After years of traveling around Europe, we’ve crafted the perfect Europe packing list. It’s not a big deal if you’re struggling with what to pack for your first trip to Europe. Before our travels abroad we spent months debating about what to pack for a trip to Europe.
Everyone’s been there before a trip and we often get asked by readers what should be on their packing list for Europe.
What’s great about this Europe packing list is that it’s a good base packing list for two weeks in Europe, as well as a fantastic Europe packing list for winter, spring, fall, and summer! The idea is to break down the essential items for your trip and give you an idea of what you should carry in your suitcase or backpack.
Europe Packing list
Travel Essentials for Europe
When you’re packing for Europe know that a good pair of comfortable walking shoes is important for getting around European cities. Ever since we lived in New York we’ve been big on walking around cities instead of taking cabs or public transport. Hitting the sidewalk and letting the city unfurl around you is one of the best ways to get familiar with a city in Europe.
I love to throw these women’s walking shoes in my luggage because of their style and comfort. While Cameron loves these boots for men because they look great with any pair of jeans. Check out more of our favorite travel shoes here!
We like to look online and at other travel blogs for inspiration on what to do in Europe. However, sometimes it’s nice to take your eyes off a screen. We always have a Lonely Planet or Rick Steves guide book in our bags.
You will definitely need an adaptor for your electronics on your packing list for Europe. We always keep one handy in our carry-on bags, that way we can charge electronics on arrival or at the airport.
Backpack or Suitcase
Whether you’re backpacking around Europe, skiing in the Alps, or traveling for business you will be need something to keep some form of luggage. I travel with the Osprey Farpoint and love it for its durability and ability to zip up into hand luggage.
Cameron has converted to a stylish duffel bag and hasn’t looked back since. Check out our favorite backpacks to travel Europe with and our favorite carry-on backpacks.
Quick Dry Towel
Quick dry towels are GOLD for those staying hostels, and should be on every backpacking Europe packing list. After five years of traveling around the world, I have learned to never travel without one. They are light and fold up small, and two the towels can dry within one hour. We have the Youphoria towel and it works well.
This is essential if you are camping or staying anywhere except hotels. Even the most expert traveler should pack a towel in their bag. We break down more of the best quick dry towels here.
Electronics for Europe
Camera and memory card
You’ll want a good travel camera if you’re going on vacation to Europe! I travel with the Fuji X Series which I love for walking around cities. The Fuji X-T10 and X-T20 is lightweight and doesn’t scream HEY LOOK AT ME I’M A TOURIST.
We’ve used the camer around Africa and Europe! You’ll also want to make sure you have a memory card to store all your photos in. I have a 64 GB memory card since I take lots of photos and video.
Laptop and Hard Drive
As a blogger, my laptop is my life. It’s one of the few possessions that I own so of course, I travel around Europe with one. I’m a Apple person so naturally, I have a Macbook Pro to get me around. If you’re in the market I’d suggest reading up on our favorite travel laptops.
We travel with three (yes three)Seagate external hard drives to house all our photos and videos. That may be excessive, but we take a lot of photo and video. Most travelers will just need something simple like a thumb drive for storage.
D-Link Wireless Range Extender
This is helpful for extending the range of the WiFi in your guesthouse, hotel, or hostel. As someone who works online I consider this a travel essential for Europe. You’ll never have to fight for hours with WiFi again!
Apparel for Europe
Cliff jumping in Cyprus? Sailing in the Mediterranean? You’ll want some nice beach essentials in your summer packing list for Europe! Even if it’s not summertime in Europe it never hurts to have a swimsuit in your suitcase. I travel with both a one piece and a two piece bathing suit. Cameron prefersprAna mens swim trunks which are always high quality.
No matter the season a rain jacket is always an essential for traveling to Europe (and the rest of the world). We both have rain jackets made by Kathmandu. They are lightweight, durable, packable, waterproof, and windproof.
A Nice Outfit
I would suggest bringing a chic black dress for the ladies and a nice dress shirt and pants for the men. Most Europeans are pretty stylish, especially in the cities. You’ll want to make sure you have at least one nice outfits for nights out.
