smart packing for Europe

Packing for Europe is not always the easiest thing to do, especially if it is your first trip or a multi-country trip. If you include train travel, or intercity air travel it makes it even more tricky. It is somewhat easier if you are visiting one city like Paris or Rome for a week or two and looking for tips on what to wear.

Venice, outside Santa Lucia train staion with suitcasesVenice, outside Santa Lucia train station

Sometimes we get so excited we get packed for our trip, and keep repacking. Are you in the initial stages of packing? You might like to check out how to plan a vacation first.

The duration and most especially the kind of traveller we are will help us in deciding what to pack. 

Many young people are going with carry-on only, and I admire them for being able to do this. I very rarely can pack as light unless it is a very short trip. I'm sure it must be very freeing for them.

If you are going to be using air travel between cities in Europe some of the weight restrictions are so low that I can't pack everything I will need. I usually check a bag.

O.k so you know where you will be going, the type of trip and your style of travel. Now we can get started with packing for Europe.

Oh, one more thing you may want to have a look at - the best luggage.

packing for Europe tips

These tips are for multi-city vacations, assuming that you are flying or taking the train from place to place, not driving.

Your choice of luggage when packing for Europe is probably the most important thing to consider. If you ended up on this page, it is probably a regular vacation.

If it is a trip with a tour company or a luxury trip you may have a bit more assistance with your luggage.

You will need additional recommendations if you are backpacking and staying in hostels.

I like to make sure that my bag is light enough that I can handle it. I was so tired and weak on the train one time that I could not lift my backpack up onto my back. 

I find that for most people a converse type of suitcase is good for this type of vacation. Getting everything into a 22" would be ideal, but if you need a bigger case like 26" and you can handle it "go for it". Remember that you will most likely have to pick it up in a lot of instances so be sure.

The next thing is your choice of shoes. I suggest one good pair of walking shoes and wear them on to the plane. A dressier pair to wear with skirts and a flip flop. Also a couple of extra insoles and blister packs.

When packing for Europe take a basic wardrobe but make sure in this case it is very light in weight and versatile. Don't take your best clothes, they could wear out or be destroyed.

I took a top that I loved to Italy. One of my sisters gave it to me as a birthday gift. I was wearing it on the Pont de Vecchio in Florence. 

It was near the end of October, but it was still very crowded. Many Europeans like to smoke. I thought something had bit me. I checked and found clothing was burning, and I ended up with a big hole.

It can be very disappointing to lose something you like.

Limit your gadgets. Unless you have to take a computer for work, don't bother. An iPad or just a smartphone could be enough.

The same thing goes for the fancy camera equipment. My husband took his very nice camera with all the bells and whistles on our last trip and ended up taking easy point and shoot pictures.

Is this the trip for binoculars, probably not. 

Remember it's not just the equipment it is cords and chargers and all the extras that add up.

Arrange to use a cloud to upload pictures so that if you lose your camera copies will be safe.

Do take a USB travel adapter, and if you are taking appliances like a hair dryer you will need a converter. Like this worldwide, all in one.

Nix the full travel books and guides, they are too heavy. Download a travel app or two before you leave home.

I have to say that I can't live without maps; use your GPS by all means when you can, but good travel maps are indispensable.

Take a few toiletry items in sample sizes or small fill-able bottles; if you need more buy them along the way.

Return to Top

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.