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Old Apr 12, 11, 4:03 pm   #1
 
Join Date: May 2008
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3 weeks in Europe: critique my packing list

Here's my packing list for my upcoming three week trip in May:

- 3 - 4 dresses in various styles (simple wrap travel dresses from ex officio and cabela, and possibly one from Patagonia if they'll take my US order with a CAD cc)
- 1 pair pants
- 1 pair yoga pants
- 1 - 2 pairs of tights
- 1 skirt
- 2 - 3 light t-shirts
- 1 sweater/wrap
- PJs
- light rain jacket
- underwear/bras as appropriate
- two pairs of shoes (one for walking, one nicer pair for evenings)
- pashmina
- two colourful cheap scarves (I may ditch these and go with a "buy it and wear it" approach)
- small make up bag with multi use items (can't live without my benetint)
- brush, flat iron, hair elastics, though I'm leaving the hairdryer and styling stuff at home.
- iPad loaded with books/guides
- iPad charger, cable, and converter
- camera

Am I missing any major essentials? Packing too much? Not enough? All major clothing items are designed for travel and easy to wash/pack thankfully, and I picked up a light backpack from LL Bean for the trip which should fit everything I need.

I'll be doing carry-on only so I'll have to exist on mainly hotel toiletries, with the exception of a few must haves like my moisturizer, which is the main reason I'll be packing my flat iron. It's a light 1" version from iTools, and without it my hair will be an untamable mess.

Thoughts?

Last edited by phedre; Apr 12, 11 at 4:11 pm.
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Old Apr 12, 11, 6:01 pm   #2
 
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It would help to know what cities/countries you'll be visiting and what activities you'll be doing during days and nights.

I spent 2 weeks in Japan & Hong Kong last May-June and 2 weeks in Morocco earlier this month. My trips typically involve a lot of walking during the daytime. Evenings may or may not be dressier. Looking at your packing lists with my typical travel in mind, I'd say:
1. More pants, but that's a personal choice.
2. More layering options. For Morocco I knew I'd be dealing with temps ranging from 40s to high 80s (sometimes in the same day). I had two jackets--one suede, one lighter--and a couple cardigan sweaters. So I could layer t-shirt, sweater, jacket and then remove accordingly.
3. I'm horribly blister prone, so for a 3-week trip I'm inclined to bring 4 pairs of shoes. These would typically include 1 pair of running shoes (which I rarely wear while walking around), 1 pair of sandals, 1 pair of close-toed shoes & 1 pair of dressy shoes. My Morocco trip was complicated by the fact that I broke my big toe about 4 days before departure.

FWIW, I keep an electronic packing list for all of my longer trips and post-trip I'll do a critique so I can improve my packing for future trips. (For future Morocco trips, fo example, I'll make notes to ditch the workout wear--as a woman, I don't feel comfortable running there--and the dryer/flat iron.)
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Old Apr 12, 11, 6:31 pm   #3
 
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Thanks for the tips .

I'm definitely looking more at skirts/dresses as a personal choice. My hit list is:

Ireland
Scotland
Czech republic
Italy

All regions appear to hover around the same temperatures for my visit so I'm lucky there. I may pack a second wrap or sweater for options though, depending on what will fit in my backpack.
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Old Apr 12, 11, 8:35 pm   #4
 
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I was very cold in Ireland in late June until we got to Blarney woolen mills - bought warm wool sweaters, socks
suggest to be prepared for rainy, cold weather but also you might be lucky and have sunny days
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Old Apr 12, 11, 8:53 pm   #5
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Pack as much black as you can. It goes with everything and then you can accessorize with color on outerwear like the pashmina. It's also hard to clash. Also, bring 2 pairs of pants.

Do you really need a flat iron? You mentioned leaving "styling stuff" and the hairdryer at home. I'd leave the iron at home too. If it's rainy and humid, your hair will frizz out during the day anyway. Mine does at least. I use the tiny frizz-ease hair serum before I blow dry. It works VERY well in keeping your hair in control.

I don't see gloves on your list. You might want a nice pair (dark leather) with a warm lining (cashmere or silk) for the evenings and rainy days.
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Old Apr 13, 11, 5:52 am   #6
 
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Given that you will be going to Ireland and Scotland, I would bring sufficient clothes and shoes to allow for the possibility--no, certainty--that your shoes and pant legs are going to be soaking wet on some days and will likely need a day to dry out between wearings. Waterproof or quick-drying shoes/pants will be a godsend. Also, both of those countries can be quite chilly at any time of year, so make sure you have enough warm clothes to deal with that. Layering is key.
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Old Apr 13, 11, 10:10 am   #7
 
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Given that you will be going to Ireland and Scotland, I would bring sufficient clothes and shoes to allow for the possibility--no, certainty--that your shoes and pant legs are going to be soaking wet on some days and will likely need a day to dry out between wearings. Waterproof or quick-drying shoes/pants will be a godsend. Also, both of those countries can be quite chilly at any time of year, so make sure you have enough warm clothes to deal with that. Layering is key.
Agree with all of the above for Scotland, umbrella, gloves and rain coat were in daily use along with changing out shoes and socks due to being wet. It didn't rain all of the time but it did rain enough that you have to be constantly prepared. When on vacation I don't stay in because of rain, I just put on the rain gear and go.

