Bulgaria is emerging to be one of the top tourist destinations in Europe, providing travelers with a unique, unforgettable outing. From picturesque mountains, pristine coastline, stunning beaches, crystal blue seas, historic cities to a hip nightlife scene, the Balkan gem has something majestic to offer to everyone. If you’re planning to visit the country, be sure to pack right and be well-prepared for the adventure ahead. Here’s our guide on how to pack for a trip to Bulgaria to ensure that you fully enjoy the experience.
Suitcase or Backpack?
One of the first a traveler should decide on when packing things for a trip is whether to bring a suitcase or a backpack. While the former can work for other specific tourist destinations, backpacks tend to be more suitable when traveling to Bulgaria.
Having a bulky suitcase often entails being more at risk for customs inspections. In addition, not all streets may be properly kept, and random holes may make it more challenging to pull your luggage behind. Plus, it’s hard to carry a suitcase when you’re in big crowds or when riding public transport, such as trains or buses.
With that, backpacks are your best bet for your Bulgarian trip. Find an easy-to-carry, durable, spacious backpack that has lots of additional storage for small items – you’re in for an easier, comfier journey around.
Paying for products and services in Bulgaria still requires cash. That is why it is strongly advisable to get enough local currency (Bulgarian Lev) at hand instead. Though you can use internationally recognized debit and credit cards, only huge stores, supermarkets, and restaurants accept them.
You can withdraw local currency from ATMs. However, be mindful that your bank may charge high commissions on these transactions. Take time to check the fees involved or get a currency card before traveling to avoid hefty charges.
If you brought euros or dollars for the trip, be wary that some exchange places in streets or resorts may add extra digits to lower the exchange rate. Make sure to exchange money only on licensed points or banks to be safe and avoid getting scammed.
Bulgaria has four seasons, so clothing may vary depending on the time you’ll be visiting the country. Summers can be incredibly hot. Be sure to bring airy, breathable clothes to keep you comfortable. Don’t forget your sunglasses, hat, and umbrella to protect you from the sun’s rays. Of course, never miss out on your swimming shorts or swimsuit for you to enjoy the stunning beaches.
The temperature starts to go mild in spring and autumn, accompanied by frequent rains. Be sure to bring an umbrella and raincoat/ Add a windbreaker or warm sweatshirt to keep you warm, as the temperature in Bulgaria fluctuates erratically, getting relatively chilly at night.
Winter months occur from November to March and are bitterly cold! Bringing in more layers is the key. Bring a thick coat, warm hat, gloves, shawl, scarf, thermal underwear, and socks for you to cope with the cold temperature.
You might be surprised, but you can still bring your swimwear during the winter. The country has many mineral springs, and many hotels and accommodations have warm indoor pools you can enjoy amidst the freezing weather.
A trip to Bulgaria entails walking into various streets and environments. If you’re visiting the old cities, towns, and other historical places, you can see streets covered in cobblestones. Meanwhile, sidewalks in main centers may not always be maintained, so packing a pair or two reliable sneakers can help you walk comfortably and safely in either situation. Have one that you can use for daily trips and the other one for going out at night. Yet, if one pair can suit both purposes, it’s great as it allows more space for other items.
The weather can be scorching hot during summers. So, bringing a pair of flip-flops will be best, especially if you’re visiting the beaches. If you’re traveling in the winter instead, expect that streets may not always be cleared of ice and snow. Bring snow boots to make sure your feet are warm and protected. Throw in some travel socks regardless of the season to keep your feet dry and healthy.
Toiletries and Medication
While toiletries and medications are available in local pharmacies, brands and quality may vary. In places far from city or town centers, commodities may not always be available. To be sure, you might as well bring your own toiletries, such as your toothbrush, tooth[aste, soap, shampoo, sanitizers, deodorants, and hygiene products.
It’s also advisable to bring your prescription medications, as not all may be available in Bulgaria or may bear different names compared to the West. Stock up on essential medicines so that you won’t miss any. Having a mini first aid kit can also be handy if you plan to visit the mountains or off the beaten tracks. Pack bandages, insect repellent, and ointments just in case you sustain any bite or minor wounds.
Any trip won’t be complete without electronics that will make it more worthwhile. However, it’s important to bring only the essentials to save up space and so that it won’t end up as clutter on your backpack. Bring your smartphone as it will be your means to stay connected. Purchase a prepaid local sim card so you will have an Internet connection when going outside your hotel or accommodation. Don’t fret, as sim cards are easy to get from different mobile providers in major cities and towns.
As much as possible, leave your laptop as it can be heavy and can take too much space on your bag. However, if you need to do work while visiting the country, try bringing a lighter, smaller laptop for the trip.
Meanwhile, a digital camera is another important gadget you must bring to Bulgaria. While your smartphone has built-in cameras, it may not produce the same quality, power, and control as a digital camera. Bulgaria is brimming with stunning locations. A digital camera can help you document your trip better and take beautiful photos and memories of the places you’ll be visiting.
Lastly, remember that European voltage and outlets vary from many other countries. The last thing you want to happen is seeing the batteries of your gadgets completely drained. So buy a universal adapter even before you fly to the country, and you won’t have to go into any hassle finding one on arrival.
That’s the rundown of the essentials you need to prepare before traveling to Bulgaria. Make a checklist so that you won’t miss any important items. Prepare them a week in advance and recheck them a few days before the flight to ensure you have everything you need for a fun and exciting trip in the country. Happy traveling!