*Packing Light for Europe has been updated June 2023 regarding Covid-related travel updates.
We use backpack styles instead of roller bags whenever possible. Our goal is to never check a bag on a flight. A small carry-on is so much easier, no hassle with lost bags or waiting for bags to arrive at the carousel. A smaller bag is also easier for getting on and off trains, or walking up 72 steps to an Airbnb.
This page may contain affiliate links that earn us a commission at no extra cost to you.
Our Favorite Travel Bags
Packing Light Tips
Bring one pair of shoes – the ones you’ll wear. For us, these will almost always be water-resistant sneakers or boots, good walking shoes. Europeans wear sneakers with everything, including women wearing casual day dresses. Usually, these are white Nikes or Adidas. The cobblestone streets are so quaint, but when you walk 20,000 steps a day on them, you will feel it. Do pack a pair of flip-flops as long as it makes sense for where you’re going.
When it comes to what clothes to bring, don’t overthink it. Layering is key. At our most simplest packing, we wear a pair of jeans and sneakers every day, and bring a few shirts. Maybe a shirt is re-worn, or maybe we buy a souvenir t-shirt. A light dress / moisture-wicking shirt / cotton-linen blend is key for warmer weather.
We highly recommend organizing your clothes into packing cubes. It’s helpful both to you in packing and un-packing, and also when airport security wants you to unpack your bag in front of a curious crowd.😳
Packing Light Lists
Most Important – Key Items – Don’t Forget These!
- Medications / aspirin, as needed
- Entry Visa, as required
- Proof of Covid vaccination or Negative Test, as required
- Mobile phone
- Phone charger + EU / specific country adaptor
- Glasses – readers / distance / sunglasses
- Paper copy of itinerary, or use Notes on your phone
- Face Masks [*no longer required for travel to most countries as of June 2023]
- Money, ATM card, credit card – Visa or Mastercard
Important – but if Forgotten, Buy on Arrival
- Bathing Suit and Cover Up, as needed
- Hats, for rain / sun / warmth
– if you’re traveling anywhere in northern Europe any time of year, it’s a good idea to bring a winter hat
- Rain jacket with hood
- String bag / daypack / fold-up bag
– for daily use and also to bring home any souvenirs … your departure airport will not question an additional small bag if it’s full of treasures you’ve spent money on in their country
- Travel toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.
- Snacks, mints, cough drops
– don’t be that person coughing on the plane!
- Collapsible travel water bottle
- Small, powerful flashlight
Good luck with your packing light for Europe. We’ve put links above and link + photo below to help you with your shopping. It’s hard to know exactly what you might need, and there’s always going to be something missed or too much, but hopefully not enough to overshadow your fabulous European Vacation.
This page contains affiliate links and we earn a commission if you make a purchase through one of the links, at no cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.