After traveling around Europe for years, we’ve crafted the perfect packing list for Europe. We receive a lot of questions from readers about what to pack for their trip. So we set out to help our readers determine what to wear in Europe.
It’s not a big deal if you’re struggling with what to pack for Europe. Before our first trip abroad, we spent months debating what we should bring. We made a lot of mistakes. Our best advice is not to overthink packing for any trip. Unless you’re going off the grid, you can find whatever you need when you arrive.
This article should be a good base with recommendations about things to add to your Europe packing list. We include our favorite travel clothes, shoes, luggage, and accessories. The idea is to break down all the travel essentials for your trip and give you an idea of what you should carry in your suitcase or backpack.
The Ultimate Packing List For Europe
The Essential Documents To Pack
- Passport – This is obvious, but you won’t make it far without a passport.
- Credit Cards – We use several travel credit cards offering purchase protection, rewards, and no foreign transaction fees.
- Visa – Make sure you have a visa if required. USA, U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand citizens receive a free 90-day visa on arrival to the Schengen Area.
- Driving License – If you plan to rent a car, you will need your driver’s license, plus it never hurts to have a second form of I.D.
- IDP – Besides a driving license, a rental agency may require an IDP. This is necessary if your license is not in English. Even then, it may be a requirement, but we’ve found it to be super subjective to the rental agency. I’ve often rented a car with and without one (U.S. license).
What Luggage To Bring To Europe?
I have two bag recommendations for a trip to Europe. You can opt for a traditional hardshell suitcase with four wheels or a travel backpack. Suitcases with four wheels are best as the ability to roll sideways down the aisle of a train or a sidewalk makes life a lot easier.
We prefer hardshell as it does a better job at protection and security. Our favorite hardshell suitcase is the Delsey Helium Aero 25″. Travel backpacks are great for young backpackers, digital nomads, or minimalists! They are also great if you want to save on any checked bag fees your air carrier may charge. Packing cubes are phenomenal at organizing and separating dirty clothes, and our favorites are from Peak Design.
If paying for taxis or car rentals makes you hesitant, you’ll want to book accommodation near public transport or have a backpack. The Osprey travel backpacks, men’s Farpoint, and women’s Fairview are our favorites. For more suggestions, read our post on the best backpacks for Europe.
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What To Wear In Europe?
What you wear in Europe depends on your plans, destination, and season. Climates and seasons in Europe vary significantly from the Mediterranean to the Alps and the Arctic Circle. Budget and travel style have a significant impact, too — a well-heeled traveler staying in luxury hotels will have a much different packing list than a backpacker.
No one size fits all rules exist, as a hiking trip in Norway is wildly different from island hopping in Greece or sightseeing in Paris. It’s not just the diverse weather in Europe but the culture, as you’ll find a huge disparity from Spain to Finland.
You can apply some easy rules, though. Europeans do not dress as casually as North Americans, but that doesn’t mean you must wear a suit or dress daily. We suggest casual clothing with comfortable footwear. The key to packing is clothes that can serve multiple purposes.
We like to pack clothes in classic, versatile colors that allow us to mix and match outfits. You can adjust to various weather and climates by throwing in some layers. A traveler should be able to dress for almost any setting or weather if done right.
Finally, don’t forget to pack some athletic clothes for a European trip! There are many amazing adventures and outdoor activities to enjoy around the region. We’ve spent months hiking and skiing in the Alps. It would be a shame to miss out on an experience.
Generally, most people visit Europe in the summer, so come prepared for warm, if not hot, temperatures. Below we share the staples and make some recommendations on our personal favorites. Please consider this a guideline as we recommend everyone dress and pack to match their style.
T-Shirt or V Neck
A classic tee will never go out of style. We suggest sticking with solid colors like black, white, or grey. We recommend you keep it simple when it comes to tees. Our favorite color is a light heather grey as it’s easy to stain white. We love the quality and ease of ordering from Bombas if you’re after a classic cotton tee.
However, a merino wool shirt is a worthy investment and one of the best pieces of travel clothes. Wools shirts stay fresh longer and do an excellent job at temperature management. I’ve tested a lot of wool shirts out, and my favorite for travel so far is from Unbound Merino.
