Once you start planning a trip to Europe, it’s tempting to expand
your journey from a single destination to several. Inexpensive
intra-continental flights and the speed of the local
rail system make it easier than ever to explore multiple
countries during a single trip. And, considering the cost of flying to
gateway cities like London, Rome, and Paris (fares can easily exceed
$1,000 round trip) that’s exactly what most U.S.-based travelers do.
When traveling Europe, you’ll be packing for multiple destinations,
diverse cultural experiences, and varied activities. That’s a lot for
a single trip and although it will make for one incredible adventure,
it can also make packing itself one serious challenge! To help you
plan to journey to multiple
European locales and climates (without getting saddled with
excess baggage fees) we share which items you really need to pack—and
which “essentials” you can do without.
Are you planning to roll your luggage throughout your journey—or do
you need straps and a comfortable frame so that you can easily carry
your gear from place to place? If you’re traveling to Europe (where
modern boutique hotels meet ancient piazzas), the answer is almost
certainly going to be “both.” Fortunately, with a hybrid
piece of luggage), you can easily switch back and forth between
your preferred methods of toting your stuff.
For many stops on your European trip, your bag can and probably will
be rolled—so why put the extra weight and work on your shoulders? In
those instances where rough cobblestoned streets or endless staircases
(think Venice) are the norm, the ability to convert your luggage to a
backpack can be a real lifesaver, landing it at the top of the list
for the best travel backpack for Europe. A few top considerations for
bags that match packing conveniences with the rigors of European
Convertible International Carry-On: Extreme durability
through abrasion-resistant fabric and oversized treaded wheels ensure
you’ll be ready for even the bumpiest cobblestone streets Europe
throws your way. Backpack straps will help you navigate stairs and
internal compression straps ensure you can fit everything you plan to pack.
Companion 65L: This is the perfect option for backpackers
planning to cover a lot of territory and willing to forego the wheels
for ultra mobility. This book-style opening is among the best
features, alongside ergonomically designed shoulder and waist straps
for maximum comfort with padding and moisture wicking to reduce sweat
on the body. The laptop sleeve, numerous safety features, and women’s
fit option round-out this backpack’s meticulous design.
Warrior Convertible Carry-On: Perhaps the best of both
worlds, this bag includes a built-in daypack. The main pack features a
convenient book-style opening as well as burly wheels with a huge tire
for the ultimate more off-road capability.
Step 2: Pack in Layers
One unchanging truth about Europe: The weather is constantly
changing, often going from warm and sunny to wet
and chilly in a single afternoon—and that’s if you’re standing
in one spot! Deciding what to wear in Europe is tough, because if you
hop on a flight between Dublin and Southern Italy you may feel like
you’re in another world (at least as far as the climate is concerned).
When packing travel clothes for Europe, make sure you always stay
comfortable and stylish by choosing clothing that you can layer,
selecting thin breathable fabrics like cotton, and knits that can keep
you warm in the early morning and are easily peeled back as the
temperature rises. Stash one lighter, hooded waterproof jacket in
your luggage and
wear or carry a heavier jacket or coat to save space.
If you’re going to over-pack anything, over-pack socks (stuff them
into your shoes and between the small, empty spaces in your bag) and
underwear. You can never have too many fresh pairs of either essential
and they fit perfectly in a Pack-It
Step 3: Choose Comfortable Footwear
Thanks to those aforementioned cobblestone streets, walking around
most places in Europe is far more comfortable when you’re wearing a
comfortable pair of walking shoes, with plenty of support and cushion.
As far as travel shoes for Europe goes, this is pretty critical.
Fortunately, there are some really stylish ones out there that can
also look good when going out to dinner at a nicer restaurant. So
what’s the best way to pack shoes?
For Europe, I recommend trying to limit your shoe packing to two
pairs if you’re packing for summer in Europe: one open-air pair of
sandals and one closed shoe that can be worn with socks. If you’re
packing for winter temperatures, consider boots appropriate to your
primary location (boots for Italy are much different than boots
intended for Finland
adventures!), as well as comfortable closed-toed shoes for
navigating in cities. We know it’s tough, but you’ll thank yourself
for it later. Whether you bring two pairs or four, we recommend using
Specter Shoe Sac to keep all those dirty cobblestones from
touching the clean clothes in your bag.
