June 9, What to Pack for a European Vacation

A friend of mine (and loyal reader!), Marilyn, recently wrote asking what to pack for a 2 week trip to Europe- so this post is for her- and for anyone else who might be traveling this summer.

My suggestion is to pack as light as possible, especially if you are moving from place to place. When we went, we did 2 different cities, and even that was a pain! I brought my enormous suitcase- and believe me I regretted it every day. Dragging in on the metro was a pain, then dragging it on the old and bumpy streets was a pain, and to top it off, the Air B&B we rented was on the 5th floor of a very old building with no elevator and a teeny tiny winding staircase and it was almost impossible to get that damn suitcase up the stairs! Plus, I didn’t need most of the clothes I brought!

So… my ideal packing list is as follows:

Tops- Black tank (or t shirt), White tank (or t shirt), Striped tank, 1 or 2 patterned tops, chambray shirt, solid sweater

Jackets- Bomber jacket or Denim jacket, Utility style Jacket with pockets and hood 

Bottoms- Dark wash jeans, Black Jeans, skirt, black dress

Shoes– sporty tennis shoes, brown leather comfy sandals, black sandals . Make sure your shoes are SUPER comfortable. You may walk 10 miles a day!

Purses– 1 cross body bag

Scarves– 2 scarves (I brought 1, and then bought one there! Which made for a fun souvenir)

Hat– 1 baseball hat 

Jammies– leggings (that could be worn in the day in a pinch) + tank or t shirt

Socks– If you want to wear socks with your tennis shoes, I would suggest bringing no show Smart Wool socks. They are my favorite!

** Bring slip shorts to wear under skirt and dress to prevent chafing 

Here are 3 different versions of a black dress to bring. Any of these would work!

Outfit combos: 

  1. Dark jeans + striped top + sweater + tennis shoes
  2. Dark jeans + printed top + utility Jacket + tennis shoes 
  3. Dark jeans + white tank + scarf + sandals
  4. Dark jeans + black tank + bomber jacket + black sandals 
  5. Black jeans + black tank + denim shirt + statement necklace 
  6. Black jeans + printed top + sandals 
  7. Black jeans + white tank + bomber jacket + scarf
  8. Skirt + striped tank + utility Jacket + tennis shoes
  9. Skirt + white tank + denim shirt + leather sandals 
  10. Skirt + white tank + scarf + sweater 
  11. Black Dress alone
  12. Black Dress with denim jacket, hat and tennis shoes 
  13. Black dress with scarf
  14. I’m sure you could come up with even more combos than I show here

The idea is to chose basic colors that work well together- then add a few fun prints in to mix things up a bit.

You may also want to bring a pair of black shorts in case it is warm! Keep in mind that very few places in Europe have air conditioning, but depending on what time of year you go this may not be a problem. We went to London and Paris in late June and July, and it was actually very pleasant, low 70’s. Also, a bathing suit is probably not necessary, depending on where you are going- and unless you know your hotel has a pool. 

Another idea is instead of the cross body bag, is to consider a backpack. I used one when we went to Europe, and I could throw my coat and/or scarf in there in case I needed it, plus it held snacks, my map, guidebook, bottle of water… you name it. Yes, I looked like a tourist, but so what!

Lastly, remember to wear your bulkiest clothes on the plane!

Have a fabulous trip- and let me know if you have any suggestions that I may have missed. I love hearing good ideas for traveling light! Even though we aren’t headed to Europe this summer, I am headed to Kansas for 2 weeks and would love to hear your tips!

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