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When wondering what to wear in Europe don’t discount shorts. You’ll want some shorts for your European trip if it’s summertime. Europeans are not opposed to shorts, especially given the heatwaves in recent years. Shorts are also easy to pack as they take up less space in your luggage and can be easily washed.
I like to pack two or three pairs for versatility, such as gym shorts, bermuda shorts, and technical travel shorts. Shorts are one of those items I find acceptable as cheap cotton items. We’ve tested a lot of travel shorts out and only been impressed by a handful.
Our recommendations for men’s shorts are the Western Rise Evolution, Quicksilver Amphibian, and Outlier OG Freeway. Recommendations for women include the prAna Elle Short, Vuori Dash, prAna Kanab, and Patagonia Baggies. We suggest whatever suits your style and recommend they do not involve cargo pockets.
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Many outdoor activities in Europe require some activewear to enjoy. So, when you’re wondering what to wear in Europe, consider packing at least one active outfit. Not to mention it’s great to stay in shape while traveling. Bring a good hiking backpack or vest to hike in the Alps.
Several daypacks for travel will work nicely on a hike or in the city. As for the shoes, we’re pretty loyal to the ultra trail running Salomon Speedcross shoes, but we recommend the more versatile adidas Ultraboost for everything else. Regarding clothing, we love Vuori Shorts and Outdoor Research Echo Shirts. Pack a sports bra if you like one for activities; our favorites are from Handful.
See Our Recommendations
Our go-to summer shirt is a classic white linen shirt. Linen is as practical as it is stylish. It’s great as it tends to dry faster, feel lighter, and cope with sweat better than its cotton counterparts.
Pair a linen shirt with sandals, shorts, jeans, or shoes, or even go barefoot. It’s a versatile shirt that looks great on both sexes and works at the beach or a restaurant. They’re the perfect shirt for summer in Southern Europe. It’s tough to find decent linen shirts online, but we love the quality of Everlane’s linen shirts.
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Jeans are a fashion staple but aren’t the best packing or most comfortable travel pants. However, travelers have options such as DU/ER jeans. The organic cotton jeans look sharp, but a subtle blend of polyester and spandex allows the jeans to stretch and resist wrinkles.
Fit is exceptional, with a slim fit throughout the leg. You can comfortably wear the jeans on long travel days without any discomfort. Thanks to the synthetic blend, they’re great for lengthy trips as there is no need to wash the jeans.
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A pair of chinos or travel pants are great for traveling around Europe. Our first choice is a reliable pair of “travel pants” with synthetic materials. These pants are often stain-resistant, dry quickly, weigh less, remain fresh for multiple wears, and are more comfortable than traditional pants or chinos.
We love that these technical pants, previously only made for hiking, now resemble chinos. It’s a classic pant that goes with a sweater, dress shirt, t-shirt, or blouse. When choosing a color, try to match the destination and season. However, light tan pants tend to be the most versatile.
For women, we suggest the Kuhl Freeflex Pants for outdoor adventures and the Everlane Utility Barrel Pants for a more stylish city/town look. Men should check out the KUHL Renegade Rock Pants for outdoor adventures and the Western Rise Evolution 2.0 Pants for everything else.
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Sweaters are a great travel outfit staple. They’re comfortable, stylish, and warm. It doesn’t matter the season either, as many parts of Europe remain cool year-round, and it’s a great mid-layer in the winter. This is very much destination specific, so it’s best to research the particular destination.
I have several sweaters, but my favorites are organic materials like wool or Alpaca. It’s become my favorite travel souvenir, and I treasure my Scottish wool and Peruvian Alpaca sweaters. The one pictured above is from a boutique designer Walker Slater.
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No matter the season, a rain jacket is crucial for traveling around Europe (and the rest of the world). Much of Europe receives frequent showers yearly, especially if you plan to visit the British Isles! The Mediterranean is notably dry in the summer months with plenty of sunshine. So, on a trip to Greece, you can probably leave the rain jacket at home.
We suggest a hard-shell hiking jacket for the outdoors/hiking. They are lightweight, durable, packable, waterproof, and windproof. Any rain jacket will do, but the top-dollar ones designed for the outdoors will hold up and help in inclement weather. They also do an exceptional job at blocking the wind, which can be unrelenting.
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A packable down jacket is one of the most versatile travel items we carry in our luggage. It can handle cold winter weather when layered, but it’s also light enough to be worn on a cool evening.
