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What to Pack for a Family Trip to Europe

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Looking for tips on what to pack for a family trip to Europe? Look no further. These packing list must haves will take the guess work out of what to take on your travels.

What to Pack for a Family Trip to Europe

Recently, we went on a 3 1/2-week European vacation. This post, focusing on what to pack for a family trip to Europe, is the first in our series of how to plan for a family trip to Europe. Check out the other posts in this series, including where to stay and the benefits of airbnb.com, the benefits and tips for maximizing your rental car experience with AVIS, and must see and do tips in a variety of countries throughout Europe.

When packing, we took into consideration different weather conditions in the various places we would be visiting, space for the souvenirs we'd want to bring back with us, the need for each person to carry his or her own luggage long distances, and more. Our family of four made it there and back with only four carry-on sized pieces of luggage (our personal favorite is Samsonite) and a backpack for each person. We have compiled these tips on what to pack for a family trip to Europe based on our experiences of what worked for our family.

What to Pack for a Family Trip to Europe

This is the first post in a series on how to plan the perfect European family vacation where we share information including lodging recommendationscar rental benefits and 10 things to know before you rent, the perfect tours for your family's travel itinerary, planning your vacation on a budgethow to get around Europe with a family, and must see places in a variety of European locations.

Packing List: What to Pack for a Family Trip to Europe

We found that these packing list items were indispensable when planning what to pack for a family trip to Europe:

  • Books and other entertainment for the plane ride
  • Cameras/video cameras
  • Chargers (camera, computer, phone, etc.)
  • Computer (only if you will be working or downloading pictures during your trip or using it for in-flight and in-hotel/apartment entertainment)
  • Dirty clothes bag (1 bag for the entire family is fine unless you are spending lots of time at the beach and then we recommend 2-3 so sandy clothes and shoes can be separated from other clothing)
  • Duct tape (1 roll)
  • Duffle bag (that could be folded up and placed on the bottom of one of the suitcases)
  • Euros (having some money, including change for tolls, is handy when first entering a foreign country)
  • Gallon-sized Ziplock bags (for packing personal care items)
  • Glasses (eye glasses and sun glasses and any special cleaners or clothes that go with them)
  • Jacket, scarves or other colder weather items, as applicable and/or necessary (layer as much as possible)
  • Pajamas (1 pair per person)
  • Pants (3 pairs per person, 1 pair of comfortable pants like yoga or sweat pants and 2 pairs of regular pants)
  • Personal care items that you cannot buy at a grocery store, easily find once in country, or that you may need while in transit to your destination (blow dryer, flat iron, essential hair and makeup items, medicine, tooth paste/tooth brush etc.)
  • Shirts (4 per person, 3 short-sleeved shirts and 1 long-sleeved shirt if heading to mostly warmer weather)
  • Shoes (1 pair of tennis shoes, 1 pair of flat comfortable walking shoes)
  • Shorts (1-2 pairs per person)
  • Smart phone (we recommend buying a data plan before you go, but leaving the phone on airplane mode as much as possible to reduce international travel fees)
  • Snacks (for traveling only)
  • Socks (enough for 4 days)
  • Travel journal
  • Undergarments (enough for 4 days)
  • Universal outlet adapter and converter and extension cord if you're taking multiple devices (Note: Check the fine print on all devices you're planning to take to ensure they will work with a universal outlet adapter.)

Items to Buy in Country when Considering What to Pack for a Family Trip to Europe

Often times, we include our entire medicine cabinet and closet on our packing list when considering what to pack for a family trip to Europe. Nothing will scream "Pay oversized luggage fees!" faster than packing too much stuff. Here are some items we recommend purchasing once in country from an ATM, a grocery store, or a kiosk and only if you need them:

  • Bandaids
  • Cotton swabs
  • Euros (take a small amount with you to get around, but secure the rest of your funds once in country)
  • Food
  • Lotion
  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Snacks
  • Sunscreen
  • Umbrellas

Have you taken a European vacation? What tips do you have for what to pack for a family trip to Europe?

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An active part of the Mom It Forward team, Jyl primarily writes about parenting, social good, and all things travel related. In a past life, Jyl was an award-winning copywriter and designer of corporate training programs for Fortune 100 companies. Offline, Jyl is married to @TroyPattee; a mom to two teen boys and a beagle named #Hashtag; loves large amounts of cheese, dancing, and traveling; and lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Topping her bucket list is the goal to visit 50 countries by the time she's 50.

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