Step 4. Lock Down Your Packing System
The best method for fitting everything into a single bag and make
your gear easy to access? Adopting your own organized packing system.
Mine came together thanks to Eagle Creek’s Pack-It
Specter Compression Cubes. I started using the cubes last year
and wondered how I traveled for so long without them! I put all my
bottoms (pants and skirts) in one cube, tops in another, and use the
smaller one for underwear.
Not only do the cubes help compress your clothing down to a more
manageable size, but because each type of clothing has its own special
spot (much like they do in your drawers at home), it makes moving from
place to place on the road a lot faster and less stressful. Say
goodbye to the “exploding bag” syndrome that seems to happen once
you’ve unzipped your bag in the fifth destination!
Expert packing tip
: Starting with the “basics” when planning your packing
list for Europe, and use a set of packing cubes and lightweight garment folders to keep your items
organized, and a hanging toiletry kit for your bathroom essentials.
Step 5: Add in Essential Travel Accessories
Don’t forget the smaller essentials you’ll need on your journey.
Universal Travel Adapter is a good bet for plug-in items in
Europe—it offers various prong configurations to use with plugs found
in different countries. Plus, you can use it when traveling to other
parts of the world as well. To be eco-friendly,
pack your own water bottle; most water in Europe can be sipped
directly from the tap, and many cities have public drinking fountains
for filling up. A non-BPA plastic bottle is the most lightweight bet,
or check out the collapsible kind for ultimate portability.
Other useful items to put on your packing list are a TSA
lock and cable for your luggage (helpful when riding trains or
buses to prevent theft); a travel
mask, and ear
plugs; a travel
blanket; and money
belt or hidden
pocket. When it comes to all of those items you consider packing
“just in case,” leave those behind. Remember, if you do forget
something or need something else, you can always buy it once you reach
your European destination.
And part of your packing system from Step 4 should include a set
of packing sacs to keep track of all these little items floating
around your bag when not in use—think chap sticks, hats, sunscreen, etc.
Packing List for Europe
Packing for Europe should be a fun experience, but it can get
overwhelming quickly if you aren’t prepared. Below is a packing list
for two weeks in Europe, but you can adjust it according to your
travel agenda. The intent is to get you started with a good packing
list for European summer, and with tips on how you can personalize it
from there depending on your destinations and the seasons.
Expert packing tip
: Start with the following “basics” list when planning your packing
list for Europe, and use a set
of packing cubes and lightweight
garment folders to keep your items organized.
So, without further ado, here’s your Europe travel checklist:
● Lightweight, hooded waterproof breathable jacket
● Warmer jacket or coat (carry-on)
● Several tops that can layer together
● Pair of jeans and another pair of either high-tech pants or shorts
● One skirt or dress for women (and leggings for winter travel)
● Socks and underwear
● Two pairs of comfortable walking shoes
and travel pillow
● Travel towel
lock and cable
● Electric adapter
● Water bottle
money belt or hidden wallet
● Reading material or device
● Mp3 player for music, and/or mobile phone
● Camera and plenty of SD card storage
● Chargers for your electronics
● Personal cosmetics and grooming items (keep it minimal)
● Sunscreen and lip balm
● Feminine products for women
bag of medicine (include aspirin, upset stomach pills, and motion
These travel essentials should get you started when deciding what to
pack for Europe. Packing can be overwhelming if you don’t have a plan,
so spend some time making a list well in advance of your trip.
Lastly, it is always best to do some research on the best travel
bags and the best luggage for European travel to ensure you have TSA compliant
gear. Strategically plan what you’re going to take so that you
have the best carry
on backpack or the best lightweight
luggage, so that you can pack efficiently.
Always use a packing
checklist before you leave to ensure you pack all of the gear
you need for an epic vacation, then explore how the Pack-It
System can help you travel better.
Original™ Cube Set
Specter™ Sac Set
Related links (from Eagle Creek blog):
the World Travel: How to Pack for Your Trip
European Vacations for the Crowd-Phobic