Europe is an incredible continent to travel to. Whether you go on a European cruise or disembark, there is so much to see and do, and oh so much history to explore.
But there’s also a lot to learn about traveling in Europe, especially if it’s your first time. And it’s not at all like a beach vacation in the United States or a trip to the Caribbean, where you’ll likely spend much more time alternating between resort life and planned excursions. From proper walking shoes to the right size carry-on luggage for European airlines to the pitfalls of dragging a heavy suitcase through the picturesque cobblestone streets. Knowing what and how to pack for a trip to Europe can make the difference between an enjoyable vacation and a frustrating one.
With these unfortunate but preventable situations in mind, here is an easy-to-use checklist to help you prepare for your next trip to Europe. You’ll also find tips for planning your travel clothes and a printable list of your luggage for travel through Europe.
The following is a summary of the table of contents:
Download a free list of travel packages to Europe here.
Luggage, travel containers and accessories
Just as your choice of clothing in Europe may be different than at home or on the beach, your choice of luggage and travel gear may also be different.
Luggage suitable for European vacations
If you are traveling only within Europe, you should check the size and weight of hand luggage for each airline and/or public transportation you use.
Unlike domestic flights in the United States and Canada, European airlines have different hand luggage policies. And they are often much cheaper than our national airlines. If you anticipate these restrictions, you can avoid unexpected fines when you check your luggage at the gate.
Another element to consider when choosing luggage is ease of use. Especially on paved roads. Europe’s incredible history goes hand in hand with an older road infrastructure. We’re talking cobblestone streets, buildings without elevators and narrow stairwells.
To make your travels easier, the luggage you bring should take this into account. A backpack (like this one) can make traveling easier, especially if you have to travel frequently from one destination to another.
If it’s just carry-on luggage, consider a lightweight suitcase with four sturdy wheels (like this one). This will help you get around on paved roads and avoid being overweight when you go shopping.
Travel packs that make packing easy
Whether it’s an easy-to-carry bag of liquids or a travel cube, intelligent travel packaging can make your European vacation easier.
It is especially important to make sure your liquids are 3-1-1 compliant if you are traveling with only carry-on luggage, but you should also keep this in mind when checking your luggage. I’ve seen too many fellow travelers confiscate their expensive and pricey toiletries in secure areas!
I like to transfer my products into small jars that are convenient for travel. I like to use them for cosmetics and for shampoos, conditioners and liquid shower gels.
Creating a capsule wardrobe for Europe.
Planning a capsule wardrobe for a trip to Europe can be an interesting challenge if you travel a lot during your trip. Unlike planning a wardrobe for a beach vacation, you are likely to encounter a wide range of weather conditions in Europe. For example, summer weather in Norway is different from the weather you will encounter in Italy.
To do this, you need to find out about the weather in each of the places you will be visiting. You should also think about what you will be doing while you are away and whether you will have access to laundry facilities. This will allow you to pack your belongings and be better prepared.
Plan the core of your European capsule wardrobe.
As a general rule, for one to two weeks of vacation, you need a capsule wardrobe consisting of about 10 to 12 pieces of basic clothing. With a capsule wardrobe of this size, assuming all the pieces fit together, you will have at least 18 different outfits to choose from during your vacation.
The weather in Europe can vary greatly, so a summer capsule wardrobe will look different from a winter capsule wardrobe.
For a summer climate, my European capsule wardrobe consists of the following:
- Short sleeved top x 4
- Top long sleeve x 1
- Dresses x 2
- Socks (mix of pants and skirts) x 3
- Light jacket x 1
For a winter climate, my European capsule wardrobe consists of the following:
- Top long sleeve / light jersey x 4
- Dresses x 2
- Pants x 3
- Thin base layer (long sleeve top + leggings) x 1
- Wool coat x 1
And if you travel in different climates, consider a capsule wardrobe that includes:
- Short sleeved top x 3
- Long sleeve top x 3
- Dress x 1
- Socks (mix of pants and skirts) x 3
- Average jacket weight x 1
Other topics, depending on the vacation, can be discussed:
- Scarf / Pashmina x 1
- Versatile swimsuit x 1 love to travel with this
- The hat x 1 is my favorite travel hat.
