So after this wonderful trip, I made a running list of everything I noticed about traveling abroad (especially in Europe) and just travel tips in general. Here’s what I came up with:
Bring a decent charger – I lucked out and got one from my boyfriend, but invest in a good international converter/charger. Or if all else fails, when at your hotel there, ask the front desk if they have any chargers that someone had left behind. Thats how we got a second charger for free for my roommate, Erin.
Bring lots of socks – we walked for miles in tennis shoes all over Europe. Make sure to bring plenty of socks, otherwise you’ll be doing some laundry in the sink every night.
Invest in a good pair of tennis shoes – I cannot stress this enough. I went out and bought the best pair of Nike running shoes I could find. Arch support is so critical when walking for multiple hours all over a country.
Bring sweaters and black jeans – when traveling to more fashion-forward countries such as London and Paris, its important to note that everyone there wears black jeans. And with the weather being still cold in the spring/May months, I was so glad that I packed at least 4 sweaters. They were also great for evenings when I didn’t want to wear a jacket but were too cold to go just shirt and no jacket.
Bring one blazer – this could work as another sweater. Once again it works for the more fashion-forward cities. Everyone dresses up more and you’ll see everyone wearing one!
Scarves are a must – for cold weather, such as Paris and London. Plus its another way to add color to any outfit. I ended up bringing 3 on my trip: a white/sparkly one, a beige one, and a pink/gold one.
Money belt is a MUST – there were plenty of pickpockets out there, so the money belt was only $7 at Walmart and all of my money, extra credit cards, and passport were safely tucked away on my waist under my clothes (and I never felt or saw it, which is a major plus!)
Get a lock for your purse – I found this to be just an extra safety precaution, in which I found a small dial lock that was able to clip onto my purse and keep the zipper locked up tight.
Packing cube for your suitcase – are going to save your life. I did lots of research on these before the trip (in comparison to space bags which I have used in the past).
These helped so much when I just needed an outfit. I would pull out the cubes, grab what I needed, and be able to throw them back into my suitcase without having to mess up every article of clothing inside.
Neck pillow for the train – when traveling so much, whether by boat, train or airplane, these pillows were a lifesaver. I suggest one filled with cotton though, as the blow-up ones can cut into you neck at times, and the bead-filled ones aren’t firm enough and you’re neck will hurt after a while.
Bring nail polish and remover – I had painted my toenails right before the trip and after about a week, they looked dreadful. Next time I’ll bring a small bottle and remover to make them look better for pictures.
Sunscreen 50 or higher – when traveling to more southern countries, such as Italy and Greece, everyone on the trip was using 30SPF and were still burning. Bring at least 50 (and don’t worry, you’ll still tan with the 50!)
Brita Water Bottle – get a water bottle with a filter in it. We would fill ours up each morning in the hotel before going out and was a lifesaver when walking around because public restrooms are a rare sight. Also to note, get the rubber Brita water bottle, as the more expensive plastic/taller bottle leaked halfway through the trip from wear and tear.
Don’t pay for a Data Plan – I bought a $25 Verizon
international data plan and it was a waste of my money. All of the hotels we stayed in had WiFi and most of the places we went had WiFi as well. Make sure to use this website to learn how to turn off data and turn on WiFi and get the app Viber to free call and free text people from back home.
Do a Blog – I was so happy that I did this blog using WordPress’s app on my phone. Every night while in the hotel’s lobby, for 30-minutes I would type out what we did for the day, and I was able to add pictures and then post. Family members could read along what I was up to each day and looking back, I’m glad I used the app otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to remember each daily detail.
BCP – for all you girls out there, just be mindful of traveling abroad and being on birth control. It was a noticeable detail that a lot of people experienced on the trip, so make sure to adjust for time changes when traveling.
Trevi Fountain Closed – we were really looking forward to this attraction, only to find out that it is under construction for the next million years. There is scaffolding all over the place, so if you want another beautiful fountain, look for the Triton fountain a block away.
No Public Restrooms – as I mentioned earlier, there are no public bathrooms anywhere. You almost always have to go into a cafe and buy something in order to used their bathroom. Also if you do somehow find a public restroom, 99.9% of the time it won’t have a toilet seat, so start doing squats now.
No Shower Curtains – this was a frustrating aspect of European bathrooms as they don’t have shower curtains; instead just have a half glass door. Be prepared to have water everywhere when showering.
Reenactors Ask for Money – any person that is dressed up in costume outside a monument will expect you to pay them (10 euros usually) for taking pictures with them. Its their job that they get up and go to each day so just fair warning if you want a quick selfie outside the Colosseum.
Guidebooks – I went to my local library and got the Frommer’s Easyguide guidebook for each city we visited. They were wonderful because each came with a map of the city (even though our tour guide gave us more detailed ones once we reached each city) and gave us great reviews on tourist must-see-places in each spot. Erin and I loved reading the reviews the day before and it helped us plan out what we wanted to see for the next day.
Bring Student ID – You can get discounts off certain museums, such as when we visited the Sistine Chapel, and can get cheaper ticket prices which always helps!