In May of this year, B and I headed to Spain, France and Switzerland on a two-week excursion. I had never been to Europe before so my expectations were higher than my anxieties of boarding a 12 hour flight over the Atlantic. We ended up leaving in a whirlwind one day after closing bloom and my suitcase, while very well thought out, ended up being a complete disaster. Why? Because I didn’t know what to expect and therefore had no idea what to pack. I packed like an overprotective mother sending her child to camp for the first time — you name it, I packed it. The good news from hauling around a 45 lb bag throughout those countries was that I learned what not to pack. Each destination that we stopped in I wanted to throw out about 10 lbs worth of things. (I didn’t, but I did think about it every time I hauled that thing through an airport, train station or metro. The only thing I lost was a travel blanket, but more on that later.)
And then the other truth of the matter was this: I only ended up wearing a few of the things packed. One reason was because of the terrible luck we had with the weather. Spain was gorgeous and I was able to wear the many, many pairs of shorts that I packed. France and Switzerland were cold and rainy so my two pairs of pants, one sweater and slightly heavier jacket had to last me for 10 days. (As I’ve learned is normal and I should probably read the weather updates more often.) Now of course, hindsight is always 20/20 and had I realized that Spain was going to be a much different climate than France then I would have packed differently. But since I didn’t, I’ll let you learn from my mistakes.
I’ve thought a lot about the items that I would aboslutely take if I had to pack up and go again tomorrow. (I wish this was the case) All of the options I would take are below:

 

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I figured out that I could make about 15 different outfits from all of these pieces. Probably more but I stopped counting when I got to a nice solid number. I’ve also covered a lot of climate here for summer. I’ve got warmer layering pieces along with a few summery pieces, in case the weather calls for sunshine and the beach. One thing to note: I’m a casual vacationer. While I’d love to one day haul some pretty dresses to Paris and snap beautiful outfit photos (seriously, I need this to happen. it’s on my bucket list.), it’s not realistic for what we like to do and see on a tourist based vacation. So I went with practical but styled choices as you’ll see here.

 

(More packing tips after the jump… oh yes, there is more.) 

