What to Bring
As with any trip, you’ll want to dress appropriately to the season! Use the following chart to determine average temperatures for the time you’ll be visiting:
With this in mind, here are things you should plan to pack:
- Shorts (modest), capris, long skirts or pants depending on the season
- Short- and/or long-sleeved shirts
- A jacket and/or sweater – to keep warm in the evening.
- One or two long-sleeved shirts
- An outfit for worship – No shorts or short skirts, please. Otherwise conservative tops (button shirt for guys), nice jeans, pants or dresses are all fine. Please keep knees and shoulders covered. You will see a large variety of dress at church, but formal dress is not expected.
- Good walking shoes – we’ll be doing a lot of walking!
- Socks – Don’t forget that people will be seeing your socks, since it’s customary in Europe to take your shoes off indoors!
- An umbrella and/or a rain jacket.
- Optional – a pair of house shoes, flip-flops or Crocs for wearing around the hotel/apartment.
- Toiletries – We suggest that you bring all that you will need (don’t plan to buy it here). Most things are available, but are often a bit more expensive and not always the brand that you are used to. Remember the 3-1-1 rule (see image), and pack most liquids in your checked bag.
- Sunscreen you typically use, since we’ll likely spend some time outside.
- A washcloth – they don’t use them here and you won’t find one at the hotel. If you’re accustomed to using one, bring one – plus a plastic bag to store it in when you pack up.
- Camera – We will talk more about the appropriateness of picture-taking, but you will certainly want to document this trip with pictures.
- Electronic Devices and chargers – Europe uses a different voltage than the U.S. – 220 volts, instead of the 110 in the U.S. That said, most of your chargers for electronics will still work – look on the plug at the tiny writing – it should say something like Input: 110-220 V (or even up to 240). If it does, all you’ll need is a plug adapter (plug types E and C – see the image at right).
- PLEASE NOTE: Hair dryers/straighteners/curlers will NOT work, you’ll need to have one from Europe. If you want to bring anything that plugs in, and you’re not sure if it will work, contact us and we’ll talk you through it.
- Small Backpack – Bring a backpack for overnight stays or for taking with you on day trips. Other types of collapsible bags are also acceptable.
- Sound machine, ear plugs, small fan – Obviously very optional… if you are a light sleeper, you might consider having a way to deaden the sounds of the city – they are likely to be more than you experience in the states.
- Medicine – Rx and others that you take regularly – it is easier and cheaper for you to bring things that you might need than for us to buy them here. Be sure to bring prescription medicines in their original bottles, and bring them in your carry-on bag (not checked bag, in case it gets lost).
- “Comfort Food” – while the food here is not so very different from what you’re used to, all the experience of being away from home for a few days can cause “culture shock” or homesickness. We encourage you to bring some kind of comfort food from home – a few candy bars, granola bars, a jar of peanut butter, packaged cookies… something that you love, that you can eat when you need a taste of home, or when you’re hungry and there’s nothing immediately available. Sadly this can’t include any fresh fruits, veggies, etc. – they will be taken from you at customs.
- Bible, Journal, and Pencil/Pen – We hope that an important part of your time here will be spent in reflection. Bring whatever it is that helps you reflect.
- Small/medium suitcase – Please try to pack in one small to medium-sized suitcase. We will be traveling some in vans, and don’t have a lot of room for excess luggage.
- A flexible and open heart!
Staying in a Host Home?
If your trip include a stay in a host home, here are a couple more things to consider bringing along:
- Small gifts – Maybe a thank-you card and something very small – a souvenir from your hometown or state, or a small remembrance (no more than $3-5).
- Photo album – Select some photos to show about your family, your church, etc. Make an album on your phone, or if your screen is very small, have the pictures printed. This is a great way to make conversation in host homes!
A Note About Electronic Devices
We understand that you will want to let your family know that you are okay, and there will be opportunity for you to use our WiFi in our home and at the hotels. But, we strongly urge you to consider leaving some of those things at home, disengaging some with the States, so that you can fully engage here. You may want to take this time to bring a book that you’ve been wanting to read or a pencil and puzzle book that you never seem to have time for at home.
Pack Light, and Leave some Clothes…
It is very important that you pack in one small to medium-sized suitcase. We will be traveling some in vans, and don’t have a lot of room for excess luggage. You might consider bringing some older clothes to wear, that you can later leave behind (we can get them into good hands). This will give you room for souvenirs for the trip back.
Notes About Money
We will be take care of payment for all your needs (food, transportation, etc.) through the budget. You will only need money for souvenirs, snacks and other personal expenses. Sometimes you will have to pay a small fee to use a public bathroom as well.
Slovakia uses the Euro (EUR).
Poland uses the Polish Zloty (PLN).
Hungary uses the Forint (HUF).
- Check with your bank and/or credit card company about using your cards here – both ATM and credit cards need to be notified about your travel plans, and there may be fees.
- ATM machines are the easiest way to get cash here. They’re everywhere, and usually only charge a small fee.
- Alternatively, you could exchange some cash before you leave home – ask your local bank if this is possible.
- You can also bring U.S. dollars and have them exchanged into the local currency, but remember that you won’t get the best exchange rate because local exchangers charge a commission fee.
- Please do not bring traveler’s checks.