They’re a lifesaver for that impromptu trip to Iceland or the Faroe Islands. The Alps and Nordic countries are still very cool in the summer, so having a warm jacket is always appreciated.
We find they’re handy in the shoulder seasons around spring and fall. Summers are pretty mild everywhere, and unless you have plans for many high-alpine adventures, you likely won’t need the warmth of a down jacket.
See Our Recommendations For Down Jackets
Europe has some of the best beaches and seaside towns in the world. When you add the fantastic spas, hot springs, rivers, and pools, there is no shortage of places to get wet in Europe. A swimsuit is an obvious addition to any packing list.
For a fantastic women’s swimsuit brand, we recommend Londre and Carve Designs. They make high-quality swimsuits for women. Many of their pieces are stylish yet supportive. So if you plan to go surfing, bodyboarding, kitesurfing, or play beach volleyball and want to ensure your ta-tas stay intact, these swimsuits are for you.
Vuori makes fantastic lightweight Cruise Board Shorts in various prints and colors. They’re super comfortable, quickly dry, and the cut is perfect. We don’t like board shorts that are too long or loose, as they look sloppy.
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You can never have enough underwear or socks. We love wool undergarments on the road as they dry quicker and have antimicrobial qualities. This means they stay fresh longer and keep you more comfortable.
After a lot of testing, our favorites are from Icebreaker. They make several versions and cuts for men and women to match personal tastes. What’s best about wool underwear is that they can be washed in a bathroom sink at night only to dry by morning the next day, so you could feasibly travel with only one or two pairs of underwear.
They are pricey, so we can’t don’t recommend everyone replace every pair. We still travel around with several regular cotton undies, but a couple of pairs of these for dirty clothes emergencies come in handy.
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We’ve learned to love our feet with a good pair of socks. You will want to keep your feet dry while walking around. Most importantly, wool socks stay fresh for several days as they have natural antimicrobial properties.
We travel with several pairs of wool socks on any trip. They make every style and cut these days, so finding the pair you need is easy. Our recommendations for socks are Darn Tough, Smartwool, and REI Co-op. If you still want some classic cotton socks, check out Bombas.
Our Favorite Wool Socks
When wondering what to wear in Europe don’t ever forget about your shoes. On every packing list for Europe should be a pair of comfortable shoes. Hitting the sidewalk and letting a city unfurl around you is one of the best ways to get familiar with a beautiful European city.
A comfortable pair of shoes is essential when packing your bag for Europe. However, I wouldn’t recommend packing clunky hiking shoes or athletic shoes many tourists like to bring. You’ll stand out like a sore thumb in Europe.
Europeans are not opposed to sneakers, just trainers outside the gym, so opting for a pair of casual sneakers is excellent. Considering most of the cities in Europe are walking cities, be prepared to spend a lot of time in them. We love to wear our Allbirds, but any comfortable casual shoe will work.
Our Recommendations For Shoes
Regarding cool temperatures in Europe, we love to wear our Blundstones. Women can wear them with chinos and a blouse, while men can pair them with just about anything from jeans to a suit.
With the right boots, you’ll be ready to climb the Alps, stroll through The Louvre, or eat to your heart’s content in Italy. Boots are seasonal, and I’ll leave mine at home for a trip to Europe in the summer unless we’re heading to the Nordic countries. The photo above was taken in the Faroe Islands in July.
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A stylish pair of sunglasses is an excellent addition to a European outfit. Everyone owns at least one pair of sunglasses. However, it’s best to ensure they have UV protection for the health of your eyes.
We always travel with two pairs of sunglasses as we’re pretty active. A pair of Smith Optics for hiking and outdoor adventures and a couple of stylish sunglasses to wear at the beach or around town for the day.
As sunglass snobs, we love the classic styles of Persol and Rayban. There are no better fashion accessories that are critical to your eye health. We cannot imagine traveling anywhere without a pair of sunglasses.
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Men’s Packing List for Europe
I’d look ridiculous wearing a T-shirt or flannel to a nice European meal. Men should pack at least one or two dress shirts for a European trip. We suggest you stick with a classic color like blue or white that will never go out of style.
