The Ultimate European Summer Vacation Packing Checklist (2024)

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Overpacking is the quickest way to start your European trip off on the wrong foot. Charming cobblestone streets, boutique hotels without elevators, and packed public transportation mean you don’t want to be hauling around an oversized suitcase.

A streamlined European packing list is essential—you want to look good in all your photos in front of famous sites, blend in with local fashion, and be comfortable for miles of walking every day.

We’ve put together the ultimate European summer packing list for smarter travelers to follow—you’ll be comfortable, stylish, and mobile (without that giant checked bag).

Clothing

The Ultimate European Summer Vacation Packing Checklist (1)

Jeans

Summer weather in Europe can be fickle, so packing a good pair of jeans is always smart in case the temperatures drop in the evening. Mott & Bow’s Slim Boyfriend Jeans are made from a soft, lightweight twill denim fabric that’s lighter and more comfortable than regular denim.

The white jeans help keep your outfit looking summery, and by some miracle, Mott & Bow’s jeans aren’t see-through like most white pants.

Light Shirt/Scarf

If you’re visiting any religious/historical sites in Europe, you may be asked to cover your shoulders and knees out of respect. Keep a lightweight scarf with you so you can comply on an impromptu visit without overheating during the rest of the day.

Related:

The Ultimate Packing Checklist

Dresses

Dresses are the most versatile piece of clothing you can pack for your European trip, as they can be worn with sneakers during the day or made fancier at night with heels. For hot summers, you can’t beat linen—Quince’s 100 percent European Linen Button Front Dress was practically designed for European trips.

Made from breathable and heat-regulating linen, the dress will keep you cool. The removable belt and functional buttons give you multiple looks with just one piece of clothing and best of all, the dress features pockets.

Tops

Cozy Earth’s Coastal Comfort Mock Neck Short Sleeve Button Down is the perfect mix of casual and pulled-together. Made from a blend of tencel and linen, this top is ultra-breathable and feels significantly cooler than cotton.

The fabric uses an enhanced weave that helps prevent pilling, so this shirt will still look brand-new after many trips.

Swimsuit

Since they take up such minimal space, you’ll never regret packing a swimsuit. There are so many beaches, lakes, and even hotel pools to explore in Europe, you won’t want to miss any opportunity for a dip.

If you tend to burn easily, and don’t want to be bothered frequently getting out of the water to reapply, the AKHG Lost Lake Long Sleeve swimsuit is a great option—the floral print and zipper keep it cute, while the extra coverage gives you plenty of sun protection.

Related:

The Best Swimsuits for Any Type of Vacation

Lightweight Pants

A lightweight pair of pants can protect you from the sun, keep you covered for historical church visits, and help you look like a local (if you choose the right ones). Ditch the heavy denim in favor of something with a bit more stretch, like Mott & Bow’s Twill Chinos

These pants have just the right of flexibility but are structured enough that they won’t get baggy halfway through your trip. The khaki color is perfect for summer, and can be dressed up or down depending on your plans for the day.

Accessories

The Ultimate European Summer Vacation Packing Checklist (2)

Crossbody Purse

The perfect purse for Europe can be worn crossbody style (which makes it harder to steal), goes with any outfit, is versatile, and is big enough to hold the essentials (but not too large, since you’ll be carrying it all day).

Quince’s Italian Leather Quilted Wallet Crossbody ticks all the boxes. Made from soft Italian leather, the purse will be right at home in Europe, and the quilted design works well from day to night. The bag can be worn as a crossbody, or you can remove the chain to use it as a clutch.

Coin Purse

Coin purses have fallen out of fashion in the US, but they can come in handy in Europe, where lower denominations of currency are in coins instead of bills. Don’t end up with a heavy stash of coins buried in your bag—keep your change organized and accessible in a zippered pouch.

Related:

The 24 Best RFID Wallets to Protect You Identity

Hat

Keep the sun off of your face and your outfit looking stylish with a sun hat. These packable options from Madewell are perfect, since they can be stuffed in your bag (without getting destroyed) when you’re not wearing them.

Refillable Water Bottle

Although tap water is safe to drink in Europe, it’s not commonly offered for free at restaurants (you’ll likely have a choice of bottled still or sparkling water instead). However, in some destinations, you may find public drinking fountains readily available. Save money (and the environment) by packing your own reusable water bottle, like this one from LARQ, which automatically cleans itself using UV technology.

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The LARQ bottle comes in both an insulated and non-insulated version, so you can choose between having a light weight to carry or having perfectly chilled beverages all day long.

