The Ultimate Europe Packing List

europe packing list

europe packing list

While it is very easy to imagine yourself jetting away to an exotic location, in reality, a stress-free, successful trip needs far more organisation than just a few clicks. Especially in today’s world, where we carry more devices than we can count (not to mention the charger for each of these devices) and where going through security is nothing short of nerve-wracking.

The packing list below reflects the type of traveller that I am: orderly, urban, non-adventurous and stylish, who enjoys visiting metropolises like Paris, New York or Berlin. Nonetheless, I think the list provides a good base for every type of traveller, in the sense that an optimal suitcase is a combination of efficient packing and climate/activity-appropriate clothing. And regardless of where you go, only the latter changes. The list works whether you opt for hiking boots or heels, a sturdy rain jacket or a trendy trench coat.

Let’s see what I don’t leave home without whenever I leave for a new destination.

The Key to an Effective Europe Packing List: The Right Suitcase

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There’s no point in trying to be organised if all you’re leaving with is a distressed duffel bag, right? As in anything, having the right tools is a guaranteed recipe for success and this is why I’m highly partial to my Heys luggage. Made of polycarbonate composite, each of the suitcases are ultra-light – the biggest one weighs just 10.8 lbs – and are also expandable if you plan on doing a little shopping at destination. I also like that my fashionable, ombré Heys luggage has a built in TSA Lock for maximum security, which means anyone that’s not technically supposed to have a peek inside my suitcase won’t. The 360° spinner wheels and the 5-year warranty are also musts, as is the hard shell that ensures my precious possessions won’t be damaged or destroyed in transit.

Europe Packing List: Be Organised

europe packing list europe packing listIt is virtually impossible to successfully complete a photo shoot with a cat present.

  • Packing cubes are the best thing since fire. Literally. I am a very neat, orderly person and I like having each of my clothing categories (underwear, sweaters, dresses, tank tops, etc.) sorted in the same place. No need to go through the entire suitcase –and unfold everything in the process– for that one item of clothing that I so desperately need.
  • Laundry Travel Bag is essential, especially when travelling in the humid climates of Southern Europe in the summer.
  • Last but not least, a leather, medium-sized, cross-body handbag in lieu of a day-time backpack. It’s stylish enough to go incognito in most European cities and sturdy enough to resist pickpocketing and slashing. I always opt for bags than can fit my lens, my survival kit (see below), a small water bottle, my sunglasses and my wallet. I’m currently using this Matt & Nat bag, a Montreal-based company.

Europe Packing List: Clothing

europe packing list

I won’t go and list every single item that I usually pack when I jet off to Europe but the operative word, here, is practicality. Europe is known for its forward-thinking, sophisticated fashion and while not all fabrics travel well (satin and linen come to mind, hello wrinkles), do keep in mind that neutrality is your best friend when it comes to a polyvalent style. Mix and match clothes, so that each item can be worn at different times with different pieces of clothing for maximum versatility. Here are a few items that, I think, are indispensable for urban Europe getaways:

  • One or two pairs of skinny jeans (preferably a blue denim hue and a black one)
  • Trendy sneakers and black boots
  • One or two pairs of black tights
  • Sweater dresses (can be worn with the jeans or the tights) and one fancier dress
  • Two or three sweaters in varying length and colours
  • Two or three light short and long t-shirts in varying patterns or colours

I also like to keep my jewellery to a bare minimum, firstly because I don’t feel like carrying my most expensive pieces around Europe (and risk breaking, or worse yet misplace them) and secondly because my personal style is rather minimalist to begin with. These days, Bauble Bar is where I get most of my sparkles from.

Europe Packing List: Toiletries

europe packing list

As for toiletries, travel sizes are a girl’s best friend (I have neutral, non-branded bottles that I simply refill with my own products every time I leave). Not only are they easier to get through security, they are also lighter and use up much fewer space.

With that being said, one of the most important lessons I’ve learned during my decade of travel is that whatever you do, DON’T skimp on facial care. Skin is a sensitive organ and can react very strongly to change, be it sunlight, water or air pollution. Below is a list of products I’ve diligently been using for almost the entire duration of my life as a travel writer.

Europe Packing List: Tech Stuff and Photography

europe packing list

  • I barely ever leave home without my beloved camera, the Olympus OM-D-EM10. My back could no longer stand the bulk and weight of carrying my reflex camera and lenses around all day. I wanted something light, powerful, simple to use, with changeable lenses and within my price range; in other words, I wanted the unicorn of travel photography. I also carry a 25mm lens and a 9-18 wide-angle lens.
  • Professional 32go SD card: Never underestimate how much space you need on an SD card! This Lexar cards captures high-quality images and extended lengths of stunning 1080p full-HD and feature high-speed file transfer from card to computer.
  • Extra camera battery
  • Because I’m such an avid Instagrammer, the iPhone battery case is kind of like my best friend. Not only do I use my iPhone for photos, I also use it for maps, staying in touch, travel apps and so many other things, I simply cannot fathom the thought of not being able to use it. Definitely one of my best purchases.
  • Grid-it Organizer, so every wire, charger and device stay in place when I’m on the go.
  • My 13.3 inch Apple MacBook Air, because it’s the lightest computer there is on the market and allows me to do my regular work even when I’m thousands of miles away from home. Definitely more of an investment than just a steep expense, especially since it means I don’t have to carry or buy a tablet.
  • Travel adapter kit: For use in the United Kingdom, continental Europe, Asia, North America, Russia, New Zealand, Africa and the Middle East. Comes with a little travel pouch so you don’t lose any of them!

Europe Packing List: Miscellaneous

europe packing list

  • My Everyman Map guides: favourite city guides (aside from my own, of course); I love their minimalist allure and their foldable maps, which are useful if I travel without a data plan or can’t find Wi-Fi.
  • My MOO cards, so I can connect with fellow travellers, bloggers and industry members whenever I’m on the go. I like to use the photographic business cards, first and foremost because I can showcase my photography skills but also because these cards make for excellent conversation starters. Use my affiliate link and get 10% off your order!
  • A scarf, that can be used to cover shoulders when visiting sensible buildings, as a pillow, as a tablecloth or a blanket. Or, you know, as an actual scarf when it’s chilly out.

Want to see more products that I take with me on the road? Check out my travel shop!

[disclaim]* Disclaimer: this post was written in partnership with Heys, which I personally contacted because I love their suitcases. All opinions are my own. Some of the links above are part of affiliate programmes, from which I get a small commission to help cover the costs of running this blog. Rest assured that I would never endorse a product I don’t personally use and truly believe in.[/disclaim]

CategoriesTravel Tips

Marie is a native Montrealer trying to balance a deep love for her hometown and an unquenchable thirst for travel and discovery. She has been to more than 36 countries, lived abroad in both France and the U.K., and is always on the lookout for authentic experiences wherever she travels -- especially if it involves chocolate.