Wear these in conjunction with linen shirts. A solid dress shirt has more structure and feels appropriate for nice evenings. The type or age of the travelers doesn’t matter either, as almost everyone will find use in a dress shirt. Bluffworks makes travel dress shirts that resist wrinkles but lack a cotton shirt’s structure.
Since they aren’t worn during the heat of the day, a classic cotton dress shirt works. Spier & Mackay, Taylor Stitch, and Banana Republic dress shirts offer great value and look sharp.
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Hanging out in a classic European city like Rome, Paris, or Amsterdam demands a suit. Whether standing at a cafe bar, sipping cocktails in Copenhagen, sitting down for a fantastic meal in London, or catching a show at the Paris Opera, there is no denying it’s best done in a suit.
For European summer fashion, linen suits are loved by locals across the Mediterranean, from France to Greece, and you’ll look right at home in one. However, it’s well known that blue is the most versatile suit color. Just make sure it is well-fitted. Of course, you won’t fit a suit in a backpack.
Consider this an essential for travelers in a proper suitcase. I wouldn’t say it’s the finest suit in the world, but Bluffworks makes a pretty sharp-looking travel suit that can admirably survive travel demands. I buy my real suits from Spier & Mackay for a half-canvas or full-canvas construction that falls wonderfully.
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Women’s Packing List For Europe
A few comfortable tank tops or camis are perfect for summer. Pack solid colors so that they can work with everything. They’re super functional clothes worn under a blouse or alone with jeans or capris.
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For those European summers, having a comfortable sundress is a tremendous idea. Not only is it more comfortable, but it’s also cute. Ladies, it’s the perfect time to bust out your favorite summer dress. My favorite sites for dress shopping are Salty Crush, Lulus, and Free People.
My only recommendation is no ridiculous gowns that you see on social media. Another great option is a black dress for nights out. Dresses are a travel staple and occupy almost no room in your suitcase.
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Romper, Playsuit, or Overalls
Rompers are our favorite travel outfits for women because they’re stylish, comfortable, and practical. You can’t go wrong here, and we suggest throwing at least one or two rompers in your suitcase for Europe.
They’re great for a night and super cute for casual days. We love Patagonia’s Fleetwith Romper and prAna Railay for travel, but you can shop on Free People and Lulus for more great options.
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If you are considering what to pack for a European beach trip, we recommend grabbing a stylish beach hat! Try to keep it in a practical size that travels well and doesn’t crinkle in a suitcase. If you pack a large hat, it will always be in your way, and you’ll likely ditch it by the end of your trip.
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A pair of black flats is always great to have in a suitcase. They’re stylish and comfortable and take up minimal luggage space. Stay away from heels, many towns in Europe have uneven streets, and you don’t want to break an ankle trying to look good. Just let the locals impress you with their skills of walking in heels.
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Europeans love their accessories, and that does not stop with the handbag. Tasha likes to bring one bag with a little bit of size to make it through the trip. If she’s going out, she’ll carry a small clutch. Why a more oversized bag? Well, you will likely want to buy souvenirs and stash them somewhere.
The Le Pilage is an iconic travel tote from the luxury bag brand Longchamp. It’s a classic carry that offers as much function as it does style. Thanks to its use of nylon and structure, the bag can fold to the size of a paperback book.
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There are many churches in Europe, so a shawl is a great item to cover your shoulders when entering a cathedral or church. This is important if you plan to visit some of the famous cathedrals of France, Spain, and Italy.
Shawls or scarves are fabulous for travelers. They can spice up an outfit you’ve already worn three days in a row and can be thrown into a bag or purse to pull out when the sun sets and the weather gets chilly.
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Summer Accessories For Europe
We always recommend bringing a travel towel when you’re on the road. Europe is no exception. Backpackers will need one if they plan to stay in hostels. Also, if you head to the beach or on a hike, having a towel in your day bag never hurts. Consider a towel one of your necessities for backpacking Europe.
The biggest complaint about travel towels is that they often feel nothing like the plush cotton ones we are accustomed to at home and in hotels. However, with the PackTowl, you can forget about all of that because they set out to create a towel that mimics its cotton counterparts with the technical features of a travel towel.
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Skin cancer is for real! Don’t forget your SPF during the summer. Order some online before leaving the house, as you need it underneath the sun. Sunscreen is one of those things to remember to pack when traveling to Europe, as it’s easy to forget.
