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  1. #1
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    Planning a 12-day Europe tour - Synapse 19 Visual Packing List

    Hey friends!

    My SO and I are planning a 12-day tour in Europe this April with highlight stops in Paris, Brussels, and London. We're planning to stay at AirBnbs and hostels mostly and perhaps couchsurf; doing regular sink laundry and mailing any souvenirs home.

    I'd love some feedback and some travel tips for the aforementioned stops!

    * * *

    I've ruthlessly cut and curated my travel items to what I would consider as the bare necessities. I've traveled light before, but never this light!

    All thats shown can fit in my S19 with just a little room to spare; not shown are the clothes I'm planning to wear on the flight.




    Last edited by carrot; 03-07-2018 at 04:06 PM.

  2. #2
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    Packing list is as follows:

    Electronics:
    • worldwide power adapter (will probably be replaced with a prong adapter and a USB AC/battery)
    • camera
    • telephoto lens
    • 2x camera batteries
    • iPhone
    • Lightning cable
    • Nintendo Switch
    • multi-headed USB cable
    • flashlight
    • micro lantern/flashlight


    Travel Necessities:
    • passport
    • inflatable pillow
    • collapsible water bottle (Vapur Element)
    • pocket notebook
    • pen
    • scissors
    • umbrella
    • travel tray
    • misc. zippered pouches


    Toiletries:
    • toothbrush
    • toothpaste
    • 2oz of Dr. Bronner's Peppermint soap
    • 2oz of body lotion
    • 0.5oz of calamine anti-itch cream
    • lip balm


    Basic Clothing:
    • dark polycotton polo shirt
    • light linen shirt
    • wool socks
    • 2x underwear
    • running shorts


    Warm Clothing:
    • wool cardigan
    • puffy jacket
    • puffy hat
    • oversized scarf


    Worn Clothing (not pictured):
    • dark oxford shirt
    • underwear
    • synthetic trousers (business casual)
    • belt
    • black wool running shoes
    • watch
    Last edited by carrot; 03-07-2018 at 04:19 PM.

  3. #3
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    I'd suggest a spare pair of shoes. There is nothing worse than walking around in shoes that are still damp from the day before. Spring weather in Europe can have fairly changeable weather, and you probably will encounter some rain.
    A30 in original halcyon/wasabi. Side Kick in verde/northwest sky and cloud/viridian, Pop Tote in Mars Red, Travel Cubelet in Mars Red, A30 packing cube backpack in northwest sky, large travel tray in sitka, packing cubes, pouches and cubelets

  4. #4
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    What do you usually do with the scissors? Can you fly with a pair that large?

  5. #5
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    Kudos for such a pared down list!

    You may want to consider a good lightweight waterproof raincoat instead of the umbrella... it works as a raincoat, a windbreaker, and works even when the wind is blowing the rain sideways, lol

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by kieri View Post
    What do you usually do with the scissors? Can you fly with a pair that large?
    I once carried shears instead of a dive knife for an extended dive trip where I packed carry-on only. I thought I'd only carry it for the dives, but I ended up using them so frequently it made a permanent appearance in my travel kit. They are short and blunt-tipped and very lightweight, however they zip through packaging like a dream. I may trade them for a pair of kid's scissors, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Denises View Post
    I'd suggest a spare pair of shoes. There is nothing worse than walking around in shoes that are still damp from the day before. Spring weather in Europe can have fairly changeable weather, and you probably will encounter some rain.
    Thanks for bringing up shoes! I've been hemming and hawing over whether I can or should; with fairly large feet, the only way I am going to be able to bring a second pair of shoes is if I bring lightweight flip flops (or huaraches), or if I trade up my S19 for an S25.

    An additional wrinkle to my shoes problem is that the shoes I fly wearing will need to look at least business casual for the restaurants and if I do wind up bringing a second pair of shoes they definitely need to play dual-purpose as shower shoes besides as walkaround shoes.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by G42 View Post
    Kudos for such a pared down list!

