Pack helpful accessories for a European trip

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Even a backpacker can find room for helpful accessories
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Travelers can pack a variety of accessories for convenient travelling

Thereís nothing worse than settling down after a long vacation day to realize that you left that one accessory you absolutely must have at home. This is especially true when traveling in Europe, where language barriers, store hours, and out-of-the-way travel routes often make finding a replacement doubly difficult. Here are just a few ways to choose and pack helpful accessories for a European trip before you leave.

European Plug Adapter - European electric voltage and currents differ from those in America, as do the plugs. Before bringing any electrical accessories be sure they are labeled as 120/240 volt (NOT 120 volt only), and be sure to purchase a plug adapter so that you will be able to plug these accessories in. Commonly used electrical devices such as computers, cameras and the like are generally dual voltage, and thus okay to bring along. Plug adapters can be purchased in many department stores, and are also easily available online from a travel specialty store.

Battery-powered Electric Razor - This is ideal, particularly for long train rides, as itís often difficult to find the time or convenience to lather up with a traditional razor. An electric razor will prove to be a helpful accessories for a European trip: youíll be able to shave whenever needed, in a matter of minutes.

Can Opener - For quick and easy meals, itís often a convenience to carry a can opener.

Business Cards - If youíre a social person, chances are youíll meet a lot of new friends on your journeys. If you do not have professional cards, print personal cards from your computer at home. You can buy perforated blank business card paper at an office supply store. Include your name, phone number (with international dialing numbers), e-mail address and social network sites. It is also inexpensive to have custom designed personal cards professionally printed. Bring these along so you can exchange contact information and keep in touch!

Compass - Itís easy to get lost in a lot of European cities, and it can even be difficult to navigate with a map in hand. Another helpful accessories for your trip is a small compass you should always be able to at least find your general bearing.

Sleeping Bag - Unless you know ahead of time exactly what the quality of your sleeping arrangements is, it can be useful to keep a sleeping bag. It may turn out that the highly-recommended hostel you booked for Berlin wants you to sleep in a room of twenty, or that the overnight sleeper train car you paid for doesnít have any heat. You can also roll your travel clothes into your sleeping bag, which helps minimize wrinkling.

Leatherman - Think of this as an uber-Swiss army knife, for cutting, screwing, filing, sawing, and the like. Youíll need to pack this helpful accessory in your checked baggage to get through security at airports.

Water Heater - This always comes in handy for a morning cup of coffee in the hotel room before you start your day.  

Multi-Vitamin - Sometimes itís hard to find a good meal for hours on end, and sometimes certain foods just wonít agree with you. Three multi-vitamins a day will help keep your energy levels up and provide a nutritional fail safe if youíre having trouble getting good meals in.

Plastic Baggies - These come in handy not just for packing sandwiches before you head out for a day of touring, but also for transporting personal hygiene items like tooth brushes. One helpful tip for bathing is to bring a bar of soap and a plastic knife in a plastic baggy, and cut off a small chunk of soap each time before showering-- this way youíll never have a slippery wet bar of soap floating around in your luggage.

Shoe Spray - Depending on what sort of trip you have planned, this might come in handy as one of your most helpful accessories for a European trip. Youíll be amazed (and not in a good way!) at the smells that come from your shoes after a few days of backpacking in the summer.

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