If you’re an avid traveler, you know how important a packing list is. But, are you packing too much? Traveling to a different country can be pretty overwhelming in the beginning. Although you may think you need a ton of stuff, I assure you that you don’t. Here’s a quick guide for packing light when traveling to Europe.
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2 Questions to Ask Yourself When Packing for Europe
There are a couple of important things to consider before packing for your trip to Europe.
What Season am I Going on my trip to Europe?
Since Europe has 4 complete seasons (unlike many places in the states), it’s important to know what season you will be traveling in. When packing light for Europe, you need to know what the weather is going to be like. (You don’t have to necessarily check each day, but get an overall theme of the temperatures.)
What Activities have I Planned for my Trip?
If you have any activities planned for your trip to Europe, you’ll want to bring the right level of comfort to wear during them. Whether you are going sailboating in the summer, hiking mountains in the winter, or just walking around cities in different seasons, you definitely want to be prepared.
What to Wear While Traveling to Europe
Before we dive in on packing for Europe, let’s talk about what you should wear as you head there. I recommend wearing one of your most comfortable outfits for your plane ride(s). Since traveling to Europe will most likely be a decently long flight, wear something you can layer and relax in. That way, you don’t have to worry about being too hot or too cold.
As many airports and airplanes are colder, you should bring or wear a light jacket. Not only does this help you from having to add it to your packing list, but it will also keep you at a comfortable temperature. Another way to keep light luggage is to wear any pair of shoes or jacket that take up the most space. You’ll still have them on your trip, but don’t have to worry about finding space for them.
When traveling to Europe in the colder months, I recommend wearing a pair of leggings with a bulky sweater and an accessory scarf. I would also wear snow boots since I’ll need them when I get there. If I’m traveling to Europe in the warmer seasons, I wear leggings with a t-shirt and a light rain jacket. I would also wear a pair of tennis shoes or slip-on shoes. You will have to take your shoes off when you go through security so make sure you wear something that easily can be taken on and off.
What to Add to Your List When Packing Light for Europe
When packing light, you still have to make sure you have everything you need. Here’s a list of items you should consider including in your luggage while packing for Europe.
If you truly want to pack light, style 2-3 outfits that can be mixed together to make other outfits.
For example, if you pack a solid white shirt, a solid black shirt, 2 different pairs of pants, and a sweater, you can potentially make 6 different outfits. To do this efficiently, make sure you pack pieces that can match everything.
When it comes to shoes, pick comfort over cuteness. But, if you need to be stylish, only pick one cute pair to bring. That way, you can wear your comfortable shoes to Europe and pack your fashionable ones without taking up too much room in your luggage. Here are some of my favorite walking shoes for travel.
What clothes to pack for a 5 day trip to Europe:
- 2 shirts
- Up to 2 pairs of comfortable pants/shorts
- Up to 2 pairs of dress pants/ shorts
- 1 dress
- 1 pair of comfortable shoes
- 1 pair of cute shoes
- 1 sweater (if applicable for weather conditions)
- A comfortable jacket or raincoat
Are accessories a huge part of your wardrobe?
If not, you can skip over this. (Although, I do recommend bringing a scarf if you are traveling to Europe in the fall or winter.) But, if accessories are your best friend, I got you covered.
Luckily, they most likely take up the least amount of room. Even then, you only want to bring a few pieces that will style well with each outfit.
What accessories to pack:
- 2 necklaces
- 2 fashion rings
- 1 pair of earrings
- 1-2 scarves
- 1 pair of sunglasses
It’s time to pack for hygiene.
If you are staying in a hotel or Air BnB, some toiletries will probably be provided. But, other places most likely will not have these items. Just to be safe, you should still pack your own to bring. That way, you know for a fact that you’ll have everything you need.
Want to make travel more eco-friendly? Check out these eco-friendly travel products.
