Planning a trip to Europe and wondering what to pack? Don’t miss this complete packing list for Europe – with key essentials and seasonal additions to help you plan your trip.
Packing for Europe is a tough call and getting your packing right is going to depend on a lot of different factors.
How long are you going for? Are you travelling with checked luggage or carry on only? Which season are you going in?
That’s a lot of questions right there – I can already feel you starting to give in to the temptation to shove a whole load of stuff in and hope for the best.
Step away from the luggage. There’s no need to panic, or to pack everything – making your case so heavy that you can barely pick it up.
This Europe packing list will walk you though:
- What to pack for Europe
- Additional things to consider when packing for Europe in the Spring/ Summer / Fall and Winter
- Practical tips to help you ensure you don’t pack too much
In short – everything you need to pack efficiently, conveniently and stylishly for your Europe trip.
What to Pack for Europe
Packing essentials for Europe at any time of the year.
You might think that starting a packing list talking about luggage is a bit of a hot take, but hear me out. Luggage can make or break a trip, so you’ll want to choose carefully. Convenience and durability are two big factors you need to consider before you set off.
So what luggage should you use? I’ll do a quick breeze through the pros and cons of the main options below.
A rolling suitcase is super convenient to roll around places like the airport, and put way less strain on your back.
The downside of rolling suitcases for Europe is that historic cobbled streets just weren’t made for this modern invention. Anyone who has undergone the mortifying shame of your suitcase clack clack clacking along a street for what feels like eternity knows what I’m talking about.
That said, I tend to travel with rolling suitcases these days because they’re so easy to get around with. Pick a hard-shell case to protect your belongings.
I love the convenience of a backpack but really can’t go past the style factor of a nice rolling case. The solution? A convertible backpack.
With these, you can wear them as a backpack or change it up to roll like a suitcase. Options are always good when travelling and I love a smart design like this.
I’m not sure how I didn’t discover packing cubes way earlier. I can only imagine how many packing-related frustrations could have been avoided if I had.
Packing cubes are lightweight and keep your suitcase in Marie Kondo organised perfection. You’ll be able to find everything you need in a jiffy, and it helps you to fit more into your suitcase.
A good daypack is definitely a must on your Europe trip packing list. This is especially the case if you’re planning on doing any hikes.
A good daypack is light, with straps that are comfortable and distribute weight evenly. You’ll also want to have a peek inside to make sure it’s keeping everything well organised.
A handbag is definitely on my list of things to pack for Europe. A great bag is the perfect addition to any outfit, and it keeps things stylish.
Consider security when it comes to handbags. Pickpocketing is an issue, especially in large cities, so you’ll want something that can be secured.
Reusable Canvas Bag
Plastic shopping bags are so 2015. Around the world, more and more countries are banning single-useplastic.
Even where they’re not banned, they can still wreak havoc on the local environment. Do your bit and bring along a canvas bag instead.
I know, I know – this is the part of any travel packing list for Europe that causes the most headaches. You want to look your stylish best, without bringing your entire wardrobe.
Firstly, take a look at the general weather trends so you know what kind of conditions you’ll be dealing with. Then set about putting together a wardrobe.
I’m a big fan of capsule wardrobes, where a small number of pieces go together in many different combinations. It’s a quick and easy way to look super stylish on the road.
I recommend bringing a handful of tops in fairly neutral colours and patterns. While I’m a big fan of loud clothing, you don’t want to waste too much time trying to find things that match.
You’ll also want to bring a selection of short and long sleeves, especially if you’re travelling in spring or fall.
Ahhhh, what says “stylish Europtrip” more than a beautiful, billowy skirt. They’re comfy, stylish and super versatile as well.
I love a maxi or midi skirt, however depending on your style and the length of your trip, you might like to throw a mini in as well.
Like skirts, pretty dresses are a staple of pretty much every packing list for Europe in summer. They’re so easy to wear and look gorgeous as well.
I like to bring at least one casual dress, but it’s ideal if you also bring something that’s easily dressed up or down.
Trousers and Pants
Trousers and travel pants are definitely a must for your travel list for Europe. Jeans are the perfect addition to any casual outfit, while loose trousers are also ideal for hiking or more active pursuits.
Outerwear is a definite must in Europe. Even if you’re considering heading to Europe in spring or summer, you’ll still want to add in a jacket or two in case of any chilly days.
Be sun smart, kids! Not only are hats important to stop yourself getting burnt (no one wants to look like a lobster in their holiday snaps) but they are also super stylish.
My pick is a wide-brimmed hat. They get maximum marks in the style and the practical departments.
Let’s be honest, hitting the beach or hotel pool is pretty much non-negotiable for a fabulous summer trip. So you won’t want to forget your swimwear.
What you choose is pretty much up to you and your style. Just make sure you’d tried it on beforehand and that it makes you feel fab.
