I know it shouldn’t, but deciding what to pack for my holiday to Europe takes up a lot of my time. And it seems I’m not alone. Since I published my post "packing list for a summer holiday in Europe” back in 2014, it has become one of the most-read articles on the website.
As I’m about to head to Europe again for another month-long summer holiday, I thought it was timely to review my packing list and give you an update on what I’m packing this time.
This trip is purely for pleasure whereas my 2014 vacation included a conference that my husband and I attended. This means there’s really no need for any formal evening wear and I can stick to a more casual wardrobe.
Our first destination will be Germany where we’ll stay on the Rhine River for a few days. I’ve checked the 14-day weather forecast (we’ll arrive within that time frame) and it looks like the weather will be around the low 20°s Celcius (high 60°s Fahrenheit).
Then we head to the south of France for almost two weeks and, based on previous visits, I’m expecting the temperatures to be in the low to mid 30°s C (85 – 95° F).
To round off our trip, we’ll spend ten nights in Switzerland, seven of which will be in the heart of the Alps where the weather can be quite changeable.
TIP: If your European itinerary also includes a destination with a cooler climate, you might find my Iceland Summer Packing List article helpful. You can read it by CLICKING HERE.
With all this in mind, here’s what I’ve decided to pack for a month in Europe this summer:
- 1 x pair black stretch pants
- 1 x pair jeans
- 1 x pair shorts
- 2 x white t-shirts
- 3 x blue t-shirts
- 1 x black t-shirt
- 1 x long-sleeved t-shirt
- 1 x long-sleeved blouse
- 1 x cardigan
- 1 x jacket
- 2 x wrap dresses
- 1 x pair black flats
- 1 x pair navy sneakers (see my post-trip report below)
- 1 x pair natural sandals
- 3 x bras
- 7 x knickers
- 4 x pairs socks
- Camisole and long-sleeved undergarment for extra warmth if needed
- 1 x pair pyjamas
- 2 x scarves
- A couple of necklaces
- Toiletries and make up - I don’t go overboard here. Anything I forget or decide not to take I can buy in Europe if I find I need it.
- Laptop/iPad/chargers/European power adapter
After playing around with the items above, I know that all of the tops can be worn with at least two of the bottoms, giving me more wardrobe variations. Both dresses are suitable to be worn during the day or at night if we’re eating out at a restaurant.
Shoes are a real bug bear and can add a lot of weight to the suitcase so I’ve tried to come up with a good compromise. I’ll wear the black flats on the plane with my black pants but they can also be worn with jeans.
The sneakers aren’t quite as casual as they sound (they’re not running shoes) so they will go with both my jeans and shorts, and when the weather is warm enough, I’ll probably mostly live in sandals.
Looking for a new handbag or purse to take on your travels? This article details the best travel purse for Europe.
Hopefully I’ll add to my wardrobe whilst I’m away but if even I don’t, I’m confident I’ll have a good choice of outfits regardless of the weather.
I’m not going to pack an umbrella, rain jacket or thongs (flip flops) as I can pick these up quite inexpensively in Europe if needed.
Men’s packing list for a month-long summer visit to Europe
After getting my own packing list sorted, I figured it was time to get Mr HtE organized, too. Here’s what we’ve come up with for him:
- 1 x pair jeans
- 3 x pair shorts (1 pair are quite casual and can be used for swimming)
- 6 x t-shirts (blue, grey and white)
- 1 x long-sleeved t-shirt
- 2 x long-sleeved shirts (button-up with collar)
- 1 x zip up hoodie
- 1 x puffer jacket
- 1 x Salomon walking shoes
- 1 x pair casual shoes
- 1 x pair thongs (flip flops)
- 2 x white undershirts
- 1 x long-sleeved undershirt
- 7 x underpants
- 7 x pairs socks
- 1 x set sleepwear
Most of Mr HtE’s t-shirts will go with the jeans and at least two pairs of shorts.
For cooler evenings, he’ll have the option of wearing a long-sleeved shirt with collar if we are going out for dinner (he will wear one of these on the flight to Europe). One of these shirts can be worn with a dressier pair of shorts, too.
The puffer jacket, which takes up a lot less room in his suitcase than you’d expect, will be a good back up for cooler temperatures.
Shoes are usually the thing my husband treats himself to when we visit Europe, so he’s bound to add a new pair to his suitcase before the trip is over. This is why he’s only packing two pairs plus his thongs (flip flops).
Now that we've got our summer packing list for Europe sorted, we are all set to go. I'll report back after our trip and let you know if we over-packed or under-packed - or got it just right!
UPDATE: I promised that I'd let you know whether our packing was successful or not so here's my report card.
I did wear every single item that I packed but I did buy a couple of extra things whilst I was away. With quite hot weather for the first half of the trip, I regretted not packing a skirt. I picked up a plain navy skirt and a pair of thongs (flip flops) during the summer sales in France and later in the trip added a couple more white tees to my suitcase.
My husband also took advantage of the French summer sales, purchasing a few items that he wore on our holiday. Surprisingly, he didn't buy any shoes. He also wore everything the he packed at least once.
Overall, we were very happy with what we had packed.
If you are looking for a comfy pair of 'sneakers' for your travels that don't look like sports shoes, I have the shoes for you! I purchased these Ziera sneakers a couple of weeks before our trip and they were super comfy. We did a lot of walking, on cobblestones, footpaths and mountain trails, and I didn't get one blister or have sore feet once. I love them.
You might also find these articles useful:
- Packing list for a summer holiday in Europe (my original article)
- What to wear on a long haul flight
- What’s in my carry-on bag?