Above is a recap of my trip to Europe. To see more beautiful pictures of the sights by an awesome photographer, see C.J.’s Instagram!
I recently went on a ten day European tour beginning in London, then to Paris, Lucerne, Venice, Florence and Rome. It was an amazing experience! I was fortunate to see and tour so many historical monuments and scratch off several “bucket list” items, such as seeing a live show at the famous Moulin Rouge!
While on this trip, I decided to wear my natural hair. I left the U.S. with a wash-n-go, which lasted about four days. There was lots of humidity in the air, and we spent a lot of time outside each day, so I ended up washing my hair twice on this trip.
I took the following products with me:
- Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa Shampoo and Conditioner
- Mixed Chicks Leave-In Conditioner
- Creme of Nature Perfect 7 Leave-In
- Elasta QP Olive Oil and Mango Butter
- Eco Styler Olive Oil Gel
- Kera Care Edge Tamer
- Chi Deep Brilliance Reflect
- Agadir Argan Oil Treatment
I quickly discovered the water in Europe is very hard compared to what we have in the U.S. As a result, my hair felt very tacky, heavy, dry and seemed to have build-up (likely from the lime in the water there). I am used to my hair feeling light, soft, full of body and naturally hydrated. Thankfully, I was able to manage with overnight braid-outs and morning diffusing on wash days, with nightly re-braiding. And by the end of the trip, protective styles saved me!
Here are some travel tips that will hopefully help you should you take an international vacation, or “holiday” as they say in Europe!
- Plan your hair care regimen ahead of time! Know what you want to do while on your trip and check the water quality of your destination to determine if you want to tackle washing while on your trip. This may help you decide if a long-lasting protective style is best for you.
- You don’t need as much product as you think you do. My 3 oz bottles of product for each were more than enough for two washes and daily care.
- Take real walking shoes…not cute shoes that seem comfortable, but real walking shoes (or get very good insertable insoles). We walked an average of eight miles a day on this trip. Non-stop touring and moving about will wear you out if you are in the wrong shoes!
- Pack light! You really do not need as many clothing changes as you think. An outfit a day, plus a couple extras are fine. You won’t have time or desire to change clothes two and three times a day like on leisurely vacations. Tours are fast-paced, scheduled days. You’ll want to be comfortable and appropriately dressed for the weather. Layers will allow you to adjust throughout the day if the weather is changing a lot.
- You need adaptors and converters if you want to be able to charge electronics. Outlets in Europe (and any other country most likely) are different shaped and only allow certain levels of voltage. I used hotel blow dryers because mine would have blown a fuse! This also goes for gentlemen’s clippers/shavers.
- Check with your cell phone provider about international coverage. If you do not have it as an option, there will be wifi options in hotels, but some may require you to have a local number to connect. And, you likely won’t be able to access wifi in public places without a local number. So, your access to loved ones at home may be limited. If you think you’ll need to phone home, take an international calling card.
- Make two copies of your passport. Leave one at home with a loved one and take the other one as your ID while out and about (though I was never “carded” or asked to see ID). You’ll want to leave your original, along with extra currency and other important items, in your hotel safe. Pick-pockets are abundant in high-traffic tourist areas, and we were constantly warned about them, especially gypsies and other scam artists. You don’t want to lose your passport and other valuables, so lock them up! Also, I would refrain from bringing irreplaceable items such as family heirloom jewelry and other items you don’t absolutely need or aren’t insured.
- Alert your credit card companies and bank prior to your trip if you plan to use those cards for purchases so your accounts are not frozen after that first transaction is made.
- Bring Tylenol, Bayer, cough drops and other medicines you think you may need. You will have a hard time finding them across the pond!
- If you have any serious, reoccurring conditions that often require you to visit the ER, you need to check with your insurance carrier on procedure for use of facilities in other countries. Your travel agent may also have “trip insurance” you can purchase that could cover you in the event of an emergency. I would especially recommend this if you are traveling with small children or elderly relatives.
I hope these tips are helpful if you are planning a trip of your own. I had the most amazing, fun time traveling around Europe! I cannot wait to return and see some other cities and sights.