The Ultimate European Summer Vacation Packing Checklist (3)

Sandals

Pack a pair of sandals you can wear to the beach, hotel pool, and for short walks. Ipanema’s Trendy Sandals feature a minimalist style that will blend in anywhere. The lightweight sandals are made from PVC so they can be easily rinsed off after every wear.

Sneakers

You’ll spot chunky white sneakers on the feet of many stylish Europeans this summer. Join the crowd with New Balance’s classic 550 sneakers. The low top and clean silhouette go with everything from jeans to dresses, and there’s plenty of arch support and cushioning to keep you comfortable.

Related:

The 8 Best White Sneakers for Travel

Socks

Pack no-show socks that will actually stay up if you’re going to be doing a lot of walking. These ones from Bombas have grips on the heel that help to keep them in place.

Toiletries/Miscellaneous

In addition to the same toiletries you’d pack for any destination (toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, etc.) here are some important ones to remember for Europe:

Sunscreen

Even if you’re not hitting the beach in Europe, sunscreen is still a must-pack for summer trips. Sun Bum smells good and doesn’t leave a white cast, so you’ll forget you’re wearing it.

Tissues

A travel-sized pack of tissues can come in handy for more than just the sniffles (like at a public bathroom that’s run out of toilet paper.)

Medications

In some European destinations, you’ll have to visit an actual pharmacy to purchase even over-the-counter medications, and these pharmacies tend to have somewhat limited hours.

Pack sample-size packets of medicines just in case, so you don’t have to waste time hunting down a pharmacy if you have a headache or stomachache.

Related:

The Best Over-the-Counter Sleeping Pills for Long-Haul Flights

Electronics

The Ultimate European Summer Vacation Packing Checklist (4)

Headphones

Don’t forget to pack a pair of headphones for the long flight over from the United States. Skullcandy’s Push Active Earbuds are wireless but still secure (in case you plan on working out while you’re on vacation).

The earbuds are voice-controlled, so you don’t have to stop what you’re doing to change songs or take a phone call.

Adapter

Appliances in Europe run on 220 volts, while ones in America use 110 volts. Fortunately, most modern appliances (like iPhones) automatically switch voltage, so you won’t need to worry about bringing an electricity converter (but double-check your electronics before trying to use them abroad).

However, you will need to pack an adapter in order to use standard plugs in Europe.

Portable Charger

It’s easy to run down the battery on your phone when you’re snapping pictures and taking video to capture all the memories—and constantly using maps to figure out directions. A portable charger can revive your battery without you having to go back to the hotel or find a place to plug it in.

Related:

Biolite Charge Series Portable Charger Review

Travel Documents

As with any trip, don’t forget these important travel documents:

  • Passport
  • Copies of passport (you can scan them to your phone or the cloud instead of carrying paper)

Money

Although most places in Europe accept credit cards, you’re still likely to find a few cash-only destinations, so make sure you bring some cash with you.

When you are using a credit card, make sure you’re choosing one that doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee, as those can quickly add up.

Download Our Ultimate Packing Checklist for Europe

When its time to start packing, download our editable checklist here.

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The Ultimate European Summer Vacation Packing Checklist (2024)

FAQs

What is the most forgotten item when packing for vacation? ›

So here's a list of the most commonly forgotten vacation items.
  • Underwear. ...
  • Warm Clothing. ...
  • Toiletries. ...
  • Glasses, Contacts and Solution. ...
  • Your Phone Chargers and Power Cords. ...
  • Your Prescription Medications. ...
  • Your Swimsuit. ...
  • An Umbrella & Ziplock Bags.

What to pack for 4 weeks in Europe? ›

15 essential packing items for a Europe trip
  • Versatile clothing.
  • Comfortable shoes.
  • Accessories.
  • Sun protection.
  • Rain protection.
  • Day bags.
  • Toiletries.
  • Medical kit.

How many clothes to pack for 2 weeks in Europe? ›

The easiest way to create a simple packing list for 2 weeks in Europe is to take 7 tops. Based on the Travel Fashion math example mentioned above, this should provide you one unique top per day per week. Alternatively, you can also mix things up and take 5 tops plus 2 dresses or 7 dresses.

