When it came time to pack for our two-month trip to Europe, I told myself everything I brought needed to fit in my 21” carry-on suitcase and North Face backpack, both pictured above. Also pictured is a yellow stripped market bag that I fell in love with during our time in Provence, but I carried that around empty to get through airport security.
A week before our trip, I thought to myself, “Packing for two months will be a piece of cake!”, but ultimately, I had to reconsider my packing list several times before I was able to zip my suitcase. I also have to confess that after a few weeks I ended up sending a several items home with my mom: a pair of long yoga pants (it was way too hot for them), a white blouse, and some souvenirs.
In this post, I provide general packing tips for spending more than a couple of weeks in Europe, and a list of items that I packed in both my suitcase and backpack!
General Packing Tips
When travelling to Europe for more than a couple of weeks, I recommend the following:
- Leave all electronic hair appliances (hair dryers, straighteners, curlers) at home
- You may think you can’t live without them, but keep in mind that hair dryers are often provided in Airbnbs and hotels. These appliances are heavy and require a power converter. Even when you convert the power there’s a risk of them overheating and burning your hair!
- Leave your “special occasion items” (high heels and fancy dresses) at home
- Unless you have a specific occasion for which you are certain you will use them, leave these items behind. An alternative to heels is to bring a comfortable pair of wedge sandals that you can also wear while touring.
- Pack solid colored clothes over loud patterned clothes
- While there is an argument to be made that patterned clothes hide stains more easily than solids, I recommend sticking to solids because they can be easier to mix and match – enabling you to create more combinations
- Pack solid deodorant over liquid: it won’t count towards your liquid allotment! I recommend the brand Native. If you click on the link you will get a free travel size deodorant with your purchase!
- Pack Sudafed. It is common to catch a cold while travelling, and in Europe Sudafed is difficult to find.
- Try to limit single use plastics by purchasing refillable toiletry bottles that you will keep long-term rather than disposable samples that you will discard.
- Leave room in your suitcase for souvenirs, or pack an additional bag that folds up. This way, if you find an item you want to purchase you can check your bag on the way home and use the folded bag as your carry on.
Below is a picture of the contents of my carry-on suitcase.
- 1 loose cardigan (great for plane rides, and chilly evenings)
- 2 long sleeved shirts (these came in handy in the Baltics)
- 3 v-neck tops (all solid colors – white, black, and gray)
- 2 sleeveless button up shirts (all solid colors – blue and yellow)
- 3 tank tops (I originally packed only one sleeveless shirt, but purchased two during our trip)
- 3 dresses (I originally packed only one dress, but purchased two during our trip)
- 2 pairs of Crocs Sandals
- 1 pair of Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars
- 2 pairs of shorts (one white pair one navy pair)
- 1 jean skirt
- 1 pair of long dark jeans
- 1 pair of jean capris
- 1 pair of white linen capris
- 1 pair of yoga capris (I ended up sending my pair of long yoga pants home with my mother. At home I wear long yoga pants frequently, but even on travel days felt they were too hot!)
- 1 Bathing suit
- 1 Bathing suit cover-up
- 1 Longchamp purse
- 1 reusable grocery bag
- 1 scarf
- 9 pairs of underwear
- 3 pairs of socks
- 4 bras
- 1 brown leather belt
- 1 SteriPen: a handheld UV water purifier (this is a lifesaver when it comes to limiting your use of single-use water bottles)
- 2 toiletry bags (containing shampoo, soap, lotion, toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, deodorant, make-up, face wash, band-aids, Ibuprofen, Sudafed, tide pens, and Tide detergent packets)
Below is a picture of the contents of my backpack.
- Water bottle
- Computer and charger
- Journal – shout out to my mom for the beautiful journal cover that she embroidered for me!
- Raincoat & umbrella
- Charger cords
- Selfie stick
- Pencil pouch – containing pens, earphones, travel scissors and scotch tape (useful for taping souvenirs in to your journal)
- Logic Puzzle book and note pad – I wish I would have left these two items at home