Next summer we will be taking a five week vacation in Europe. It may be my son's last trip over there (he hates flying, and he'll be graduating in just a couple years). We're going to hit a lot of places, so won't stay in one spot very long.
We need to pack light, I don't want to lug around more than a carry-on each. We'll need quick-dry clothing since we'll have to do a lot of sink laundry. I've discovered Exofficio for shirts and underwear, any other light-weight, not-too-expensive brands?
Hardest thing to find are pants for him, want quick-dry slacks (he normally wears jeans or slacks, but they're all heavy and cotton).
Any tips to share?
One of the best laundry tips I've come across is to bring a 2 gallon ziplock bag. You can soak the clothes, agitate them, rinse them out, etc, all in a handy bag.
REI is my favorite store for travel and backpacking gear...I spend way too much time browsing rei.com. They have REI brand clothing and gear which is affordable and you can score great deals at the REI outlet which you can also buy from online. They also have a 20% discount going on right now (have to be a member to get it). What type of carry on are you using? I use a 35 liter backpack which is pretty close to the maximum carry on capactiy. You may be able to push it to 40L.
For the carry on, we will be using a "convertible backpack" for one, and a wheeled backpack for the other. We lose packing space with the wheeled luggage, but from last trips I know how nice it is to have a bag you can drag behind you rather than have to carry all the time. We'll strap the other bag on top.
My boss used the Rick Steve's backpack, and loved it, but his wife wished they'd had gone with wheeled luggage. So, I'm doing both.
These are the two bags we'll be using:
I was able to get 20% off, so if you're not in a hurry, it pays to wait for a sale.
Thank you! I'll have to check out REI.
I did find a pair of pants for the kiddo, a couple more and he's covered.
I've been traveling around the world for a year now. I travel with just a backpack (a cheap 10 year old thing, which I usually carry on). My opinion is that it's not needed to get all the latest and greatest gear. Like the ExOfficio gear for example, I just travel with regular t-shirts. If you have the gear, great, but I'd consider it a luxury not a necessity.
What I would invest in is a set of comfortable pants, with many pockets, including hidden pockets. I usually carry a lot of stuff in my pockets: thick wallet, cell phone, camera, perhaps a map, or sun glasses. I also like to put my credit cards and any high denomination bills in a hidden pocket (to prevent theft, read more in this story). I bring two pants, both are zip-off so they can be converted to shorts. I use this quite a bit.
I bring about 5 socks, underwear and t-shirts. 2 pants. Hiking shoes plus tevas. 1 long sleeved t-shirt, 1 buttoned shirt, 1 thin merino wool shirt, 1 light wind-breaker. Tiny laptop. Extra battery for camera and cell phone (extremely useful! get these!). Plug adapter (but no voltage converter).
I do laundry whenever I get a chance, usually about once every 1-2 weeks, and supplement with washing in the sink or shower (wear dirty clothes while showering).
I don't bring any books, rather I keep those on my phone. You can get electronic versions of popular travel guidebooks for cheap! Make sure your GPS works on your phone, I rely on mine heavily. Learn how to pre-load (cache) maps in Google Maps. Get a SIM card in each country you'll stay in for more than a few days (depending on cost). Don't use your US SIM other than for texting.
Don't bring anything too valuable. Consider everything you bring expendable. I left my $2000 laptop at home and brought a $300 one instead. Don't bring any jewelry you care about.
Put travel advisories on your credit cards. No need to bring USD, you are likely to get a better rate through ATMs (unless your bank rips you off). But $200 tucked away somewhere never hurts, in case you really need it.
Have fun! Whereabouts in Europe are you going, and how are you getting around?
Thanks for the tips!
This trip we're hitting France, Germany, Austria, Poland, Belgium, Czech Republic, The Netherlands. Some of those will be just hitting an area for a day or two (Poland, Belgium, Czech Republic and Netherlands) to save the larger amount of time for other countries. It's going to be a busy 5 weeks.
Still in very early planning stages, but we'll probably travel mostly by train/bus. I have a coworker who almost has me convinced to drive in places like Germany, so I'm thinking about that as well.
When we were in London, we washed laundry in the sink--couldn't get the washer to work, but had access to a dryer. Could only use the dryer at certain times during the day when we wanted to be out exploring, so sometimes it would take a while to get clothes dry. I don't normally wear anything but jeans, and those take forever to dry (and are heavy), so I definitely have to buy "new" pants/skirts. I was able to get a couple items on ebay to save money though. Mostly I'm just keeping my eye out for great deals, along with using what I already have.
On former trips, I just saved socks with holes, ragged underwear, t-shirts I didn't really want anymore and as we used them, we tossed or donated them. I hate bringing home dirty socks and underwear!
Sounds like fun. I think a car is a good way to get around Europe, but figure about 2-3 times more expensive to drive there than the US!