1. Basic tee: I picked a nice linen white tee because of the versatility. It can easily go with all three bottom choices, goes well with a military jacket or a blazer, and looks simple and chic. Sometimes the more simple the piece, the more chic it looks. Plus, if you need to wear sneaks to be a tourist one day, a white tee is a perfect companion.
2. Striped Top: I would not leave home without a striped top. The chic factor is too high and again, it’s a piece that you can dress up or down depending on your destination. Also a great layering piece for changing climates.
3. Bright Blouse: This can be anything but you need to bring a little bit of color with you. I liked this top just for the fact that it’s cotton, so it will iron out easily and it has structure to it but it will breathe.  To me it’s an easy addition to denim cut-offs with the metallic sandals for a cute but comfortable outfit to stroll around in.
4. Striped tank: You can of course choose another basic top, but I thought a striped tank would be great for a few reasons: 1) it’s striped, 2) to wear as a cover-up over a swimsuit or if it’s warm out as a top, 3) layering piece under a chambray and/or jacket if it’s cooler outside. Again it’s another piece that goes with all three bottom choices perfectly.
5. Casual Jacket: I wore my anorak jacket all over Europe because it was easy to take with me in case it decided to rain. (And this decision happens often in Paris, apparently.) A denim jacket would also be a great choice to take as well.
6. Chambray top: One of the most versatile pieces in my closet, this was the one piece I was so, so grateful that I brought. I wore it one too many times. A must-have when traveling.
7. Lightweight scarf: Needed for cold airplanes, layering and for a nice way to change an outfit that may be on repeat.
8. Swim suit: We never hit a pool, but I was prepared just in case we found one in the sun.
9. Skinny jeans: I can not tell you how many times I wore this pair of jeans on our trip. I even contemplated not bringing them thinking I would be too warm. Thank goodness I threw them in last minute. If you prefer, boyfriend jeans would be a great alternative as well. I just prefer the skinny look.
10. Denim shorts: I say denim shorts because like jeans, they can go with everything. Plus denim shorts tend to keep their shape even after wearing them for long periods of time or while traveling. Sometimes cotton shorts lose their shape and don’t hold up as well.
11. Cotton skirt: For those days that you want to feel a little bit dressier but still feel comfortable, a skirt is a must have. I lived in this one while in Spain. Plus it’s nice to have options for dinners out.
12. Day dress: I’m probably going to buy this dress regardless of the fact that we will not be going to Europe again any time soon. It’s just a perfect shape and a nice blank canvas to create whatever look you are going for that day or evening.
13. Knit dress: Again with the stripes, I know but they are classic and a knit dress is perfect to travel in. It tends to not wrinkle and it feels like pajamas. Throw on a jacket and a scarf and that should get you through a cold plane or train just fine.
14. Crossbody bag: I took two bags to Europe with me (actually three bags — I brought a clutch that I never used but I packed my jewelry in it, just in case.) This was actually a smart decision on my part; the cross body bag was perfect for tourist areas and the tote was great as a carry-on or if we went shopping one day.
15. Day tote: So this one is reversible — it can be either black or brown. I can’t describe how perfect this is for traveling (even if you only take one bag) because you can match it whatever your outfit is that day. Again, a tote like this is great as a carry-on or for shopping and stashing your purchases in your tote. Also REVERSIBLE. I’m obsessed.
16. Umbrella: Someone actually suggested that I take a small umbrella with us when we went. I scoffed. Guess what? I wasn’t scoffing at that advice when we were in pouring down rain in Paris. Take a small, sturdy umbrella. Or buy one on the streets for 10 euro and have it break 45 seconds later like us and then cry into your soggy gelato like we did.
17. Panama hat: Because Europe. It only makes sense.
18. Sunglasses: I of course packed two because I’m a lush, but I always had a back up in case I lost one or left them in the hotel room. You can just pack one though and I won’t judge your choices.
19. Metallic sandals: This is a specific request, I realize but as we were traveling I never wanted to wear the heels I brought. (Feel free to roll your eyes at the fact that I brought multiple pairs of heels.) But I did want to have a little bit of something when we went to dinners at night. Enter the slightly heeled sandal that just happens to be gold. See? It all makes sense now.
20. Birkenstocks: You may love or hate them, but you can not deny the comfort they bring to tired tourist feet. I wore them throughout Spain and my feet never once complained.
21. Nude ballet flats: I took this pair and I pretty much wore them out. They were so comfortable and easy to slip on and go. (These are also foldable, so they pack well.) I also felt like they complimented all of my outfits because of the nice, nude color. Black would also work well, depending on what else you take.
22. Sneaks: If you are going to be walking, then you need sneakers. I like the look of these with a dress or skinny jeans; you can’t beat a cute white sneaker.
And for those who are more list-oriented than visual, I made you a checklist below.
packing tips europe travel
This is a pretty minimal list but it will get you through I’d say a 2-3 week vacation, with re-wearing some outfits, of course, but without hauling the un-necessities. And if my calculations are right, you can probably pack these things (depending on toiletries) in a carry-on suitcase or at least a smaller sized suitcase. A helpful hint that was passed on to me by a world-traveler is Packing cubes. This was some advice I did not scoff at. It doesn’t seem like they would be helpful because they are just bags… but they are. I can’t explain it, it just works. You can get so much more in a suitcase when using them. I rolled all of my items into three of these things and still had room to spare. I also packed in this suitcase, if you wondered. It’s lightweight and holds a TON. In fact, it might hold too much. 🙂
As far as toiletries go, pack light but pack right. We brought our own shampoo and body wash using these holders. We also brought a small travel hairdryer, which was a great decision because some Air BnB places we stayed did not have a hair dryer. (All of our hotels did though. So it might just depend on where you stay.) Other tips: Bring an extra bag or two. I like Baggu nylon bags because they are small and take up no room if you don’t use them. We put our dirty laundry in them but you could also use them for an extra carry-on / shopping tote or to store a wet swimsuit, etc. It’s just nice to have them in case you need them. (I always seem to need another bag…) The other suggestion I have is to bring two universal adapters. We used one with an USB plug to charge our phones and the other for a hair dryer or computer, etc. I’d also bring a reusable water bottle, like a BKR or Nalgene. We were able to fill them up at the house we were staying with filtered water and that way we didn’t have to pay a lot of disposable water bottles throughout the day.
Things I’d leave at home? Travel pillow or blanket. Unless you absolutely can not travel without one, I’d leave them behind. They are a pain to haul around, become pretty dirty from travel and take up too much room in your suitcase when not in use. I had both a travel blanket AND pillow and regretted that decision within hours of take-off. If you can, leave your computer at home as well. I brought mine because I can’t leave work alone. But honestly, you can get whatever you need done with a smartphone or iPad. And as far as bringing a computer just for photos,  if you can buy an Eye-Fi card and upload your photos to your iPad or iPhone so you can use them immediately without the use of a computer. (This camera actually connects directly to your phone and automatically loads them via wifi, if you’re looking for a new camera.)
So that’s it! If you made it to the end of this long, long post congratulations because that probably means you are going on a trip and I’m jealous. Have fun and pack well.