What not to bring when traveling internationally? ›

  • Excessive Valuables: Leave expensive jewelry and unnecessary valuables at home.
  • Unnecessary Gadgets: Think twice before packing items you rarely use.
  • Too Many Clothes: Overpacking can make your luggage heavy, make travel difficult and limit space for souvenirs.
Oct 17, 2023

What thing do you never forget to bring with you when you travel? ›

This penultimate tip is a big one as, without these necessities, you won't be heading anywhere but home: check and check again that you have your monies, a valid passport and – for the sake of your holiday companions – a toothbrush. Keep these all on hand and then you'll be able to remember the most important thing…

How do you pack smartly for Europe? ›

Here's How I Packed for a Month-Long European Trip Using Nothing but Carry-On
  1. If your trip is 10 days or more, plan to do laundry. ...
  2. Use a lightweight, carry-on, soft-sided rolling bag. ...
  3. Use a large laptop backpack or bag as your personal item. ...
  4. Choose versatile items you can mix and match. ...
  5. Roll everything.
Jul 15, 2023

How to dress like a European woman in summer? ›

DO: Pack the following: a great pair of jeans, a perfectly cut white t-shirt, a button down shirt (so versatile), a great pair of walking shoes, a swimsuit you feel great in, a hat, a couple pieces of jewellery that go with everything, a light jumper for unexpectedly cool nights, and sunscreen.

Should I bring jeans to Europe in the summer? ›

For pants, stay comfortable yet stylish with a wide-leg silhouette. You'll see tons of locals wearing jeans in the summer, as well. It's also a great idea to pack one or two summer dresses for laid-back days, going out to dinner, or celebrating Midsummer! An LBD (black dress) is always a strong go to and classic.

What is the 5-4-3-2-1 packing method? ›

Its version of the 5-4-3-2-1 method includes "five tops, four bottoms, three accessories, two shoes (a practical pair and a nice pair), and one swimsuit," though like the Times this formula allows the wiggle room to swap out accessories based on your destination and type of travel.

What size luggage for a 3 week trip to Europe? ›

Size Matters: Medium is the Sweet Spot

For vacations of 2 to 3 weeks, medium-sized luggage is ideal.

How much money should I bring to Europe for 3 weeks? ›

Deals directly to your inbox

So, how much money do you really need for 3 weeks in Europe? While it varies depending on your travel style and destination, a budget of around $2,000 - $5,000 USD should cover your expenses. Of course, this is just a rough estimate - the more you can save, the better!

How many bras to pack for 2 weeks? ›

If you have unlimited suitcase space and don't want to do any laundry, a two-week trip means packing 14/2 = 7 bras and at least 14 pairs of underwear. That consumes a lot of valuable suitcase space! To reduce the number of pieces that need to be packed, simply commit to doing laundry on the road.

How many socks to pack for 2 weeks? ›

One general guideline is to pack one hat, two pairs of shoes, three bottoms, four tops (short or long-sleeve or outer layer), five pairs of socks, six pairs of underwear. This should be enough to last you for two weeks.

How many pants for a 2 week trip? ›

It is best to have two pairs of bottoms (pants, shorts, or skirts) for each week that you'll be staying. Plan on bringing four shirts per week, and two jackets to layer for warmth (if you're traveling to a cool or cold destination). For a two-week trip, you need four bottoms and eight tops.

What am I forgetting to pack plane? ›

These 12 things are commonly left at home, but fret not, there are ways to survive a trip without them.
  • Bathroom products.
  • Vision products: Contacts, contact solution and glasses. ...
  • Chargers.
  • Voltage converters (outlet adapters) ...
  • Makeup and makeup remover. ...
  • Umbrellas and rain coats.
  • Cash. ...
  • Prescription medications.

What to remember to pack when going away? ›

What to Pack for a Weekend Trip
  • One pair of comfortable shoes or season-appropriate footwear.
  • One pair of pants or shorts (jeggings and leggings are also options)
  • Two to three tops.
  • Three pairs of undergarments.
  • Three pairs of socks.
  • One item of nightwear.
  • One lightweight jacket.
  • Swimwear (if needed)

What should I leave out when packing? ›

  1. Toiletries and Toilet Paper: This is an obvious choice, because you'll be using your toilet paper and other toiletries right up until moving day. ...
  2. Cleaning Supplies: You'll be cleaning before you leave, and cleaning the new place before you move in, so these items might as well stay mobile.

What saves more space when packing? ›

Rolling clothes can help you to save a little space in your suitcase. However, you will probably need access to an iron when you arrive at your destination. Place garments that tend to crease easily at the bottom of your case — flat out. Identify which clothes don't crease, and roll them into cylinders.

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