And whatever the weather, you need to plan your shoes well. Heels (even low heels) are not very practical because of the paved roads you are likely to encounter. Your best bet is to choose a chic moccasin with lots of support (I love the ones from Arcopedico). Versatile and practical. They keep your outfit stylish and protect your feet and ankles from rough roads and sidewalks.
Tips for a versatile European wardrobe
Here are my top three tips for planning a European capsule wardrobe with maximum versatility:
- Choose a consistent color story. The most versatile capsule wardrobes revolve around an accent color and two supporting neutrals. If you’re feeling stuck, try pulling your color story from a patterned scarf. I usually travel with it and like to use it as inspiration for my Colour Story Capsule.
- Make sure each piece matches the others. The only reason to pack a disposable garment is for a specific event or occasion for which you need the garment, such as a wedding.
- Pack reusable items. For example, use the scarf you wore on the plane as a pashmina to visit cathedrals and as a blanket when you spend an afternoon at the beach.
Toiletry and cosmetics bag
I don’t know about you, but I like to keep my toiletries light. My motto for toiletries and makeup during the holidays: keep it simple. You’ll soon find that Europeans generally wear less makeup, so a “less-more” approach will probably help you feel comfortable among the locals. Besides, who wants to lug around a lot of makeup and makeup products on vacation!!!
There are basic toiletries and a cosmetic bag:
- The Eyebrow Defining Pencil allows you to create a minimalist makeup!
- Red pencil powder
- Tinted moisturizer with SPF 20 for added protection.
- A lipstick that works as a lip balm (I always have a little).
- Wipes for effortless makeup removal
- The cleansing shampoo is ideal for keeping curls clean and hydrated while on the go.
- Moisturizing body cream
- Moisturizing face cream
- Tanning Stick
- Deodorant (charcoal is my favorite LISA use code, with 10% off).
- Soaps and shampoos – if you are only traveling with carry-on luggage and want to save space in your 3-1-1 toiletry bag.
It’s simple, isn’t it? You don’t have to bring a huge collection of makeup and toiletries. Instead, you make up your own version of a five-minute face and think that’s all you need to look good on the road.
There are a few travel gadgets that I will never part with because they make life on vacation easier, more enjoyable, and more fun!
These are the technical items you should take with you on your vacation in Europe:
- Phone charger
- DSLR, camera charger, extra battery and memory card if you don’t want to rely on your camera phone.
- Kindle drive – perfect for long-haul flights and train travel
- Travel adapter
Important travel documents
Packing well for your next trip is not just about your wardrobe and travel essentials. It’s best to be prepared for the unexpected – no one likes to think about what could go wrong on vacation, but the truth is that you (or your fellow travelers) could get sick or injured.
Check travel advisories and vaccination and visa requirements for all the countries you plan to visit well in advance of your departure – at least 14 days in advance. This will give you time to take all the necessary steps to ensure that your travel plans are in order.
Here are the documents without which you cannot leave the house:
- Your passport is valid for six months when you travel abroad.
- Immunization Protocols
- Travel Insurance
- Foreign currency – in this case euro and possibly pound sterling if you are in the UK.
- Visit forms. – I save space by using an e-wallet.
- Itinerary – this also goes in my digital wallet (unless I travel to different countries and think I need to present it to customs).
- Credit Cards
- Driver’s license or other alternative form of identification
- Emergency contact information
I know many travelers who travel with hard copies of all the above travel documents, but I prefer to carry them on a USB drive. I usually keep them in my medicine cabinet and keep them separate from the originals (just in case).
Other practical travel essentials to bring
And while none of these products are essential for a vacation in Europe, they do make life a little easier on the road.
Grab your travel checklist and pack your bags!
Now that you know what to bring on your European adventure, it’s time to put this knowledge into practice! Take your list of trips to Europe and start packing!
Looking for more tips to prepare your luggage for travel? Check here:
Ready to pack your bags for your European vacation? Get your free packing list for travel in Europe, which you can print out here.
Frequently asked questions
What should I take with me to Europe?
Europe Travel Checklist for Package Holidays in Europe – Europe Travel …
What should I bring for two weeks in Europe?
Packing list for 2 weeks in Europe – Fashion Girl Travel
How do I pack for 10 days in Europe?
A general rule of thumb for determining how much to bring for 10 days: underwear and socks for each day, up to three pairs of shoes (even worn flat), one stocking for every two or three travel days, six tops, one jacket or sweater, one outfit, and then a few more well-chosen clothes …
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