 

PS: I intentionally left toiletries / undies / necessities out because I figured those things were up to you. Besides my suggestions of sunscreen, hand sanitizer and tylenol, I think you can cover your needs in the toiletries category. 😉

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173 Responses

  1. Thanks Kendi! I felt like you read my mind…I’m traveling to Europe next week and I don’t know what to expect. This will prevent me from having a disaster! Super helpful:)

  2. I have been WAITING for this post since you promised you’d post it. Leaving in exactly one month for Europe! Thanks for sharing! I have all of these pieces (or something like them). 🙂

  3. This is wonderful! I actually just bought the white linen tee this morning when I saw the Madewell sale, and I almost splurged on a tote too, but now I’m glad I didn’t because that reversible one is perfect!

    1. I ALWAYS feel this way. If I pack light, I packed too little. If I pack heavy, it’s always too much. I’m still trying to find the right amount things to pack 🙂

  4. I have gone to Europe three times now with only a carry-on and backpack, after watching my poor aunt lug three suitcases around Italy once. It’s sooooo worth it because you will be traveling plane, train, or automobile at least once when you’re there, and the less you have, the better off you are! Of course, it feels like it takes some rocket science and Einstein’s theory of relativity to figure out what will work and how to pack it all in :).

    I also recommend those vacuum-sealed space-saving bags – they’ve helped me squeeze in a few extra t-shirts or sweaters for my “options” loving self :).

  5. We have traveled several times to Europe (at different times of year, too) and your advice is dead on. As long as you remember a credit card and phone, everything else can be acquired if you forget it. 🙂

  6. Thank you Kendi! I just got back from two weeks in Italy and I WAY over-packed with a 47 pound bag. As much as I love dresses (and I know you do too), there is simply no need to pack 12 of them. I should have gone with more basic separates, as you have so smartly suggested. I’ll just have to go on another two week European trip!

  7. I’m totally pinning this for later reference. I’m always an over-packer, what I pack for a weekend away will probably work for a week away for someone else. I’ve found it’s getting easier the more I pare down my closet as well. Less to choose from means less I can pack 🙂

  8. This is the perfect list! I couldn’t agree more about packing a lightweight scarf. When I studied abroad in Spain, the temperature would change as much as 30 degrees in one day so the scarf was essential.

  9. Love this so much! I’m a terrible packer and this is such a great guide. On another note, I listened to the pod-cast you did the other day, and it made me like you even more! I sound like a complete weirdo, but hearing your sweet voice totally changed my experience when I read your blog. You are the cutest.

  10. I did the same thing when I went to Europe for the first time – bought so much stuff I didn’t wear. This list is perfect!

  11. Aw, you didn’t include my favourite – the black blazer! Mine literally saved my life when my husband ripped the zipper off the dress he was zipping me into less than an hour before his sister’s wedding. We patched it up with safety-pins, and then I wore my black blazer to cover them – and walked like a princess with a teacup on her head. 😉

  12. This reminds me of a mini version of your 30 for 30 challenge. I found your blog shortly after you stopped doing those I think. Bring em back!

  13. It’s so funny you feel this way. EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. I go on any sort of vacation, I always come home, realizing I overpacked all of the wrong things. I always feel like I can do it so much better the next time, but then I don’t!

    xo Jackie

    Something About That

  14. Love how comprehensive this is! You absolutely nailed it. I know that I often think I’ll dress so exotic and out of my comfort zone on trips, but the basics always pull through in a pinch. And what’s more “in a pinch” than traveling?

  15. Thanks Kendi! I felt like you read my mind…I'm traveling to Europe next week and I don't know what to expect. This will prevent me from having a disaster! Super helpful:)

  16. I have been WAITING for this post since you promised you'd post it. Leaving in exactly one month for Europe! Thanks for sharing! I have all of these pieces (or something like them). 🙂

  17. This is wonderful! I actually just bought the white linen tee this morning when I saw the Madewell sale, and I almost splurged on a tote too, but now I'm glad I didn't because that reversible one is perfect!

  18. This is perfect, I'm the worst packer and always end up with things I don't wear. Pinning this for sure!

  19. I have gone to Europe three times now with only a carry-on and backpack, after watching my poor aunt lug three suitcases around Italy once. It's sooooo worth it because you will be traveling plane, train, or automobile at least once when you're there, and the less you have, the better off you are! Of course, it feels like it takes some rocket science and Einstein's theory of relativity to figure out what will work and how to pack it all in :).

    I also recommend those vacuum-sealed space-saving bags – they've helped me squeeze in a few extra t-shirts or sweaters for my "options" loving self :).

  20. This is a brilliant list. I like to consider myself a good packer…I typically pack light and try to stick to the basics, but no matter what I always end up bringing a few pieces I never use. Keeping things simple and easy to match is the key. xx

    The What’s In Between

  21. I ALWAYS feel this way. If I pack light, I packed too little. If I pack heavy, it's always too much. I'm still trying to find the right amount things to pack 🙂

  22. We have traveled several times to Europe (at different times of year, too) and your advice is dead on. As long as you remember a credit card and phone, everything else can be acquired if you forget it. 🙂

  23. I’m an over packer. I find that I like to look nice when on vacation, and have the extra minutes to polish outfits, so I always need a few extra things in my suitcase. By the time you’ve shelled out for the trip and lodgings why not? Next time you’ll check out the weather forecasts more carefully. Lord knows I nearly froze one July in California from that same oversight.