We highly recommend getting an eco-friendly sun cream; Sun Bum is our favorite and does not contain harmful chemicals. They’re mineral-based and usually only cost a few dollars more to help protect our oceans. If you’re not swimming in the ocean or lakes, go with a reliable name brand. You can learn more about eco-friendly travel products here!
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Canvas Beach Tote
No matter what, you will need a beach bag when heading to the beach. This is to throw in anything like towels, books, speakers, sunglasses, snacks, and sunscreen. As full-time travelers, we often use our daypacks for trips to the beach since a travel tote is unnecessary.
However, it’s tough to beat a standard canvas tote as they travel well and can fold flat/lie in your luggage. They aren’t just great for the beach but tremendous for local markets and shopping. As more travelers stay in Airbnb rentals, they cook and visit local markets on the road.
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Sandals are meant only for the beach in Europe, especially for men. However, with all of the gorgeous beaches in Europe, sandals are acceptable beach attire everywhere, and they’re far more comfortable on the sand.
For nights out on the town, we advise men to wear shoes. However, stylish sandals are great for women, no matter the time. We both travel with sandals from Olukai that have lasted for years.
They are sandals with leather accents and feel stylish enough. They’re super comfortable, too, and they get us around the beach. Women should also check out the Sanuk Yoga Sling for an affordable, lightweight, stylish sandal.
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Packing List For Europe in the Winter
It depends on where you’re traveling, but most of Europe’s cities are stylish. Overcoats are great jackets to wear in Europe. They provide warmth and look fabulous. While we love our down jackets and parkas for their warmth and convenience, they aren’t the best looking, and you’d look pretty silly wearing one with a dress or suit.
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These are only necessary if your vacation involves cold weather snow activities. Things like sledding with the family, skiing or snowboarding, snowshoeing, dog sledding, and trekking through the forest are all good reasons to pack a good pair of heavy-duty non-slip boots cut higher than the ankle, as you don’t want a foot full of snow!
We love our Sorel Caribou Boots for severe winter conditions as we spend half our year at our vacation home in Canada. They are the best boots for a snowy European winter in Finland, Norway, or the Alps. They’re waterproof boots rated for -40 weather and have an iconic look, though they are very heavy. For a light option consider these Sorels.
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Down parkas are our favorite jackets for European winter travel. However, Europe’s climate varies a lot! In the winter months, you’ll find easy-going weather in Sicily, but head up to Finland or Norway, and you’ll freeze your ass off. In mild winter destinations, you can get by with a packable down jacket or a great fleece jacket, as they are warm and lightweight.
As much as you may want to bring a few different winter jackets for options, it’s best to settle on just one since winter jackets are cumbersome. We have many winter jackets, but the warmest are Triple Fat Goose down parkas. On our trips to Norway and Finland in the winter, we very much appreciated our parkas.
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Thermal underwear is essential to remain warm and dry. Your base layer is the first key to wicking away moisture and keeping your body heat from escaping. We always wear quality base layers when active in cold temperatures like hiking, snowboarding, scrambling, or camping.
For the base layer, we recommend they fit snugly and are made from a noncotton material like nylon or wool. We wear wool thermals from Helly Hansen, Smartwool, and yak wool from Kora. When not traveling, we snowboard around 75 days every season, so we know thermals well. Helly Hansen’s Lifa Base Layers are the best bang for your buck and will last forever.
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Scarf, Hat, Gloves
This is a travel staple and a great wardrobe choice for women and men traveling in Europe. They act as an accessory to your outfit and are super comfortable, giving you an added layer of warmth. Regarding fashion and comfort, cool weather in Europe is all about layering.
With such a varied climate, you must consider your itinerary and time of year. In most of Europe’s major cities, I’d suggest a stylish pair of gloves with e-tips. If you get lost, the e-tips or e-touch is essential as you’ll often have to look at your phone when exploring a new city for directions.
While mittens are the only way to go in a frigid environment, they’re superior to gloves as they keep your fingers together and reduce surface space to the cold air. If you have plans for Nordic countries in the winter, these are a must!
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Don’t Forget To Pack Items For Europe
As Lonely Planet Pathfinders who used to go on assignments for the guidebook company, we love to have a physical guidebook when traveling. We spend enough time attached to our phones in everyday life and planning our trips. Once we reach a destination like Europe, we put the phone away and pick up a guidebook to help with our trip.
