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packing for europe. help.

I like having a few outfit options when I travel and can usually bring an extra top or two (ok–three) on short trips. But in just a few weeks I’ll be heading to Europe (London, Paris, and Rome) for 10 days and overpacking is not an option. Since I’ve never been to Europe, I’d like some advice on what to bring. I plan on wearing neutrals for the most part so I can mix and match everything, and also because I really love neutrals. How many pairs of pants do you bring? Tops? Sweaters?

We’ll be there a total of 10 days. Here’s what I’m thinking:

2 pairs of dark skinny jeans
1 pair olive green or burnt orange skinny jeans (to mix things up–will plan at least 2 outfits around them)
1 pair black skinny jeans
1-2 dresses
mix of 6 sweaters and long sleeve tops
4 tops for going out at night
j crew field jacket
anorak
2 scarves
3 pairs of flats: black, leopard, and camel (2/3 of these flats fold and are very light)
1 pair of heels
1 pair leather boots
Do I have to bring wellies?
1 clutch (evening bag)
camera bag
1 handbag (might just use my camera bag)

I’m not saying I have to bring all of this with me. This is just what I’m thinking about. Let’s also not forget that I’ll have my camera, lenses, and computer, and that those items are not optional. And please don’t tell me to bring one pair of flats because that just isn’t happening.

I’m ready for your thoughts + advice now. Thank you!

image via

  • angela hession

    I would leave the wellies at home. Everything else seems perfect. I always come back from Rome with more shoes than i arrived with….

  • Lindsay

    Your list looks great! I was just in Paris, Amsterdam, Bruges and Barcelona for my honeymoon. My best advice is the simpler the better. It helps that if everything you pack sort of goes with everything. Layers are your friend! I ended up wearing my most comfy boots for walking around everywhere. Instead of wellies, I'd just recommend bringing 2 pairs of flat boots. Have a great time!

  • Alyssa

    You probably only need one of the pairs of dark skinnies (you should be able to wear one pair at least twice). You probably won't need wellies unless you've checked the forecast and KNOW it is going to be raining a LOT (I would pack a mini umbrella though!). I was in Europe in May and ended up wearing my boots most of the time because they were best for walking and it ended up being chillier than I expected.

  • Lauren {Stylized Existence}

    I would leave the wellies at home in exchange for a pair of walking shoes that cover your entire feet (whereas flats do not). It will probably be quite cool, and you wont want to be sightseeing with cold feet. If your leather boots are flat and comfortable for all day walking, that's probably fine.

  • Kelsey

    I studied in europe for 6 monthes – i'd also bring a crossbody bag because it's easier to access and you're less likely to get pick pocketed. probably don't need wellies and if it does rain you can always buy a cheap pair of rainboots. pack for comfort over style – bring your most comfortable boots & flats. you walk EVERYWHERE!

    hope this helps 🙂
    x Kelsey – tortoiseinthesun.com

  • Chelsea Mac

    I think your list looks great! As much as I love wellies, I'd leave them at home. I'd also add a trench coat to the mix. And don't forget to leave some room for goodies to bring home 😉

  • Danielle Moss

    My thought with this is that with my luck I'll spill something on them, and dark skinny jeans are something I'll want to wear a lot. So–I'd love to have a backup. Practical? Crazy? Ha.

  • ohraq

    Leave the wellies at home and get something that covers your whole foot but isn't as big and heavy as wellies are

    one scarf only should do the trick

    one pair of dark skinnies

    I'd do just the leopard and the black flats (but I understand the flats obsession!)

    crossbody is a MUST- only way to do europe

    Great list and we are all so jeal!

  • Melissa Marie Head

    I think you have a great list going honestly. I would maybe eliminate one pair of flats, but at the same time they don't really take up much space. Boots will work just fine – no need for wellies also?

  • Megan Anderson

    I'm having the same problem—I leave tomorrow for New Zealand and Australia for two weeks. It's their spring right now and the temperature will vary by almost 40 degrees while I'm there, so it's a bit difficult to pack! The main things I'm taking is 3 pairs of jeans (might be taking that down to 2), a couple pairs of shorts, 2 dresses and probably too many tops that are versatile with my bottoms & for going out. I agree with taking a crossbody…and consider one of those hidden money holders/belts to wear under your clothes—I've been to all three cities you're visiting and someone I was with got pick-pocketed in each city! I would recommend wearing your biggest pair of shoes to the airport to save room for the rest! It also helps if you have a similar color theme throughout your clothes so it makes mix and matching even easier!

    Good luck packing and have fun!

  • Erica

    you don't need wellies and only bring 1 pair of dark skinnies – you don't need two. you could also do without the heels because you'll be walking EVERYWHERE. Wear your boots on the plane so you have more room in your suitcase and flats are a must. you could always buy a pair of heels once you're there if you really want a pair for at night 🙂 and definitely pack a crossbody bag.

