A summer getaway to Europe is an exciting adventure. However, packing for such a trip can be overwhelming. But, it can be a simple and efficient process that will result in looking sharp and feeling comfortable throughout your travels. Personally, I once toured Austria and Italy for three weeks with only one carry-on bag…and I had 42 outfit combinations that I did not repeat! So, here’s my recommended packing list for a 2-3 week European escape:
5 Bottoms: (1) jeans, (1) cotton/casual pant, (2) pair of shorts (a longer length will allow you to enter churches, etc. without incident), and (1) skirt. All bottoms should be either of two neutral colors: navy/tan or black/white, for example. If you don’t like to wear shorts, then add another casual pant or skirt instead.
6 Tops: (2) tanks, (2) short sleeve t-shirts, (1) long sleeve t-shirt, and (1) button-up blouse. Layer the tanks or t-shirts under your blouse if the weather gets cooler. Select tops in accent colors that will coordinate with the bottoms. The goal is to have each top go with as many bottoms as possible for variety and comfort.
2 Sweaters: (1) pullover, and (1) cardigan. The fabrics should vary, so that you’re covered when the temp drops.
1 Dress: a cotton dress that can go with flat sandals during the day, and dressier sandals at night. Select a dress with an all-over pattern (a feminine floral, perhaps?) that won’t show wrinkles as much as a solid. (available at etsy.com.)
4 Shoes: (1) comfy flats (available at shopgeox.com), (1) sporty walking shoes, (2) sandals—one flat and comfy, and one dressy (and comfy). Make sure that the pressure points of the shoes hit your foot in different places, so that if a blister pops up, you can switch shoes, and give that “owie” a break for a day or two.
Additional items: (1) hat, (6) underwear, (2) scarves, (1) lightweight jacket, (1) umbrella, (3) socks, (1) carry-on tote for magazines/books and (1) small cross-body bag (available at countryoutfitter.com) and a minimal amount of inexpensive/versatile jewelry.
A few more do’s and don’ts:
*DO roll clothes or use packing cubes (available at bedbathandbeyond.com) to maximize space in your luggage.
*DO wear your heaviest clothes/shoes on the plane both ways, including a wrap/pashmina, and use it for a pillow or blanket.
*DO check the weather forecast before you leave. Why carry an umbrella for 3 weeks, when it’s clear skies?
*DON’T wear sneakers or a fanny pack. They scream “Tacky American Tourist”, and that’s a bad thing. That includes sports teams t-shirts and baggy cargo shorts, too.
*DO use a local laundromat, rather than washing items in the sink. You get to experience the local culture firsthand, it only takes 1 ½ hours, and you don’t have underwear drying all over your hotel room.
*DO go shopping, and pick up anything you’ve forgotten…and have a fabulous time!