HOW TO EUROPE:
The Complete Travelers Handbook
A page of
by photographer and author
with help from my daughter Stephanie.
Click here for the Table of Contents of How To Europe.
Updated 23-June-2014. Use your F5 key to refresh this page.
Carpe diem. Gratia Deo. Vivere bene!
Check now or regret later.
Hey! The taxi is waiting! What did you forget?
Here is a last-minute set of checklists to help ease you into your tiny seat on that big silver bird.
I can hear the engines revving up already. Oh, what a thrilling sound. Then we bounce down the runway,
the power of those engines throwing us back in our seats. Then it's up and up and up. The earth drops away. The loud
clank of the wheel assemblies being retracted into the belly of the bird gives us a short shudder. She smoothes
out as we rise into the Luft above the clouds, to arrive tomorrow at a distant place on
our third sphere. Ah, the genius of the Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur.
Oops, I got carried away there. Let's get back to Earth for a minute and look at what you need to
do and pack to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in distant lands.
Not all of this is last minute stuff.
You will want to do some of these things at least a day,
or maybe months, in advance. Remove the N/A stuff as you see fit. E.g., if you don't have a dog scratch
out the kennel line item.
Comments are welcome. Please see the last section, NOTE TO READERS, for how to contact me.
For your records
Keep your essential logistics data handy.
Flights, times, confirmation number:
Hotel reservations, confirmation number:
Auto rental or rail pass:
If it was not for the last minute a lot of things would not get done.
- Your ride to the airport —> did you call the taxi, shuttle, or
best friend you are leaving behind?
- Phone number
- Pick-up confirmed by
- People forget. Call and verify a few hours before pick-up time.
- Is your passport valid for 3 months beyond your intended return date?
- Make three copies of the mug page of your passport.
- Make sure you have your address book, in your travel journal or in your electronic device.
- Mail. Stop delivery. Give vacation hold or forwarding instructions to the Post Office, or
have a friend or neighbor save it for you.
- Stop newspaper delivery.
- Ask a friend or neighbor to pick up advert flyers which get thrown on your doorstep.
- Unplug unnecessary electrical appliances, e.g. toaster, microwave, computer, iron, washer, dryer, etc.
- Turn on your bathroom and bedroom light.
- Put several other lamps on automatic on-off timers.
- Shut off main water valve. Open a low faucet to drain pipes.
- Set thermostat to 40oF heat (winter) or 100oF cool (summer).
- Set hot water tank temperature to lowest allowable.
- Secure house plants.
- Kennel or loan pets.
- Arrange for snow shoveling, leaf raking, or lawn mowing, depending on the season.
- Do NOT blab on Facebook that you will be out of town for weeks or months.
- Ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your home and to call police if men start moving
furniture. I know two people who have had their houses totally cleaned out by unknown
"movers" while they were overseas.
- Lock up windows and doors, including second floor. Put jammer bars in sliding
glass doors and windows. Remove hidden door keys. Use door stops/alarms on side and rear doors.
- Haircut, hairdo, manicure, beard trim.
- Travel food and beverages. Pack a snack.
- Wash your car. Change oil, change coolant, and disconnect battery.
Put it up on blocks if you will be gone for more than a month.
- Make arrangements to keep current on your rent or mortgage, phone bills,
utility bills, insurances, ISP, etc.
- Make a copy of the front and back of your credit cards, ATM cards, insurance cards,
drivers license, and airline frequent flyer cards. Write the non-800 contact number
and user ID next to each. Keep passwords and PINs separate.
- Call your credit card companies and banks to let them know that you will be using their rip-off
services while you are gallivanting around Europe.
- Clean out your wallet or purse. Leave unnecessary cards home.
- Review the next batch of lists. These lists are designed for the long term independent
traveler. Most people will not need everything listed. The lists look to be very long, but it is all small
stuff. Once you get it all assembled you can leave much of it in your suitcase for a quick departure the next time.
- Do not forget to lock the front door on your way out.
Give my regards to Boulevard Saint Germain!
Have a good trip, and a good trip in life!
You'll need plenty of cash or credit to cover all of this.
- air transportation
- inter-city ground transportation
Thirty Miscellaneous Cost Items
- toilet charges
- luggage locker fees
- guitar case donations
- money changing
- camera memory chips or film
- city open-top bus tours
- museum and castle admissions
- cinema and theater
- bus, tram, and metro tickets
- bike rental
- telephone calls
- internet time
- café beverages
- new walking shoes
- new travel clothes
- casino losses
- pickpocket losses
What to pack and what to pack it in.