  • Inês Figueiredo

    The list is great, I just thought that's a lot of pants!!! I like to walk around to visit with a bag that you can cross, it's more confortable. Paris in this time of year can be very cold and humid at night, so be prepared!! And it's raining a lot in Europe these days. Hope I could help.

  • Tanya {Midwest Sass}

    Don't bring the wellies. They're big and heavy. If you plan to walk everywhere, bring a comfy pair of shoes (toms?). Bring a purse that allows your hands to be free and that won't feel heavy by the end of the day. Crossbody bags work best.

    Pack light so you can bring home a ton of treasures! I just took a 10 day trip to London and Paris this past March. I'd be happy to share my favorite/must see spots.

  • Annie

    One pair of dark skinnies, not two. (you can always buy more jeans if needed!); More scarves becuase they are great for layering/changing outfits and if the weather cools down into the evening. Crossbody bag for walking around and keeping things safe. I would add a tank (or two) and a tailored blazer that can be work as a jacket as well for a more dressy day into night look with the addition of a statement necklace. Definitely toss in an umbrella but no wellies!

  • Kathryn Roebuck Holding

    One pair of jeans. You can always visit a laundromat if you need to (or buy a cheap pair there). How long are you spending in london? Could be that you get a fair amount of rain there. Check the forecast beforehand…if it looks like rain is inevitable and frequent, consider wearing the wellies on the plane both ways and taking some comfy flats with you to change out of so you're not taking up too much space in your suitcase. Temp in London is so different than Italy…perhaps take a warm sweater for there. And I would say you'll ditch your flats there because it will be too cold.

    Don't bring the heels! I doubt you'll end up wearing them, and they'll just take up space for treasures you'll be bringing home. You can always buy a fabulous pair at H & M or Zara if you really need them. Take a pair of tennies and some comfy workout clothes in the event you have an impromptu hike. I would also stick to fewer "going out" shirts. In London you'll probably just want to be warm.

  • DaniMarie

    I agree with everyone – no wellies, but bring a small umbrella. Also, do you need both the j crew field jacket and the anorak? I would take the anorak and maybe swap out the field jacket for a tailored blazer as someone suggested above. A blazer + skinnies + scarf + flats is very polished and European 🙂 I also recommend a cross body bag. I've been to European many times (and lived there too), and have never been pick-pocketed (knock on wood), but I also think that I take the necessary precautions. I think of all the places, you probably need to be the most cautious in Rome. Depending on what you have planned, I would still bring heels, especially if you are headed to a nice restaurant or bar.

    Have fun and safe travels!

  • Kelly G

    I did a similar trip last year, where I went to London for a week and took the chunnel to Paris for one day. You're going to have so much fun! I would recommend bringing only bring one pair of skinny jeans, not two. I brought 2 pairs of flat shoes (TOMS as well as black flats), my knee high cognac riding boots, and then black heeled booties for at night when we went to pubs (I would recommend still bringing your heels though, just to switch it up, but the wellies would be a bit too much). A crossbody is really important to have because of pickpockets – it's good to have everything right next to you. Also bring an umbrella, because Europe is kind of ridiculously rainy.

  • MER

    Layers, the weather is all over the place here in Europe right now. And, to echo what everyone else said, you need sensible shoes for walking, walking, walking. Don't be afraid of sneakers – everyone wears them in all three cities and you will see plenty of people in Nike, Hogan, etc. depending on their style. Your feet will love you more. I would ditch the orange skinny jeans and wellies. Stick to dark bottoms that you'll get a lot of wear out of since travel can get messy. I'd probably bring a pair of nice leggings to wear w/ the boots since they pack easily. Hope this helps. And leave room in your suitcase since you may want to do some shopping!

  • Gaby [The Vault Files]

    I think you have a pretty good list Danielle! I would suggest a crossbody handbag or at least a bag that has both short and long straps (you know, like a satchel with a removable long strap), so that you're comfortable during the day and at night you can remove the long strap for a more elegant look 😉
    Packing neutrals is the way to go, just did that for my trip to NYC and it was fantastic, I just added some color in a few pieces that would work with everything and it was perfect!

  • Gaby [The Vault Files]

    I think you have a pretty good list Danielle! I would suggest a crossbody handbag or at least a bag that has both short and long straps (you know, like a satchel with a removable long strap), so that you're comfortable during the day and at night you can remove the long strap for a more elegant look 😉
    Packing neutrals is the way to go, just did that for my trip to NYC and it was fantastic, I just added some color in a few pieces that would work with everything and it was perfect!

  • Alyssa VandeLeest

    You DO NOT need to bring your wellies. I studied in London a few years ago during the winter/spring (rainy season) and was told by some girls who studied there the year before me not to bring mine. I thought they were crazy but listened to their advice anyway and they were right. It sprinkled/misted a ton, but rarely full-out rained enough to require wellies. Have an amazing time!

