Things I couldn’t have survived without:

  •     iPhone Smart Battery Case or portable charger

Between navigating, converting currencies, taking pictures and making sure mom knows you’re still alive, your phone battery runs out pretty quickly. Portable chargers like the Smart Battery Case or the Mophie are worthwhile investments.

  •     Power strip adapter

During our time in Europe, we routinely charged our computers, phones, watches, cameras and headphones. Having an adapter compatible with European outlets capable of charging multiple U.S. devices at once was the most convenient way to ensure we had everything we needed.

  •     Adidas Cloudfoam Sneakers

You’ll be doing a lot of walking in Europe, so it’s important that you wear comfortable shoes. Usually this would mean a supportive tennis shoe, but we found that the Adidas Cloudfoam Sneakers were the perfect combination of sensible and chic.

  •     Basic tees

It’s easy to get caught up in planning trendy outfits, but the clothes we needed most often were the basics. Stripes and plain colored, soft tees paired with jeans were essential for class days.

  •     Backpack

Backpacks were great to have not only for class, but also vital for travel weekends. Carrying a backpack is easier than lugging even the smallest carry-on around a city, and zip pockets help simplify locating important items like your wallet, passport and phone.

  •     Cross-body purse

Cross-body purses (with zippers to provide additional security) are crucial to avoid being pick-pocketed. Likewise, you should wear your backpack on the front of your body in crowded areas — especially on public transportation.  

  •     Tide To Go and Downy Wrinkle Spray

Trying new foods and cramming your clothes into a backpack every weekend is bound to lead to stains and wrinkles. Having quick fix items like the Tide To Go pen and Downy Wrinkle Spray saves time and eliminates stress.

Things I brought that I didn’t need:

  •     Platform sandals and wedges

The streets in Europe are generally composed of cobblestone, so for the sake of your ankles and the weight of your suitcase, don’t pack any sort of heels. Opt for a lightweight sandal or flat instead.

  •     Hair dryer and/or straightener

Check if the hotel or apartment you’re staying in provides a blow drier before packing your own. Our hair appliances in the States typically have a higher voltage than those in Europe, so they could potentially blow up here.

  •     Jewelry

European style is extremely minimalistic, so pack only your favorite, dainty pieces if you’re set on bringing jewelry.

Things I wish I would’ve brought:

  •     More socks and underwear

Most housing in Europe only offers a drying rack for your wet laundry, so it takes longer to finish a load. Bringing extra socks and underwear ensures you will always have a clean pair while you wait for the others to dry.

  •     More dresses

Casual, lightweight dresses are a great option to have for exploring a city. If you’re considering touring any cathedrals, dresses of modest length that cover your shoulders are the easiest way to be respectful and comfortable.

  •     Travel size toiletries

You should never check a bag on travel weekends. Stuff your clothes in your backpack and make sure you have travel sized toiletries to save time and money in the airport.

  •     Extra luggage

Instead of jamming your luggage full while packing, try to leave some space for the things you buy on your trip. Allotting room for gifts or personal purchases can save you the trouble of buying an additional suitcase.