iNSIDE(r) EUROPE Packing List + Tips

iNSIDE(r) EUROPE Packing List + Tips

Is less ‘baggage’ really more?
Take a close(r) look at our Europe packing list and tips.

For most travelers, packing your suitcase is one of the more difficult aspects of preparing for a European journey. Nowadays, the weather is so unpredictable that the classic season packing tips won’t always apply: e.g. be prepared for rain iN spring, or wear sandals only iN summer…

a brown leather bag in the middle of a road illustrates this story on Europe packing list

Is packing as much as possible the answer? NO!
But all of us at iNSIDE EUROPE can confirm that indeed less is more.
And, almost everyone always overpacks.

Layering your clothes is a great way to be prepared for any weather!


“Stick to the essentials and bring only what you really need”, that is our recommendation to you. Plus, “layering clothes is a great way to be prepared for any weather!”

Believe it or not, some of our Europe Insiders even manage to pack for eight days iN Europe with just a carry-on. And no, it isn’t just the guys either. However, the carry-on approach does limit the shoes you can bring significantly. Maybe a good thing?

Our ‘best’ packing tip for Europe: “Pack as lightly as you can.”
Choosing a smaller suitcase can also prevent you from bringing way too much. And, most agree, the best way to get it all to fit into your suitcase is to fold everything nicely, plus, if you wish, to then roll it tightly. “Think of packing your bag as if it were a puzzle.”

If Tetris is not your game, packing cubes can help keeping everything organized and – with the never generation of these tools – to further compress it all.

Dress like a European: Smart-Casual

Keep in mind, however, that Europeans in general dress more formal than most people in the U.S. or Canada.

Especially in the cities, the every day attire for most locals is ‘smart casual’. In addition, sacred spaces like cathedrals and churches have strict dress codes and will not allow anyone to visit/enter who is not properly dressed. Wearing tank tops, shorts, short skirts or gym attire may result in being denied entry. Short, skirt or dress hems should always go over your knees, or at least to the knee if you plan on visiting places of worship. When in doubt, play it safe and go for capris — they are fashionable for any gender these days!

Ladies: Sometimes a scarf or a pashmina may be sufficient to cover exposed shoulders or a deep neckline, but since the guard at the entrance of religious sites has the final say, there is no guarantee. We recommend bringing a cardigan in addition to a scarf.


Our Packing Tips for Europe

Here are a few things that we consider essential to be comfortable iN any weather, be it spring, summer, fall or winter. Weather changes are frequent and can be quite drastic. Planning ahead is great, but checking the forecast close to your departure date is what we recommend.

Essentials to bring along:

  • Rain jacket, ideally with fleece insert (especially when traveling in spring, fall or winter)
  • Two pairs of pants, ladies may want to bring a couple skirts or dresses, as well.
  • A sweater or two, (or three, if you tend to feel chilly).
  • Plenty of shirts, we recommend polos and at least two dress shirts/blouses. Darker colors, prints or florals are more forgiving than crips whites.
  • Plenty of undergarments and socks for daily changes
  • Pajamas
  • Don’t forget shoes! We recommend a maximum of three pairs (tennis shoes, good everyday shoes with rubber soles and dress shoes). Make sure that you will be comfortable to walk long distances. However, we suggest to not bring flip flops. Europeans do wear those to the pool, spa or at the beach. And maybe leave your nicest shoes at home, too. Cobblestones may ruin them, especially high heels.
  • Phone (with international data plan should it be used overseas)
  • Refillable water bottle (plastic or metal) . Why not personalize it with a sticker or a decal?
  • A watch (in case your phone runs out of battery)
  • Deodorant, cosmetics, toiletries, personal hygiene products, razors and medication
  • Put all liquids (3.4 ounces max) that are in your carry-on into a one-quart zip-lock bag. And remember the 311 rules: TSA | Transportation Security Administration | 3-1-1 on Air Travel
  • Sharp items such as scissors, fingernail clippers, etc. must be packed in your checked luggage along with liquids over 3.4 ounces. Bring enough contact lens solution and prescription medication that you may need for the whole duration of the trip.

Some Things are Easily Replaced

If you forget something, most things are easily replaced abroad. There are plenty of shops where you can by shampoo, toothpaste, etc., however we highly recommend that travelers bring all essential personal hygiene products with them as overseas items vary greatly and may be different, sometimes even uncomfortable to use (deodorant, pads, tampons, etc.)

What essentials are generally provided at the hotels?

  • Soap, shampoo or shower gel, however not necessarily conditioner. If you prefer bar soap, we suggest bringing your favorite one as gel is the European’s preferred shower soap.
  • Towels
  • Blow dryer (however, usually not high-end devices)

What we suggest NOT to bring:

  • Straighteners/Curling Irons (unless specifically approved for European usage)
  • Attire that can be considered disrespectful or overly patriotic
  • Expensive high heels (as they may not survive the cobble stones)
  • Expensive jewelry, family heirlooms
  • Gum (opt for mints instead)


An important part of traveling is to experience cultural differences. However, some adjustments to the local way of doing things, may be more challenging than others. From our experience, here are the top five things to bring from home when visiting Europe:

  • A wash cloth or two as they are not common in most parts of Europe
  • Ziplock bags of various sizes
  • Second set of charging cables for your most used electronic items
  • Back-up battery pack
  • Ear plugs

Our iNSIDE EUROPE team wishes all travelers a safe journey to Europe.
Remember to leave some space in your suitcase for souvenirs and other purchases as you experience those beautiful destinations. ‘Helping’ the local economy is always appreciated.
For a more specific Europe packing list for singers in a choir or musicians in a band, take a look a our iNCANTATO packing list for your next European concert tour.

#travelbettertogether #wheretonext #makeEuropeyourstage #traveltips #localguides #europeinsiders


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