    You may want to consider a good lightweight waterproof raincoat instead of the umbrella... it works as a raincoat, a windbreaker, and works even when the wind is blowing the rain sideways, lol
    Thanks! I haven't tested it yet so we'll save the champagne for when this load-out has got some miles on it. Smilie

    I'm really torn on the raincoat vs. umbrella debate. I normally go raincoat, but an umbrella will protect my bag's contents better, as well as my camera if I want to shoot in the rain. I love nasty weather but if it gets really blowy I think we will need to take cover in a cafe or pub.

    I am also thinking about swapping my cardigan for a lightweight, water-resistant windbreaker, but I would lose a little bit of an ability to dress up.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by carrot View Post
    I'm really torn on the raincoat vs. umbrella debate. I normally go raincoat, but an umbrella will protect my bag's contents better, as well as my camera if I want to shoot in the rain. I love nasty weather but if it gets really blowy I think we will need to take cover in a cafe or pub.

    I am also thinking about swapping my cardigan for a lightweight, water-resistant windbreaker, but I would lose a little bit of an ability to dress up.

    Is your cardigan merino or a heavier wool...? I would keep the dress up layer since it's also warm... merino is more packable than heavier wool tho
    If you go S25, you could fit both raincoat & umbrella and a second pair of sandals/shoes probably.

    Not sure if you've ever read The Snarky Nomad, but he did a month in Guatemala with an S25, it's interesting reading

    https://snarkynomad.com/backpacking-...st-a-carry-on/

  9. #9
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    Noticed you didn't mention a charger for you camera batteries. Do your batteries last that long? I take a lot of photos on my trips (just can't help it), so I always bring a charger because I don't want to be left with dead batteries!

  10. #10
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    I'm going to also vote for a rain jacket, there are plenty of shops to pick up a cheap umbrella if you feel the need while you are over there. I imagine finding a good rain jacket will be more tricky. I was in Paris and Belgium last month, and the extra shoes and another pair of socks might be a good choice. Things took quite a bit of time to dry while I was there, and only having wool running shoes would make me a bit nervous.

    Also, make sure to visit Ghent and Bruges if you are able to. They are short train rides from Brussels, and absolutely beautiful.

  11. #11
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    Are your wool running shoes packable?

    You could wear business casual shoes on the plane, I also strongly suggest two pairs of shoes, another pair of pants and socks, as well as a raincoat. Spring in Paris, Bruxelles and London means rainy, cold and windy.

    If there is a downpour and a Parisian driver turn fast into the rain puddle right next to where you are standing, at the crossroad, you'll be glad that you can change to dry clothes when you get back to the place you stay, even with nice heat, pants, socks and shoes will take overnight to dry. Ask me how I know.

    Buy the business casual shoes now and wear them everyday, to break them.

    Taking pictures means being inside and taking views of the outside from there. Check if you are allowed to take your camera inside museums.

    Book your museums visits online, to avoid lines in rainy and cold weather. The websites will also tell you if the museum is closed for special events, on the days you are there, business hours, restaurants inside the museum, lockers for your backpack...

    Since you will not be using hotels, check the website of the tourist office for Paris, London, Bruxelles to learn about public transport, attractions and neighborhood good eats.

    Cafes in Paris and Bruxelles, pub in London are the places you pass the time between visits to attractions, to fight the cold with good and cheap food, people watch, plan your itinerary and go to the bathroom.

    If you are a foodie, don't skip the famous pastry shops in Paris, chocolatiers in Bruxelles and the great food scene in London.

    What mode of transportation are you taking from Paris to London and Bruxelles?

    A car is doable and you can take side trips, in the spur of the moment. But, gas is expensive.

    If you opt for the train, you might want to get an Europass, which is only available from the U.S.
    Each country trains service has a website for you to find destination, maps, fares, how to validate your ticket...

    Public transport is very good in Paris, London and Bruxelles. They also have websites.


