What To Take
This list will be mostly that: a list. But I offer some reasons on certain items when I figure you won't believe me.
Throw-away clothing. This can be a great trick which will allow you to return with more of the items you found during your travels. You take clothing with you that you can wear, but wouldn't mind giving away. If you do not have any clothes like this, you might go to the thrift store near you and buy for a buck or two items you can wear then throw away. Caution: do not buy bright colored items. Drab colors will be better. You do not want stick out in a crowd as the pretty one rich American ripe for a pick-pocket. Here's how it works. If you go for three weeks, my suggestion as a minimum, you take one full week worth of clothes with you. After the first seven days, wash your dirty clothes in a laundromat. They have these all over the place these days. Wear the clothes the second week. Wash again after 14 days. Then on the 15th day, start throwing away your dirty clothes. That way, your duffel bag/suitcase gets lighter to make room for the stuff you want to bring back. By the end of the trip, you bring no dirty clothes back except the ones you are wearing. Neat, eh?
Take no valuables that can not be replaced.
Bring your own toiletries in travel size. If you run out, they do sell tooth paste in other countries, after all. This is how I got introduced to "FA" bar soap in Germany. It is great. I would have never known this unless I ran out of soap while there. Oh, and take wash cloths if you use them. You'll not find them in European hotels, generally.
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