So you’re thinking about packing for a trip to Europe and you’ve got no idea what to pack? We’ve all been there. I’ve overpacked (lugging 40 lbs around Paris was NOT fun), underpacked (had to do laundry in hotel bathroom sinks with bar soap), but I think that since the past year, I’ve figured out a way to pack just right.
It is so important NOT to overpack. I repeat: DO NOT OVERPACK. It is way better to not have enough clothes, than to have too many. You can always buy the things that you want instead of having to throw away things because you can’t take how heavy your bag is.
The weather in London in the Spring is around 10 C or 50 F, and the weather in Paris is similar (around 12 C or 54 F). The further south you go, the warmer it will be, so feel free to adjust this list as you need to depending on your itinerary.
So with all that being said, here we go!
1 BIG, LIGHTWEIGHT SCARF
The bigger the scarf, the bigger the likelihood of comfort. Do not bring a knit scarf. It’s chunky and thick and will take up more space than you need. Find one that adds a pop of color to dress up or change a look. A scarf will keep your neck warm, add an extra layer of style, serve as a pillow on a train, an extra sheet on a bed, and protection from light rain. Try one that’s not as easy to get wrinkled, like this one from Shop Vida.
1 WOOL COAT -OR- LINED TRENCHCOAT
Find a dark, classic wool coat to bring to layer over when it gets chilly at night. A lined trenchcoat will work as well. The reason I say lined, is because a normal trenchcoat will probably not keep you as warm. If you’ve only got a regular trenchcoat, bring a cashmere sweater so you don’t get too cold in the evening. Since everything I’m wearing is usually a solid color (okay, mostly everything will be black), I love to bring a fun, printed coat with classic structure, like this one from Venus Over Water.
1 PAIR OF OPAQUE, BLACK LEGGINGS
Key word, opaque, people. No one wants to be seen in what-you-thought-were-opaque-but-ended-up-being-translucent leggings. Leggings are a girl’s best friend. I never leave for anywhere without them. They’re usually what I’m wearing on the day I’m heading to the airport. Choosing leggings that are higher quality and will last you longer is also extremely important for me, since I’d rather pay a little bit more for a product that lasts, then a cheap pair that will 1) show my bum to the world, and 2) rip when I bend over to tie my shoes. I always pack this pair of leggings from My Adea.
1 PAIR OF BLACK TIGHTS
I like to pack tights that are also opaque and fleece-lined. They’re extremely light and won’t add any more weight to your bag. Save them and wear them under a skirt or a dress on the nights that you want to look a bit more dressy (i.e. dinner and dancing with the girls or man-friend).
1 PAIR OF SNEAKERS
Yes. Sneakers. You need them. They’re so comfortable, you won’t be the friend complaining when you have to walk around the city all day. I always wear Nike Roshe sneakers (I have 3 pairs). They are absolutely, hands-down, the most comfortable sneakers I’ve ever worn in my life.
1 PAIR OF WALKABLE FLATS OR ANKLE BOOTS
For the times we shouldn’t be wearing sneakers (i.e. dinner and dancing with the girls or man-friend), bring some nice flats or leather ankle boots. I always opt for black. Make sure they’re walkable, and don’t buy them right before you leave. Breaking shoes in is absolutely necessary before bringing them on a trip with you.
4 WRINKLE-FREE, LAYER-FRIENDLY TOPS
I like to bring one black blouse, a long-sleeve Uniqlo heat tech top, a casual cotton tee-shirt, and one black tank top. Mostly all of the tops will be black (Is that the New York City in me?). Make sure they’re as wrinkle-free and layer-friendly as possible. You’re not going to want to spend time ironing your tops, so avoid materials like silk. Opt for cotton, rayon or polyester.
Dresses are easy because you don’t have to put together any tops or bottoms. Pull one piece of clothing over your head and you’re good to go! Since everything else in my bag is usually really classic, I like to include a dress that’s a bit bolder or printed.
I bring skirts that I can wear with tights + a tee or blouse. They work great for day to night, so you don’t have to worry about changing for dinner. A maxi skirt and a shorter, A-line skirt are usually what I bring.
AND, AS MANY UNDERGARMENTS YOU FEEL NECESSARY TO MAKE YOURSELF COMFORTABLE.
And since that was so much for you to read, I’ll sum it all up in a list here:
- 1 Big, Lightweight Scarf
- 1 Wool or Lined Trench Coat
- 1 Pair of Leggings
- 1 Pair of Tights
- 1 Pair of Sneakers
- 1 Pair of (Walkable) Flats or Ankle Boots
- 4 Wrinkle-Free, Layer-Friendly Tops/Tees
- 1 Dress
- 2 Skirts
- As many undergarments you feel necessary to make yourself comfortable.
I hope this helps! Do you have any additional pointers tips for packing or for what NOT to pack when going to Europe in the Spring? Leave a comment and let us know below. 🙂
P.S.And one last resource:I’d recommend checking out Flightright – a company that helps people get compensation when flight-related issues occur, i.e. flight delays or cancellations. It’s a way to get money back for money spent, and a good way to feel a bit more secure about your upcoming travel plans.
Also, if you liked this article, you may also like: How to Backpack Without Looking Like a Backpacker