The Complete Packing Guide For Your Summer Trip To Europe

Spending the summer abroad is life-altering and will provide you with memories that will last a lifetime. With so many places to see, things to do, and experiences to have, traipsing about Europe is a true wanderlust must for travelers at some point. Of course, depending on your travel plans, you will need to pack accordingly. So if you plan to spend some time in colder climates during your summer in Europe, it is important to keep that in mind. That said, packing for a European summer getaway, especially an extended one involving multiple destinations, can be accomplished with the right packing list and some planning (per Travel Fashion Girl).

Typically, the goal is to pack as lightly as possible while being sensible and properly prepared. Well, the good news is you won't need to bulk up on the plane. However, it may be tempting to pack more than you need for a trip with more than one destination, though doing so will likely cause more than a few hiccups along the way and put a possible damper on your vacation. So to ensure you are focused on all the fun and not what you forgot to bring, here is a complete packing guide for your summer trip to Europe (via Happy To Wander).

Travel bags and daypacks

Before starting the task at hand, it is important to determine what travel bags and suitcases you plan to use for your warm-weather European getaway. With longer stays, you will need more packing space, but at the same time, you do not want to have more than two checked bags. Ideally, one multi-use carry-on and one easy-to-maneuver checked bag should provide enough space for this particular trip. Your carry-on can double as your daypack or backpack, and any additional bags like shopping totes or purses can be checked in your suitcase (per Our Escape Clause).

Once you have selected the appropriate luggage, it is time to pull out your summer packing list. Here, the capsule wardrobe approach is best. If you are not quite sure what that is — a capsule wardrobe is a limited number, usually seventeen pieces or so, of interchangeable clothing items that complement one another. These seventeen items should make for roughly ten outfits. When compiling these pieces, think of classic, neutral colors that are easy to mix and match (via Style At A Certain Age).


 It seems that summers have been getting hotter and hotter throughout Europe. Packing a jacket or two might seem unnecessary, but any savvy traveler knows you will need a rain jacket (preferably a foldable one), a lightweight coat, and even a throw-on cardigan, hoodie, or sweater (via Our Escape Clause). And if you have plans to pop by Iceland, Denmark, the Scottish Highlands, Germany, or other cooler all-year-round destinations in Europe, then you will definitely need a coat.

A lightweight coat for your summer trip does not have to take up ample space in your travel bags, either. There are a variety of packable and foldable travel jackets that are perfect for milder to cold weather. If you do not own a packable jacket already, now is the time to add one to your online shopping cart. Travelers can also opt for the tried and true jean jacket or simple blazer, which are ideal for cool nights on the town or on a boat. But remember, these fashionable coats are on the bulkier side, so you may need to carry (possibly even wear) your jean jacket or blazer on the plane (per The Savvy Globetrotter).


For travelers following the capsule wardrobe approach, a total of five basic tops is all you need for your summer abroad. If you plan on having regular access to a washer and dryer during your stay, then you can pack a little lighter when it comes to clothing items such as these. Even if you are unsure where you will be washing your belongings, do not overdo it — pack only a week's worth of clothes at most (via World On A Whim). 

Remember, these shirts and tees should be easy to mix and match. Breathable fabrics like cotton, rayon, and linen will keep you cool when it is blaring hot outside. Travelers should also try to stick to neutral or light-colored items here. If you opt to pack for a week instead of having a capsule wardrobe, you will have an additional two tops. These can be tank tops or going-out shirts (maybe a combination of the two), so you are properly prepared for wherever the day takes you (per Travel Fashion Girl).  


Lightweight pants, jeans, and shorts are the essentials here. So, minimalistic travelers should aim to pack three to four bottoms (shorts, jeans, light leggings or trousers, and dress pants). Women can also add two short dresses and one long or mid-length skirt (via Chantae). Of course, shorts, trousers, and leggings take up less space than multiple pairs of jeans. So, you definitely have some wiggle room here with the exact number of bottoms, especially for guys. However, it is still best to stick with seven days' worth.

