The Complete Packing Guide
Packing for Europe in the spring is tricky. The weather can be ALL over the place! I’ve been to Austria in the summer where the temperature dipped down in the 40’s! In other words, it makes packing a veritable nightmare as you need to be prepared for all weather.
Keep scrolling to see my packing list, printable packing list, and the keys to smart packing!
And, you can also access your PRINTABLE PACKING LIST here.
I Left out an umbrella on this list. You can check to see if you hotel has one (if you are staying in one place) otherwise, I recommend a sturdy, easy to open, packing option like this.
1. Pick a color story
Every item you pack should seamlessly work together, like a mini capsule wardrobe. You don’t want to bring a special dress, that requires special shoes and accessories… and only wear those items once. That suitcase real estate is WAY too valuable! Everything should mix and match …and be multi-functional.
2. Limit Shoes & Accessories
You can really get away with just 2 pairs of shoes if you need to…. boots and sneakers. I would suggest bringing 4. Pack one pair of comfortable ankle boots, one pair of dressy ankle boots, one pair of flats, one pair of athletic sneakers and the wild card is one pair of casual sneakers (these can take the place of flats). Remember that most European cities have cobblestone streets so when choosing booties, opt for flats, wedges or chunky heels.
3. Bring 2 handbags
Bring one backpack that you carry on the plane and can use for long day tours. You should also bring one cross-body bag for day or evening. Do NOT carry lots of cash or your passport in your bag. Keep them in your safe in the hotel room.
4. Pack Travel Size Toiletries
Think travel sized skincare set, travel sized lotion, Q-tips, makeup, etc. Skip the shampoo as hotels always have some for you. Also, plan to use the hotel’s hair dryer.
You should customize your packing list based on your exact destination and the climate. This list (below) is a general list for European cities like Paris, London, Vienna, Munich, etc.
Tops & Sweaters
Black Long Sleeve Tee | Here is a crew neck long sleeve tee and here is a v-neck version.
Black Short Sleeve Tee | I love Madewell short sleeve tees. Favorite option for a basic.
Tops | I recommend bringing two to four tops in varying colors/prints to add some life to your travel wardrobe. Look for some of your favorites here.
Black Cardigan Sweater | A black cardigan will be slimming and keep you looking chic
Black Cashmere Sweater | Bloomingdale’s has THE best cashmere (quality) sweaters for the price! Look for the in house brands, “C” or “Aqua.”
Pants & Jeans
Black Jeans | These are very high rise and comfy.
Black Leggings | Spanx leggings helps suck everything in!
Jeans | I would definitely bring a pair of comfortable, high rise skinny jeans in a dark wash like these by AG.
Pants | If you want to bring a pair of chic ankle trousers like these, they would be a nice alternative to jeans.
Basic Black Dress | This depends a lot on your body type. Choose a silhouette that fits and flatters your body. If you have bigger hips and thighs, for example, you may opt for a fit-and-flare, a-line or wrap dress.
Day Dress | Add some color to your travel wardrobe with a printed day dress. Here is an option for less.
Maxi Dress | A long, flowing maxi will transition perfectly from day to night. Here is an option for less.
Coats & Jackets
Trench Coat with Liner | Keep the liner in when it’s chilly and take it out on warmer days.
Black Blazer | My favorite blazer is the Veronica Beard dickey blazer. You can bring a couple of dickeys to transform your look. They will take up almost no room in your suitcase. Here is an option for less.
Pajamas | I would only grab one pair and I might even double up and use one of my tees as jammies. I usually grab a matching pajama set for travel.
Activewear | I would bring one pair of capri leggings, one sports bra and one tank. Depending on your exercise plans, you might want a light jacket too. Bring your activewear “A Team” think brands like: Alala, Alo Yoga, Lululemon, Terez, Blanc Noir, Under Armour and Onzie
Swimsuit | This swimsuit looks amazing on so many different body types, just be sure to size up.
Cover-up | My Favorite cover-up which will also look great as a dress. It even has pockets!
Athletic Sneakers | I think New Balance sneakers have the perfect combination of fashion and function. It’s like walking on clouds!
Casual Sneakers | I love these chic patent sneakers by Kenneth Cole. Comfy too! If you want a lighter pair, take a look at these super cute kicks by Ugg.
