Packing Tips

First off, here are some tips I strongly urge you to follow to make your travels as easy as possible.

  1. Pack light. If you won’t use it enough to justify carrying it halfway around the world and back, don’t bring it. Taking more stuff will not make your time any more memorable. Actually, it will be more memorable. You’ll definitely remember the time you had to haul all those suitcases up six flights of stairs!
  2. Plan to do laundry. Our rooms have private baths where you can wash your underwear and shirts. You can get a stretchy clothesline or just some thick nylon cord and save yourself from carrying around 10 extra pounds of stuff.
  3. Layer. Instead of bringing a raincoat and a sweatshirt and a coat, wear the raincoat over the sweatshirt and leave the coat at home. A thin packable raincoat also makes a great windbreaker, which will be handy in Lucerne.
  4. Make your clothes do double duty. A large scarf is great as a shawl to cover your shoulders whenyou get sunburned, a skirt to cover your shorts when we go into a church, and makes a great blanket when they blast the AC on the bus.
  5. Bring clothes that go with a lot of other clothes and can be worn with more than just one thing (think black, grey, white, khaki, etc.)
  6. Do a fold test to see which of your clothes are the smallest. You will probably find that you have T-shirts that fold up half as big as some other T-shirts.
  7. Wear your heaviest shoes and as much of your wardrobe as possible on the plane trip so you have a lighter suitcase. You will also be warmer when you are sleeping on the plane.
  8. Do not check luggage on the outbound flight. If it is lost, it will not catch up with us for several days because we’re moving around quite a bit. Carry on your suitcase and your daybag. Put your essentials and big money into your daybag in case your carry-on gets planeside checked.
  9. If you plan to buy souvenirs, take a small fold-up bag with you. On the way home, zip out the expansion on your suitcase and pack it full with the heaviest stuff, then take your daybag and the tote bag as your two items on the plane.
  10. Bring travel size hair appliances, or bring one and share, or better yet, just leave them at home. Seriously.
  11. Carry-on rule for liquids—1 quart baggie with bottles no larger than 100ml each (about 3 ounces).
  12. If you have no idea how you’ll survive for two weeks with only a tiny bottle of shampoo, sunscreen, etc., just take a small bottle then go in with your friends and buy a big bottle to share when we get to Paris. You can all refill your bottles from that. The only time we have to do the quart baggie is on the outbound flight.
  13. When choosing clothing, be sure you are bringing fabrics that breathe well, don’t wrinkle, and dry fast. Some jeans are hot, bulky, and take forever to dry. Dri-Fit, ClimaCool, and other tech fabrics are great.
  14. The weather will range from comfortable Gig Harbor summertime to Hot Hot 100 degrees by 8 am. You’re probably good with one pair of long pants and the rest shorts and skirts that are cooler. There are very few London days where shorts aren’t warm enough. We will probably only need long pants at Stanserhorn. *note about skirts*
  15. Note on leggings and yoga pants—Europeans don’t really wear leggings as pants like a lot of Americans do—they wear them under long tops or skirts/dresses, more like we would wear tights.
  16. It may be a good idea to pack up everything you’d like to take, then carry (not roll) your suitcase up and down your street then up and down a couple flights of stairs. You will need to carry it across cobblestones and go up and down stairs in the hotels and subway with it, so this will help you decide if you’re bringing too much. You need to be able to handle all your own stuff and still walk at a good pace with a smile.

Keeping in mind the above, here is your packing list:


2 pair of shoes—both very comfortable for walking long distances on uneven cobblestones

Short and long sleeved shirts. You may want something lightweight to cover up your sunburn at some point.

Socks, if you are bringing shoes that require them (it saves a lot of space and washing if you don’t need them!)

Underwear. Remember they’re quick to wash and dry, so if you plan to do laundry, you don’t have to bring 20 pair.

Shorts/pants/skirts, whatever you like to wear.

There will be places you need to have your knees and shoulders covered. Be sure you have something that will do that. It’s nice if it is small so you can pack it in your purse or day bag so it’s always ready.

Something to sleep in. Be sure you have something decent to cover up in just in case you have to travel down the hall in the night or are rooming with people you don’t really know.

