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 to pack for 8 weeks in Europe? ›

From what to wear in Europe to gadgets and medical essentials, here is our guide to everything you need to pack when planning a trip to Europe.
  • Versatile clothing. ...
  • Comfortable shoes. ...
  • Accessories. ...
  • Sun protection. ...
  • Rain protection. ...
  • Day bags. ...
  • Toiletries. ...
  • Medical kit.

What toiletries should I bring to Europe? ›

Essentials – travel-sized toothbrush, toothpaste, razor & deodorant. Pack liquids in sealable plastic baggies to avoid leaks. Stain Removing Wipes – travel-sized wipes or a stain removing pen for getting rid of spots. Washcloth – many European hotels do not provide washcloths.

How many clothes for a 10 day trip? ›

How many clothes are required for a 10-day trip? Follow the 5-4-3-2-1 packing trick, where you pack five tops, four bottoms, three dresses, three pairs of shoes, two swimsuits, two bags, and one of each of a few miscellaneous accessories.

How do you dress like a European summer? ›

Natural Fabrics

If you're doing a capsule wardrobe, you can't go wrong with natural fibers. We mentioned linen pants earlier, but cotton and linen tops and dresses are also great choices. Natural fibers pack well and clean up easily, and will keep you cool during the day.

How to dress in Europe in summer? ›

Sunglasses, bandeaus, and sleeveless shirts can make an appearance during the summer months, in bright bold colors and worn with dressy shorts in darker shades. Light summer dresses and skirts in cotton and linen are a great fabric for the summer season to allow for breathability.

What's cheaper to buy in Europe? ›

Luxury brands that are cheaper in Europe

Some of the most popular brands cheaper in Europe include Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Saint Laurent, Gucci, Givenchy, Balmain, Christian Louboutin, Dior, Hermès, Lanvin, Chloé, Céline, and more.

What size bag for a week in Europe? ›

Medium-sized check-in luggage measures 63-64cm tall and around 45 cm wide. * One medium-sized suitcase will generally hold your needs for a week-long getaway.

What is not allowed in hand luggage Europe? ›

Such articles would include: gases and sprays such as pepper sprays; sharp objects such as knives or razor blades; drills or saws; baseball bats or clubs.

What are you not allowed to bring into Europe? ›

Sharp objects: Everyday objects like a corkscrew knife, scissors, or a nail file will be taken from you through the security checkpoint. If you really need to travel with these items, it is best you pack them in your hold luggage. Explosives and inflammable items: Fireworks and aerosol paint are strictly forbidden.

Does toothpaste count as a liquid Europe? ›

Hand luggage and hold luggage

Liquids carried in the aircraft cabin such as aerosols, drinks, toothpaste, cosmetic creams or gels must be carried in a transparent plastic bag - maximum capacity 1 litre - and no container may hold more than 100 ml. Liquid containers larger than 100 ml must be placed in checked baggage.

What is the 54321 packing rule? ›

TOP TIPS FOR MINIMALIST PACKING

1 | Consider following the 54321 Packing Rule: you can make 5 good outfits from 4 tops, 3 pairs of pants, 2 pairs of shoes and 1 dress (if you are a female). I sort of followed this rule but added just a few extra pieces since I was planning to be in Guatemala for 2.5 weeks.

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.

How many jeans for a 10-day trip? ›

For everyday wear, 2 pairs of dark wash jeans or black joggers that sort of look like slacks should be fine. I generally wear jeans during the day, and don't waste my limited space on pants I can only wear once before they wrinkle.

How to pack for Europe for 2 weeks? ›

My 2 Week Carry-On Packing List
  1. A Roomy Tote (Maximize Your Personal Item!)
  2. A Light Puffer.
  3. A Versatile Skirt.
  4. A Comfy, Flattering Pant.
  5. Reusable Bags (That Even Parisians Like)
  6. A Does-It-All Cashmere Wrap.
  7. Day-to-Night Dresses.
  8. A Structured Blazer.
Apr 4, 2024

How do I pack for a month in Europe in the summer? ›

Some people swear by the 5-4-3-2-1 packing method -- five tops, four bottoms, three pairs of shoes and dresses, two swimsuits and bags, and one watch, hat, and pair of sunglasses.

Is it expensive to go to Europe in the summer? ›

You will probably pay the most if you fly to Europe during the summer when everybody else wants to go. You can find cheaper rates by flying during the winter (except for December) and by having flexible dates.

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