Schengen Visa
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Europe Travel Checklist for First Time Travellers


One of the most popular tourist destinations, Europe attracted 713 million foreign travelers in 2018 alone, says an article by The Guardian. Some of the richest countries in the world can be found in Europe, with strong economies and some of the highest per capita GDP globally, such as Norway, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Iceland. The continent also home to diverse cultures and traditions and some of the most powerful civilizations in history, like the Greeks and Romans, emerged from Europe. Home to almost 11% of the world’s population, Europe is truly a beautiful place for a holiday with friends or family.

Europe Travel Checklist

For a smooth and hassle-free trip to Europe, it is a great idea to make a travel checklist. This will ensure that you bring all the essential, without overpacking! Here’s a simple guide on what to take along with you and to ensure a smooth trip ahead. 

Travel Documents

Traveling to Europe can be hassle-free only if you have the right documents on you. If you are a non-EU national, make sure you have a passport with at least three months of validity after your intended date of departure from the continent. Check the expiry date well ahead of your travel date. Don’t forget to bring other supporting documents, such as flight tickets, proof of accommodation, invitation letter from relatives and so on. There are a few countries whose nationals do not require a visa to enter the EU for three months or less. You can check the list here.

Travel Itinerary 

It is always safe to have both hard and soft copies of all travel documents. Keep flight and train tickets, accommodation confirmations from hotels and car reservation papers safely with you. Double check the dates of all the bookings made, so that you do not have to go through the trouble of rescheduling any part of your trip. Preparing an itinerary also ensures that you make the most of your time in Europe. 

Rolling Luggage and Backpacks

Rolling bags are a blessing when weight can become a cause for concern. Wheeled luggage can be easily carried around and are much better than heavy backpacks, which can give you shoulder pain if carried for a long time. Make sure you get a sturdy trolley that can be pulled through all sorts of terrains. However, in some cases, backpacks can be a great advantage. You do not have to worry about pulling them up the stairs or struggle to wheel them through cobbled roads. You can move around hands-free, which is comfortable and hassle-free. It is recommended to carry both backpacks and trolleys, so that you can use the type of luggage that suits your situation. 

Appropriate Clothes

A majority of your clothing will depend on which country you are travelling to and at what time of the year. A few basic things to keep in mind would be to pack clothes that can be mixed and matched for repeat wear. This will help avoid having to pack multiple outfits. Also, consider dark colors for clothes. They suit all times of the day and hide stains and marks better. Lastly, to avoid getting tired of wearing the same clothes, throw in accessories like hats, scarves, sunglasses, etc. While you travel, you can always buy some clothes, if required. Make sure to pack underwear made of breathable fabric, which will prevent odors, dry quickly after a wash and keep you comfortable all day long.

Travel Shoes and Socks

The ideal travel socks are those that keep your feet dry and comfortable. Also, choose high quality fabric that has antibacterial properties and is odor resistant. Avoid cotton because it not only does takes a long time to dry after a wash, but also locks in moisture, making it a terrible choice for socks.

The best travel shoes are a good pair of sneakers, which is both stylish and comfortable. Apart from sneakers, keep a pair of boots for poor weather days of snow or rain. Carry two pairs of shoes and consider carrying a pair of insoles to keep your feet happy. If you are planning to buy new footwear, wear them in for at least two weeks before your travel to avoid blisters and sores. 

Electronics

Here are a few must-have electronics while traveling to Europe: 

  1. It is safe to carry outlet plug adapters for all your electronics to match the configuration of your device. 
  2. If you are going to make good use of your phone and drain out the battery, carry a power bank. Make sure, it is lightweight and compact in size so that it does not take up a lot of space and can be carried easily. 
  3. Although for a quick photo session, we tend to rely on our phones, it is always a good idea to have a camera for high quality travel photos. Pack a few extra memory cards, a hard drive for backing up your photos and spare batteries for your camera. 
  4. Avoid carrying a laptop unless you really need it. If you are not planning to work while traveling, stick to smaller devices like tablets. They are handy, light weight and easy to carry.
  5. Lastly, keep a pair of earphones to listen to good music while you travel. You can also listen to downloaded audios and guides on cities, museums, etc. 

Essential Toiletries

Before packing toiletries, keep in mind to include only the bare minimum to avoid spills and leakage. Pour your shampoos, conditioners and serums into smaller bottles to save space. Carry toothpaste and toothbrush for sure, and dental floss can be pretty expensive in Europe. Bring other basics like deodorants, razors, contact lenses, makeup, hand sanitizer, foot and hand creams, wet wipes, powders, sunscreens, condoms and so on. 

Medicines

It is best to bring your own medicines and prescriptions because you do not want to go looking for a pharmacy if you fall ill all of a sudden. Bring all the vitamins you take regularly, along with a few painkillers for emergencies. Other than these, keep a small bag of medicines for motion sickness, stomach upset, common cold, etc. Carry bandages too for small cuts and scratches.

Maps and Travel Plans

Although maps and city guides are available in the local markets of Europe, why not carry your own? The tourist offices in most cities offer free maps but they are not so detailed. It is important to have a plan chalked out on paper about where to travel, how to reach there, the shortcuts to reach faster and so on. If you are not travelling with tour guides, these things must top your packing list. You can download maps on your phone, but in case your phone dies on you, you will have hard copies as backups.

Cash and Cards

Carry both cash and cards, stored across multiple wallets or places, so that even if there is theft or loss of baggage, all your funds won’t get wiped out. Make a rough budget of the amount to be spent on the entire trip and make sure you have enough funds before you start traveling. Get anti-theft bags, which are especially designed for travel purposes and are cut proof, with locking zippers. These bags will keep your money safe and you can travel worry free. 

Travel Insurance

Getting a travel insurance policy is recommended for any type of overseas travel. They mostly cover medical emergencies like illness or injuries, as well as situations such as trip cancellations, flight delays, missed flights, loss of luggage and all incidents that include loss of money, passport, etc. They also cover for death of travelling companions or family members, terrorist attacks, adverse weather conditions and so on. 

Sight Seeing Checklist in Europe

European countries are home to some of the most beautiful and vibrant cities of the world, which in turn house famous museums, historic architecture, food chains, theatres, beaches, canals and much more. Here are some must see places on your Europe trip. 

  • Eiffel Tower

This is the tallest metal structure, located in Paris, France. To get a bird’s eye view of Paris, you must go right to the top of this iconic monument. 

  • Grand Canal

This waterway runs through the middle of the city of Venice and is almost two and a half miles long. This is probably the most beautiful canal in the entire world, and you must visit it to check out the historical buildings lined up on either side. 

  • Oia

This is a village in Santorini that has houses painted white and blue. The settlement dates back to the eleventh century. Although old, the monuments haven’t fallen apart and are not in a sorry state. They are maintained flawlessly, and you must visit this village to see the best of Greece.

  • The Seven Sisters Waterfall

Located in Norway, these are seven waterfalls formed from melting glacier ice that runs over a cliff near Geiranger. The drop is of 800 feet and is undoubtedly one of the best waterfalls to see in Scandinavia.

Packing can be really tiring if you do not have a plan. It is always a good idea to make a list well in advance and do some research before beginning to stuff things in your bag.


Having lived in 3+ countries, worked for companies small and big in USA, Middle East & India, I have a lot of stories to share about international travel and immigration. Add me on WhatsApp if you have any queries (+001-408-489-4785).

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