A Man with a Passport and His Luggage - Packing Tips for Europe

15 Smart Packing Tips for Europe (+Packing List)

In Travel Tips by Una BaufalaLeave a Comment

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The date is approacing fast, you’re all so excited. You are going on that trip. But there is one thing – your bag, you can’t decide what to take and what not, how to not forget something that really is important, while leaving unnecessary stuff at home. We all have been in a situation like this. And even after 5 years of traveling I sometimes struggle to pack my backpack.

What helps, though, is having a plan. That’s why I’ve created this article to share with you some of our best smart packing tips for Europe. So you can have a plan.

Creating a Packing List - Packing Tips for Europe

15 Smart Packing Tips for Europe

Save this list of useful packing tips for Europe, and you will always be prepared.

1. Invest in Good Luggage

If you are traveling often it’s very important to have good luggage. Not only it’s important that the luggage is durable but also easy to use and comfortable.

If you prefer traveling with a suitcase look for a sturdy suitcase with quality 360-degree spinner wheels and a durable telescopic handle. If you are looking for a new backpack invest in a travel backpack with a wide padded hip belt, sturdy shoulder straps and durable zippers. If you are an avid hiker we recommend to buy a hiking pack with good back support, as well as good suspension and ventilation systems.

One more important thing – pay attention to the weight of your luggage. And if possible buy a lightweight suitcase or backpack. You don’t want your luggage use up much of the weight allowance. Especially if you are traveling with a carry on only!

2. Research and Plan Ahead

What the weather’s like there? Is there a chance of rain? If yes, then how many rainy days? Is there a pool at your hotel or a beach nearby? By researching and answering these (and other similar) questions you’ll be able to decide what clothes and accessories to take with you and what to leave behind.

Take only clothes you’ll definitely need, leave “just in case” items at home!

Also you don’t have to pack an outfit for every single day because everywhere you’ll go you’ll find a laundromat. Hotels, hostels and guest houses offer laundry services as well.

3. Create a Packing List

Doing stuff is so much easier when you are following guidelines! Packing is not an exception!

What is packing list? It’s a paper or an electronic list (or even a list in a special app!) of items you must not forget to pack.

Create a packing list before you start to pack your bag. Review the packing list several times, so you don’t forget any important items.

See our packing list below!

4. Use Packing Solutions

There are special packing solutions for your clothes and footwear: packing cubes, garment folders and shoe bags. Use them to keep your clothes and footwear organized.

Pack small items, such as underwear and socks, in smaller packing cubes, whereas large items, like, jackets and jeans can go in large packing cubes. Medium packing cubes are perfect for T-shirts and sundresses.

Pack your shirts, skirts and trousers in garment folders – envelope-like packing folders which keep clothes folded neatly and wrinkle-free.

Separate your footwear from the rest of your stuff in order to protect it from dirt and sand. Special shoe bags are sand, dirt and water resistant. This means they will keep mud, moisture and sand contained.

Not only packing cubes and other packing solutions keep everything contained in an organized manner, they also help to save space.

Traveler Holding a Mug - Packing Tips for Europe

5. Keep Your Toiletries in a Toiletry Bag

In order to protect your clothes from leaks and spills keep your toiletries and makeup in a separate ziplock bag or in a TSA-approved toiletry bag. Not only it will protect your clothes but also will help to stay organized. Also with toiletry bag (or a zip-lock bag) you’ll be able to spot your liquids quickly and remove it from the bag at the TSA check.

If you are traveling with a checked bag and a lot of toiletries and makeup invest in a sturdy large size toiletry bag.

6. Travel with Travel Size Toiletries or Buy Them at Your Destination

When packing remember that you aren’t allowed to take full size bottles on the plane in your carry on. You can only put them in your checked luggage.

You are allowed to bring a quart-sized (1 L) bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes through the checkpoint. These are limited to 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item. This is also known as the 3-1-1 liquids rule. Source: tsa.gov.

If you are traveling with a carry on only a set of travel size bottles is what you can bring with you. Even better option – buy toiletries at your destination!

7. Keep Your Electronics and Cables in an Electronics Organizer

Just like with the toiletries and shoes, keep your electronics separated from the rest of your stuff. For this purpose you can use any large zippered pouch, packing cube or even a toiletry bag, or you can buy a special electronics organizer.

Whether you are traveling or not keeping all of your small electronics organized by using an electronic organizer makes life so much easier.

8. Take a Packable Daypack with You

A packable daypack is a lightweight backpack which is made of thin yet durable material. As it is so thin and lightweight it can be easily folded and packed inside itself.

Take a packable daypack with you and unpack it at your destination to take it on day trips or sightseeing trips. Also a packable daypack can come in handy if you end up buying souvenirs for your whole family and there’s no space left in your luggage.