Flats / Sandals | Loving these flat sandals by Sam Edelman. They come in a bunch of colors. Just remember to test them out before you go! For ballet flats, I prefer Cole Haan or Sam Edelman “Felicia” flats. And for moccasins, take a look at M.Gemi here.
Ankle Boots | Dressy Ankle Boots | For casual, everyday ankle booties, I would bring a pair like these by Rag & Bone.
I like these suede, sock booties with the chunky heel for your dressy bootie option so you can easily manage cobblestones! But, if space is running low, just bring one pair of booties!
Backpack | The Jetsetter from Henri Bendel is the way to go! Yes, it WILL fit your laptop (and magazines)
Crossbody Bag | I LOVE this chic, Chanel-esque bag by Rebecca Minkoff.
Collar Necklace | This necklace is a classic, elegant option that will work well with everything in your mini wardrobe. Do NOT bring expensive jewelry! Leave your diamonds at home.
Pendant Necklace | This pendant necklace comes in silver, rose gold and gold. I love the simplicity and versatility of it. You can literally wear it with almost everything.
Everyday Earrings | If I don’t wear nice earrings that are plated, my ears get infected. Don’t risk it on a trip with everyday earrings that are not plated. For your statement earrings that you will only wear for short periods, I think it’s fine, but not the pair that you wear everyday. Loving this pair by Tory Burch!
Statement Earrings | I love these drama packed statement earrings!
Silk Scarf | I would opt for a larger scarf and maybe tie a smaller one on your bag.
For ways to wear your small, silk scarves, be sure to check out this video here.
Warm scarf | A warm wrap or infinity scarf is great to throw on to add some interest and warmth to your look!
Sunglasses | I think aviators are the most classic option, but I would likely throw in a glam pair too! They really don’t take up that much space, and you can put two pairs of sunglasses in one case. I wouldn’t bring really expensive sunglasses because there is a high probability you will lose or damage them.
Reversible Belt | I have this one by Salvatore Ferragamo that I wear all the time. Here is the same idea for a lot less!
Umbrella | A small compact umbrella that is sturdy is best.
Black T-Shirt Bra | I would buy this bra in both nude and black. It’s super comfortable and smooth under your clothes!
Nude T-Shirt Bra | Thirdlove makes a great bra. The straps have ridges on them to keep your tops in place.
Strapless Bra | This one by Wacoal is a winner!
Pasties | These “Nippies” nipple covers work well if the girls are sitting high!
Nude Panties | These Natori panties are HEAVEN!
Black Panties | The same panties also come in French cut here.
No Show Panties | Hanky Panky makes the best no show panties.
Wool Blend Socks | I would bring one or two pairs of wool blend socks to keep your feet warm
No Show Socks | For your moccasins or ballet flats, some no show socks here.
Short Crew Socks | These are the socks I love for ankle boots
Power Adapter | I would pick up a small, international adapter so you don’t have a bunch of plugs floating around.
Lipstick Charger | The lipstick size is perfect for your handbags!
Camera & SD Cards | I mostly use my iphone X, but if you are looking for a great point and shoot, try Sony. This one (SONY DSC RX-100 IV) gets highest ratings by PC Magazine and CNet. Don’t forget extra SD cards!
Noise Cancelling Headphones | These cost a little extra than the ear buds, but you will be SO glad you have these when babies start crying and you are trying to watch a movie.
Download Magazines | You can download all of your favorite magazines via Texture here.
Skincare & Makeup
Skincare Travel Kit | I featured this set in a blog here. It’s SO good!
All-in-One Palette | Charlotte Tilbury makes a great, all-in-1 palette. I featured the all-in-1 here.
Lip Balm | My lips always get super dry on the airplane so I love to slather this on.
Red lipstick | Easiest way to add some color and pop to your look, a red lip! My favorite red lipstick is Sephora lip stain in “Always Red” … It will stay put for HOURS!
Dry shampoo | Dry shampoo will be your best friend. You can make it three days without washing your hair when you use this stuff. I LOVE Dove’s dry shampoo here.
Hand Sanitizer | You will thank me when you sit down on the plane and the person next to you is hacking up a lung.
First Aid Kit | Band-aids, Neosporin, antiseptic wipes, Immodium, tiny scissors, Advil, etc.
Sunscreen | I LOVE Supergoop sunscreen and they have a ton of options, including a sunscreen mist or powder.
