In 2011, I was blessed with being able to go on the trip of a lifetime. 12 days in Europe. 4 countries with 2 other couples. It couldn’t have been more perfect except for the fact that I had no clue what to expect, what to pack, or what anything would be like. We visited Barcelona, Paris France, Rome Italy and Venice. I truly fell in love and I vowed from the moment I stepped off the plane in Barcelona that I would be back one day.
Never did I realize that when the gentleman told me to make a wish, that it would come true. The Fontana di Trevi or Trevi Fountain is the most famous and the most beautiful fountain in Rome. This impressive monument located is at the small Trevi square. I was told by a kind man that the figure in the center was Neptune, the god of the sea. He is riding a chariot in the shape of a shell, pulled by two sea horses. We spent an evening at Trevi one night and the same man said, “Don’t forget to toss 3 coins over your shoulder with your back to the fountain and make a wish. A true wish will translate in reality and in if it comes true you will return to Rome.”
Did he know I was with a Direct Sales company that would allow me to EARN my trip ? Because this past January myself and hundreds of my Scentsy sisters earned a cruise (how ironic right? Neptune, God of the Sea) thru the Mediterranean. We will be visiting Barcelona, France and Italy. Yes the same counties that we visited with these 2 other couples.
The man, my best friend….. that had a dream to go to these countries took me there back in 2011. He ate pizza, visited the Vatican and the Coliseum, drank lemon-cellos and smiled for the full 12 days. He was walking the streets that he had watched on the history channel and said repeatedly that he would visit again and for longer and when we left, he said, “I will be back, I promise you, we will be back, I love Italy!” Unfortunately on June 26th of last year, he lost his life. Probably some of the worst months of my life having to come to terms with him not being here any more and how this all turned out. Not a day goes by, that I don’ t think of him. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of that trip.
2 weeks later, In July, I decided to still attend Scentsy family reunion. Then the unbelievable……..Scentsy announced the Fall Incentive. It was this trip! The same cities! A trip we could earn just by sharing Scentsy. Could this really be happening? Could our wish really be coming true? Could I be going back to the cities we fell in love with? Could I go back without Kevin?
How do I make a wish with the God of the Sea, only to earn a cruise back to that same fountain? How does the person who wishes to come back pass away 2 weeks before this trip is announced? I will never know or understand but …………..
I know I am suppose to go on this trip and live for him. I know I am suppose to fulfill his wish. I know I am suppose to let things go, and I am suppose to walk those streets and kiss the stone walls of the Coliseum just as he did in 2011. I am suppose to go there and say, “I got us back here, I hope you are happy now and I want you to know…..that I am OK.
When planning a trip of a lifetime, I really had no idea what to plan or what to pack or what to do. I wanted to write a blog post so that I could remember this trip and give you some of my suggestions that I wish I would have known back then. A lot of people have asked me, “What should I pack?” So I wanted to create this mini Europe packing check list for the rest of you amazing Scentsy consultants who have earned this trip and will be experiencing this along with me.
These items will be useful on basically any trip but of course what you should bring to Europe will vary based on the season, your style and what region you are going to. I have also included some tips for what to bring and things you don’t need in Europe. Just CLICK THE LINKS for each one and you will get right to Amazon for each one.
European Packing List
- Passport Pouch – Clearly, we all know that we need a passport for travel in Europe but I also recommend you get a pouch for your passport. I learned very quickly that you do not want a large purse to carry around. You will want to keep you money and credit cards close to you and these pouches can be easily concealed under a sundress or a light poncho type cover up. Europe is known for pick pockets, especially in Barcelona. (The pick pocket capital of Europe). Having your valuables concealed under your dress or shirt makes it close to impossible to have your things stolen. Please don’t be thinking that a strapped cross body will be OK either. Shady peeps have no problem walking passed you and cutting those straps while an accomplice grabs the bag. This is not meant to scare you but to keep you aware.
- Lipstick-sized portable charger– Many of us have gotten these from Scentsy or really any portable charger will work. You will be constantly on the go at the ports. Taking video and photo ops will eat up a lot of battery and you don’t want to miss anything. These chargers will save you time when you need a map especially to get back to port.
- Packing Cubes – Many of us will be arriving early in Barcelona. Packing for 10-12 days when you are a female is never easy. These packing cubes saved me. They make it easy to find these and instead of having to dig thru every thing, you can organize everything in side these cubes and they actually make your packing more compact.
- Activated Charcoal – Yup! Its’ a must. When you are in a new climate and eating new food, travelers diarrhea can happen to anyone. Of course Europe is much safer when it comes to this compared to our trips to Mexico but it is still common to get a 24 hour issue. Carry this just in case. These little tabs absorb toxins in your body and will stop this issue at its source. Its a small bottle and won’t take up much room. For those of you that listen, you will be saying…..”Thank you Jilleysue.”
- Solid Shampoo – My girl, Director, Kimberly Pulito reminded me of this the other day when she posted about Lush solid shampoos. Avoid liquids when packing for international flights if you can. International flights can make toiletry bags a mess. Any chance that you can cut down on liquids, the better for you and your belongings. Check these out from Lush. They are some of my favorites and you can even get a cute little container to travel with too.