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You’ll need something to stash your photography gear, hand sanitizers, papers, phones, and anything else for a full day out when traveling. We’ve tested out a ton of daypacks and backpacks over the years, and our favorite is from Peak Design.
Granted, the most European way of doing things is not to carry a backpack. As photographers, we always need a daypack for travel, but we leave it in the hotel room most days when exploring Europe.
Our Recommendations For Backpacks
We suggest you keep your toiletries organized and separated from your clothes. It almost feels like a toiletry bag is essential for any trip. Plus, it’s not uncommon to find small or cramped bathrooms in Europe.
Buying a hanging toiletry bag is an excellent option if you are limited on counter space. This bag style tends to have a better organization system with various sections for storage than the traditional option. We love the Peak Design Wash Pouch. It contains a hidden hook to hang and features terrific organization.
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Traveling with fresh water in hand is important as it is easy to get dehydrated when out. We like to use insulated stainless steel water bottles because they keep drinks cool. Carrying a water bottle is great for the environment as it reduces plastic waste.
Our favorite is the Grayl GeoPress purifier bottle. A purifier helps save money, reduces plastic waste, and guarantees that our water is safe and free of viruses and other waterborne illnesses. Purification is unnecessary in most of Europe, but we always have it for an impromptu trip to somewhere more remote, and they’re great for hiking.
See Our Recommendations
Packing cubes are phenomenal for the organization of any backpack or suitcase. They are one of those packing essentials that should be in every bag as they keep all of your clothes and toiletries organized. Cubes also keep clothes folded and protect them from wrinkles.
Our favorite packing cubes are currently from Peak Design. It’s a slick design, and each cube has a divider to separate clean from dirty clothes. This saves the need for additional cubes and makes organization easier.
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We don’t travel with all our best jewelry for obvious reasons, but that doesn’t mean we don’t travel with any jewelry in Europe. We love having necklaces, bracelets, rings, and earrings when we dress up on the road. A travel jewelry box is the best way to keep this jewelry safe and organized!
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A travel passport wallet is an affordable travel essential. Your passport is a vital travel document you must carry for a decade. Protect your passport in a wallet to ensure its longevity and save the headache of replacing it. Several options can protect the passport or replace your wallet. We recommend a great wallet from Herschel Supply Co.
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These are small but essential travel necessities for Europe as they can be crucial to your sleep. Whether flying in business class or in a hostel, a good pair of earplugs will help you sleep. You also never know if you may have noisy neighbors or have a room on the ground. When you need them, they are a lifesaver.
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Electronics To Pack For Europe
A universal power adaptor is essential for any trip to Europe. We recommend picking up one before arriving in the country. Once in Europe, finding one that is not overpriced or poor quality can be challenging.
Also, I never want to be searching for an adaptor when I have just come off a long travel day and need to plug in my computer. I want to have it with me and ready to go. We’ve tried a bund of adapters, but this one from Ceptics has to be our favorite in our travels. It has multiple plugs and USB ports. It also works as a surge protector.
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While I love having a good real book when I travel, sometimes it’s just not practical because of the weight — keep them at home. If you plan to island-hop, you’ll want to pack fairly light.
A Kindle is an essential travel accessory for travelers who love to read. As much as we love an actual book, they are too heavy and take up too much room in my suitcase. We recently upgraded to the Kindle Paperwhite and love it. It’s small, has touchscreen functions, and has a backlight to read at night without a harsh glare.
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Anker Power Bank
I love traveling with a power bank to ensure my electronics never die. I usually don’t need to use it on long flights as some new international flights provide entertainment systems with USB ports! (Always make sure your charging cable is handy when boarding the plane)
We also find a charging point during layovers, but getting to a new city without your hotel reservations and map can be a significant pain. I recommend purchasing this power bank because it’s a great value with solid reviews.
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A high-quality camera is an important packing item for Europe if you want some great shots while on your vacation We travel with many cameras. Still, the one we universally recommend is the RX 100.
They make several models at different prices, but using a point-and-shoot camera that anyone can operate is simple. It also takes superb images with a 20mp resolution and full manual controls.
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You Need This on Your Europe Packing List
We never travel without travel insurance with Heymondo. With all the risks of travel in a foreign country and insurance coverage, we never have to worry about a good health plan. Heymondo offers incredible flexibility and great plans!