  24. I wish I could have caught you a few months ago and helped you out! My honeymoon was 2+ weeks in Europe (some of those same places) and I made the same mistake of having to lug around a bunch of stuff I didn’t end up needing. There were so many times we wished we had 1 or 2 small suitcases between us instead of 3 large ones. Of course, my excuse when packing was “it’s my honeymoon! I have to be prepared!!” My dream now is to go back with just a carry-on, possibly even just a backpack. It gives you so much more freedom to enjoy things!

  25. I'm totally pinning this for later reference. I'm always an over-packer, what I pack for a weekend away will probably work for a week away for someone else. I've found it's getting easier the more I pare down my closet as well. Less to choose from means less I can pack 🙂

  26. I try to pack light sticking to all basic items and just one or two dressy pieces when travelling, even on a two-week holiday. But this is Asia where the weather is generally stable. I guess packing for a winter holiday in Europe might not be as “light”. In any case, I think if you’d like to look nice abroad without having to haul an overweight suitcase the key thing is invest into your basic items so they don’t look plain and boring :’)

  27. this is a great list! i’m the queen of packing light. most of the time. but europe was a different story for me too. i packed all my cutest dresses for paris and it rained the whole time, so i wore the same jeans for 5 days straight.
    http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com

  28. I’m leaving for Switzerland on Tuesday, so this post couldn’t be more timely! I am patting myself on the back a bit, because my packing list is very similar to yours! I’m even picking up some Birks tomorrow! (Not to date myself, but I wore them years ago and never thought I’d revisit that trend, but they are in again so I’m embracing them as comfortable travel sandals…hoping/praying I can make them look chic!) We are going to Gstaad and Montreux and staying in some pretty ritzy places..but I too can’t wrap my brain around packing fussy clothing to be a tourist. I will wear my Jcrew with pride! Lol!

  29. This is the perfect list! I couldn't agree more about packing a lightweight scarf. When I studied abroad in Spain, the temperature would change as much as 30 degrees in one day so the scarf was essential.

  30. Love this so much! I'm a terrible packer and this is such a great guide. On another note, I listened to the pod-cast you did the other day, and it made me like you even more! I sound like a complete weirdo, but hearing your sweet voice totally changed my experience when I read your blog. You are the cutest.

  31. I did the same thing when I went to Europe for the first time – bought so much stuff I didn't wear. This list is perfect!

  32. This post is SWEET! I have been googling packing list tips for the last few weeks for my upcoming trip to Buenos Aires and this arrived in my inbox just in time! Thank you also for the list and links – so helpful:)

  33. Aw, you didn't include my favourite – the black blazer! Mine literally saved my life when my husband ripped the zipper off the dress he was zipping me into less than an hour before his sister's wedding. We patched it up with safety-pins, and then I wore my black blazer to cover them – and walked like a princess with a teacup on her head. 😉

  34. As always, great post Kendi! Very helpful and informative. I am a heavy packer as well and am considering doing a study abroad next year. I will def. bookmark this post to use as a packing resource later. Well done!
    Myah
    identifemi.etsy.com

  35. Great post! Some very helpful, practical tips. And wearable outfit ideas ! 🙂
    Thanks for the immense work you put into this post! We appreciate it and this would be the only post i will refer to when i’m travelling the next time 🙂 Love , xoxo

  36. It's so funny you feel this way. EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. I go on any sort of vacation, I always come home, realizing I overpacked all of the wrong things. I always feel like I can do it so much better the next time, but then I don't!

    xo Jackie

    Something About That

  37. Love how comprehensive this is! You absolutely nailed it. I know that I often think I'll dress so exotic and out of my comfort zone on trips, but the basics always pull through in a pinch. And what's more "in a pinch" than traveling?

  38. Great post but be careful with the hair dryer, the voltage is different in Europe so using an American hair dryer in aEuropean socket can start a fire.

  39. This is a brilliant list. I like to consider myself a good packer…I typically pack light and try to stick to the basics, but no matter what I always end up bringing a few pieces I never use. Keeping things simple and easy to match is the key. xx

    The What's In Between

  40. I'm an over packer. I find that I like to look nice when on vacation, and have the extra minutes to polish outfits, so I always need a few extra things in my suitcase. By the time you've shelled out for the trip and lodgings why not? Next time you'll check out the weather forecasts more carefully. Lord knows I nearly froze one July in California from that same oversight.