    For more tips, check Rick Steve website for recent changes in practical stuff related to European travel.


    Note that you might be really lucky and get many sunny days, but it will still be cold.

    Don't forget to visit Giverny, close to Paris, Monet's house and garden.

    Paris has a lot of quartiers, which means neighborhoods, they all have a different feel.

    If you have a particular interest in any subject, chances are that there is a small, or big, museum/boutique/venue which specialize in that. Hence the need to see the Tourist guide of Paris and the areas around it.

  12. #12
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    +1 on the rain coat, for all the reasons previously mentioned.
    "April showers" is a legendary British euphemism for the heavy rain common at this time of year

    Sent from my SM-T713 using Tapatalk

  13. #13
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    I would take both the umbrella and a lightweight raincoat that can double as a windbreaker. If it rains or drizzles you will want to protect your camera and be prepared for unexpected showers. I like to be prepared for the different weather conditions. Have you looked at Xero shoes? They are very lightweight and packable. They can double as shower shoes and if your wool runners get wet you can wear them during the day.

  14. #14
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    Thanks to EVERYONE, so much, for your super helpful insight. I have never been to Europe and have never attempted to travel this light so I am thrilled to get all the help I can get.

    Quote Originally Posted by G42 View Post
    Is your cardigan merino or a heavier wool...? I would keep the dress up layer since it's also warm... merino is more packable than heavier wool tho
    If you go S25, you could fit both raincoat & umbrella and a second pair of sandals/shoes probably.

    Not sure if you've ever read The Snarky Nomad, but he did a month in Guatemala with an S25, it's interesting reading

    https://snarkynomad.com/backpacking-...st-a-carry-on/
    The cardigan is probably like 200gsm merino. I would really like to find something in a lighter weight of merino but I haven't seen a lighter cardigan yet. And thanks for the link! Snarky Nomad is a really good read.

    I do have an S25 but I would consider it a personal achievement if I could travel without too much compromise out of the S19. Also, the S19 is my every day carry so it felt wrong to leave it behind on a trip like this!

    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernBelle View Post
    Noticed you didn't mention a charger for you camera batteries. Do your batteries last that long? I take a lot of photos on my trips (just can't help it), so I always bring a charger because I don't want to be left with dead batteries!
    What kind of camera are you using? Sometimes there are camera settings that you can adjust that will prolong your battery life.

    Personally, I'm feeling courageous... but I can normally take hundreds of photos on a single battery and on wilderness backpacking trips I've only carried one or two spare batteries for four to nine days of travel. I don't expect to spend my entire trip behind a viewfinder, but I'm hoping that three batteries will have me covered. As long as I don't leave my camera on, I should be okay.

    Quote Originally Posted by Slaynie View Post
    I'm going to also vote for a rain jacket, there are plenty of shops to pick up a cheap umbrella if you feel the need [emphasis mine] while you are over there. I imagine finding a good rain jacket will be more tricky. I was in Paris and Belgium last month, and the extra shoes and another pair of socks might be a good choice. Things took quite a bit of time to dry while I was there, and only having wool running shoes would make me a bit nervous.

    Also, make sure to visit Ghent and Bruges if you are able to. They are short train rides from Brussels, and absolutely beautiful.
    @Slaynie, you make a very good point. I have rain jackets that meet my exact preferences but re-buying one mid trip would be a whole lot harder than finding a cheap umbrella somewhere. Did you feel like in your visit to Paris and Belgium that an umbrella wasn't sufficient rain protection? What if I carried a windbreaker AND an umbrella, since the windbreaker is lighter and more packable? Would that be sufficient weather resistance?

    I really appreciate the tip about Ghent and Bruges. I did a little bit of research after your mention and I definitely would like to make room to visit. The images I saw of the area look steeped in history and so beautiful.

    Quote Originally Posted by backpack View Post
    Are your wool running shoes packable?

