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.

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:

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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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Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

As an AI assistant, I have personal experiences or opinions, but I can provide information on the concepts used in this article. Here is a breakdown of the concepts discussed in the article:

  1. Overpacking: The article emphasizes the importance of not overpacking for a European trip. It mentions that cobblestone streets, hotels without elevators, and crowded public transportation make it inconvenient to carry around oversized suitcases.

  2. European Summer Packing List: The article provides a packing list for a summer trip to Europe. It suggests packing versatile and comfortable clothing items suitable for various activities and weather conditions.

  3. Clothing: The article recommends packing items such as jeans, light shirts/scarves, dresses, tops, swimsuits, lightweight pants, and hats. It provides specific product recommendations for each item.

  4. Accessories: The article suggests packing accessories like a crossbody purse, coin purse, refillable water bottle, sandals, sneakers, and socks. It provides product recommendations for each item.

  5. Toiletries/Miscellaneous: The article mentions the importance of packing toiletries such as sunscreen, tissues, and medications. It also suggests packing electronics like headphones, adapters, and a portable charger.

  6. Travel Documents: The article reminds readers to bring essential travel documents such as passports and copies of passports. It also suggests carrying some cash for cash-only destinations and using credit cards without foreign transaction fees.

Please note that the information provided here is a summary of the concepts discussed in the article and does not reflect personal experiences or opinions.

The Ultimate European Summer Vacation Packing Checklist (2024)

FAQs

What to pack for 5 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 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

Should I bring jeans to Europe in the summer? ›

Include a pair of dark blue or black jeans and a pair of pants that are made from a lighter fabric, like cotton or linen; the breathability will keep you cool. Vests, tank tops and t-shirts are great to wear with your jeans or a pair of shorts.

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

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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!

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.

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 do I not overpack for Europe? ›

How to Avoid Overpacking for a Trip
  1. Make a Checklist. A checklist is the best place to start. ...
  2. Pick the Right Suitcase. Choose a modestly-sized suitcase. ...
  3. Mix and Match. This is the fun part. ...
  4. Roll Them Up! ...
  5. Keep the Accessories Small. ...
  6. Shoes, Shoes, Shoes. ...
  7. Only Take Half. ...
  8. Use a Luggage Scale.

What is the TSA rule for toiletries in Europe? ›

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.

How to not stand out as an American in Europe? ›

Dress and Act Like Locals

First, don't dress like a tourist. Wearing a fanny pack, a backpack, or clothing that references America, are prime examples of what not to wear while traveling in Europe. To not stand out as a tourist, wear what the locals wear--- neutral colors, scarves, and layers.

Can you wear hoodies in Europe? ›

Workout clothes

Europeans almost never wear sweatpants or yoga pants out on the street, and even white athletic socks aren't too common. A sweatshirt or hoodie isn't a complete "no," depending on the city and your age, but aim for "smart casual" instead if you want to look closer to the average pedestrian.

Can you wear jeans to dinner in Italy? ›

Unless you're going to a very fancy restaurant, dark jeans or other slacks are acceptable. Women wear a lot of dresses as it starts to get warmer.

How do you stay cool in Europe in the summer? ›

Embrace Europe's Heatwave: Your Ultimate Survival Guide for Exploring in the Hottest Summer Days
  1. Dress appropriately: Wear loose, light-colored, and breathable clothing made from natural fabrics like cotton or linen. ...
  2. Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day, even if you don't feel thirsty.
Jul 31, 2023

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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