Europe is one of my favorite continents to visit. I visit this mighty continent about two times annually and pack everything in my lovely backpack carry-on.
I’ve visited different countries at different seasons of the year. This has given me an in-depth understanding of the packing needs to survive and enjoy European countries. Here’s my ultimate packing list for a Europe trip to save you the hassle of overpacking or missing some must-have items.
Related To: Business Trip Packing List | Road Trip Packing List | Packing List for a Day at the Beach | Caribbean Vacation Packing List | Costa Rica Packing List | Disneyland Packing List | Florida Packing List | RV Camping Packing List | Mexico Packing List
Ultimate Packing List for Europe Trip
You must first sort out how you’ll carry your travel items. I recommend taking only a carry-on with you — whether a stroller or backpack. This is because most airlines can charge heftily for extra luggage.
However, carrying extra luggage is okay if you’re only flying internationally and don’t plan on traveling via low-cost airlines like TAP Portugal or Ryanair. Most low-cost carriers don’t allow extra luggage, so factor that in. One carry-on is also an alternative if you travel via inter-regional or inter-city trains. The more things you carry, the more hassle it becomes.
1. Travel Documents
Check if your passport is updated — most European countries require a three-month valid passport. Nevertheless, be safe by ensuring you’ve seven months of validity on it. I recently used a Schengen visa, and the approval process started a month before my booked trip.
Also, please include any other IDs like residency cards, driver’s licenses, or ID cards with your photo on them. Carry and organize any additional documents for travel arrangements like hotel reservations.
And if your documents are paperless, save them on your phone. Always double-check so that you file everything in there. For your itinerary planning and lists, use an app like Triplt. It safely stores and helps carry copies of your tickets, should your phone shut or you have issues accessing the documents without Wi-Fi.
2. Travel Insurance
While planning a trip, you’re excited and optimistic about how it’ll go. It’s great to prepare yourself for some great moments. However, you should also take precautions if something like your health goes wrong.
Your trip can be unmemorable if you get sick or have an accident. So, ensure you’re covered in case something happens by taking travel insurance.
Travel insurance covers you if you need emergency medical attention or if you have an accident. This is essential because you don’t know when mishappens might knock. It might cost you thousands of dollars for treatment somewhere in Europe, especially if you’re uninsured.
Travel insurance also covers personal liability problems like getting sued for causing an accident. Finally, it might also cover the cost of losing your bags if your trip gets delayed or canceled.
You should hope for the best, but prepare for the worst! Get good, affordable travel insurance for an epic journey to Europe. I recommend Europe Assistance or AXA Assistance.
3. Your Clothing and Style Guide
Here are some outfit ideas to give you a clue of what clothes to pack for a Europe trip.
Ensure you stick to neutral and basic colors on your trip to Europe. They look classy, sassy, and put together without screaming, ‘hey! I’m a tourist.’ Avoid loud designs or graphics. You can go for mono and plain colors.
I recommend carrying dresses for gram-perfect pictures. But the weather on certain days can be colder. So, if you don’t like dresses, don’t bother packing them. If you like them, team them with a trench coat, jacket, or tights for a cover-up. All kinds of dresses are great. There are no restrictions, even for skirts.
You can wear blouses, dresses, full-length pants, skirts, tops — whatever you fancy. Just be mindful of the graphics and colors. Also, avoid wearing jerseys.
Finally, carry a combination of blouses, dresses, and tops for all seasons. For winters, put on thermals underneath your plaid skirts or dresses.
A cardigan is a must-pack item for a Europe trip. You can perhaps skip this in the summer months, especially in the Mediterranean or Southern Europe. Choose neutral and basic colors like white, beige, or black.
Avoid wearing gym wear and hoodies. Instead, go for lightweight and packable jackets and trench coats. Buy a waterproof piece with pockets in front, zippered, and in a color that blends with all outfits.
For bottoms, avoid shorts unless you’re going to the beach. Wear classy skirts, dark linen pants, or wash jeans. Dark colors mean they’re maintenance-free. I recommend wrinkle-free jeans, as they blend with all types of tops and look sassy in pictures.
For guys, avoid wearing three-quarter pants. Wear linen trousers in too hot weather. Jeans are the best pick as well.
Comfortable Walking Shoes
Europe has many cobblestone pathways. Ensure you pack comfortable shoes to enjoy the old town, market squares, and elegant countryside. Choose neutral colors too, and ensure they have a comfy solid insole. Cute booties and sneakers work well with jeans, skirts, and dresses. Opt for waterproof shoes if you’re traveling to southern, northern, and western regions in the three seasons of fall, spring, and summer.
Be prepared for frequent rains in Europe. Unfortunately, the rainfall is unpredictable, but it isn’t heavy like the Indian monsoon. Oceanic climates are most prevalent in Europe, where summers and winters are mild, and there are frequent rains.
So, if you’re traveling in any region in Europe except for the Mediterranean, expect some frequent rains. So, it would be best if you packed rainwear. For the Mediterranean, carry a cardigan — you might skip this during summer.
If you’re visiting countries in Eastern Europe, pack a warm parka or jacket. I recommend a filled-down jacket, but stick to basic colors and pop the color if you’re heading to snowy getaways.
4. Purse or Day Pack for Outings
For your day outings, I recommend FENRUIEN 17.3-Inch Hard Shell Laptop Backpack for guys. For ladies, I recommend choosing a versatile anti-theft purse — shoulder or crossbody bag.
I highly recommend anti-theft bags because they keep your items secure and out of sight from pickpockets. They also come with slash-proof and cut-proof materials that deter anyone from accessing your items.
