I am so excited to finally share our Europe trip with you all! Last summer was a crazy, exciting, busy, and eventful summer! Collin and I had quite a few friends get married last year and that means a lot of weddings, bachelorette trips and bachelor trips. We were busy! So busy in fact that Collin and I had a hard time being in town at the same time, which made it even harder for him to find a time for us to be together long enough so that he could propose! You can read our love story here!
In the midst of all the weddings, trips, and festivities for our friends, my mom and I managed to keep July 9th-19th off the calendar. My mom and dad booked this trip for my mom and I a good year in advance. It didn't hit me that I was actually getting to travel to Europe until we stepped off the plane into Spain!
Since I currently live in Arkansas, I drove home to Texas to spend the 4th of July with my Family. Collin, my then boyfriend and now fiancé, came down for the holiday. We had so much fun! There is nothing I enjoy more than spending time with my family, and it's exciting when I can bring the man that I love with me too. :) Little did I know that he found some time to ask my parents permission for my hand in marriage!
After the 4th of July came the stress of packing to go to Europe. Y'all, I don't care who you are, if you are a woman from the south it is HARD to pack efficiently for 10 days in Europe. How do I fit it all in one bag? What should I pack? How many shoes? How many outfits?
The list of questions running through my mind at the time go on and on...
Before I get started on our pre-trip prep, here is a picture of our trip map and a list of all the beautiful places we visited!
Royal Caribbean Mediterranean Cruise - Allure of the Seas
Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Marseille, France (Aix-en-Provence)
La Spezia, Italy (Cinque Terre)
Civitavecchia, Italy (Rome!)
Naples, Italy (Amalfi Coast, Positano, Sorrento, Capri)
First I mapped out our trip and created an itinerary (yes, I know, so nerdy) HOWEVER, when you took a trip like we did with jam-packed schedules everyday it was easy to forget what was next on the schedule. Once I knew our complete schedule, it became easier to pick out outfits based on the activities we would be doing each day.
I started by picking out complete outfits. I am a very visual person and I didn't want to have to be struggling to pick out an outfit on the trip when we would need to be spending our precious time there exploring and soaking up everything that we could. I separated the outfits by day and night. During the days we would be out and exploring and at night on the ship would be more formal. I still managed to make my day outfits cute! I wore cute by comfortable shoes, and I chose light clothing with light overlays, as it was HOT.
DON’T OVERPACK SHOES. If you are like me, chances are you have your favorite go-to comfortable and cute line-up always ready to go. TAKE THOSE. Don’t bring shoes you think are cute and think you MIGHT wear one night. They take up too much space and weigh down your suitcase. I brought my go-to tennis shoes, a pair of flip-flops, two pairs of cute sandals (one nude and one black) and my keds.
PACK ONE ENTIRE DAY IN YOUR CARRY-ON. You always hear about those horror stories where people’s luggage gets lost and they have NOTHING to wear, no make-up, NOTHING for their trip. In my carry-on, I packed one day outfit, one night outfit, one pair of sandals that could be used with both day and night outfits, all my hot
TOILETREES: If you are able, just buy some when you get there and ditch them before you leave. You’ll have less weight in your bag and less chance of a shampoo explosion on your clothes. I brought my specialty items of course, like my favorite hairspray, leave-in conditioner, etc.
WEIGH BEFORE YOU GO. No, I am not talking about your weight, I am talking about your suitcase! They have handy dandy suitcase tools around that enable you to weigh your bag before you get to the airport. It could save you the time of having to dig out clothes and other items from your checked bag to your carry-on and the embarrassment of having to do so! The standard weight is 50lbs per bag. If you only plan on taking one suitcase and one carry-on, leave at least 10 extra pounds for any items you might bring back. You WILL bring something back. IF you are my mom and I, we just checked an extra suitcase just incase. It was well worth the extra bag fee for me.
FLIGHT PREP: I love being prepared. Other people in the airport love it when you are prepared too. J If you are traveling internationally, be at the airport EARLY, two hours before your flight is the norm. Know your departure and arrival gates. Try to check-in for your flight 24 hours in advance; on some airlines this could control your seat too! Check for all your passports, driver’s license, boarding passes etc. My mom and I had a passport holder that we kept all of our travel items in. Don’t travel in too much jewelry, try not to wear a belt, and wear shoes that are comfortable and easy to remove and put back on after security checkpoints. I love a smooth security process.
These are just a few things that my mom and I did to help us prepare for the trip, and it ended up saving us a lot of time and hassle later.
I’ll be sharing what our first day looked like when we landed in Spain soon!
Stephanie Grace Harvey