Map of Germany

IN WESTERN EUROPE

PACKING

Pack light: Lay out only what you absolutely need, then take half as many clothes and twice as much money. If you plan to do a lot of hiking, also see Camping and the Outdoors (24) for tips on what to pack.

LUGGAGE. If you plan to cover most of your itinerary by foot, a sturdy frame back pack is unbeatable. (For the basics on buying a pack, see 25.) Toting a suitcase or trunk is fine if you plan to live in one or two cities and explore from there, but a very bad idea if you’re going to be moving around a lot. In addition to your main piece of luggage, a daypack (a small backpack or courier bag) is a must.

CLOTHING. No matter when you’re traveling, it’s always a good idea to bring a warm jacket or wool sweater, a rain jacket (Gore-Tex is both waterproof and breathable), sturdy shoes or hiking boots, and thick socks. Flip-flops or waterproof sandals are must-haves for grubby hostel showers. You may also want to add one outfit beyond jeans and a t-shirt, and maybe a nicer pair of shoes if you have the room. If you plan to visit any religious or cultural sites, remember that you’ll need something besides tank tops and shorts to be respectful.

SLEEPSACK. Some hostels require that you either provide your own linen or rent sheets from them. Save cash by making your own sleepsack: Fold a full-size sheet in half the long way, then sew it closed along the long side and one short side. Remember: a sleeping bag is not a sleepsack, and will not pass for one.

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