I’ve highlighted this information because most European cities have rampant pickpocket cases, particularly the popular ones. The crowded market squares or old towns are hot ground for thieves.
The same goes for crowded and especially overnight trains and buses. You might be safer carrying a casual bag, perhaps in Iceland, one of the safest places in Europe. However, you must be extra careful if traveling to cities like Prague, Barcelona, and Paris.
5. Packing Cubes
Packing cubes help keep your clothes compressed and organized. They help you save on space and keep your travel bag well organized. I recommend SUITEDNOMAD Compression Packing Cubes Set from SuitedNomad Family.
6. Extra Bag for Shopping and Souvenirs
Carry an extra packable bag to bring shopping items back home. I recommend Foldable Duffel Bag as it takes little to no space to pack. Fill it in with all your goodies from Europe!
7. Your Electronics Guide
For an anticipated trip like this one, you must carry some electronics. I know you’re wondering what to leave and what to take. Luckily, I’ve compiled the most crucial electronics on your electronic guide for Europe.
These items feature at the top of anyone’s list. They’ll help you access cheap travel data or connect to public Wi-Fi. With that, you can post all your epic travel pictures or call your friends and family and tell them of all the fun you’re having.
I recommend Prepaid Europe Travel SIM Cards by SimOptions. They save 100% on roaming costs by using international SIM Cards when traveling to Europe and have high-speed internet connections.
Most people choose to bring a tablet instead of a phone. Tablets help you connect to people through various apps — you won’t need a phone for calls. Connect your tablet to travel data or Wi-Fi and do everything you need to.
It would be best to pack your laptop, especially if you’re planning to do some work while traveling. Laptops are on the heavier side, and I would not recommend them, but if you must bring one, pick a lightweight one. Plus, if you’re bringing a tablet, there is no need for a laptop and vice versa.
This is the most important electronic you’ll bring, especially if you don’t like taking pictures with your phone. You’ll be visiting fancy places, so ensure you capture all of your memories.
Paperbacks are fantastic but heavy, particularly when you need to pack light. So instead, you can carry an E-reader like a Kindle which will hold your books when you want to take a break from the walk or when you’re on the road. Plus, you can put travel guides or maps there, which can be better than over-packing your travel bag.
Power strips, Outlet plugs, and Chargers
European voltage and outlets differ from other countries, so make sure your electronics fit. I recommend bringing a few voltage plug converters to protect your electronics from breaking or frying due to differences in the electricity.
Also, bring a small power strip if you’ve many electronics. You might be unable to charge everything, especially in a two outlets room. Moreover, don’t forget to pack your chargers. Otherwise, you might be forced to spend a few bucks on new ones.
8. For Your In-Flight Comfort
Pack these items for your in-fight comfort:
- Travel Blanket
- Sleeping/neck pillow
- Eye mask for sound sleep
- Compression socks for long-haul flights
A water bottle with an in-built filter will do best. It is light and helps clean and have safe drinking water, especially if you’re unsure of the water quality.
For easy packing of your cosmetics, you need to buy a clear toiletry and cosmetic bag like Pangda 5 Pack Clear PVC Zippered Toiletry Carry Pouch. Such a bag is super handy when you screen your liquids at the security checks.
So, purchase one as your travel investment. If you like a hanging toiletry bag, check Hanging Travel Toiletry Bag for Women and Men. It’s leak-proof and ideal for both genders. Here are items to add to your cosmetic bag:
- Lip balm
- Hand cream
- Facial wipes
- Hand sanitizer
- Hairbrush and hair ties
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Travel size perfume
- Sunscreen protection for all seasons
- Light make-up items like foundation (I recommend NARS foundation),
2-3 lipsticks, and a waterproof eye pencil.
- Carry basic pieces of jewelry, no expensive earrings or watches, nothing flashy
- Add a detergent sachet and laundry bag to wash clothes, if you’re packing light and plan to travel for a long term
Wherever and whenever you travel, take your medications if you need any. It’s expensive to buy them abroad, and they might not match the recommended dosage you’re on.
- Include sanitary pads
- Add jetlag medications like Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier
- Carry OTC drugs like pain killers, antacids, cold and flu, and Tylenol for headaches
European Packing List Tips for Kids
Traveling with kids for the first time might be a bit daunting. However, it can be easier if you tell your kids what to expect during the trip. Get them pumped up for the trip by letting them read books or watch movies shot in Europe. It would help if you took a few language lessons – focus on useful phrases.
Also, let them help you in planning for the trip. If you’re traveling with kids, here are some must-pack items. Remember not to overdo the packing.
- Sticker books
- Toddler card games; travel bingo, matching games, Go Fish, etc.
- Koosh balls: It’s nice to have balls that you can toss that won’t break something or roll too far
- Brain quest packets: They have some great quizzes to keep your kid’s brain alert while traveling
- Felt board set: It’s an open-ended, great amusement. I recommend this set from Etsy. The pages can open to make about a 20″ play surface.
- Story Card: My kids love eeBoo Fairytale Mix Ups Create A Story Pre-Literacy Cards. They keep them busy for hours.
You’re likely to walk a lot in Europe, so come prepared for little kids with tired legs. Instead of packing our fancy double stroller for the previous trip, my husband and I pushed a cheap umbrella stroller for our two and three-year-olds.
Its wheels weren’t my favorite, particularly on the brick paths found everywhere in Europe, but they were generally sufficient. We literary paid $80 for each of them; they were worth every buck!
Some other extra essentials you need to carry include:
- Sippy cups
- Food and snacks