Packing is a chore that no one enjoys. The number of times we’ve sat there and thought- “what I should I pack for Europe? Or what do I pack for Europe in the fall specifically” is more than we could count.
Europe in the fall requires a little more planning that Europe in the summer. There are layers to consider to make sure that you’re portraying the right look- there’s something about traveling around Paris with the chic Parisians that makes you want to make sure that you look really put together.
Now, here’s the thing- you don’t need to go all out when packing for Europe, chances are that you have everything that you need already, but just in case you don’t we’ve gone ahead and pulled together this packing list for Europe to get you ready!
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Before we start, here are a few things that you need to know as you're creating your packing list before traveling :
TRAVEL PACKING LIST ESSENTIALS
CARRY ON BAG: This is where you’re going to store most of your essentials like passport, laptop, Kindle, charger, and pretty much everything else that you’ll need easy access to on the flight or on the go.
We’re in love with this: Lily & Drew Carry On Weekender Overnight Travel Shoulder Bag
PACKING CUBES: They will change your life. No packing list is complete without these essentials.
These ones changed our lives: Gonex Compression Packing Cubes
PASSPORT HOLDER: We know people recommend having a really “secure” passport pouch, but you really just need something that will keep your passport, possibly Nexus card, and boarding passes together and will make sure that your passport doesn’t get damaged. No one really needs to wear their passport around their neck.
We use this one: Villini – Leather RFID Blocking US Passport Holder
ALLERGY MEDS: You’d be surprised at how often this comes in handy.
WHAT TO WEAR IN EUROPE IN THE FALL and winter
- Swimsuit– only if there is a hot tub or swimming pool at your hotel (or you’re heading to Iceland or Budapest).
- Cardigan– perfect to throw over the dress or on a flight.
- Leather Jacket– (bonus points if it’s vintage)
- Transitional Dress– make sure this is one that you can dress up if needed at night or wear with sneakers during the day.
- Blouses – think layers here. 1 could be a dressy t-shirt, one could be a sleeveless shirt to wear under the leather jacket with a scarf.
- Scarf/pashmina– can easily dress up a dress, jeans and t-shirt look and can be used on airplanes to stay warm.
- Jeans- you only need one pair. Don’t pack more than 1 pair.
- Tights/leggings- you can throw these on under dresses or long sweaters with calf length boots and you instantly look chic!
- Rain jacket– you’d be surprised at how often it rains in Europe in the fall.
- Stylish Winter coat– the line between fall and winter blurs easily. Grab a winter to stay warm!
- Cute sneakers/walking shoes– this is the most important thing for a pleasant trip.
- Booties or knee-high wedges– for when you want to look a bit dressy or put together.
- Jewelry/ accessories– earrings, and a pretty necklace can instantly dress up an outfit.
Keep these items handy on flights, or on trains.
- Makeup- Really recommend using contact cases or sample containers for makeup. Bring a small eyeshadow palette, and blush if needed.
- Shampoo and conditioner– Bring your favorite shampoo and conditioner in travel size bottles because regardless of how fancy your hotel is, there’s a possibility that the conditioner is not going to work with your hair.
- Toothbrush + Toothpaste– (because duh)
- Hand sanitizer– this can be wipes or liquid. We travel with both. And make sure these are really easily accessible.
- Comb/hairbrush– whatever makes your hair look better.
- Sheet masks– these are essential for long-haul flights. A great way to freshen up after sitting on a plane or wandering around a new city.
- Face spray– same as above, but a bit quicker to apply.
- Deodorant– because obviously
- Lip balm– chapped lips while travelling are a thing. Seriously.
(So here’s the thing- you don’t REALLY need of the gadgets below, and if you can leave your laptop at home, we really recommend it)
- Cell phone- ideally get one that is unlocked so you can pop in a European SIM in there.
- Adapter– Most universals ones work all over Europe (except Switzerland).
- External battery pack– There are multiple options here. We like these ones because it gets us 2-3 full iPhone charges. Perfect for when we’re using offline maps, or are on the go.
- Camera– You really don’t need to bring this as most cell phones these days are doing a fine and dandy job. You’d be surprised to know how many of our images are taken on our cell phones- but if you want to up your travel photography and not look like a tourist, we recommend the Sony 6000 withe 16-50mm lens. It’s mirrorless- aka lightweight and takes great pics! Great camera and you can easily toss it in your bag when you’re not using it.
- Memory card– bring extra. You never know when you’ll fill up a card.
- Laptop– this is strictly optional. Unless you need to do work on the road, we would suggest keeping this at home. We travel with the MacBook Air for work, and because it’s light.
- External hard drive – Obviously you’ll need this if you’re taking a lot of photos- but will only be able to use it if you bring your laptop with you. If you are going to bring your laptop, we recommend these- we’ve been using them for years, and swear by them.
- Headphones– This is perfect for when you want to not listen to people. Which will be often. Also, get bluetooth ones if you can if you have an iPhone because charging via the same port can be a challenge.
PACKING LIST FOR 2 WEEKS IN EUROPE:
It’s honestly the same as above, just find a place to do your laundry, and maybe buy some shampoo. Regardless of whether you’re spending a week or 2 weeks in Europe, everything in your luggage is pretty much the same.
WHAT TO NOT PACK FOR EUROPE
(Seriously, these things should not be on your packing list for Europe)
1. Too many clothes. Seriously, you’ll hate yourself for over packing because you’ll end up wearing the same thing over and over again anyway, and worst case scenario you can always just buy an article of clothing if you really need something. For example, I realized that I forgot to pack a long sleeve maxi dress for my latest trip to Morocco- and you know what I did- I went to the souks and bought one for $11. I still wear it to this day.
2. Too much cash. There are ATMs everywhere. Check with your bank before you leave to know ATMs don’t charge a fee, and take out cash as needed.
3. Too many electronics because a) the voltage is different and may ruin your batteries, b) you might misplace or damage them, and c) they are heavy.
4. Kindle over books. As much as we love paperback books, they must not be on your European packing list. Instead, buy a Kindle read all the books you want!
Travel Packing List Secrets:
Always wear your heaviest clothes on travel days. This included boots, heavy sweaters, jeans etc. It’s the easiest way to not struggle with trying to lose your luggage.
If possible, trying to only travel with a carry-on- yes, we know it’s hard, but you’re going to be counting your lucky stars when you watch your fellow travelers struggle with lost luggage (which happens way too often- hence the travel insurance!)
Back up all of your electronics at home. Because you never know.