What to Pack for Europe? Your Travel Packing List: Europe

Not sure what to pack for Europe? Here are some tips on the essentials to have for your trip.

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Choosing the best shoes for your trip to Europe

Did you know that when you enter Europe, there is a special shoe signpost? It is banning all the new shoes, shoes with high heels and sandals with very very flat and very very thin soles from entering. If you have a lot of space in your luggage, you might consider bringing those as your sitting-nicely-in-a-restaurant-by-the-sea shoes. Not as your main walking shoes, no-no.

European countries have more differences than similarities, but one thing they actually have in common is the cobbles. Any European country, no matter how small, how picturesque, how rich or poor, will have kilometres of streets paved with cobbles. The cobbles in a village in Provence will be exactly the same as the cobbles in rural Bulgaria (partly because they are put there under the directions of the same Roman rulers).

Unless you are planning some big hikes, the big boots will not be needed either. For me, sneakers or running shoes work best but chose your favourites. And test test test them before coming over. Never travel wearing new shoes.

My all-time favourites are classic New Balance 574. For winter it’s good old Timberland. Yes, conservative much.

Clothes to pack for Europe

Clothes for Europe in winter

Of course, the season and the part of Europe you are going to matters. In winter, Eastern and Northern Europe will be freezing cold outside, so pack your thermal underwear (yes, men too!), hats, scarves, gloves and the warmest jacket you have. Keep in mind though that those countries like to stay warm inside and usually don’t spare the heating.

On the contrary, Southern Europe will be much more pleasant in the wintertime, but only outside. Come the night, and you might realise that the temperature outside and inside is pretty much the same, as there are often no heaters whatsoever. So the thermal underwear is a must for there too, and so are some cosy cardigans, which you might consider upgrading into pyjamas.

Clothes for Europe in summer

Summer is easier. Bikini for the South, windproof travel umbrella and rain poncho for the North. Here you’re all set!

Accessories to pack for Europe

Secret pocket scarf

Speaking of the accessories, they come really handy during your travels. One of my most recent discoveries is the pocket scarf – a scarf, where you can also safely keep your phone, small purse, credit card and passport, or whatever other valuables you have. Comes really handy, especially when travelling alone.

Large scarf

Another thing I always always always take with me on almost any trip is the regular bigger scarf. It really is a multi-functional item and can save you from both freezing and sunburn. It can act as a headscarf or even a skirt if you unexpectedly decide to visit some temples. Once in an emergency, it acted as a towel.

Water bottle

Tap water in mainland Europe is drinkable pretty much anywhere. So a good steel water bottle like this one from Contigo will save both your change and the environment. On the islands, you will usually need to buy bottled water. To be on the safe side I would still recommend a water bottle with a filter.

Mind you, although the water is drinkable, the taste of it can be pretty bad in some cities. If you don’t like sucking on the keys, Brussels will disappoint you. So again, the filter will help.

Water-to-go make great bottles with filters.

Travelling with kids? Check out the best strollers for travel and the best backpacks for children.

Technology to pack for Europe

Europe power adapter

Power outlets in Europe differ slightly, depending on the country. Normally you would be able to use the “regular” European one in all countries except for the UK, Switzerland and Italy. But to be on the safe side, I would recommend getting yourself an international power adapter. When getting one, it’s a good idea to look for one with a built-in USB port and a fuse to protect your devices in case the power goes up or down.


You will not be able to find plugs in all European cafes, trains, buses or stations – or any other places you may find yourself spending a long time in. So a good power bank is a good idea. Check out some of the most popular ones here.

I would recommend getting a little more expensive one, but a powerful one. This one from Anker is a great buy.

Check out some tips for getting the best hotel deals for your trip to Europe or get 32 euro off your first AirBnb booking!

Toiletries to pack for Europe


Sunscreen is a must during the summertime in Europe and a generally good idea during the rest of the season. Even in Northern Europe the sun – though not too hot – can be quite harsh and you’ll find yourself unexpectedly red later in the evening. Sunscreen comes in many forms and sizes now. Coola makes some of the best you can find. For those who don’t enjoy being white and sticky, try spray ones or even sunscreen water, like the one Uriage makes.

Solid shampoo and conditioner

When you are travelling without check-in luggage, you are only allowed to take a little transparent bag of liquids, each up to 100 ml. And unless you are staying in 4+ star hotels, expect the toiletries there to be of very poor quality.

To save some time and not to compromise on your beauty routines, check out some good shampoo and conditioner bars. They will not count as liquid and will save you some space. They are also better for the environment, as they come without plastic bottles. Win-win!

My absolute favourite solid shampoo is Seanik from Lush, but there are also plenty of them to chose from on Amazon and probably some in your local organic shop.

Travel towel

A travel towel is another travel must. Unless, again, you are only staying in posher hotels, a travel towel is a good thing to have, as it dries quickly and takes little space. Rainleaf, WiseOwl and Youphoria have an especially good reputation.

Eyemask & Earplugs

An eye mask and earplugs are a must for staying in the hostel. But actually many hotels in Europe still are not aware of the (awesome) concept of blackout curtains. Some of them still use semi-transparent frilly curtains.

I am on my mission to inform as many of them as possible about this greatest invention of mankind, but there are still some of them left. So if you are a sensitive sleeper, do bring an eye mask to be on the safe side.

You can get a good quality set of mask and earplugs for a decent price on Amazon.

Hand sanitizer

Flu, coronavirus, common cold or diarrhoea can make your trip a living hell. Europe is relatively clean, but it’s still easy to catch something on a bus, metro, train or anywhere really. A little bottle of sanitizer will not protect you 100%, but it will do a good 80% if you don’t forget using it.

It doesn’t take much space in your luggage, so I strongly recommend getting one. And if you are travelling with kids, alcohol-free sanitizing wipes might be a better option. The regular sanitizers can be too strong for child skin and they will refuse using them. Speaking from experience here.

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