That said, even if you are a die-hard shorts wearer, there are certain venues and places that have a dress code. Make sure you have at least one pair of nice pants or a skirt (possibly a dress) to ensure you do not miss out on any experiences (per Neverending Voyage). By rolling clothing items and using compression packing cubes, travelers can easily fit some configuration of the bottoms mentioned above in their checked bags. Plus, it never hurts to put at least one change of clothes in your carry-on backpack so that you can change after a seven-hour flight. Having an additional change of clothes on board with you is also a savvy traveler move that comes in handy if your baggage is temporarily lost or delayed.

Day-to-night ensembles

Speaking of dressy clothes, a button-down shirt with a nice blazer or a classic dress can always be taken from day to night with a few adjustments. So, the good news is you do not need to pack anything really specific here that you likely have not packed already. Still, if you have some sort of function to go to or plan to paint the town red often, then ladies can never go wrong with a little black dress (or some other color). With a simple change of footwear, some eye-catching accessories, and an added pop of color (from a scarf or maybe a red lip), your job is done. Now that basic dress that worked so well with a jean jacket or long-sleeve linen shirt tied around your waist at the museum is ready for late-night drinks (via The Blonde Abroad).

Of course, guys sporting that nice pair of pants they packed with a loose-fitting cotton or linen long-sleeve shirt can also easily switch from day to night by just rolling down their sleeves (per A Broken Backpack). Similarly, a basic plain tee can be instantly transformed with a blazer and a pair of nice shoes or solid-color runners. It is really that simple, and the best part is that you both look effortlessly stylish all day and night — without having to pack more clothing.

Underwear, pajamas, and socks

In terms of the magical number of underwear, pajamas, socks, and other unmentionables, opinions vary among savvy world travelers. But it is best to play it safe here and pack enough for one week, maybe a little more (via The Savvy Globetrotter). Since you will likely be doing laundry on a somewhat regular basis during your time away, several pairs of socks and pajamas may or may not be necessary — ultimately, the final decision here is up to you.

However, most people pack at least ten pairs of underwear for an extended trip. The standard boxers or briefs will do just fine for men, though there is some great travel underwear for both men and women that is lightweight, breathable, moisture-wicking, and even odor-resistant. So this is another instance where you might want to shop around and see what's available. On the other hand, ladies can easily pack ten or more pairs since ladies' underwear tends to be on the small side and can be placed in any unused spaces (in packing cubes or otherwise) in your checked bag (per Travel Fashion Girl).


With all the walking tours and planned gallivanting, you will need a comfortable pair of walking shoes — even if you have no intentions of walking more than you have to, you will still need comfy shoes to get through multiple airports. Easy-to-walk-in sandals that are waterproof (and have decent traction) will also come in handy on those hot days about town and for those occasional beach outings (via Savored Journeys).

Travelers should also pack at least one pair of dressy or business casual shoes just in case. Typically, a nice and comfortable pair of flats or a classic pair of slip-on loafers are ideal for any fancy European outing, especially one that involves a lot of walking on cobblestone streets (per Souvenir Finder). And depending on your particular itinerary, an additional pair of shoes (most likely lightweight hiking boots or summer walking boots) may be necessary for an impromptu thru-hike or any other kind of outdoorsy excursion you may find yourself on.

Everyday accessories and the essentials

Everyday accessories like packable hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen, should definitely make the cut when packing for a warm-weather European vacation. An RFID-blocking travel wallet or money belt and a slash-proof or anti-theft bag are also things that you will likely use for most of your trip. Likewise, essentials such as a travel-size umbrella, portable travel fan, laundry products, and a travel steamer are just a few more items that will make your life a lot easier as you make your way through Europe (via World On A Whim).

That said, travelers should not dedicate an entire suitcase to these items. Since you will be spending several weeks abroad and visiting multiple destinations, the most sensible thing is to pack just enough (laundry products, sunscreen, and other similar kinds of items) to get you started. Then, when necessary, you can buy any essentials or accessories that you may need at that time in Europe (per She Buys Travel).


