Europe travel: Packing Smart and Light for Your European holiday
Europe travel: Packing Smart and Light for Your European holiday

The most popular travel destination for travelers around the globe is Europe. It’s rich and diverse culture is full of history and a favorite destination for investors, artists, students, and tourists alike. Air travel to Europe has increased over time, the continent’s strategic location between Asia and America make it a popular hub for travelers across the two continents.

So, you’ve chosen to go on holiday to Europe. You’ve chosen your destination and booked your flights and maybe some accommodation also. Now you just need to determine what you need to bring along with you to make sure that your trip is fun and stress-free. You’ll be wanting to produce a packing list that covers everything you’ll need for your travels.

Europe packing tips

Plan ahead

Make a list of what you need to pack and what you need to buy. Start packing at least a few days in advance. Packing at the last minute will ensure that you forget an essential item and pack a bunch of stuff you will never need. You need to start collecting things about a week in advance, adding and eliminating items as you go.

Think neutral

Black clothes are great for traveling. It is very easy to dress up/dress down with black. Black pants, jacket, and pair of shoes go a long way. Two pairs of shoes must do it. One for walking and the other for dressing up a little.

Comfy sandals can be dressy and great for walking. Use scarves and colorful shirts to jazz up the outfits. Just remember that Europe is a little dressier than the US. Just skip the cut-offs, jogging outfits and running shoes, and you’ll feel a lot more comfortable.

Plastic bags are your friend

Bring underwear and knits in compression bags that remove the air. You can buy these bags, but I just use regular zipper plastic bags and suck out the air with a straw until it gets very flat. Put your pair of shoes in a plastic bag, and always put the travel toiletries case in a plastic bag in case something springs a leak.

Know what electrical items you need before you go

Europe is on 220 volts, which means if you plug your electrical appliance into a European outlet with an Adaptor without a Converter, the sparks will fly! You will need these for your laptop, camera charger, hairdryer, hair curler, shaver, and any other electrical appliance brought from the US.

A Converter converts the 220 volts to 110 volts so US appliances will work (without melting) An Adaptor works with the converter to adapt the US Plug to match the European outlet. To complicate matters further, keep in mind that not all European outlets are the same. An outlet in Great Britain is nothing like an outlet in Belgium.

Copies of Documents

Make copies of your passport, hotel membership cards, and credit cards (with numbers to call if they get lost or stolen) and carry those in a zippered pocket in your suitcase as well as in your carry-on.

Pack light

Always take only as much baggage as you can manage on your own. If you are taking trains, you will need to put them on and off the trains yourself. If you are staying in a 3-star hotel and even many 4-star hotels, the rooms are quite small by American standards and there is very little space for extra luggage. I repeat, pack light.


Before you go check the TSA site to review the guidelines on what you can carry aboard. (It keeps changing) And when they say that your carry-on liquids need to be in a quart-sized zip-lock bag, they mean a quart-sized zip-lock bag. When they say bottles must have three-ounce or less, don’t push it. They confiscate tons (literally) of stuff each day. And pack some extra underwear in your carry-on. just in case if they lose your baggage.

Use packing cubes

Another way to make it easy for your bag to be searchable and not ruined afterward is to use packing cubes. This will make your life a lot easier should the TSA decide you are on the random search list! It makes it easy to see the contents of your bag and when rifled through, does not make it impossible to repack.

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What to wear in Europe?

When traveling overseas, you should first know the baggage rules. In most cases, you are not allowed to take your entire wardrobe with you. There are limitations such as how much your bags should weigh and how many bags you can take with you. You also have to know what kind of climate to expect. Therefore, you should do your research when it comes to these two things before choosing your vacation spot.

Here is a list of what you can wear on a vacation in Europe:

One linen suit with draping, wide-legged pants, a fitted jacket, and light-colored fabric.

These two pieces can be worn together, or separately. The pants can be worn with any cute top, and the jacket can be worn on chillier nights.

Calf-length or longer skirts in white

Two calf-length or longer skirts in white, light, or bright colors that can be dressed up with a nice top or dressed down with a cute tank top and flat shoes.

Comfortable sandals

Comfortable sandals with small wedge heels. (Walk around in these a lot to make sure they are comfortable and don’t rub you in the wrong place)

High heel sandals

Strappy high-heeled sandals for your nights out and special dinners

Capri pants

Two pairs of capri pants (or full-length denim jeans if you aren’t too warm in them) light colors if they are fabric or in a medium or darker wash if they are denim, and without holes or tears (even if you bought them that way). Europe tends to frown upon the more relaxed American styles and is much more formal than casual.

Semi-formal shirts

Two semi-formal shirts, maybe a kimono top, in float material. These are cute, especially on petite people, and they also keep you cool while still being dressy and not too casual or revealing.

4/5 assorted tops and tank tops- small and easy to pack

Please note that some places in Italy do not allow bare shoulders due to strict religious beliefs. You will mostly encounter this if you go to visit a catholic cathedral or any of the primary attractions that are in a church. Bared shoulders, midriffs, or legs above the knee are considered inappropriate.


Two lovely little dresses that are at least knee-length and can be dressed up or dressed down.

Swimming suit

One swimming suit, careful again about the formality issues in some of these countries. You can wear a two-piece swimsuit bikini, but do bring along a sarong or some other kind of cover-up for when you are out of the water.

Comfortable shoes

This last one is a combination: comfortable tennis shoes or flat walking shoes and two lightweight jogging suits. I suggest this because you will be spending a fair amount of time on buses, trains or airplanes, and it is most important there to be comfortable.


Jewelry and accessories are an excellent way to change your style – may be a chunky belt to put over a dress in the day time, and an elegant set of jewelry for the night time. Also remember that your makeup can stay light and colorful in the day, and you can create a Smokey-eyed look for evenings out.

You could wear these same basic items every day and just change around colors and hairstyle and no one would ever notice that you are following a pattern! All these items won’t wrinkle very much and can be rolled in your suitcase which can give you more room.

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Of course, don’t forget yours under things like bras and plenty of underwear! Bring sunglasses, and find a cute hat or two so you don’t get too much sun in your face and eyes.

Europe packing list FAQs