On September 1st I leave for 35 days in Europe. I repeat…35 days. Two weeks is the longest I have ever traveled abroad, so preparing for 35 days has been a process. There is so much that goes into getting ready to begin this adventure, not only taking care of what I need while I travel but making sure everything is taken care of at home while I’m gone. Did I mention I’m going to miss my dogs so very much? The excitement of this trip makes it all worth it though.
I’m very lucky that many other people on the internet also have wanderlust because finding their blogs has helped me to prepare for this trip. I am going for my third trip with EF College Break because as I’ve said before, they are great at what they do. Read about my first and second trips with them to get a sense of what I mean. I’m going with one of my best friends, Heidi, who I met on my second trip with EF. We also will have the same Tour Director from our trip to Greece, who is one of the greatest people I’ve ever met. WE ARE SO EXCITED!
I have a few tips that can help anyone preparing for a trip, big or small, to make the trip and preparation process even better!
- Know where you’re going: I know that sounds silly, but don’t forget your bathing suit when going to a beach destination or not pack that coat when you’re going somewhere that the temperatures drop. For this big trip, I made a list of all the places and what the weather is usually like during that time of year so that I can pack accordingly.
- Pack light: Do your absolute best to pack everything into a carry-on suitcase and your personal item. It makes traveling between cities so much easier. Imagine 2 large suitcases being lugged around between buses, smaller hotel rooms and up/down flights of stairs…really not fun. I plan on only packing about a week’s worth of clothes and then washing them once necessary. *Side note: You don’t need to pack those heels. Leave them at home. I promise.*
- Get a rewards credit card: I chose the Rapid Rewards card through Southwest because that is the airline I fly the most, but do your research on what works best for you. I tell as many people as possible that if you’re going to have a credit card, you may as well have one that offers you something in return. I’ve used this card with all my international travels with no problems and been rewarded for it by using those points to purchase more flights. A win win for me.
- Decide how you’re going to handle money: Are you going to try and bring exchanged money with you? Only use a credit/debit card? I have found that what works best for me is to pay with US dollars when accepted, use the ATM to grab more cash in the local currency when necessary and then use my credit card for transactions when I can. This is especially helpful when traveling between countries with different currencies.
Now for the hard part…packing! As I mentioned before, I made a list of everywhere we are going and the activities we would be doing, so I have an idea as to what clothes I will need to bring. I have successfully packed in only a carry-on for all of my travels, but packing for 35 days will be my biggest challenge yet.
I like to start by laying out everything I think I will be bringing with me. It helps to see different options and then cut down those outfits until you’re able to pack everything you need, plus save some room for souvenirs. Packing cubes have become my best friend, they are amazing! I got mine from eBags and they have made packing clothes for short or long trips so much easier!
I also purchased a new suitcase and backpack for this trip. I wanted to make sure I had no issues with bringing my luggage as a carry-on, so I went with a a hard shell suitcase. The backpack I will use as my personal item and as what will carry my stuff while walking from place to place. I had to bring my laptop so that I could work while also on this trip…otherwise it would’ve stayed at home.
The only thing missing from this photo is my toiletries and some smaller items that I stuff in my luggage. Most of the clothes I’m bringing can double for a day/night outfit as well.
I hope packing light works out for me in the end and that this trip is the trip of a lifetime! Has anyone else done a big European adventure? I would love to hear your tips and tricks!
Happy travels! 🙂
*Update: check out my post on my first country to visit while on this tour: Greece*