Make sure to bring at least one pair of athletic/hiking clothes to Europe for outdoor activities and to motivate you to work out. A good pair of high quality yoga pants, quick dry shirt, and at least one sports bra for the ladies is ideal. My favorite hiking shoes are the Merrell Moab Ventilators for women and men.
Packable Down Jacket
This is an essential travel item that everyone should throw in their bag. One of the best packable down jackets is one of the most versatile travel items on the market. When layered it can handle cold winter weather, but it’s also light enough to be worn on a cool evening. It’s a lifesaver for that impromptu trip to Iceland or the Faroe Islands.
Accessories for Europe
This one is for the ladies, and I wanted to make note of it for anyone still wondering what to pack for a trip to Europe. If you’re coming from America the makeup in Europe can be expensive in comparison to prices in the states. My first trip to Europe was almost a year long so I made sure I had enough mascara, eyeliner, and face powder to get me through that year without spending a fortune for my favorite brand.
We’ve suffered through enough red-eye flights to never forget to pack a travel pillow for international flights. My favorite travel pillow is the Cabeau Evolution Pillow, but we break down more of our favorite travel pillows here.
We’ve never ever had a problem with the tap water in Europe, and I hate wasting money and creating waster through plastic water bottles every day. Our favorite water bottle to travel with is the Lifestraw Go since it filters out bacteria. Here are our reviews on the best travel water bottles.
Packing cubes are great for any backpack or suitcase. They keep all of your clothes and toiletries organized. I’ve had these Eagle Creek cubes for three years now and think they were worth the investment to stay organized and create space in my luggage.
Small Purse or Passport Holder
For the women, I suggest traveling with a theft-proof purse that is black and stylish to hold belongings. Cameron has a great passport wallet that holds his passport and credit cards so he never leaves it anywhere.
These are small but essential travel necessities for Europe as they can be crucial to your sleep. Where you’re flying in business class or sleeping in a hostel a good pair of earplugs will help you sleep.
How to pack for Europe
It’s important to determine when and where you will be traveling before you decide what to pack in your suitcase. Don’t forget to take into account seasons in Europe and regional climates. For instance, having a thick down jacket in the Mediterranean may be overkill in the winter.
Check the forecast before you pack your suitcase!
Many places in Europe can get hot during the summer, only to turn to freezing temperatures in the winter months. Northern Europe can be a bit milder. I’ll never forget to get cold on the streets of London in the middle of their summer. That’s why I always suggest packing in layers and bringing at least one warm weather outfit wherever you go.
Europeans are stylish, so no hiking clothes please unless you want to be pegged as a tourist. Somewhere along the line, the idea came about that backpacking in Europe means you’re some adventurer tackling mountains, not cities. Take that into consideration when you are planning for dinner and night dates out. Find clothes that are versatile, comfortable, and look good. My number one clothing packing tip for Europe is to remember that…
Black is always in season!
I would also always pack a few pairs of shoes for any trip to Europe. Good walking shoes are essential, as well as flip-flops if you’re staying in hostels, flats or heels for women, and a pair of loafers or something similar for men. You’ll be walking around cities quite a bit so always take that into consideration.
What not to bring to Europe
- Tons of Cash: If I can give you just one packing tip for Europe it would be to chill out on the cash. Travel to Europe with enough cash to get you by for a day or so. We don’t recommend you travel with an excessive amount of cash in your luggage. ATM’s are prevalent and often give a flat exchange rate. This saves you the liability of walking around with cash. So, forget the stupid travel wallet and carry a normal one in a front pocket.
- Flashy Jewelry: When you travel anywhere we suggest leaving the valuable jewelry at home. When you do travel with expensive items make sure to save it for special occasions and store in the hotel safe. Sometimes, we store large sums of cash or expensive items in the hotel’s master safe, just ask the front desk.
- Bright Neon Colors: Before I left for my first trip around the world I colored my hair brown to “blend in.” While I was wanting to blend in I still brought hot pink and lime green shirts to Denmark, Germany, and Holland. Needless to say, I stuck out like a sore thumb. Neutral colors work best.
- Sweats and ratty baseball caps: They scream American…and not in a good way.