Are you venturing out on your first trip to Europe soon but aren’t sure what to pack? Though Europe is pretty modernized and you can find everything you need if you forget to bring something, here are 11 must-have essentials you can’t forget to pack when traveling to Europe for the first time!
Psst. This post contains affiliate links. Read our disclosure.
A magical land filled with wondrous cathedrals, picturesque villages, bustling cities, incredible eateries, and more, Europe is a fantastic place to first travel abroad to.
In fact, it was the destination I wandered to when I ventured out on my first abroad trip. Just a naive 15 year old with typical thoughts on what Europe was like, I went on a school trip to Germany, Austria, and Switzerland and holy moly, it was amazing!
After that trip, I was hooked.
But I digress, if you’re traveling abroad for the first time to Europe, there are a few things you can’t forget to pack with you!
Though these things can easily be found in Europe, as it’s a very westernized continent, save yourself some dollars and just remember to stick these Europe essentials on your packing checklist!
Table of Contents
11 ESSENTIALS TO PACK FOR YOUR FIRST EUROPE TRIP
Travel Plug Adapter
If you didn’t know this, the plug-ins are completely different in Europe than anywhere else. Not only that, the voltage is different, too, and will blow up your electronics if you don’t get the proper conversion!
Cool, right? Probably not.
So, make sure your pick up a good plug adapter before you set off! When I visited my cousin and her husband last year in Switzerland for their first Europe trip, I recommended this one from Amazon and they loved it!
If you’re antsy about getting your stuff stolen, make sure to pack along a small combination lock to secure your bags when you’re not with them.
This is super handy for flights because you never know who will come into contact with your bags when in transit!
Additionally, if you end up staying in hostels while on your first visit to Europe, having a good lock is so incredibly useful when you need to lock up your bags in the room.
Personally, I travel with locks like these from Amazon.
Good Walking Shoes
Let me be honest with you: if you aren’t big on walking, you’re going to be sorely disappointed on your first trip to Europe.
Because to see the best of what each destination has to offer, it takes a helluva lot of walking to get you there. Like I’m talking 10-15,000+ steps each day.
BUT, also keep in mind, though this is great exercise, walking allows you to see what transportation doesn’t.
That cute little side street with the picturesque cobblestones and tiered homes? You wouldn’t have seen it from the subway. Or the interesting statue laid by the river? A bus wouldn’t have given you that view.
Case in point, walking is essential when getting the most out of your first time traveling to Europe. So, make sure to bring some good, comfortable, durable walking shoes!
Especially useful if you’re traveling to the UK or Northern Europe (or really anywhere) where the weather can be pretty finicky, packing along a lightweight raincoat that can be smushed up and easily tucked away is essential.
Personally, I recommend keeping this bad boy in your everyday travel bag (the one you always carry around) in case you get caught in a nasty downpour!
Quick Dry Towel
If you’re staying in hostels most of the time, this is a must! As most hostels don’t actually hand out free towels to use.
By packing along a quick dry towel, you know you’re covered if you end up staying somewhere that doesn’t provide drying off necessities (which, also, some Europe hotels don’t!).
Personally, I travel with this one!
Filtering Water Bottle
While the water is pretty good to drink in most Europe destinations, in places like Spain, Greece, and some parts of Eastern Europe, you won’t actually be able to drink the tap water.
Thus, you should always always always pack along a handy dandy filtering water bottle!
I always travel with this one because it’s super lightweight, highly durable, and takes out all the nasty impurities (including salmonella and ecoli).
Interested in getting your hands on one? You can find the one I use here.
Ear Plugs + Eye Mask
Okay, okay, sure. You’ll look a little goofy with a big band covering half your face and weird puff sticking outta your ears but holy moly, these two things are essential!
Especially true if you’re planning to stay in hostel dorm rooms, where you can’t control other people talking or how late they come back, packing noise and light canceling gear is a must when visiting Europe for the first time.
In my opinion, there’s not much that comes close to my love of sleep so making sure I can get plenty of it without being interrupted or irritated is important! This is true whether I’m in a hostel or on an airplane.
If you want to grab a good eye mask and ear plugs, check out this page on Amazon.
Aka a Kindle, grab one of these bad boys if you are especially big into reading.
When traveling Europe for the first time, you’ll likely have ample free time on your hands while transporting between destinations and delving into a good book is a fantastic way to pass the time!
Dan likes to travel with the Paperwhite Kindle because its battery is hella impressive and you can read it in the sun but I personally like the Fire Tablet, as it can double as a Kindle and tablet, where I can browse the web and use apps.
Alternatively, you can download the Kindle App on your iPhone or Android and read from there. I’ve done this numerous times in the past when I’ve forgotten my Kindle and it’s worked like a charm.
The only thing is, don’t forget to grab a pass to the Kindle Unlimited Membership! Super handy for renting books and having access to literally hundreds of thousands of cool titles.
Who else hates when their phone dies on them in the middle of the day? This is especially inconvenient when wandering about a city for hours on end!
End the madness and bring along a small, yet efficient, powerbank to charge all of your things with in a jiffy.
Dan loves the brand Anker and I have to say, they are pretty darn good. You can grab the powerbank he uses here.
Conversion Fee Free Credit Card
Though this isn’t an option for every traveler, if you can, try and sign up for a conversion-fee free credit card!
Not only will you save yourself a boatload of money while traveling Europe, you can also earn miles and cash in on them to save even more later down the road (granted you sign up for the right card!).
Personally, I use the Chase Sapphire Preferred and it is fabulous. With this card, there are:
- Zero conversion fees
- You get hella insurance coverage (like if you lost a bag or had something stolen)
- Miles added up for every dollar spent (which can go towards future travel)
- Rental car insurance (which is, like, unheard of in the credit card coverage world)
- Miles bonus if you spend a certain amount in the first 3 months
- And more!
Interested? Check it out here.
(I really DO use this credit card and love it! It’s so handy for international travel.)
Who wouldn’t want to document all the amazing places they visit and the good times they have while traveling Europe for the first time?
I always travel with a high-quality camera (an iPhone just doesn’t cut it for me!) because, personally, it’s important to not only have good photos for this blog but also for my stash of travel memories. (Okay, okay… and good photos to show off on Instagram!)
If you want to see the one I use, check it out here.
Although, this one is good for those who don’t want to spend a ridiculous amount on a new camera (I used it for years until I upgraded!).
Overall, there are definitely more things you should pack for a first trip to Europe but these are the typical essential things many forget!
On my first Europe adventure, I totally forgot to pack along an eye mask and severely regretted it. Not to mention I only used an iPhone to take photos (and a crappy one at that), which resulted in poopy photos that are hard to look at nowadays!
So, if you’re jetting off to Europe soon and aren’t sure what so-called “essentials” you should pack, definitely consider these 11 things! You won’t regret bringing them along.
Are you venturing off on your first Europe trip soon? And looking for some packing inspiration and advice? If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask! Stick ’em in the comments below.
- 10 odd essentials I never travel without
- The ultimate winter packing list for Europe
- 25 photos to inspire you to visit the Manchester Christmas Market
- Scoring cheap flights: the top sites I use to shave hundreds off tickets
- My favorite zero waste things to pack along for a trip
Like this post on first time Europe trip packing essentials? Pin it!
As mentioned earlier, this post contains affiliate links. Which means if you make a purchase through the links, this site receives a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps us continue bringing you wanderful inspiration! Read our full disclosure here.