9. Take with You a Laundry Bag or Extra Packing Cube

Take an extra packing cube or a laundry bag for your dirty laundry. It’s always nice to keep dirty clothes away from the clean. Also you’ll able to locate the dirty stuff faster if it’s in one separate bag.

Clothes and Shoes - Packing Tips for Europe

10. Roll Your Clothes

Roll your clothes and put them tightly together in packing cubes to save precious luggage space!

11. Pack a Lightweight Microfiber Towel Instead of a Large Bath Towel

To reduce weight and bulk of your bag leave the fluffy towel behind! Pack a lightweight microfiber travel towel which doesn’t take up much space and dries very quickly.

12. Wear the Heaviest and Bulkiest Items on the Plane

Wear the bulkiest clothing and shoes on the plane to save space in your luggage. It will be cool on the plane due to air conditioning, and you’ll want to wear something warm anyway.

13. Use Luggage Space Wisely

Start with packing large items such as shoes and packing cubes (with clothes in them). Pack a laptop and an electronics organizer with electronics and cables in it. Pack a toiletry bag. Then pack the rest of the stuff. Make use of every inch – put small items, such as microfiber towel, eye mask, manicure set, pencil case, etc., in little free spaces in your bag, also in your shoes!

14. Don’t Bring Books, Read Books on Kindle

Books take up a lot of space and make luggage sooo heavy! Especially if you travel with more than one book!

If you are an avid traveler (and reader, too) get yourself an e-book reader! It can hold hundreds of books and weights less than 6 oz (170 g). Such a gadget will definitely help save your back!

15. Pack Carry On Essentials and a Change of Clothes in Your Carry On

No matter if you are traveling with a carry on only or with checked luggage and a carry on, take your absolute carry on essentials with you on a plane!

If you are traveling with a checked bag pack one outfit change in your carry on or personal item!

Adventurer - Packing Tips for Europe

International Travel Packing List

We already have discussed what is packing list (see above). Now let’s look inside our bags!

Trip Packing Checklist for Her: Clothes

  • 1-2 pairs of pants or shorts;
  • 1-2 long sleeve (depends on weather);
  • Cardigan (depends on weather);
  • Dress or skirt (depends on weather; wool dress for cooler climate);
  • 1 pair of leggings (can be worn with a wool dress);
  • 5 pairs of socks;
  • 4 pairs of T-shirts;
  • 6 pairs of underwear;
  • 2 bras;
  • 1 sports bra;
  • Flip flops;
  • 1 pair of lightweight walking shoes or sandals (depends on what you are wearing on the plane);
  • Shawl;
  • Swimwear;
  • Pajamas;
  • Lightweight rain jacket.

Trip Packing Checklist for Him: Clothes

  • 1-2 pairs of pants or shorts;
  • 1-2 long sleeve (depends on weather);
  • Cardigan (depends on weather);
  • 5 pairs of socks;
  • 4 pairs of T-shirts;
  • 5 pairs of underwear;
  • Flip flops;
  • 1 pair of lightweight walking shoes or sandals (depends on what you are wearing on the plane);
  • 1 buff /bandana;
  • Swimwear;
  • Lightweight rain jacket.

A Person in the Airport - Packing Tips for Europe

Trip Packing Checklist: Accessories and Other Things

  • Carry on essentials;
  • Rain cover for your luggage;
  • Small dry sack for your documents, passport, phone, wallet;
  • Sunglasses;
  • Compact microfibre towel;
  • Travel size toiletries;
  • Nail scissors or clippers (ladies – manicure set, or at least nail file);
  • Medicines – painkillers, anti-diarrheal medicines, throat lozenges, band aids, etc.;
  • International travel power adapter;
  • Pen and a small notebook;
  • Powerbank, chargers and batteries for all your electronics.

“Must-Not-Forget” Items

  • Passport;
  • Money;
  • Credit cards;
  • Boarding passes;
  • Onward / return flight (at the passport control you might be asked to show a proof of onward travel);
  • Other tickets;
  • Address of your hotel;
  • Hotel bookings;
  • Travel insurance;
  • Vaccination certificate (required in some countries).

What To Wear On a Flight?

  • Slip on shoes in summer, and boots if it’s spring, autumn or winter;
  • Warm socks;
  • Comfortable pants (for ladies – running tights or leggings);
  • Cotton T-shirt;
  • Hoodie or sweater;
  • If it’s cold outside (and at your destination), and you wear a coat, take it off before boarding the plane.

Is there anything you would add?

Una Baufala

Author: Una Baufala

Una is a traveler and travel blogger from Latvia. Apart from traveling and exploring new places she loves to read books. And she adores cats. Together with Kaspars they have been traveling – volunteering – working abroad since October 2013. WeAreFromLatvia.com is where she shares her travel experiences.

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