Friday, July 4, 2014

bring this, not that

Happy fourth of July! Are you linking up early before you head out for picnics and fireworks? Glad that you made time, even on the holiday, to stop by and connect for #BTBC14! I've been loving reading all the posts and seeing all the camaraderie with comments among all the bloggers! Be sure to link up below and don't forget the rule of 3!

If you've been following along this month, you know that I just returned from a great trip to Europe with my best friend Heather and five of her high school students. If you had ever thought about going to Europe, there's a handful of things you're going to need to make your trip run smoothly!

First thing's first: Pack lightly!
In Europe, you're going to be walking around on cobblestone roads, carrying your luggage up steps, and moving it around, a lot. Because of this, you'll want to make sure you leave your ginormous suitcase at home!

I bought a small, carry-on size suitcase to take (actually, my moms got it for me, thanks mama!) but it's one that expands. My best friend couldn't believe how lightly I packed, but I had 10 days worth of clothes, two pairs of shoes (plus the ones I wore) plus all my cosmetics and makeup and a blowdryer and flat iron in that thing. (I used to take a suitcase that big just for shoes!) I also took a backpack - I knew I'd need that for walking around every day and I'd need to have some things with me. I was packed to the max, but Heather had my EF bag that I got with my trip, so that was perfect to bring home the loot I bought. So, I recommend: small suitcase, backpack, and pack an extra bag to bring the things you buy back!

Undercover Neck Wallet
Definitely invest in a wallet that you can carry under your clothes to keep all your important docs and money safe. Too many pick-pockets in Europe who can't wait for the unassuming American tourist to be engaged in their travels and not realize someone was taking their things.

The other great thing about this is that your money and docs will be right there in front of you, so you don't have to go into your backpack every time you need some money for a cup of coffee!

Universal Electricity Plug
You're also going to need a plug so you can charge up your phone and camera. This one is similar to the one Heather brought and it was a really good one! You can't see it in this pic, but it has two USB ports on the front, so we were able to do both our phones on this one and then my camera on my converter.

Notebook and Pen
You're going to want to remember what you did, and if you're on a super busy tour like mine was, you're going to need to write things down. I did write some things in the notes in my iPhone while I was on the go during the day, but when we returned at night, I almost always sat down and wrote everything we did that day. Now that I'm going back and trying to remember everything, it really helps jog my memory when I look at my notebook!

Water bottle and snacks
When you're on the go with EF (or any other travel tour company) you will not necessarily have time to pick up a water bottle and snacks all the best to bring your own. I actually didn't bring a water bottle and then ended up buying one, but I did bring a bunch of protein bars and some almonds. These snacks were perfect just to tide me over to our next meal.

And a few things you *shouldn't* bring...

Blowdryers and Flat Irons
On day one, I had already fried Heather's electricity converter with my blowdryer. On day 2, using a new one that I had bought, my flat iron got so hot, it melted the plastic on it, causing this awful (more than likely toxic) smell in our room and across the whole floor of our hotel. My hair looked great the day I got there, and then every day after that, it air dried and was put up in a bun. Just leave the styling tools at home and know that you're not having your best hair days on your trip!

Too many books
I bought three books on my iPad and then bought 1984 in London. I only read one of the books on the iPad before I started 1984. If you're traveling with a company like EF, you're not going to have tons of time to read lots of books. Bring one, that's sufficient.

Like I mentioned above, there's not lots of free time. I didn't use my iPad hardly at all - on the plane and on the trains, really. Of course since I brought it, I had to schlep it around with me and worry that someone in the hotel might take it. My advice? Just leave it at home. Bring your phone, that's enough to have you do a few things when you can get on wifi! Plus, you'll carry your phone around with you everywhere you go, and so you don't have to worry about leaving it in the hotel!


  1. Too cute of a post! Aren't moms the best? They always get you the stuff you need that you don't want to necessarily buy yourself. The only time I've traveled out of the country was to Canada and Mexico. I would have never thought to bring the universal electric plug. Well, I guess in Canada and Mexico I wouldn't need that sort of thing. However, because of your organization and post, I will now know to get one if I ever travel to Europe. ;) Happy 4th!

  2. I don't have a trip planned, but now I want to plan one!! Thanks for so many fabulous tips. Happy 4th!

  3. What a fun post! I am so glad you had fun in Europe. Maybe one day I will get to go myself! ;) Thank you so much for the fun link up! Happy Independence Day!

    Hanging Out in First!

  4. You're so lucky! I dream of traveling all around Europe one day. . . hopefully when our oldest graduates high school in 4 years :-)


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