  41. I wish I could have caught you a few months ago and helped you out! My honeymoon was 2+ weeks in Europe (some of those same places) and I made the same mistake of having to lug around a bunch of stuff I didn't end up needing. There were so many times we wished we had 1 or 2 small suitcases between us instead of 3 large ones. Of course, my excuse when packing was "it's my honeymoon! I have to be prepared!!" My dream now is to go back with just a carry-on, possibly even just a backpack. It gives you so much more freedom to enjoy things!

  42. I try to pack light sticking to all basic items and just one or two dressy pieces when travelling, even on a two-week holiday. But this is Asia where the weather is generally stable. I guess packing for a winter holiday in Europe might not be as "light". In any case, I think if you'd like to look nice abroad without having to haul an overweight suitcase the key thing is invest into your basic items so they don't look plain and boring :')

  43. this is a great list! i'm the queen of packing light. most of the time. but europe was a different story for me too. i packed all my cutest dresses for paris and it rained the whole time, so i wore the same jeans for 5 days straight.
    http://www.thismomsgonnasnap.com

  44. I'm leaving for Switzerland on Tuesday, so this post couldn't be more timely! I am patting myself on the back a bit, because my packing list is very similar to yours! I'm even picking up some Birks tomorrow! (Not to date myself, but I wore them years ago and never thought I'd revisit that trend, but they are in again so I'm embracing them as comfortable travel sandals…hoping/praying I can make them look chic!) We are going to Gstaad and Montreux and staying in some pretty ritzy places..but I too can't wrap my brain around packing fussy clothing to be a tourist. I will wear my Jcrew with pride! Lol!

  45. This post is SWEET! I have been googling packing list tips for the last few weeks for my upcoming trip to Buenos Aires and this arrived in my inbox just in time! Thank you also for the list and links – so helpful:)

  46. As always, great post Kendi! Very helpful and informative. I am a heavy packer as well and am considering doing a study abroad next year. I will def. bookmark this post to use as a packing resource later. Well done!
    Myah
    identifemi.etsy.com

  47. Great post! Some very helpful, practical tips. And wearable outfit ideas ! 🙂
    Thanks for the immense work you put into this post! We appreciate it and this would be the only post i will refer to when i'm travelling the next time 🙂 Love , xoxo

  48. Great post but be careful with the hair dryer, the voltage is different in Europe so using an American hair dryer in aEuropean socket can start a fire.

  49. Oh my gosh, this post is so fantastic! Any chance you’d be willing to do a fall/winter version? I’m going to Paris in November for my honeymoon and I have no idea what to pack! I’d love you forever and ever if you would! (I mean I will anyway, but I’d send extra air hugs).

  50. Great post, Kendi! Thank you so much! Really loved all your tips. It’s funny, my last trip I packed pretty much everything you suggested! Except for the Birkenstocks. I left mine at home and really regretted it! My feet were so sore from all the walking.

  51. We are going to London, Paris and Rome in September and I’ve gathered that Rome will be a lot warmer so I was thrilled to see this list! You also gave me an excuse to swing by Madewell on the way home and I got that skirt on sale – basically this whole post was a win for me.

  52. Love this post! My boyfriend and I are going to France, Spain, and Portugal next month, and we’re about to do a dry run on packing to make sure everything fits. Could your husband do a post like this as well? I’d love some tips for him!

  53. This is perfect. I’m going to Europe in two weeks and need all the help I can get.

  54. I am buying that reversible tote for my trip to northern Europe this fall, it is great! I was so excited to see it is less than $50 too… won’t feel bad when it gets beat up from all the junk I lug around while on vacation (guidebooks, camera, umbrella, etc. etc.) I always pack a scarf and then buy a scarf there… can’t help but check out the local Zara whenever I’m in a European city and grab a fun new one. Then when I wear them at home, they always remind me of vacations past!

  55. Wonderful advice Kendi – I’m headed to Paris and Florence this November and after studying abroad back in my college days, I have no clue how to pack for a short Europe trip! I will heed your words. Thanks so much for posting this.

  56. You covered all the items I have found necessary. I always have an umbrella in my bag and we take water bottles too. So much easier. The extra bags are perfect also as more places require one’s own bag. We are terrible over packers and when we went to Europe for 3 weeks we took 3, 70 lb bags!!!! We were bringing items to my brother in Switzerland but that was crazy!!! It was also before the new restrictions. We would have to be so much more discriminating. Oh, I have found a lightweight pair of gloves can come in handy. I wore them in Hawaii as we went up the cold volcano.

  57. I went to Spain, France, and Scotland for 23 days and packed everything I brought with me in a carry-on. It was hard, but like you said, its all in the mix and match of what you bring. Also, if you stay in hostels, they have hair dryers. YAY! haha

  58. I agree that checking the weather is an absolute must! I recently went to San Francisco for the first time thinking it’d be warm and I was SO WRONG. I instantly regretted bringing sandals and so many short sleeved tops. You live and learn, am I right?

