Travel

How to pack for the best European vacay of all time

Hell hath no fury like a 20-something wheeling a busted suitcase over the cobbled lanes of an Old Town.

Europe vacation

We’ve learnt the hard way, via the weight of 10 playsuits, 85 pairs of crochet shorts and two pairs of wedges, that spending more than 20 minutes on packing for your upcoming Europe trip is ESSENTIAL. Pack, cull, pack, cull, cull some more, then cull again. Below, your comprehensive guide to a cohesive luggage bag you won't want to swing into the French Riviera.

Choose your luggage wisely

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Honestly, unless you’re planning to stay in hotels or Airbnb's for your entire journey, the backpack is 3000% superior to the suitcase.

Four wheels or not, getting a suitcase over cobbles, up the dusty hills of a Greek island and aboard those Ferries where travellers are packed in like sardines, is a nightmare. Yeah you’re looking at those backpackers who wear front bags like LOL now, but you won’t be laughing when you’re still experiencing pangs of pain from a hairline fracture you acquired whilst pulling a case up four flights of hostel stairs, hung over in Ios, three years on. This one looks pretty legit.

Hybrid 50L Backpack Harness Wheeled Luggage Trolley v3, $249.98, at [Kathmandu](http://www.kathmandu.com.au/hybrid-50l-backpack-harness-wheeled-luggage-trolley-v3.html).
Hybrid 50L Backpack Harness Wheeled Luggage Trolley v3, $249.98, at Kathmandu.

Buy the overpriced travel wallet

This thing is going to hold your passport, boarding passes for those internal flights you forgot to save to Passbook, the details of your Airbnb host, and that under 25’s benefit card a travel agent talked you into buying, which you’ll definitely never use.

Print off the directions to your accommodation on any Greek island and stash it in this too, because all though your taxi driver will likely know the exact location of your place, if you’re navigating on foot, there aint a lot of signage to help you out. Having loose euros and festival memorabilia clinking around your cross body bag gets annoying, so stash them in here too.

Talissa Travel Wallet, $44.99, at [Colette by Colette Hayman](https://www.colettehayman.com.au/collections/travel-wallets/products/talissa-travel-wallet-3).
Talissa Travel Wallet, $44.99, at Colette by Colette Hayman.

Replace your handbag with a cross body bag that’s zip-sealed

This is going to lessen your first-time-to-Barcelona–pickpocketer-paranoia by 50%.

And allow you to sip on sangria all day in Pamplona, without losing your belongings.

Baxter Crossbody Bag, $29, at [Target](https://www.target.com.au/p/baxter-crossbody-bag/60069504?utm_term=60069504&utm_content=baxter-crossbody-bag&utm_source=google&utm_medium=merchant-site&utm_campaign=merchant-site&gclid=Cj0KCQjws-LKBRDCARIsAAOTNd74Mup5Xrksg2IHDh1YHXmrge6f1m4dgtvl7V0DBsIrIbXHII7yu-YaAqjJEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds&dclid=CO3duq2f7NQCFUExKgod8aYMqw).
Baxter Crossbody Bag, $29, at Target.

Limit yourself to ONE cute straw bag, one pair of zany sunglasses, one linen shirt and one bikini you never wear

Yes Zippora is your European vacay muse, but you need to save money for the train you will inevitably miss at some point during the trip, and the $10 bottles of coke you say you’ll never buy, but inevitably succumb to for sweet, bubbly relief when your sweating pure Aperol in 45 degree heat.

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Don't pack jewellery, boat shoes or straw hats

You can buy Chanel-esque espadrilles all over Europe for 5 euro and beautiful pressed metal trinkets at the many markets. Your straw hat is going to lose its shape and become so heavily encrusted in sea salt, you’ll be able to snap it. Best to buy a cheapie over there, or pack a cap instead.

Pack a travel day uniform

Riding a six hour train in wedgie cut-offs gets old real quick. Pack one comfy outfit you can catch some Zzz's in.

And proper runners

Yes your Vans probably would look cuter on the 'gram, but you need all the ankle and back support you can get if you're planning on hiking across Cinque Terre.

Do pack the selfie stick

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Controversial opinion, but asking locals to take your group shot can get awkward after a while, and if you’re travelling with that mate that’s never satisfied with the pic, well, the old selfie stick allows them to get whatever arty angle they’re after for their grid. Also good for capturing video footage of the holiday vibes.