You never know if the worse could happen while you’re abroad, and your insurance plan at home often will not cover medical emergencies abroad. Having peace of mind with a good backup plan helps us sleep at night.
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Packing Tips For Europe
Determining when and where you will be traveling is important before deciding 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!
You get all four seasons in Europe, and there can be a large discrepancy between the season. Yet, some destinations, like the British Isles, have similar weather throughout the year. I’ll never forget how cold I was on the streets of London in the middle of the 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 please, no hiking clothes 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. It doesn’t matter if you’re crafting your backpacking packing list for Europe. A nice outfit will still come in handy.
I would also pack a few pairs of shoes for any European trip. Good walking shoes are essential, as well as shower sandals 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 often, so always consider that.
What Not to Pack for Europe?
You’ll likely be spotted as a tourist anyway, so don’t stress over how to dress in Europe. It’s also worth noting there are many regional differences as the continent is culturally diverse. You won’t know the cultural norms unless you’re a repeat visitor.
There aren’t any rules on clothing in Europe, and we’ve rarely felt out of place. The idea of being treated as an “Ugly American” tourist has much to do with the individual travelers and their attitudes. Approach Europe open-mindedly, and you’ll receive the same treatment no matter what you wear.
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 money to get you by for a day or so. We don’t recommend you travel with excessive cash in your luggage.
ATMs are prevalent everywhere and often give a flat exchange rate. Also, avoid ATMs that official banks do not operate as they utilize shady menus and practices to provide garbage exchange rates. This saves you the liability of walking around with tons of cash.
Bright Neon Colors
Before I left for my first trip worldwide, I colored my hair brown to “blend in.” While I wanted to blend in, I still brought hot pink and lime green shirts to Denmark, Germany, and Holland. I stuck out like a sore thumb. Neutral colors work best. And don’t color your hair darker, like twenty-year-old me!
When you travel anywhere, we suggest leaving valuable jewelry at home. When you travel with expensive items, save them for special occasions and store them in the hotel safe. Sometimes, we store large sums of cash or expensive items in the hotel’s master safe.
Boys – please don’t get caught in a baseball hat in Europe like you are going to a sports bar for a Football game. You will 100% be pegged for as an American tourist – and not in a good way.
You’ll see some Europeans in flatbill hats from the American Hip-Hop culture. However, that is by no means the average European.
White Athletic Socks
Europeans do not wear white socks or mid-calf socks with shorts. Try to wear patterns and black socks, or match your socks to your pants.
Final Packing Advice For Europe
You don’t need to pack everything on this list! There are no hard rules here, and packing doesn’t need to be stressful, nor do you need to buy all new stuff. We have a lot of suggestions, and we’re certain you’ve got similar items in your closet at home. Many obvious things are missing, like a toothbrush, cosmetics, or your passport!
I advise packing a few wardrobe staples and going easy on the luggage. It will keep your luggage light while having a multitude of outfits for different occasions. The key is finding versatile items and having an idea of the season/climate of your trip. Everyone has a different style and plans!
Plan For Your Trip
- Protect Your Trip: We don’t travel without travel insurance, nor should you. You never know what can happen while traveling, so it’s best to be prepared. HeyMondo provides excellent short-term and long-term travel insurance plans.
- Find Cheap Flights: Sign up for Going (formerly Scotts Cheap Flights) to get notified when prices get ultra low.
- Travel Adapter: Make sure you find a good adapter to keep your personal electronics charged. Otherwise, you may be paying for a cheap one once you land. Purchase one here.
- Travel Backpack: We like the Nomatic Travel Backpack for our travels. Check the price here.
- Our Favorite Travel Shoes: Our answer to this question is always ALLBIRDS! Check them out on their site!
- Get a Travel Credit Card: We travel worldwide for free because we have leveraged our spending into points. See why you should get a travel credit card and how you can do the same with our favorite travel credit cards.
1 thought on “What To Wear in Europe • Ultimate Packing List for Europe”
In October we r going on a walking tour Lake Como area. During the day we will hike in remote areas as well as taking ferries. What types shoes for walking and what type clothes. We r a group of 20 and obviously tourists but I hope to blend in when we stop for lunch and in small towns. Would knit skirts be appropriate. Thank you.