    1. San Francisco is the worst! Everyone that visits there must end up with a tacky “I love San Francisco” sweatshirt that they bought because they thought they were going to turn blue.

  59. Thank you for this! I bought one third of the items you featured. (And I am not even going to Europe anytime soon! Gasp.) I think your vesitlle recommendations would work well for a variety of vacations.

    I agree with a previous poster-PLEASE create a similar post for fall/winter vacations. I’d love to adapt it for our winter Disney trip. Casual-chic is always appropriate.

  60. Oh my gosh, this post is so fantastic! Any chance you'd be willing to do a fall/winter version? I'm going to Paris in November for my honeymoon and I have no idea what to pack! I'd love you forever and ever if you would! (I mean I will anyway, but I'd send extra air hugs).

  61. Great post, Kendi! Thank you so much! Really loved all your tips. It's funny, my last trip I packed pretty much everything you suggested! Except for the Birkenstocks. I left mine at home and really regretted it! My feet were so sore from all the walking.

  62. We are going to London, Paris and Rome in September and I've gathered that Rome will be a lot warmer so I was thrilled to see this list! You also gave me an excuse to swing by Madewell on the way home and I got that skirt on sale – basically this whole post was a win for me.

  63. Love this post! My boyfriend and I are going to France, Spain, and Portugal next month, and we're about to do a dry run on packing to make sure everything fits. Could your husband do a post like this as well? I'd love some tips for him!

  64. Thanks–I leave on Wednesday for London, baby! One gem I found at Target (no longer there) was REVERSIBLE SKINNY JEANS–that’s right, dark indigo on one side, light wash on the other, and dark gray and light gray on another pair….they have actual working zippers and back pockets (fake front ones) and oh my gosh, how fun is it to pack TWO pairs of skinny jeans and know that I secretly have FOUR!!! So here is a place that makes them: http://www.bleulab.com/products/styles/women/index.php

  65. This is perfect. I'm going to Europe in two weeks and need all the help I can get.

  66. I’d say if you’re going to pretty much any major city in Europe NOT to pack a scarf. They sell a ton of cute, cheap ones all over France so it’s easy to buy some and they make fun souvenirs!

  67. I am buying that reversible tote for my trip to northern Europe this fall, it is great! I was so excited to see it is less than $50 too… won't feel bad when it gets beat up from all the junk I lug around while on vacation (guidebooks, camera, umbrella, etc. etc.) I always pack a scarf and then buy a scarf there… can't help but check out the local Zara whenever I'm in a European city and grab a fun new one. Then when I wear them at home, they always remind me of vacations past!

  68. Wonderful advice Kendi – I'm headed to Paris and Florence this November and after studying abroad back in my college days, I have no clue how to pack for a short Europe trip! I will heed your words. Thanks so much for posting this.

  69. You covered all the items I have found necessary. I always have an umbrella in my bag and we take water bottles too. So much easier. The extra bags are perfect also as more places require one's own bag. We are terrible over packers and when we went to Europe for 3 weeks we took 3, 70 lb bags!!!! We were bringing items to my brother in Switzerland but that was crazy!!! It was also before the new restrictions. We would have to be so much more discriminating. Oh, I have found a lightweight pair of gloves can come in handy. I wore them in Hawaii as we went up the cold volcano.

  70. Just in tiny little Finland you get to often experience 3 different seasons in one day and in one town, even (or especially) during summer, so yeah, packing can be a bit of a disaster! 😀 Good list though!

  71. I went to Spain, France, and Scotland for 23 days and packed everything I brought with me in a carry-on. It was hard, but like you said, its all in the mix and match of what you bring. Also, if you stay in hostels, they have hair dryers. YAY! haha

  72. I love seeing how real people travel. So many good links, thank you for putting this together!

  73. I agree that checking the weather is an absolute must! I recently went to San Francisco for the first time thinking it'd be warm and I was SO WRONG. I instantly regretted bringing sandals and so many short sleeved tops. You live and learn, am I right?

  74. Thank you for this! I bought one third of the items you featured. (And I am not even going to Europe anytime soon! Gasp.) I think your vesitlle recommendations would work well for a variety of vacations.

    I agree with a previous poster-PLEASE create a similar post for fall/winter vacations. I'd love to adapt it for our winter Disney trip. Casual-chic is always appropriate.

  75. Thanks–I leave on Wednesday for London, baby! One gem I found at Target (no longer there) was REVERSIBLE SKINNY JEANS–that's right, dark indigo on one side, light wash on the other, and dark gray and light gray on another pair….they have actual working zippers and back pockets (fake front ones) and oh my gosh, how fun is it to pack TWO pairs of skinny jeans and know that I secretly have FOUR!!! So here is a place that makes them: http://www.bleulab.com/products/styles/women/index.php

  76. I'd say if you're going to pretty much any major city in Europe NOT to pack a scarf. They sell a ton of cute, cheap ones all over France so it's easy to buy some and they make fun souvenirs!