So travel socks are not the sexiest thing you need when travelling to Europe, but they are important. Travel socks can help you stave off baddies like DVT or blisters, while also keeping you warm and comfy.
They’re especially important if you’re planning on doing any hiking or a lot of walking (which is pretty likely).
Don’t underestimate the importance of some comfy undies for your trip.
I recommend bringing plenty, as they don’t take up much room and you don’t want to be doing your washing every couple of days. There’s way more fun things to do than that.
Footwear can be a difficult one when considering what to pack when travelling to Europe. They’re a definite must, but they can take up a lot of room – so choose wisely.
Comfortable Travel Shoes / Trainers
Nothing ruins a day exploring an amazing city quicker than getting a blister. That’s why I never leave London without a pair of comfy travel shoes or trainers in my bag.
I’m a huge fan of Tropicfeel’s Geyser trainers for cooler months – they’re great for walking around the city but are great hiking trainers for hikes where you don’t need much ankle support. I use the brand’s Canyon trainers during the warmer months.
Stylish Travel Shoes
Just as important as a comfy option is a pair that make you feel fabulous as soon as you put them on. Whether it’s a pair of gorgeous boots or maybe your fave heels (that you can walk in easily), you can consider adding in a pretty option.
There’s no point in me lying, I do not bring pretty shoes when I travel anymore, I just think they take up too much space for very little use, but I tend to err on the scruffy side of things, so you can make your own decision.
Hiking Boots / Sandals
If you’re planning on hiking then some proper boots or sandals are a must. They are comfy and help protect you from slipping and hurting yourself.
Boots are a classic option, but if you’re travelling in summer you might prefer to opt for some lighter hiking sandals.
There are a whole raft of items that should make it onto the best packing list for Europe, but often don’t.
We’ve all grumbled as we’ve paid an extortionate amount for something at the airport – so save money and buy it ahead of time if you think you’ll need it.
A must-have if you’re camping or staying in hostels where they’re not provided, but super helpful for any trip – particularly if you plan on swinging by a beach or two. They’re lightweight, small and can really help you out if you’re stuck without.
Earplugs and Eye Mask
You’ll be so glad you brought these if there’s a crying baby on your flight or you find your hotel is perched above a nightclub. Plus they take up hardly any room.
If you’re camping or hiking then a torch is definitely a travel necessity for Europe. You don’t want to get caught out trying to find the bathroom with only your phone’s flash – so bring a small but powerful torch instead.
Refillable Water Bottle
Like plastic shopping bags, plastic water bottles are a big environmental no-no. Plus, it gets expensive to keep buying single-use water.
Instead, bring a decent refillable water bottle – a filtered one is ideal if you’re travelling to places where the tap water isn’t safe to drink.
The only person who should be spending your money in Europe is YOU. Make sure no dodgy pickpockets get their hands on it by using a discrete money belt.
Worn under your clothes, it’s the perfect place to store your valuables.
Gadgets + Electronics
Who doesn’t love a good gadget while travelling? There are heaps that can make your life way easier – but you’ll also want to make sure you’re going to use them enough to make it worth the space they take up.
While some people say a smartphone is enough to take photos for your Euro trip, I’ve got to disagree. Nothing compares to a good quality camera, which will allow you to capture your amazing moments with a little more creativity.
No packing checklist for travelling to Europe would be complete without some memory cards for your camera. I recommend bringing a few in a durable case, so you don’t need to delete them from the card.
We’ve all experienced the ultimate travel disaster that is realising our battery is flat in front of a beautiful attraction. Avoid this by bringing spare batteries and keeping them charged (but remember you can’t bring them in your hand luggage).
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten this and ended up paying double at the airport. Avoid this and make sure you bring along your universal travel adaptor – a good quality one will last you for years.
External Power Pack
Avoid the disaster that is your phone going flat at an unexpected moment with an external power pack that can give your phone or other devices a boost. It’s especially ideal for long bus or train rides, hiking or overnight camping.
While you can purchase anything you’ve forgotten, there are lots of toiletries to pack for Europe.
This includes; shampoo / dry shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, lip balm with sunscreen moisturiser and for the ladies, don’t forget your feminine hygiene supplies.
If you take any prescription medication, you’ll definitely want to bring them to Europe as it is difficult (and not always possible) to get refills.
I also recommend bringing a small medical kit with essentials like aspirin and plasters. Although most of these are available in Europe, it’s much easier to bring them yourself rather than
Avoid looking like a lobster while travelling in Europe, and protect your skin from long term damage. Sunscreen is a definite must for what to bring to Europe, and I recommend going for at least 50+ SPF for fair skin, 30+ for darker skin.
Travel Essentials for Europe
The ultimate packing list for Europe would not be complete without including all the absolute essentials. Without these items, you really aren’t getting far on your trip.