Don't be a burro. Let it roll.
- soft-side bag, max 22" with wheels
- shoulder tote
- two gallon ZipLoc® bags
- wire ties
- packing cubes
- backpack (for burro wannabees)
Key words —> layers, layers, layers, and scarf.
Season, gender, and locale dependent,
and including what you are wearing.
Chapter 29, and Weather 5.
- jacket or suit
- two shirts or blouses
- two slacks or skirts
- four sets underwear
- extra pair of shoes
- turtle neck shirt/sweater
- sun glasses
Personal Care Items
Look your best.
- safety razor
- wash cloth
- nail clippers
- emery boards
- dental floss
- comb or brush
- toilet paper or pack of tissues
- isopropyl alcohol (IPA)
- baking soda
- dual voltage electric razor
- dual voltage hair blower
- dual voltage hair straightener
- dual voltage curler
- dual voltage iron
- shave cream
- after shave
Scrub-a-dub, or stink, or send it out.
- clothes line
- clothes pins
- latex gloves
- shoe polish
- shoe brush
Hardware for the road.
- alarm chronograph
- can opener
- coin purse
- GPS device
- money belt
- pen & spare refill
- plastic bags
- plastic utensils
- portable radio
- Swiss Army Knife
- tape measure
- telescope or binoculars
- water cup immersion heater
- wire ties, small black
For when your stuff breaks down.
- needles and threads
- safety pins
- latex gloves
- string, nylon
- strapping tape, NOT duct tape!
- Leatherman tool
Guidebooks, Maps, Dictionaries
Know where you are going and when you get there
know how to say "Good Day," "Please," and "Thank You."
Practice them constantly.
- pocket dictionaries
- rail timetable
- pocket phrase books
- GPS device
Plugging in is not easy to do.
In fact it is a continuing pain in the neck.
- plug adapter(s)
- power surge strip, 250 volt
- rechargeable batteries
- battery charger
- NEVER use a "converter" for anything — NEVER, EVER, NEVER!!.
Bring back the memories.
- point and shoot digital camera
- P&S camera pouch
- lens cleaning cloth
- bean bag
- batteries a/o battery charger
- plug adapter
- extra memory chips
- mini tripod and/or C-clamp
- camera instruction manual
- digital SLR camera
- ~20 to ~200 mm zoom lens
- lens cover
- polarizing filter
- remote shutter release
Health and First Aid
Fixing up the body when it is feeling bad.
Chapter 6 and
- general pain relief — aspirin, Ibuprofen®, Tylenol®
- adhesive bandages — Band-Aid®
- antiseptic cream — Neosporin®
- lip balm
- skin pain relief — vinegar, IPA, Oragel®, Lanacane®
- antihistamine — Fexofenadine
- stomach pain relief — Lomotil®, Pepto-Bismol®
- stress — valerian (NOT Valium!)
- vitamins and supplements
- Dr. Hennessy
In Your Pockets
NEVER put these items in your luggage, tote, or purse.
Stash your cash and passport.
Chapter 3 and
- money belt
- RFID blocking wallet
Can't live without it.
Chapter 8 and
Euro and Other Currencies.
- credit cards
- ATM cards
- travelers cheques
- personal checks
Being able to prove who you are is essential.
Chapter 18, and
- passport and three copies
- driver's license
- school I.D. card
- AYH card (for HI hostels)
- insurance card(s)
- business cards
- frequent flyer cards
- international driving permit (IDP)
- international certificates of vaccination
- corporate or institutional I.D. badge
- AAA Card
- family photos
No ticket = no ride.
Chapter 17, and
- boarding pass or confirmation number
- hotel confirmation fax or email
- rail pass
- car rental reservation confirmation
Travel Records and Communications
Write it down for your posterity.
- travel record book
- audio tape recorder
- digital video recorder
- netbook or laptop computer
- short LAN cable
- flash drive
- cell phone
Now it's time for High Flight.
NOTE TO READERS
I welcome questions and comments. If you have any concerns about your trip to
Europe that have not been covered well enough in this section please do not hesitate to write and ask.
When you write please include relevant details.
I do not open attachments. Please include all of your data in the body of your email.
I will reply in a day or two.
My email address is
Do not forget to smell the hyacinths. Scroll through the Table of Contents of
How To Europe: The Complete Travelers Handbook
and read all 30 chapters, FREE on line. Good deal!
For a check-off punchlist of everything go to The Finale,
Last Call: Travel Prep and Pack Lists for Europe.
Have a good trip!