  77. Just in tiny little Finland you get to often experience 3 different seasons in one day and in one town, even (or especially) during summer, so yeah, packing can be a bit of a disaster! 😀 Good list though!

  78. Great post. Thanks for sharing your your packing trials and tribulations. I was in Germany and Italy recently for work and a holiday and my J Crew khaki anorak did the job beautifully. Hope you get to put your newfound wisdom to the test with another trip in the no so distant future. I recommend a a week in Venice and at a nearby beach and then a week in the Dolomites (Corvara) for some Alpine R&R and fabulous food. Look up Chalet Gerard and Sporthotel Panorama. Because it’s Italy you can still buy fabulous silk, linen and cashmere items in a mountain village! Best Wishes.

  79. Great post. Thanks for sharing your your packing trials and tribulations. I was in Germany and Italy recently for work and a holiday and my J Crew khaki anorak did the job beautifully. Hope you get to put your newfound wisdom to the test with another trip in the no so distant future. I recommend a a week in Venice and at a nearby beach and then a week in the Dolomites (Corvara) for some Alpine R&R and fabulous food. Look up Chalet Gerard and Sporthotel Panorama. Because it's Italy you can still buy fabulous silk, linen and cashmere items in a mountain village! Best Wishes.

  80. We had the EXACT same experience of lugging two 50 lb suitcases around Italy when my husband and I did a terrible job packing for our first overseas trip last May. We were also completed caught off-guard by the weather, and had our own freezing-cold-and-wet moment in the middle of the Colosseum. So much was learned the hard way, just like you did, and this is a great post to sum up all you really need to know! Thank you!

  81. Love this post! I’m studying abroad in Spain for a semester soon and it’s good to hear your thoughts on what is useful and not worth it (although I will probably bring more clothing than you did, of course.)

  82. We had the EXACT same experience of lugging two 50 lb suitcases around Italy when my husband and I did a terrible job packing for our first overseas trip last May. We were also completed caught off-guard by the weather, and had our own freezing-cold-and-wet moment in the middle of the Colosseum. So much was learned the hard way, just like you did, and this is a great post to sum up all you really need to know! Thank you!

  83. San Francisco is the worst! Everyone that visits there must end up with a tacky "I love San Francisco" sweatshirt that they bought because they thought they were going to turn blue.

  84. Love this post! I'm studying abroad in Spain for a semester soon and it's good to hear your thoughts on what is useful and not worth it (although I will probably bring more clothing than you did, of course.)

  85. Love thus post! I can’t access the link for the “day dress” 🙁 Where’s it from?

  86. This is a great post! I learned all of my packing lessons the hard way too – nothing like stairs and train stations in Europe to teach you how to pack forever!
    Did you find a travel size hair dryer that actually works well? Do tell!! I have yet to have any success with this.
    Jessica
    http://www.thebellevoyage.com

  87. Love thus post! I can't access the link for the "day dress" 🙁 Where's it from?

  88. This is a great post! I learned all of my packing lessons the hard way too – nothing like stairs and train stations in Europe to teach you how to pack forever!
    Did you find a travel size hair dryer that actually works well? Do tell!! I have yet to have any success with this.
    Jessica
    http://www.thebellevoyage.com

  89. These are fantastic suggestions!! I studied abroad a few years ago and 100% agree with your list 🙂 I’ll have to reference this when I go back to Europe next spring!

  90. These are fantastic suggestions!! I studied abroad a few years ago and 100% agree with your list 🙂 I'll have to reference this when I go back to Europe next spring!

  91. I also suggest those tiny packets of Tide detergent they sell in the travel section at the grocery store. I went to Italy for 2 weeks, and using those to wash things in the sink and hang them to dry overnight was extremely helpful and saved me from packing too many extra things.

  92. I also suggest those tiny packets of Tide detergent they sell in the travel section at the grocery store. I went to Italy for 2 weeks, and using those to wash things in the sink and hang them to dry overnight was extremely helpful and saved me from packing too many extra things.

  93. Awesome post! This is really great for a lot of extended trips, actually! I purchased that exact tote from Nordstrom and cannot stress how awesome it is. The leather is faux but looks real, it’s lightweight, and again- reversible! And at 50 bucks, you can’t afford not to buy it.

  94. Awesome post! This is really great for a lot of extended trips, actually! I purchased that exact tote from Nordstrom and cannot stress how awesome it is. The leather is faux but looks real, it's lightweight, and again- reversible! And at 50 bucks, you can't afford not to buy it.

  95. Great tip. You definitely need to know the climate of your destination before you go. So important. You only learn what to pack after a few packing nightmares. Believe me.