As briefly mentioned, most essentials and standard toiletries can be bought once you reach your destination. Plus, if you are staying at a hotel or a well-stocked Airbnb, they will likely supply you with the basics — body wash, shampoo, and conditioner. Therefore, you should only pack the products you need or know are unavailable in Europe. Obviously, whatever toiletries you do need should be in bar form or regular size (toothpaste, contact solution, and face wash) since the typical travel-sized products probably won't last the duration of your stay (per Adventure In You).

The larger toiletries that are not TSA-compliant should be placed in your checked bag. But do not just put them in your luggage and forget them. In addition to having a good, hanging, and user-friendly toiletry bag for your makeup, toothbrush, health products, and more, travelers should also have a few Ziploc leakproof bags (large and small) handy. Liquid, paste, cream-based, or powdery products in a checked bag can easily ruin your well-packed belongings. So do yourself a favor and make sure you put spillable items in a leakproof bag. The smaller Ziploc bags are also great for any travel-sized products you need on your person as you travel from country to country. Most European countries require passengers to place any liquids that are in their carry-on in a clear leakproof bag, so having yours already in a Ziploc bag can save you time getting through security (via Plan Ready Go).


Worldwide adaptors, portable battery chargers, noise-canceling headphones, and portable speakers should also be on your European summer packing list (per The Guardian). Since multiple destinations are on the table, an adaptor you can use throughout your trip is an absolute must. The same is true for portable battery chargers. Your smartphone has many purposes when traveling, including storing your boarding passes, maps, tour tickets, favorite music, and more. So you really cannot afford to have your phone die on you. Tech such as noise-canceling headphones and portable speakers are less of a necessity. But they still make noisy flights and afternoons at the beach more enjoyable.

There is also a wealth of other tech to consider when packing for your summer in Europe. For example, a streaming stick, iPad, waterproof Kindle or tablet, SIM card, camera, Apple AirTags, luggage scale, and other items you may need for work are musts for some travelers but not others. If you do decide to take a long additional electronics such as these, you can easily pack them in your carry-on (via Savored Journeys). Just remember that you may need to have your electronics in a separate case or tech pouch that is easy to access when at the airport.

Travel apps and accessories

Travelers summering in Europe should also check out what smartphone apps are available that will make navigating their destination easier. Many major European cities have their own taxi and ride-sharing apps, subway and rail apps, free walking tours, bookable activities, plus restaurant reservations and food delivery apps. So, it is extremely beneficial to have access to these things. Having Google Maps, Mobile Passport, and other helpful travel apps does not hurt either. That said, for travelers who are not as tech-savvy or maybe do not own a smartphone, there is no time like the present to learn or upgrade because these travel apps make a world of difference (via Contiki).

Besides being fully equipped with the latest apps, travelers should also make sure they have the standard travel (airplane, train, and bus) accessories. Such accessories like sleeping masks, a neck or travel pillow, a blanket, compression socks, ear plugs, a collapsible water bottle, a travel lock, and even travel Tupperware should be on most, if not all, of your packing lists. Though these accessories may take up some additional space in your carry-on backpack, no traveler has ever regretted bringing these items with them — especially on a summer trip across Europe (per Half Half Travel).

Other items

Finally, all travel-related items (ID, some money, credit cards, your passport, pertinent travel documents, and vaccination card or negative COVID results) need to go somewhere useful. So not only should you not forget to pack these things, but you should also triple-check that you have everything before heading to the airport. Likewise, travelers may need other last-minute components like hand sanitizer, masks, body wipes, additional phone cases, or possibly a second bathing suit and quick-dry towel. Really, any little must-haves that may have slipped your mind during the first round of packing need to be added (per Brunette From Wallstreet).  

Thankfully, most of these other items can fit in your carry-on backpack. In fact, it is highly recommended that important things such as travel documents, your passport, prescription medications, and even tissue paper go in your carry-on (via Bright Nomad). Of course, if your carry-on bag is already packed to the brim, then you may need to take inventory of some of the more miscellaneous stuff. If you have some spare space in your checked bag, then extra bathing suits and quick dry towels can obviously go in there. However, it is always sensible to have a change of clothes and some swimwear in your carry-on because the shimmering blue waters and sandy beaches of Europe in the summertime wait for no one's delayed luggage.