And a cheap digital camera

At some point, you’re going to need more space on your phone, and you’re going have to delete the 200 blurry pics you took of the lush countryside aboard the train to the south of France.

Keep all your scenery pics and a few candid shots from each location on your digi, because someone’s going to lose or at least think they’ve lost their phone on any given day. It’s nice to know you’ve got a backup source of the trip highlights ya know?

Do not pack your 5kg SLR

Unless you’re legit a photographer and your trip doesn’t involve hostels or walking for long periods of time, the SLR you plan to take cool pics on is not going to see anything more than the side of your undie bag in your backpack.

Do buy a disposable underwater camera

When you’re in that thick fog of back-at-work post-holiday-depression, developing a roll of film from that day trip to that beautiful grotto, will make for a fun weekend activity.

If you happen to own scuba shoes, pack them

Quicksilver Reefwalkers, $25.99, at [City Beach](https://www.citybeach.com.au/shop/en/citybeach/quiksilver-1mm-reefwalker?mkwid=sJUlUKQyf_dc&pcrid=47147124656&pkw=&pmt=&plid=&product=2022980601112-01&gclid=Cj0KCQjws-LKBRDCARIsAAOTNd5dGmpfu4bYKaCRG6OQ7NlLktGExLLfc7Aq5gdc95pURVdI7SFzrNQaAn1GEALw_wcB).
Quicksilver Reefwalkers, $25.99, at City Beach.

They’re not that expensive over there, but you’re going to wear them every day when you’re navigating the barnacle-encrusted shores of Croatia, so you may as well pack some.

Go ham on undies

But don't freak out about running out. There are places all over Europe where you can get your washing done.

Limit yourself to two crop tops and pack multiple T-shirts instead.

You're probably going to buy more over there anyway.

Spend time on your mini medical kit

Let’s start with the obvious:

Nurofen Zavance, paracetamol, tweezers and Aloe Vera gel: No explanation necessary.

Bandaids: Someone is going to be complaining about a blister one hour into day trip one.

Anti-diarrhea tablets: On the nightmare chance a bout of diarrhea coincides with a travel day, Imodium will get you through that three hour bus trip.

Cough lozenges: At some point, someone will pick up the nasty travellers cough. You’ll be lying in your hostel bunk beds, and one friend will be violently flem-coughing all through then night. Next minute, you’re all splattering in each others faces and that’s only the beginning of the intimacy that is hostel life. Good times.

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Betadine throat gargle: To help diffuse the above sitch as quickly as possible.

Motion sickness tablets: Don’t underestimate the power alcohol and a spinning boat can take over your iron-strong stomach.

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Constipation relief tablets: If you suffer from anxiety in this department at the best of times, it could reach an all-time high when you’re travelling.

Condoms: You never know when your Jude Law circa The Talent Mr Ripley might come cruising by on a gondola.

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Antiseptic cream: Someone in the squad will get a heat rash. This will make them feel better about it.

Not sure if you can take your prescription medicine overseas? Read this and check with the embassies of the countries you’re visiting to make sure your medicine is legal there. Keep the medicine in it’s original packaging and carry a letter from your doctor detailing what it is. Another reason to buy a water-proof travel wallet.

Streamline your beauty swag

Deodorant, toothbrush, mini tooth paste: No explanation necessary.

Hairbands, a muslin face cloth and face wipes: For your cross-body bag.

Body moisturiser: This one’s heavy duty and compact. You'll need it to deal with that flight-induced flakiness. And dry sea-salt heels.

Spray on sunscreen and liquid sunscreen: Liquid for your first coat and spray for your second.

Perfume: In a tiny atomiser like this. The smell is going to remind you of this trip forever. JLo glow or something more fancy, it’ll always evoke happy memories.

Hair detangler: We’d begin and finish here. Your hair’s going to be salty-as majority of the time. No matter how wild it gets, we promise you'll want to embrace the carefree feels.

Unrelated to packing but essential

Register with Smarttraveller.gov.au before you leave the country and read every single sub article in the 'Advice for all travellers' tab. You can’t be too prepared.

Now go forth and make memories you’ll cherish for a lifetime, you lucky babes.