What toiletries to pack when traveling to Europe:
- Toothbrush cap like this
- Travel toothpaste
- Travel mouthwash
- Travel shampoo and conditioner
- Travel body wash
- Hairbrush/ comb (if applicable)
If you don’t have a toiletry bag, you may like this one.
When traveling to Europe with electronics, make sure you get an outlet adapter like this.
Learn from my mistake. It’s a bummer to get to Europe and realize you have to buy all new charges. If you’re debating on what electronics to actually bring, I assure you that you don’t need many. You will primarily only need your phone. But, you may need your laptop if you plan on doing business work or streaming shows and a camera if you aren’t using your phone as a camera.
What Electronics to Pack When Traveling to Europe:
- Bluetooth Headphones
- Portable Charger
- All corresponding Chargers
If you are like me and bringing this many electronics you can get a cord organizer and this backpack to hold all your electronics.
First Aid Care
Even though you hopefully won’t need it, a first aid kit is an absolute must. The last thing you want to happen on your trip is that you find yourself needing first aid, but can’t get to one.
You don’t have to have an ambulance in your luggage, but you should have a small box with bandaids, ointment, hand sanitizer, and some skin tape. If you don’t want to put it together yourself, grab a kit like this.
5 Items to Always Remember When Packing Light for Europe
Europe does not have the same wall outlets that the United States has.
That being said, you can easily order a set like this. It will allow you to adapt anything and everything you need to plug into the wall.
- Comfortable shoes
Since you’ll most likely be walking a lot, pack shoes for comfort. You can get a neutral pair of comfortable shoes and style them with every outfit. If you aren’t sure what to get, I recommend checking out my favorite travel shoes.
This may sound silly, but make sure you don’t forget your undergarments. When you get all caught up in packing light and still styling outfits, make sure you are pairing undergarments to use as well.
- Neutral sweater/ coat
The best way to style up an outfit? Add a sweater or a coat. But, it also comes in super handy on days where it’s a little bit colder than anticipated. A light sweater is nice to have on the airplane ride, too.
This can be light, but you never know when you’ll have a random downpour. Even if you use the same neutral sweater or coat we just talked about, this isn’t something you want to forget.
3 Items to Leave at Home
Although I have never felt unsafe during my travels to and through Europe, I recommend leaving your valuables at home.
Besides your phone, passport, and wallet, you won’t have any need for other valuable things. The last thing you would want is for your trip to be ruined due to something important being stolen or lost.
- Multiple Jackets
Other than a light raincoat in the spring and summer, and a thick coat for the fall and winter, you don’t need a ton of stylish jackets. Meaning, don’t pack a jacket to match each outfit. Find one neutral sweater, coat, or jacket that will work with all of your outfit ideas.
- One-time-only outfits
When packing light, you want to pack a few outfits that can be mixed and matched to make more. Instead of packing an outfit for each day, night, and/or adventure, pack three outfits that can all coordinate together. Then, you can switch out the shirts, sweaters, pants, or shoes to make completely new outfits.
The Benefits of Packing Light for Europe
Not only does packing light when traveling to Europe help you get through airports with ease, but it also keeps you safer. If you only have one or two bags, you’ll look less of a tourist and more of a local.
Also, when you pack light, you genuinely won’t have as much to keep up with. Therefore, the likelihood of something going missing or getting stolen decreases drastically. The last benefit of packing light is that life will be so much easier when you have to pack to come back home.
I hope this list helped you figure out how you’ll be packing light for your trip to Europe. And, in the absolute worst case you forget something vital, it’ll always be for sale when you get there.
If you have any other suggestions, drop them in the comments!
Q: Do I have to pack light if I go to Europe?
Absolutely not. You can pack whatever you want to bring. This list is just to help narrow down what you will actually need. (If you want to, of course.)
Q: Is packing light hard?
If you are used to packing everything you own, packing light will definitely be different. But, you’ll come to love it when you only have to carry around one bag, rather than four.