Why will this be your favorite post? Because you're about to see the travel photos that were supposed to be deleted, should not have been screenshotted on Snapchat, and straight-up embarrassing moments from my travels. I attribute these lovely gems to my beautiful friends. Let's address that…
#1 Not Bringing Sunscreen
I discovered after my back became the mantle in the earth's second layer (did you like that 4th-grade science reference?) that sunscreen isn't the same in every country. Above I am pictured in Nice, France, after a battle with the sun. Clearly, the sun won and had a Game of Thrones Red Wedding with my skin. My advice if you're fair like me? Bring some travel-sized sunscreen. You will not regret it.
#2 Not Purchasing Phone Insurance
I could honestly write an entire post about this, but it will make me too angry talking to you all about the string of bad luck I have had with iPhones in Europe. Do yourself a favor, purchase some insurance before you leave, or better yet, a life proof case. Or you may find yourself in a DHL in bum fuck nowhere trying to obtain your phone from the United States and crying to Luigi about your first world problems. Don't be a Kathryn, be a Luigi.
#3 Not Packing Layers
Welcome to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, where it was 35 degrees, and all I had to show for it was a sleeveless striped dress and lulu lemon leggings. Especially when traveling in the spring and fall seasons, it will save you vast amounts of time, money & resources to pack some extra layers. These items include a scarf, thick leggings, heavy socks, beanie, and a cozy, warm jacket—half the things pictured above I had to purchase when in Europe. I also look like an idiot.
#4 Packing Heavy
Contrary to the last post, these are essentials. However, if you think "essentials" will involve bungee cords in the long run, you are doing it wrong. The photo above was an excellent snapshot of my study abroad excursion, where I felt the need to bring my closet and potentially a small child with me in my travels. Your back, arms & will to live will thank you in the long run. Find my post about a light packing list here.
#5 Not Taking a Water Proof Jacket (Time of Year Dependent)
Ok, in fairness to myself: I was under the impression that this jacket was waterproof. It wasn't until I was on the second story of a double-deck bus tour in London soaked through all my clothing that I realized that this jacket (in fact) was not waterproof. Please do yourself a favor and ensure it is before you leave.
#6 Not Bringing Extras
Yes, this photo was immediately after I had a leisurely walk down Amsterdam's streets and a bird shit on me. What did my calm minded self proceed to do? Throw that jacket away. False. Do not do this. Bring extras of everything, especially if they are compact. This jacket pictured above could be folded very small like this one. But throw in your favorite North Face jacket just in case. You never know when shit will fall out of the sky.
#7 Not Bringing Medication, Just in Case
As you can gander from the above photo, I am, in fact, lactose intolerant. But the worst part unrelated to me gorging on milk-based products? I sustained a severe Sinus Infection toward the end of my trip, as I have no pictures to display myself bedridden in Rome with a throbbing headache. The drugs are not nearly as powerful in Europe, definitely bring a zip bloc of Amoxicillin if you can.
#8 Trusting Others with Your Belongs
Of course, this is a long and complicated story, but the short version is that I let a host take control of getting some belongings delivered to his flat. False. Take control of the situation, and do not trust anyone. I do not care how nice they are; your belongings are your belongings, and you should be the one to ensure they get to you or are in your possession.
#9 Dismissing Checking Amenities
Ensure you check everything for the price. Guess what? I didn't. And guess how much I spent on laundry? 108 Euro. I could have used that for a new rug for my apartment. Now there is a wine stain, and my security deposit won't be coming back. Don't lose your security deposit because of the laundry.
#10 Sweating the Small Stuff
Everything on this list is arbitrary and entirely situational, but ultimately don't worry too much about the things you can't control. Have an unforgettable trip, and remember that the issues you experience will only create incredible memories. Also, beer the size of your face will help.