Passport / Visas
You aren’t even leaving the airport with these ones, so make sure you’ve got these sorted well before you fly.
While bringing your passport is pretty obvious, it’s a common travel mistake not to check the visa requirements before you travel. Don’t get caught out.
None of us want to think about anything going wrong on holiday, and hopefully it won’t. However, you’ll get lots of peace of mind knowing you’re covered in the event of lost luggage, cancellations or accident/illness. Insurance is a definite must for travel to Europe.
Cash / Credit Cards
Sadly, travel is not free so cash and cards are a must.
It’s worth looking into the best travel cards, especially if you are travelling for a few weeks. Ideally, bring more than one and keep them separate, for security reasons. Another security tip is to alert your bank that you’ll be travelling.
While card / Apple/ Google pay is widely accepted in Europe, I still recommend bringing some cash just in case. The cheapest way to do this is to get it out of the ATM once you arrive (away from the airport).
You might also like to bring a little bit that you’ve swapped at home – but keep in mind this is an expensive way to do it.
Tickets and Reservations
It’s common nowadays to just keep these on your phone, but I’ve definitely been caught out without battery or wifi. For that reason, I recommend bringing hard copies of important tickets and reservations just in case.
Emergency Contacts + Addresses
Like with travel insurance, chances are these will remain in your bag untouched. But it’s still a good idea to keep some information about who to contact in an emergency, just in case.
Copies of Important Documents to Keep Separate from Wallet
One of my most important packing tips for a Europe trip is to keep your most important documents separate from your wallet. This includes documents like your passport as well as, ideally, a backup credit card.
This way, even if your wallet gets swiped, you aren’t totally stuck and helpless.
What? A travel blogger recommending an old school guidebook?
Yep, I totally love a good guidebook. They give you a fab overview of a new place, and can be used even if you’ve got no ‘net. Of course, then you should check out my travel blog for more info.
What to Pack for Europe in the Summer
Are you wondering what to pack when going to Europe in summer? Overall, things are usually pretty warm, but you’ll still want to bring some options for the odd cool day.
Quick Dry Beach Towel
I love this invention. Gone are the days of lugging around a damp beach towel in your suitcase for days on end.
Any practical or stylish packing list for Europe in summer should include a pair of sunglasses. They’re important for your eye health (not to sound like your Mum or anything), but they also look great with your outfit too.
The perfect addition to any summer wardrobe in Europe is a good pair of shorts. They’ll keep you cool and looking great – I’m especially a fan of the classic that is a pair of denim cut-offs.
What to Pack for Europe in Spring and Autumn / Fall
If you’re considering a packing list for Europe in fall or spring, you’ll want to keep in mind the weather can be unpredictable. A great way to get around this is to pack layers like a lightweight jumper, which you can add or remove as necessary.
Rain is kind of a given in spring and fall in Europe, so pack accordingly. Like a good Brit, a little rain will never scare me off sightseeing – and a good rainproof jacket certainly helps.
A good one is light and folds up easily, meaning it won’t take up much room in your luggage.
As above, a little rain is no match for a sturdy umbrella. Make sure that rain doesn’t put a dampener (haha) on your plans by bringing a good brolly.
What to Pack for Europe in Winter
Thick Winter Jacket / Coat
Europe in winter is beautiful, romantic, and cold. Really cold. It’s therefore a must to bring a thick winter jacket or coat, so you’ll be warm (and stylish) even when it’s frosty outside.
I read once that you lose most of your body heat through your head… so make sure to put a cosy hat on it. It will keep you toasty warm, and they look super cute as well. Bonus points if it covers your ears from the chill.
Another must for your packing list for Europe in winter is a good scarf. I absolutely love scarves – not only do they do a great job in keeping you warm, but they also add some immediate charm and interest to your outfit.
A colourful one is a great way to instantly add some pizzazz to your clothes.
A good pair of gloves is a must for any men’s or women’s packing list for Europe in winter. Don’t underestimate how much warmer they’ll keep you – you don’t want your fingers going all numb and tingly while wandering around a city. Gloves are a definite must.
Packing Tips for Your Europe Trip
- Versatility is key when choosing what to pack when going to Europe. I love clothes that all wear well together, as well as products with multiple uses.
- Organisation is really key to fitting everything in your suitcase and being able to access it easily. Avoid the nightmare that is having to throw everything out onto the floor, by packing in a sensible way.
- Although it’s tempting to leave packing to the last possible moment, I recommend doing it a day or two before you leave so that you’ll have time to realise if you’ve left anything off your Europe trip packing checklist.
Read More Europe Guides
- The Ultimate Europe Bucket List
- The Insider’s Guide to Travelling Europe
- The Best Places to Visit in Europe
- Stunning City Breaks in Europe
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