The world has changed since my last hop to Europe, and yet it hasn't. With a little over a week to go before I head out, little things that used to be second nature pop into my mind.
1) Clothing: plan for layers and be ready to handwash clothing. This makes fabric choices very important. My suitcase will have mostly with thin, fast drying clothing, then a few heavier items to keep me warm in the Alps. Every time we pause at a hotel for more than one night, there will be items hung out to dry that I have handwashed.
2) Electronics: this has gotten so much easier than in years past. With most of my devices (camera, phone, Kindle) able to charge via USB, I can bring one adaptor for my Macbook Air and then make it be the charging station at night. The only real decision at this point is can I eek enough life out of my phone (which I need to carry along for communicating with my ride when I return) to read, or do I truly need to kindle for that?
3) Cash and Credit: This week, I will be alerting all my banks and credit card contacts that I will be overseas and the approximate schedule. Why? Because I don't want to carry a stack of Euros. Having multiple cards and bank cards with multiple vendors allows flexibility to use one when the other does not work and the exchange rate I get in Europe tends to be better than here.
4) Snack Packs: At least three times on this trip, I will end up somewhere in a hurry, having had no time to get something to eat. When I am hungry, I can be grumpy. The best solution is to bring along 3-5 healthy trail mix packs (I prefer the ones with no chocolate) so that I can refuel and become a nice person again.
5) Filtering Water Bottles: While the water quality in Europe is good, I have had negative reactions to it from time to time. These days, you can buy a light-weight, filtering water bottle, or even pack a hiker's infrared water filter. This is much better than my last adventure where I was carrying around glass bottled water from the store which is HEAVY.
6) Telecommunications in Europe: I am on a choir tour or with my friend Andrea this go around, so why get a disposable? I'll just show up where I am supposed to be and at the time I am supposed to be there... Mark and I can talk via Skype over wifi.