Swimsuit, maybe…we will not be near the coast during of our trip, but we may have a pool at a hotel.

Raincoat that will double as a windbreaker

Toiletries & Personal Items—remember the quart baggie rule, and it’s a good idea to double-bag in a gallon bag

Toothbrush & toothpaste

Shampoo, conditioner, soap, body wash, etc.


Brush/comb/ponytail holders


Liquid laundry detergent

Medications in their original container with a copy of the prescription just in case

Glasses/contact lenses/sunglasses and case, cleaner, etc., plus a copy of the prescription just in case

Tiny first aid kit (Advil, Benadryl, Band-Aids, moleskin, aloe vera, safety pins, and whatever else you might need for minor emergencies)

Feminine hygiene supplies

Money & Paperwork

PASSPORT with a copy on your phone. This is the only thing you really have to take.


ATM card and/or credit card with Visa/MC logo

Money belt/money pouch to hold your “big money” and passport on the plane and through the airports

Budget card

Hot pink EF emergency number card, goldenrod medical form, and orange chaperone emergency number card


Phone and charger, with pictures of important paperwork (see last page).

Camera, watch, and alarm clock (or phone, phone, and phone)

Adapters (British and continental), transformer if needed, and chargers for any electronics you are bringing

Other necessities:

Water bottle (empty)

PowerBars or other substantial shelf-stable non-melty granola bar type snacks (bring 5+)

Umbrella that folds up really small—good for rain or sun

Purse or daybag big enough to hold all your day items. We will generally leave the hotel about 7:30am and come home between 8-10pm, so bring everything you’ll need during the day. EF suggests taking a small backpack but I prefer a purse or shoulder bagbecause it’s cooler to carry and more secure.

Folding shopping bag

Ear plugs

Sharpie (we will give them to you at the airport)

Travel lock (not so much for on the plane but for in the hotel)

Here are a couple other things I will bring:

Large scarf

Plastic grocery bag to segregate my dirty laundry

Washcloth (You won’t find these in European hotels)

Woolite & clothesline


Little travel neck pillow for the bus and plane

A hat for when I sunburn my scalp

Something to do on the plane, train, and bus

How to organize your packing:

Essentials to pack in your daybag or purse on the plane:

Even though your carry-on will be in the cabin of the plane, it will likely be extremely inconvenient to get things out of it in flight. Your EF backpack will be a good carry-on for the plane and train rides. Since they all look the same, be sure to get your name on it.


Camera & charger


Passport (maybe in money belt)

Goldenrod medical form

Little money

Big money (maybe in money belt)

Credit card

Prescription glasses

Prescription medication and copies

Tiny first aid kit (above)


Toothbrush & toothpaste


Brush/comb/ponytail holders

Snacks/Power Bars

Water bottle (empty)

Clothing layers

Folding shopping bag

Anything else you want access to on the plane (headphones, iPad, travel pillow, etc.)

Essentials to pack in your daybag for our days out:

A large cross-body purse, messenger bag, or deep zipper pockets make a good daybag for our days out in the cities. Past student travelers have commented that a backpack can get hot to wear, plus they are not allowed in several sites.


Picture of the name and address of our hotel



Goldenrod medical form

Little money

Credit card

Glasses/sun glasses

Chap stick


Snacks/Power Bars

Water bottle (full)

Umbrella/raincoat, depending on weather

Clothing layers & coverings for churches

Prescriptions you might need during the day

Tiny first aid kit

Folding shopping bag

Here are the items to take a picture of and put into your phone, if you can lock it:


EF emergency card (hot pink)

Orange GHHS chaperone phone number card

Debit and/or credit cards, front and back

Glasses prescription

Medical prescription

Medical insurance card

Addresses for post cards

Tour itinerary

Flight itineraries

Hotel itinerary

Travel lock combination, if you’ll forget it

EF tour number (1709718DV) and individual EF account number

Most of these are copies of things you should already be bringing, just as backups. There is the horrible possibility that you lose your phone. Some phones have a way to erase them if lost. Be sure you know the login and password for that. Also be sure you actually know important phone numbers like your parents. That sounds silly, but there are people who don’t because they usually just hit the “Mom” button.