- Jet Lag Relief Pills – I absolutely hate jet leg. I feel like I lose a day whenever I travel internationally or to Hawaii from Florida. Avoid feeling bogged down so that you can immediately start enjoying your adventure
- Rolling Suit Case – Honestly I stopped using regular luggage years ago. Rolling duffle bags are light and you can fit almost double the amount you would in a normal suit case. These are light weight and if you are smart with packing you can fit everything you need in just one for 12 days compared to two regular suitcases.
- European Power Adapter – If you will only be on the cruise ship, this will not be an issue, but if you are arriving in Barcelona early or traveling to other countries, you will want a travel adapter. The most common outlets in Europe include types C, E, F. These are different than our United States outlets so if you need to charge any devices in your hotels, you will need a power adapter. Side note, if you happen to be venturing off to the UK or Ireland, then you will want an international power adapter.
- Virtual Private Network (VPN) – I learned about this while I was there last. You might think it to be odd for me to list this on a Europe Packing List but there are tons of websites that get blocked by many countries in Europe. Many You Tube videos won’t be viewable as well as other websites. A good VPN like NORDVPN will make it possible for you to visit every website without being blocked. More important than that is SECURITY! Credit cards can be easily stolen when you log into those “SECURE WIFI NETWORKS” at an Airbnb rental or a corner cafe. When you go onto someone else’s WIFI whether you are in a cafe, airport, or hotel, you are putting in your passwords, credit card information or whatever and you immediately make yourself susceptible to hacking and identity issues. With a VPN, you can protect yourself and your data.
- Windproof Travel Umbrella – Rainy season is a real thing in Europe. Trust me. Most parts are sub tropical but places like UK, France and Ireland get a lot of rain during much of the year. A light weight umbrella I could have used more than once and will surely be with me this time.
- Shawl – You will be turned away from religious sites if your shoulders are uncovered. Bring something that can be used as an extra layer and can quickly dress up anything you have on.
Here is really my must haves but when I was planning for my trip I followed Rick Steve a lot. He has a ton of travel tips and I really should have paid more attention. Check out Rick’s complete Europe Packing List Here.
Here are some other items that you might want to consider bringing. Just ideas but most won’t take up a lot of room and you might thank yourself for bringing them.
Maxi Dresses & Scarfs (It is going to be hot and you will need Scarfs to get into the Vatican over your shoulders)
Water bottle with built in filter – we had a hard time some days finding good water without having to buy it.
Travel Towel – Beach Towels are bulky. Avoid bringing them if you don’t have to.
What to Wear In Europe?
It is going to be really hot in June. In general, pack light weight clothing. I was told and they were right to dress in layers and to bring that umbrella no matter what. Fashion is very important in Europe. It is in our nature for our comfy clothes. You know our Scentsy t-shirts, flip flops, jeans. If you want to blend in..dress up that casual wear just a bit to avoid looking touristy. Don’t let this stress you out but if you want to experience the full European experience….bumping it up a notch never hurts. As for shoes. Be smart. You will be walking a lot and those cobble stone roads do not get a long well with heels.
What NOT to Take To Europe
- Don’t bring expensive jewelry. You don’t want to risk something sentimental getting stolen or list. Wearing flashy stuff can really make you a target. Keep things simple. Leave the extras at home.
- Don’t pack too many clothes. Most of us will want to over pack. I am completely guilty of this. Pare it down. Keep things light and try to keep luggage to one bag.
- Don’t bring a lot of cash. Every place in Europe will have ATMS and almost every spot takes credit cards too. There is absolutely no need for a ton of cash and run the risk of it getting stolen. Let your card companies know you are traveling and where to.
- Add those books on your iPad. Don’t bring a bunch of bulky books. Keep things as light as you can.
- Keep the electronics to a minimum. You are on vacation, bring a lap top only if you need to. Try to keep it to your phone or an Ipad. I lost my Ipad on the train and I was devastated. I’m backing my vlogging camera and my mini Ipad, both small enough to keep in a guide bag.
Some Things to Remember in Europe.
- We are visiting during one of the best times of year. May, June and September can be cheaper since its out of season.
- Use that reusable water bottle and keep filling it up. Paying for water is a useless cost that you don’t need to endure.
- You don’t need to TIP. A service charge is added to your bill. Usually most people round the bill up. If you have exceptional service, we were told to tip in cash and hand it directly to your server.
- Here are 25 extra travel necessities you may not think to pack. Click Here.
I had a really good time reminiscing and creating this list for all of you. I am counting down the days to experience Europe with some of my best friends. I am sure this trip will be amazing and emotional and everything in between but there isn’t anyone I would rather experience it with than all of you.
Come travel with me. Connect with me on my Facebook page and lets’ chat. Stay tuned, we will be in Europe from May 31st till June 10th and I will surely blog about our amazing adventures along with an extensive VLOG so I can take you right alone with us!
Ciao for now. We will see you soon Italy …..Rest in Peace Kevin!