Are you planning a trip to Europe? You’ll need more than just a few guidebooks, your passport and local currency to enjoy your vacation overseas. While your trip might last more than a week, you don’t need to pack your entire wardrobe. Knowing what you need to pack — and what you can leave at home — can help you travel light. Two travel agents in the Chicago area shared their tips on what to pack for a trip to Europe.
1273 S. Naper Blvd.
Naperville, IL 60540
A travel agent since 1996, Linda Fezekas of Hobson Travel specializes in leisure travel. She is also a Europe specialist and has traveled to the continent on numerous occasions. Fezekas has also traveled to Asia, and can help customers plan cruises around the world. In addition to its Naperville location, Hobson Travel has offices in downtown Chicago. The agency also offers business travel services.
310 W. Northwest Highway
Arlington Heights, IL 60004
Located in the northwest suburb of Arlington Heights, Starship Travel is an award-winning travel agency specializing in vacations, destination weddings and honeymoons all over the world. Starship Travel also offers travel services to Disney parks as well as a plethora of cruises. Linda Schreiber, president of Starship Travel and owner of the travel agency since 1986, has also traveled extensively all over the world, including at least 10 trips to Europe.
“Bring anything that matters [in your carry-on], including jewelry, documents, passports, medicine, your camera, toothbrush, reading materials and special cleansers,” Fezekas said. She also noted that your passport and any money, including credit cards and currency, should be carried on your person and not in your suitcase.
“You should pack a change of clothes in case your luggage gets lost, too,” said Fezekas. If you have an expensive item, Fezekas recommends leaving it at home instead of hauling it overseas.
If you run out of shampoo or need another bar of soap, Fezekas reminds us that “You can buy things at your destination.” However, some items can be difficult to purchase overseas. If you’re on a gluten-free diet, Fezekas recommended bringing your own food. She also suggested that travelers who are particular about their cosmetics, shampoo or soap should pack their preferred brands instead of trying to find a similar brand overseas.
Let’s say your trip to Europe includes visiting an assortment of countries with hot and cold climates. You won’t need to pack every stitch of clothing you own for your trip.
“The secret is in layering. Pack a sweater, a water-repellant jacket and tank tops and short-sleeved shirts and shorts for warmer weather. Don’t overpack, and always think in terms of comfort,” Fezekas said.
For Schreiber, a pair of comfortable shoes is an essential item for a trip to Europe.
“Leave the spiked shoes and flip flops at home and just take a good pair of walking shoes. If you want a comfortable pair of shoes for going out, that’s OK,” she said. Schreiber also added that shoes packed in a suitcase can weigh a significant amount.
While you know what you want to pack on your trip, you might not be sure how to pack your gear. If you’re traveling with a close friend or family member, Schreiber recommended dividing your clothes between your suitcases.
“Put half of your clothes in each other’s suitcases. If one suitcase gets lost, you still have some of your clothes,” she explained. If you’re traveling with your family, Schreiber also suggested using smaller suitcase for each traveler instead of packing everything into one or two huge suitcases.
Your suitcase is stuffed with plenty of outfits, underwear and pajamas to last your entire trip. But is it possible you’ve overpacked?
“If you can’t lift the suitcase by yourself, it’s too much,” Schreiber said. “You should be able to handle the suitcase yourself,” she advised. Schreiber also has a method to packing.
“I try to color-coordinate my outfits. I don’t overpack because I can switch my clothes around,” she said. Schreiber also advised being aware of the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) regulations regarding what can be brought on board a flight, which can be found here.