5 Things I Learned on my First Trip to Europe

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As you probably know (since I wouldn’t stop talking about it), Rob and I recently took a 2-week hiatus and spent it gallivanting around Europe. It was not only our first time to Europe, but it was also our first large-scale international trip! We spent the majority of our time in London, but we also took the train to Paris for a few days as well. Though we did a pretty good job navigating it all, there were a few things I learned along the way. Some things are new habits I plan on incorporating into my life now that I’m home, and others are tidbits of info I’ll keep in mind to make things easier for the next time around. Read on to see what I learned on our first trip to Europe!

Europeans make beds better than we do

If you’ve been following along on my Instagram stories, you know what I’m talking about. As a brief explanation, European-style bedding only involves a fitted sheet and a duvet + a cover.  No flat sheet! I fell in love with the concept during our trip, and I have been on the hunt for European-style bedding ever since. I love the idea of just washing a duvet cover instead of having to replace an entire comforter every few years. Read this post from a few weeks ago to hear why I want to make the switch. Are you #teamflatsheet or no?


Whether I’m traveling across the world or across the state, I have my packing method down to a science. I could honestly write an entire post about how I pack my suitcase, but my biggest tip is to pack light!

I say this for a couple of reasons. First, you’re going to be dragging your luggage through airports, on and off trains, down cobblestone streets, etc. You do not want to be slowed down by all of your stuff. Try really hard to create a capsule wardrobe that allows you to mix and match pieces in lots of different ways. Packing light layers make it easy to achieve this. Cut down your beauty products to the bare necessities. Don’t bring a hairdryer (most hotels have them). You should NEED every piece in your suitcase. If there’s any doubt, you should leave it at home.

The second reason is that you’ll want to leave room in your suitcase just in case you want to bring home any souvenirs! I did an O.K. job this time, but I will definitely be challenging myself to make some adjustments for our next trip abroad.

Wear comfortable shoes

This seems like common sense, but I cannot stress this enough. We walked at least 8-10 miles per day, so your shoes will either be your best friend or your enemy by the end of the day. People walk just about everywhere, so it’s extremely important that you wear shoes that are supportive and comfortable.

I grabbed this pair before our trip so I would have a few weeks to break them in. (Another thing I’d recommend doing.) They pack flat, and they’re the perfect neutral color so I wore them with everything. I’ve got my eye on the sneaker version for something more casual. Bonus: they’re made from recycled water bottles, so you’re helping save the planet and looking cute at the same time!

Have an itinerary, but…

Don’t pack it full! Be flexible, and allow for some extra time to explore places that look interesting along the way. We really enjoyed all the touristy items on our agenda, but we had the most fun when we stopped into cute little shops or had a pint a cozy local pub.

In London, it was especially easy to overfill the daily itinerary. Geographically, the city is massive, so it can take quite a bit of time to travel from place to place. We tried to stick to one small area of the city per day and travel back to our hotel once we were tired. Paris was completely different because everything is located in a more compact area. You can accomplish more in one day there.

Bring a coin purse

This is one small piece of advice that I read about but never followed through on. I regretted it big time. You’ll accumulate a lot more change than you would in the states. There were several times where I wanted to grab a snack or a bottle of water, but I had to dig through the depths of my purse to find the right amount. I’ve got my eye on this one for our next trip. It comes in several colors, and it’s leather, so it should hold up over time. I also love the classic monogram. It’s so much more put together than me digging in the bottom of my bag!

That’s all for this week! Is anyone out there planning your first trip across the pond? Tell me all about it in the comments! I plan on sharing all the details of our trip in an upcoming post, so let me know if you have specific questions. I’d love to be a resource for you! As always, thanks for being here, and thanks for reading along.



This post contains affiliate links that help provide me with a teeny tiny commission at no extra cost to you. Anything earned is poured back into resources that help me create more content for YOU! Thank you for your support!

1 Comment

  1. February 17, 2021 / 12:38 am

    Hey Laura, Great post, I really enjoyed reading your post. I do agree that light packing is a great idea. Sometimes I overload my bag, and that was my biggest mistake because it was so heavy, and I have to carry it. So next time I will follow up, the tip will pack it light, remove unnecessary makeup, and other things. Thank you for sharing!

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