Stain Remover Pen | Tide to Go pens are tiny and helpful if you have a spill
I always pack an extra drawstring bag for laundry. You might want to throw some laundry detergent packets in your suitcase if you need to wash stuff in the tub or sink. I would also recommend grabbing a Tide to Go pen for stains. And, a small bottle of wrinkle reducer spray.
Sadly, you should probably leave ALL of your hair stuff at home, including your curling iron, hair dryer, straightener, etc. You don’t want to have the blonde moment I did in Iceland when I plugged in my favorite curling iron and watched it burn out and blow the fuse. Fortunately, my husband is handy and we got the lights working again. But, save yourself and leave this stuff behind. You can find out more about my Iceland trip here.
If you roll your clothes, you can fit more into the suitcase. It also helps with wrinkles. Packing cubes are also pretty amazing. I just ordered the set from Amazon here. I bought sets for all of us.
Do NOT wait until the last minute to pack your suitcase. You will be frazzled, anxious and undoubtedly forget something. You are also more likely to over pack. When you plan ahead, you can carefully and methodically pack and plan so you are prepared.
I would call your cell service provider and find out if you can get a minimal international plan. You need to be able to reach people from home, or call for help in an emergency. This is about your safety, so definitely plan to invest in the extended service.
Did I miss something? What are your key travel pieces??
*Special thanks to Susan from Telluride Inside and Out for sharing her expert travel and packing tips with me!
Please let me know if you have any questions. When you subscribe to my exclusive newsletter, I will send you a printable packing list!
Thank you SO much for stopping by!
14 thoughts on “Complete Packing List For Your Trip to Europe (in the Spring)”
This is great. The boys and I are headed to Switzerland in March. I would definitely be into looking at the packing list for the kids from Iceland if you have it. 🙂 Thank you for all that you do Erin!
Thank you so much for this post, Erin!! We are traveling to Paris from Texas in March for our 20th Wedding Anniversary! This post will be so helpful as I organize and pack all of us! Xo, Margaret
That trip will be SO magical! I LOVE Paris. They are the absolute chicest women in the world… so be sure to pack well. Scarves and black are MUSTS.
Hi Erin, did you have a post on packing list for Iceland? We are planning a one week trip in October. We also have two young kids. Want to know the must haves. Thanks.
If you type in “Iceland” in my search box, you’ll find the blog I did, complete with packing list! http://busbeestyle.com/2017/12/08/planning-trip-to-iceland/
What size suitcase did you plan for this pack list? Carry on size or larger?
This would work best with large suitcase, checked.
And, carry on roller bag. Put toiletries and technology in roller bag. Clothes and shoes in large suitcase.
Thank you, Erin. Could you follow up with outfit combos from this list for those stylishly-impaired : )
LOL. I will pepper these in for sure! I have to get some trendy pieces in first… Thanks so much! Erin xo
As a Texan look bing n England and traveling Europe, I can attest to Europeans wearing a lot of black. Their closets or wardrobes are so small that you can easily create a mix and match capsule of black. When in doubt, just pack black and you’ll be fine. Comfortable shoes are a must though. We walk at least 5 miles every day!
Thank you so much, Margaret. Yes, LOTS of black…and they always look amazing! I like to blend in and not stand out as a tourist. Erin xo
I love this list! I’m heading to France in May and this list is my new best friend!!! Ty sooo much Erin!!??❤️❤️
Thank you, Erin. This is so helpful as I will be cruising to Alaska at the end of May. Only 7 days will be on the ship and then 7 days on land traveling by riverboat, bus, train, plane to fly back to Dallas! Whew! Starting to think now about what to pack with 2 formal nights and 5 smart casual dinners! Shoes are the issue depending on weather and walking paths on land. I did view Marni’s vlogs on her trip to Alaska, also helpful. I never miss your posts and you can’t imagine how much you have helped me up my style after retirement! I made a few bad clothing choices lol but overall, I am no longer feeling invisible and exude confidence. Strangers and friends comment favorably. I was career sales for over 30 years and now navigating new territory and purpose. Once again, thank you for your efforts.
That’s a LOT of packing… I think this list will be a great springboard! I would skip ball gowns, and opt instead for a space saving, sleek gown or cocktail dress. I’m guessing most people will be in cocktail attire rather than full blown black tie. Have a wonderful trip! Erin xo
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