    You could wear business casual shoes on the plane, I also strongly suggest two pairs of shoes, another pair of pants and socks, as well as a raincoat. Spring in Paris, Bruxelles and London means rainy, cold and windy.

    If there is a downpour and a Parisian driver turn fast into the rain puddle right next to where you are standing, at the crossroad, you'll be glad that you can change to dry clothes when you get back to the place you stay, even with nice heat, pants, socks and shoes will take overnight to dry. Ask me how I know.

    Buy the business casual shoes now and wear them everyday, to break them.
    [snip]
    Your suggestions are making me play mental packing Tetris at my desk here!

    I just tried packing down my size 11 runners. They are too big for the water bottle compartment but juuust fit lengthwise in the bottom of the S19. If I elected to shed the umbrella and leave either the scarf or the cardigan, this would actually be a viable option for me. Then I can just wear my leather boat shoes, which pack down to about the same size. I cannot walk around in the leather boat shoes without socks (I'll get a blister) so I may need to pack a second pair of socks inside my (packed) shoes. I would still not have shower shoes, but that's a problem for future me.

    The wool runners dry surprisingly fast and are super comfortable without socks even for walking all day. My leather boat shoes, on the other hand, I'm pretty sure will not dry nearly as fast. What do you think about packing Xero sandals (huaraches) like @kajikaiko suggested instead of business casual? I am totally a sandals kind of person but I am sure my SO will die of embarrassment if anybody looks down at my feet out on the street. They would of course, double as shower shoes, although I am not sure what the shower situation looks like yet.

    If I ditch the running shorts and the linen shirt (my third shirt), I could probably pack a second pair of pants. I could definitely pack the second pair of pants if I find a smaller alternative to the merino cardigan (or scarf, but I'm loathe to do so). I'm planning on wearing a pair of Bluffworks pants, which are 100% polyester, dry super quick, but don't pack any smaller than any other suit-type pants.

    I don't have any commentary on your other advice except for a hearty, heartfelt THANK YOU @backpack! I've dutifully saved them as notes in my planning board!

    Quote Originally Posted by gqb View Post
    +1 on the rain coat, for all the reasons previously mentioned.
    "April showers" is a legendary British euphemism for the heavy rain common at this time of year
    Always appreciate advice from the locals @gqb! Here in NYC umbrellas are extremely common and rain coats are unusual. What's the breakdown in London? Our rain tends to be fairly light (and more than a drizzle), but last all day; occasionally we get heavy downpours for hours.

    Quote Originally Posted by kajikaiko View Post
    I would take both the umbrella and a lightweight raincoat that can double as a windbreaker. If it rains or drizzles you will want to protect your camera and be prepared for unexpected showers. I like to be prepared for the different weather conditions. Have you looked at Xero shoes? They are very lightweight and packable. They can double as shower shoes and if your wool runners get wet you can wear them during the day.
    Thanks. Which pair of Xero shoes do you own? I am looking at the huaraches (string model) and I am a little worried about some reports of the knots giving irritations or blisters on the feet. They sound suitably light, and the webbing model seems nice too but I think I prefer the string model to save even more weight if I go this route.

  15. #15
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    April in London you may well get lucky and have several days together of wonderful warm spring sunshine. I am from southern England originally and I would say it rains about one day in three in spring. That being said, when it does rain, we get everything from days when it drizzles all day to short sharp torrential showers.

    This is why there are so many ways to describe rain in the English language and why we Brits are always talking about the weather Planning a 12-day Europe tour - Synapse 19 Visual Packing List

    Happily, the weather forecasts from the Met Office are excellent - look at the UK forecast for the month ahead before your trip which usually gives a reliable indication of what you can expect and should pack for.

    The forecasts are couched in typically understated British English though, so as a guide "unsettled" means wet and windy !

    Should you decide to venture further north while you're over here, bear in mind that the first year I moved to Liverpool, it rained every single day except for four days. When it snowed......... I love it here though. I also own more coats than I do T shirts to keep up with the changeable weather!




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