We just returned from our latest European family vacation, and I felt like I needed a vacation from our vacation. Although we went on a guided trip with Adventures by Disney, I still had so much advance preparation that I needed to do before we left. When traveling to Europe with the family, it’s so important that you have everything that you’ll need. You want to maximize your vacation time, as well as your comfort, during the trip. If you are planning an overseas trip, be sure to add these items to your European packing list. (Traveling to Spain? Check out this list with what to pack for Spain).
Europe Packing List for a Family Vacation
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First head over to this post and download our city and/or beach vacation lists. These include some basics that you’ll want to include, such as clothing, toiletries, and other essentials. For a trip to Europe though, you may want to add some of these additional items that will make things easier.
When I head out for the day, I tend to bring along a lot of things, including EpiPens, cell phone, spare charger, camera, water, snacks, etc. A lightweight backpack is essential. You can use it as a carry-on bag for the plane, and then daily as you venture out into town. Just make sure that you keep it carefully secured when you are in crowded areas, since pickpockets can definitely target tourists.
I like this lightweight, affordable backpack. It has side pockets that are perfect for holding water bottles.
I also like bringing along a lightweight handbag for the times when I’m just running out to dinner and don’t want to bring along a huge bag. A black, anti-theft bag is versatile and perfect for travel. Here’s one on Amazon that is great for travel.
If your family, like mine, has a large selection of devices that need to be charged each evening, you’ll need to pack numerous European adaptors. I love this one adaptor, which can charge multiple devices at once. We used this during our trip and it was perfect. I put it in our carry-on bag, so I could also use it to recharge our devices during our layover in Zurich. That way, we only needed to find one outlet to use in the airport.
In addition to the prescriptions that you should absolutely bring with you, you should also consider packing some over the counter medications that you may need. I brought a few things so that I had them in case I needed them. Luckily, we didn’t, but it was good to have them with us. One thing that I wish I brought was hydrocortisone cream – my daughter got hives on our third day and it would have been helpful.
If you have a child with food allergies, it’s also a good idea to bring a food allergy card. I purchased two online in the languages of the countries we were visiting, so we didn’t have any language barriers in expressing that crucial information.
We purchased ours from Food Allergy Translate but there are lots of places to buy them. Once I printed it, I laminated it so it wouldn’t get damaged during our travels. It definitely came in handy when we went for lunch and dinner on our own (not with our Adventures by Disney group).
This isn’t something specific to pack, but it’s still important. While you are on cellular data or WiFi, you can download the Google Maps for the local area that you are traveling to. That way, you can access Google Maps data while you are not connected. Do it before you leave so you don’t forget.
Although I don’t use my phone as much when I’m traveling overseas, it still seems to run out of power halfway through the day. Bring along a portable charger to make sure that you can charge on the go. This is my favorite one – just be sure to pack a separate European adaptor since this plugs directly in the wall.
I use a water bottle from the moment my flight takes off until the minute I land back at home. Bring along a refillable one (plus dishwashing soap to wash it on the go) for each person in your family. Fill them up at the airport, and then use them during your trip. For places where it isn’t safe to drink the tap water, refill them with bottled water. A good reusable bottle will keep the water colder than a regular disposable bottle will. Just remember to wash them each night, so that they are nice and clean in the morning for your next day.
It’s easy to forget everything that you did on your adventure, so I recommend bringing along a travel journal. Take notes daily in the evenings so that you don’t forget anything about your trip. You can put together a traveler’s notebook, or just bring along any notebook. I also take tons of pictures, which serve as a visual reminder of our vacation.
If your European trip includes an overnight flight, you’ll want to be comfortable while you try to get a little bit of sleep. Check out these tips for a red eye flight, and you’ll also find our essential products including a travel pillow and blanket.
You should definitely make sure that you bring along some comfortable shoes for your European family vacation. I usually wear FitFlops on my travels, but I found that some of our stops in Greece required more substantial shoes. The Acropolis, for instance, had some very slippery rocks to walk over. If you don’t enjoy wearing sneakers (I don’t), these KEEN sandals I wore worked well.
Have you traveled to Europe with your kids? What do you include on your Europe packing list for a family vacation?
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