Also regarding scarves, definitely take your favorite pashmina but you can leave behind the colorful scarves. You will find them everywhere in your travels and they will be something you wouldn't see in the stores here.

I take 4 pairs of shoes when I travel. I can't wear the same pair of "comfort/walking" shoes every day. I can't wear the same style shoe two days in a row or even all day if I am walking a lot. I take 2 pairs of walking shoes/clogs, 1 pair of walking sandals and 1 pair of cute (still comfortable) shoes. If the weather is too cold for sandals I take 3 pairs of walking shoes/clogs. I know some people can get by with one or two pairs for a long trip but I cannot, my feet just will not tolerate it. I change shoes frequently when walking a lot.

Also on the flat iron while in the UK I went to Boots and bought a really cheap one and left it behind after spending a month in the UK.

Last edited by MissJoeyDFW; Apr 13, 11 at 10:24 am.
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Old Apr 13, 11, 10:56 am   #8
 
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Originally Posted by phedre View Post
Thanks for the tips .

I'm definitely looking more at skirts/dresses as a personal choice. My hit list is:

Ireland
Scotland
Czech republic
Italy

All regions appear to hover around the same temperatures for my visit so I'm lucky there. I may pack a second wrap or sweater for options though, depending on what will fit in my backpack.
You're kidding right? Italy and Ireland/Scotland will have totally different weather in May. Italy should be lovely and warm, Scotland/Ireland will be chillier and wetter.

I suggest you pack more sweaters/cardigans and also consider what you're going to do when your shoes get wet.

Have a fabulous trip.
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Old Apr 13, 11, 11:33 am   #9
 
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I'd also add: I'm a curly girl and certain travels just force me to embrace my curly side. I don't know the iTools brand, but if it's not 220 volt, it probably won't work very well. (I tried to use 110 volt flat irons with a converter & found it was a headache.) If your hair really is a "hopeless mess" without a flat iron, a travel version with a converter will do little to fix it. I'd suggest you either ditch the flat iron entirely or buy one once you get to Europe.

(I have invested in 220-volt versions of my favorite hair dryer and flat iron, and it's been worth it, but I also travel to 220-volt countries with some regularity. If you really do have unmanageable hair, you know what a headache it can be to use less-than-ideal tools. In my case, I found my favorite hairdryer on Amazon UK and had it shipped to my hotel a day or two before arriving in London a few years ago.)
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Old Apr 13, 11, 11:49 am   #10
 
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Originally Posted by MissJoeyDFW View Post
Also on the flat iron while in the UK I went to Boots and bought a really cheap one and left it behind after spending a month in the UK.
I wish I could do that, my hair eats cheap flat irons for lunch. I've bought several in the past and had to chuck them because they don't get hot enough to deal with my thick, coarse hair. Add in the fact that it's well past my waist and things do get tricky in the hair department!

I'm going to add a cardigan or two to my list, along with another couple of pairs of tights for layering (I'm really not big on pants), and I already have my light combo rain jacket, so that should work, along with my indispensable Coach leather gloves. A cheap umbrella can be picked up on site, I've done that before. I'll see if I can squeeze in an extra pair of walking shoes too, just in case one pair gets wet.

All dresses, in fact most of the clothes I'm bringing, are of the quick dry, wicking variety (bought from Patagonia, Cabela, Ex Officio, and other sites of that nature), so that will help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chgoeditor View Post
I'd also add: I'm a curly girl and certain travels just force me to embrace my curly side. I don't know the iTools brand, but if it's not 220 volt, it probably won't work very well. (I tried to use 110 volt flat irons with a converter & found it was a headache.) If your hair really is a "hopeless mess" without a flat iron, a travel version with a converter will do little to fix it. I'd suggest you either ditch the flat iron entirely or buy one once you get to Europe.
Hell. I hadn't thought of that. I have the 1" version of this flat iron from Bio Ionic, and it was not cheap. I couldn't justify buying a second one for travel, especially given how much cash I've already spent on various items for this trip!

I'll have to rethink that particular piece of equipment. I'll double check the manual when I get home, but I doubt it's dual voltage.

