20 Packing and Safety Tips for Backpacking Europe
Some of these are tips you learn from trial and error, some are obvious - we figured we’d try to save you some time.
Address Book - Smallest you can find to keep in touch with everyone you meet. Trust us, you will lose those little scraps of paper.
Alarm Watch/Clock - For early departures or sleeping on the train. Get one that lights up in the dark.
Backpack - We’ve found that it’s better to get a pack that opens by way of zipping all the way around, rather than one that opens only at the top. This way you don’t have to annoyingly dig through your entire pack to find something last minute.
Daypack - Smaller backpacks are great for carrying your stuff around all day. Many larger backpacks come with a smaller day pack that zips on and off from the larger pack.
Earplugs - Buy the foam type for noisy hostels, hotels and while on the bus, train or plane.
Flip-Flops - For showering in a shared bath (dirty, wet floors), on the beach.
Journal - Essential for a memorable trip. Use it…don’t be lazy…and you’ll thank us ten years from now.
Laundry Detergent - Although most hostels sell 1-load packs of detergent, a small travel size packet comes in handy when you spill wine on your
favorite shirts or need clean socks/underwear and there’s no overnight laundry service.
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Money Belt - You probably know this one, but we can’t stress it enough for safeguarding your $$, passport, etc.
Padlock - For luggage storage or securing your luggage to an overhead train/bus rack while you sleep.
Plastic/Nylon Bag - A good place to temporarily put dirty or wet clothes.
Rain Pullover - Get the cheap foldable ones (if you’re traveling in the summer).
Swiss Army Knife - There are several cheap ones available...very handy (airport security WILL require you to pack this in your checked luggage).
Towel - Often forgotten and necessary. Try the small, super absorbent towels that dry instantly and fit very nicely in your pack.
Ziplock Bags - Take a couple and you’ll find dozens of uses: leftover food on a train, wet toiletries, etc.
Many large European cities are known for their high incidence of pickpocketing and thievery. Travel smart: be on guard, yet be reasonable. Be curious, but trust your instincts. Here are a few tips.
Valuables - Keep your money and valuable documents (passport, airline/rail tickets) close to your body – preferably in a money belt that is strapped under your clothing next to your body.
Copies of Documents - Keep a copy of your valuable documents (passport, tickets) and credit card emergency numbers in a separate place from the originals and leave a set of copies at home. Some websites offer secure document storage for little or no charge.
Pickpockets - Don’t get caught in large crowds (3 or more) where pickpockets can easily overwhelm you.
Luggage - Keep your luggage within eyeshot, or if you plan on sleeping on the train, fasten it to the rack with a padlock.
Day Pack - If you have a day pack, keep it at the front of your body so that it cannot be zipped open without you knowing. Use small locks for extra safety to avoid the petty thieves.
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