    Agi:)

    vodkainfusedlemonade.com

  96. Great tip. You definitely need to know the climate of your destination before you go. So important. You only learn what to pack after a few packing nightmares. Believe me.

    Agi:)

    vodkainfusedlemonade.com

  97. SUCH a great list! My go-to travel item is a maxi dress – similar to your knit dress, it’s soft, can be dressed up or down, and I love them on flights because you can tuck it around you like a blanket 🙂

  98. I’m leaving for Istanbul this summer and your list is going to make packing SO so much easier. Thank you!

  99. SUCH a great list! My go-to travel item is a maxi dress – similar to your knit dress, it's soft, can be dressed up or down, and I love them on flights because you can tuck it around you like a blanket 🙂

  100. I'm leaving for Istanbul this summer and your list is going to make packing SO so much easier. Thank you!

  101. Great post. Bookmarked for future reference. My husband & I went to France for 3 weeks in May. Although we did check the weather in advance, Paris was cooler and rainier than expected. Several times I caught myself wishing I’d brought my black leather gloves. I would recommend a chic lightweight black raincoat; I wore mine everywhere and tucked it into my tote bag when the sun peeked out. Also, my little black cotton cardigan proved to be an indispensable layering piece.

  102. Great post. Bookmarked for future reference. My husband & I went to France for 3 weeks in May. Although we did check the weather in advance, Paris was cooler and rainier than expected. Several times I caught myself wishing I'd brought my black leather gloves. I would recommend a chic lightweight black raincoat; I wore mine everywhere and tucked it into my tote bag when the sun peeked out. Also, my little black cotton cardigan proved to be an indispensable layering piece.

  103. This is amazing. Just packed for a 1-week trip to Europe and ended up packing so much lighter than usual. Thank you!

  104. This is absolutely perfect! I’m panicking about fitting everything in a carry-on luggage for two weeks in Europe and stumbled across this entry at the perfect time. Thank you!

  105. This is absolutely perfect! I'm panicking about fitting everything in a carry-on luggage for two weeks in Europe and stumbled across this entry at the perfect time. Thank you!

  106. This is a great list! I hope that next time I travel, I can not be carrying around so many extra, unused clothes because I tend to be just like you! I could totally sympathize with the desire to get rid of 10 lbs of stuff with every stop!!
    A couple things, though. I lived in Spain for 3+ years, and wearing shorts was the #1 way to say, “HELLO! I’M AN AMERICAN TOURIST!” Things might have changed, but I think I would nix the shorts. There are places, ie cathedrals, where I think a lot of tourists ignore the fact that wearing shorts/ short skirts is disrespectful to the older, more traditional people there. I think I would pack more skirts, especially knit ones because they travel better and especially for a spring/ summer trip. So personally, I would trade out the shorts for a maxi skirt or dress.
    Keep up the great inspiration!

  107. This is a great list! I hope that next time I travel, I can not be carrying around so many extra, unused clothes because I tend to be just like you! I could totally sympathize with the desire to get rid of 10 lbs of stuff with every stop!!
    A couple things, though. I lived in Spain for 3+ years, and wearing shorts was the #1 way to say, "HELLO! I'M AN AMERICAN TOURIST!" Things might have changed, but I think I would nix the shorts. There are places, ie cathedrals, where I think a lot of tourists ignore the fact that wearing shorts/ short skirts is disrespectful to the older, more traditional people there. I think I would pack more skirts, especially knit ones because they travel better and especially for a spring/ summer trip. So personally, I would trade out the shorts for a maxi skirt or dress.
    Keep up the great inspiration!

  108. I spent a year wandering around Europe and this list is great. I would add to pack a few gallon sized zip locks – wet bathing suit, or wet toiletries if you pack in a rush can ruin several items in your suitcase. It’s always hard to find plastic bags on the go, so I recommend the ziplocks. I would also remind people to put a color photocopy of your passport in your suitcase and with a loved one at home. If you lose your passport, those color copies can be taken to an embassy for help getting home!

  109. I spent a year wandering around Europe and this list is great. I would add to pack a few gallon sized zip locks – wet bathing suit, or wet toiletries if you pack in a rush can ruin several items in your suitcase. It's always hard to find plastic bags on the go, so I recommend the ziplocks. I would also remind people to put a color photocopy of your passport in your suitcase and with a loved one at home. If you lose your passport, those color copies can be taken to an embassy for help getting home!

  110. This is a great list! Will definitely refer to next time I travel!
    However, apparently the toggle feature isn’t working (below the picture of the clothes is a message that says “JavaScript is disabled for this browser,” even though it definitely isn’t) and I really had my eye on that blue day dress… Could you send me the link or something, please?

  111. This is so helpful! I’m going on a 1 week trip to the U.K. and I had no idea where to start. Thank you so much for this!

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