Last edited by phedre; Apr 13, 11 at 11:57 am.
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Old Apr 13, 11, 12:13 pm   #11
 
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One of my packing splurges is a pair of sweatshirt material yoga pants I got at Target. I love putting them on when I come in from a chilly place. I sleep in them. I wore them back on the plane from Japan on Monday. They don't look obviously sweatsuity. They are super comfortable (I put an elastic band in them, replacing a drawstring which I hate.) They can double as running pants when the weather is cold.

If you are a skirt/dress person, I'd consider a couple of skirts with t-shirts rather than dresses. You can mix and match a bit more. I pack the same amount of stuff for three weeks as for one and I can tell you, I get so tired of some of my clothes.
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Old Apr 13, 11, 2:44 pm   #12
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Socks. (Or tights if you are wearing dresses.) When you're doing a lot of walking, and may be dealing with wet feet/shoes, having a spare pair of socks can really help.

Does your camera use a special battery / memory card? You didn't list charger/spares. I take LOTS of pictures, so that's always high on my list.

I'll second the "it may be colder than you think" posters above. I've frozen in Venice in May - and the breeze off the water can be wicked cold! Of course two days later I was in Florence, the sun came out & I was in short-sleeves.

I also include sunglasses, passport, plane tickets, hotel reservations, and credit/ATM cards as "major essentials" on my packing list.
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Old Apr 13, 11, 2:49 pm   #13
 
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Hell. I hadn't thought of that. I have the 1" version of this flat iron from Bio Ionic, and it was not cheap. I couldn't justify buying a second one for travel, especially given how much cash I've already spent on various items for this trip!

I'll have to rethink that particular piece of equipment. I'll double check the manual when I get home, but I doubt it's dual voltage.
You can always take a gamble, but my experience is that converters & appliances that produce heat don't play well with one another. I've burned out at least one hair dryer that way, and found that other appliances get too hot/not hot enough/start to make strange noises when used with converters.
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Old Apr 13, 11, 4:41 pm   #14
 
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You can always take a gamble, but my experience is that converters & appliances that produce heat don't play well with one another. I've burned out at least one hair dryer that way, and found that other appliances get too hot/not hot enough/start to make strange noises when used with converters.
Yeah, I definitely don't want to risk burning out this thing. It's been a holy grail for making my hair presentable.


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Originally Posted by scoow View Post
Does your camera use a special battery / memory card? You didn't list charger/spares. I take LOTS of pictures, so that's always high on my list.
Nope, plain old AAs. I do have a small charger and rechargeable batteries, I'll have to add those to my list.

Quote:
I'll second the "it may be colder than you think" posters above. I've frozen in Venice in May - and the breeze off the water can be wicked cold! Of course two days later I was in Florence, the sun came out & I was in short-sleeves.
I think I'm a freak from that perspective - it has to get down to ~mid 30s before I start to feel chilly in a light sweater. Probably comes from growing up in the far north. I'm bringing lots of layers that will work together though, so I think I'll be covered.

Quote:
I also include sunglasses, passport, plane tickets, hotel reservations, and credit/ATM cards as "major essentials" on my packing list.
Sunglasses I always lose or break. I always end up buying cheap ones as I go. I am keeping all hotel reservations/tickets/etc on my iPad for easy access and scanning. I'm a bit torn on whether to print off physical copies due to sheer bulk of paper. But I probably will, I'm too paranoid not to. I'll just have to smash them in somehow!
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Old Apr 13, 11, 9:30 pm   #15
 
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I wish I could do that, my hair eats cheap flat irons for lunch. I've bought several in the past and had to chuck them because they don't get hot enough to deal with my thick, coarse hair. Add in the fact that it's well past my waist and things do get tricky in the hair department!


I'll have to rethink that particular piece of equipment. I'll double check the manual when I get home, but I doubt it's dual voltage.
My friend traveled with her Sedu flat iron and convertor to the UK. Something happened and the flat iron overheated, basically burnt her bangs off and in the process ruined her expensive flat iron. She had little girl bangs for weeks and was quite upset over the loss of her expensive Sedu and hair! After that experience I only buy local electrical stuff if it is touching my head.

Also I don't get the people trying to guide you away from dresses, I travel in dresses mostly as well, personally, professionally, domestically and internationally. Dress, tights, walking shoes, clogs or boots, costume jewelry, jacket or sweater or wrap and a scarf/pashmina is pretty much my standard outfit these days. I find wearing dresses extremely comfortable for all kinds of travel and social situations. Now that being said if I am hiking or doing a physical activity I do dress quite differently.

Last edited by MissJoeyDFW; Apr 13, 11 at 9:39 pm.
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