answered. We both learned a lot about each other that way.
13. language books (optional)
A useful item is a language book. We took a few language books, which came in handy during train trips or car rides. I ordered the “Rough Guides” books at Amazon. They are small, lightweight, and have useful phrases. Click here to visit Amazon now.
14. musical instrument (optional)
I brought a melodica. Because I was just learning the instrument, and it was loud, I did not play it that often. On the few occasions where I did play it, I would go to a quiet place, like the garage, in order to keep the noise levels down. A small musical instrument, like an harmonica, banjo, or melodica, is worth taking on your trip. Most of the places we stayed at the hosts played musical instruments, sang, and enjoyed hearing music. For fun, consider taking a small instrument like a melodica, ukulele or harmonica.
15. money to convert to euros
Bring 2 thousand dollars American money to convert to Euros. When I arrived in France, $1,000 U.S. dollars converted to, about, 600 euros. Although this might seem disappointing, 600 euros has considerable purchasing power.
Bring your passport. Also, make a copy of your passport and put that in a Ziploc bag, to keep it moisture free. Another idea is to scan a copy of your passport, birth certificate and driver’s license and store that somewhere online, at one of those online storage sites that are free to use and that have private access. and to e-mail it to youself as an image file, and to store it on your laptop computer, on the desktop, as a backup.
17. flashdrive (USB drive)
Bring a flashdrive (USB drive) that has your personal information on it–a scanned copy of your passport, driver’s license, and birth certificate.
18. taser, pepper spray, pocket knife
I think it’s a good idea to bring weapons, just in case you are attacked. A stun gun, online, is about $30 – $50. Pepper spray is about $15. A good pocket knife, that you can buy an outdoors store, is about $25. I suggest you get all 3, as this will be handy in the rare instance that someone threatens you or you are in a situation where you are lost and feel threatened in any way.
19. flashlight or headlamp
A flashlight and a headlamp is very useful. Why? Often, the places that we stayed in Europe had a bathroom that was down the hall. When I needed to use the bathroom at night, I would simply grab the flashlight, put my hand over the lens to diffuse the light, so as not to wake up anyone else, then gently walk to the
A headlamp is actually more useful because you can put it on your head, and have your hands free to do whatever it is you need to do, like feel for furniture as you’re walking to the bathroom, working late, riding a bicycle late at night or other low light situations.
Raegan brought a headlamp, which was very useful, as you could just turn it on and put it on your head, or hold it in your hand, then use it of find the bathroom. At one of the places we stayed, there was an outhouse with a compost toilet. And it got cold, too. Without the flashlight, we would have been bumping into the wheelbarrow or the their kid’s tricycle. Bring a flashlight. Bring a headlamp.
20. hiking backpack
For our trip, each of us had Northface hiking backpacks. Reliable. Sturdy. Useful since it carried our gear and kept our hands free. Find a good backpack by clicking here and here.