There are several essentials which we always add to our packing list for Europe. We are avid drivers, and we took several Europe road trips throughout the years, thus allowing us to perfect our Europe packing list. Europe is an exciting continent with so many cultures awaiting to be discovered. From the gorgeous lavender fields of France, through the intimate gardens of Spain, to the dramatic fjords of Norway, Europe will take you on an exciting journey like no other. As we are a couple, our packing list for Europe contains items for men and women, to make it easier for you to better plan your holidays.
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Our Packing List for Europe
We are so excited every single time we decide to take a new trip around Europe. It's such exciting place, because of its full seasons, which makes it the perfect place to visit if you love experiencing countries during different times of the year. Whilst certain essentials will remain part of the list, certain seasons may require a few extra items.
Europe is most loved during the summer season when it's also the busiest time of the year for holiday purposes. We usually recommend visiting either at the very beginning of Spring or towards the end of Autumn if you prefer a quieter time.
Our packing list for Europe contains clothes, shoes and accessories, several backpacks depending on the type of vacation, two suitcase for my husband and I and several toiletries. As for packing essentials, we always bring our photo and video gear, our phones and chargers, laptops and several external hard drives to back our holiday photos right away. If you decide to have a driving trip, we also recommend bringing some very comfortable travelling clothes which work for the duration of your drive. For example, during our drive around Norway, I decided to invest in thermals which are very comfortable and nice for a long drive. They regulate my body temperature, making it better in the long run. They act as very nice base layers if the weather changes suddenly.
What to pack for Europe
Are you excited about your trip to Europe? You are going to have such great fun. Here are all the important items you need to add to your Europe packing list. Remember to always check the weather before packing to ensure you don't forget anything important. If you decide to visit a city in Europe, then we always advise that you pack light and purchase all your essentials from the place you visit. Sometimes we prefer doing this so we can spare space in the luggage for potential souvenirs and shopping we love to do abroad.
Europe is such a wonderful place, because, depending on your style of travels, you can dress for the mountains, beaches or get the fashion mode on when visiting sexy cities like London, Paris or Milan. No matter the weather, it is important to bring layers so you can easily add or remove as needed. During summer in Europe, you will need to bring lightweight tops and blouses, skirts and dresses as well as short trousers. Men normally wear short sleeve shirts or polos with a short trouser, a belt and smart-casual trainers. Women usually wear dresses with sandals and hats.
During winter, most European destination will require a thick winter coat with several layers underneath. There is plenty of snow during winter in Europe, so make sure to bring waterproof boots with you. Around cities, you can also replace a jacket with a beautiful coat for added elegance.
Most European cities will have an Old Town, and it is common for these streets to be covered in cobblestone. Thus, we recommend leaving the heels at home or wearing them during cocktail hours in a fancy restaurant. When visiting a hilly city, like Lisbon for example, make sure to wear comfortable flats of trainers. Although Europe has great infrastructure, the beauty of discovering is usually done on foot. So if you love long walking itineraries, pack walking shoes or hiking boots, even when visiting a city.
For ladies, we recommend a few hair bubbles and hair accessories to keep the hairstyle tame. Both women and men can pack a few jewellery items for romantic nights in restaurants.
For all seasons, wearing a hat is essential in Europe. During summer, temperatures can easily reach 30-35 degrees Celcius and direct sunlight can cause serious sunstrokes. During winter, temperatures fall well below zero, sometimes reaching -20 degrees Celcius, so a hat is a necessary accessory to keep your ears warm.
There are two types of backpacks we recommend for your packing list to Europe. We normally have a backpack for our photography gear and a day backpack used for small items like a bottle of water, our phones and wallets.
For a day, city backpack, we recommend very tiny ones which look fashionable and stylish and can go with any outfit. These are especially great during rainy seasons when you can add a thin raincoat and an umbrella in your bag. When you buy small items and souvenirs, it’s also nice to simply put them in the backpack rather than carry them in a bag.
For those who travel for work, we love our Thule bags which we use for all our tech gear. It has a dedicated section for your camera, lenses and even your drone, laptop and iPad.
We have a dedicated suitcase guide on our blog, so make sure to check it out so you can better plan for your trip. We have a detailed guide with information on most airline companies, so you can figure out what suitcase to buy depending on who you fly with.
We use two Samsonite suitcases which we absolutely love. We bought them almost two years ago and they are still in perfect condition, even though we flew extensively with them, including long hauls like this trip to Japan.
We normally use just one of them for our trip to Europe, especially when we drive.
Aerolite 22x14x9” American, United & Delta Airlines MAX ABS Hardshell Luggage Suitcase Spinner Carry On
Even before packing cubes became a thing, we started separating our items into small reusable and resealable plastic bags. One plastic bag will last for years, so it seemed like a great way to categorise and make more items fit in our suitcases. This is a particularly great trick for when you travel with your hand luggage only.
When we create our Europe pack list, we normally categorise items per packing cube as well (e.g. underwear in one packing cube, t-shirts in another packing cube and so on). This can also get handy for planning to ensure you don’t forget anything essential.
As previously mentioned, you will find a myriad of items anywhere and everywhere you go in Europe. If you plan a city trip, then best to buy essential toiletries when you arrive. Every supermarket will have shampoos, conditioners and shower gel. For specialised items, like your preferred branded skin care, it’s best to bring them with you in a dedicated packing cube, or toiletry bag.
I normally only pack my make-up, specialised face cream and perfume, as well as my toothbrush and toothpaste. My husband brings his shaver and perfume as well.
Essential items include all electronic devices and medication you may need for the trip. As previously mentioned, we use a tech backpack for all our photo gear we carry with us. We recommend the Thule bags where we carry our laptop, iPad, drone, camera and lenses. For Europe, you will need a plug converter. Remember the UK uses a different plug than the rest of Europe. You will need your chargers, noise cancelling headphones and any external hard drives you may need.
Don’t forget a list with your medication. Add a pack of essential health kit items, like bandage or small plasters. We always carry vitamin C and magnesium with us, and sunscreen if we visit Europe during summer.