  • Stacey

    You really will not need wellies at all! You're packing list seems pretty good to me, you've got plenty to layer up with which is the main thing, you never know what the weather will be like!

    xoxo
    Stacey
    Five Minute Style 

  • Britney Beeby

    Hey Danielle! I've literally just finished a trip around Europe with Contiki!
    Before I left, I mad a list of everything I was packing on my blog, with photographs and a full outfit planning guide: http://www.anaestheticadventure.com/?p=694

    I went on a 26 day camping trip traveling through many more countries than you'll be going to, but I also travelled through all of the cities that you're going to on my own, once I was finished with my Contiki tour, and I've just returned from a 12 day trip to London yesterday.

    I'd say that you can definitely leave the wellington boots behind, you also only need two pairs of pants so one pair of jeans and one pair of skinnies will be ample. Forget your clutch – there is so much pickpocketing that goes on in Europe it's easiest to just use a sling bag that you can keep close to your body at all times. I caught a woman with her hand inside my handbag on one occasion. Always pack a bikini or swimming costume, as you never know what heated pool you might run into. Pack an umbrella!

    Don't worry about spilling something on your jeans, or needing to do laundry – the places you stay will definitely have a laundry service, or at least a washing machine for you to use. If not, your Contiki tour manager will have all the info you need for the city you're in. The managers are truly incredible – they know all there is to know!

    Check out the Trastevere district in Rome, the latin Quarter & San Michel in Paris and Borough market in London. I hope you have an absolutely magical time in Europe Danielle!

    Britney
    http://www.anaestheticadventure.com

  • Jillian Manesh

    yah! youre going to have the BEST time! i've gone on 5 international trips in the past few years and trust me…less is more. im sure youre going to want to go shopping while youre on vacation, so leave room in your suitcase before your trip!!

    def leave your wellies, the clutch, and the heels…cut the black flats down to 2 pairs and bring a pair of sandals. check the weather in italy. we just got back a few weeks ago and it was HOT. also just bring one scarf. other than that your list looks good. i packed 3 cardigans and they were a lifesafer in strict churches where you cant expose your shoulders. dont forget things like power converters and a bag lock. bon voyage!! xoxo

    and here are a few more tips on international packing essentials::http://www.cornflakedreams.com/2013/09/international-packing-tips.html

  • Lauren

    Take everyone's advice and definitely ditch the wellies. Otherwise, that's a pretty great list! Shoes tend to be my biggest problem, so I always toss one before I go, because they are heavy and I usually end up wearing half of them anyway. Stick to dark colors with fun scarves/jewelry and then you can pack light…must save room for all the great new things you're going to die over!

  • mar tenas i bastida

    I am from Barcelona and currently live in Chicago. I would travel light and buy cloth in Europe… Every time you would wear each piece you would remember where you bought it. Trust me!

    Mar

  • Lindsey Puckett

    I lived in London for a while and have visited there many, many times to see family (with side trips to both Paris and Rome). London in the fall/winter tends to have a general damp chill and many places lack the central heating that we're used to in the states. Definitely bring something warm to sleep in and bring warm socks for when you're out seeing the sites. Random thought on the heels – lots of European streets are cobbled, so you may want to consider a shoe with a thicker heel for evenings. I also ruined several pairs of stilettos getting onto the escalators in the Tube in central London. As a previous poster mentioned, you may want to consider a small crossbody bag for evenings instead of a clutch. Remember that you're in a foreign place and you'll likely need to use a map, carry an umbrella, ask for directions, etc. at some point and you will look like an American no matter how chic you're dressed. Having your hands free would be smart especially in Rome where pick pocketing is very, very common.

    Otherwise, use public transit to get around and find restaurants and bars that are packed with locals. Drink lots of red wine and enjoy the amazing sites and food (if ever there was a time to break Paleo…this might be it!!). Take lots of photos, but also take the time to be present and just take it all in – the smells, the sounds, the people.

    Enjoy your trip! I can't wait to read about it!

  • Sarah Shoemaker

    Your list is great, but it could definitely be cut down for 10 days! First, I would definitely leave the boots and swap a pair of flats for chic sneakers (Bensimon/Converse/etc). Second, two pairs of pants will be sufficient, and instead of bringing a dress, I would just swap in a skirt that could be mixed with a "going out top" (of which I think you'll only need two-three). You should also look at the forecast, because you may want other layering pieces (you indicated you're only bringing long sleeves and sweaters, but it's been toasty in parts of France!) like tanks and light long sleeve cardigan. Otherwise, I think you have the right idea by sticking to neutrals and throwing in some scarves! I always end up wearing scarves and belts to jazz up my travel wardrobe. My final advice, that some others have echoed, is to make sure you have a cross-body bag. Touristy places in Rome and Paris are notorious for pickpockets, and cross-body is the way to go.

    Have an amazing time!

    If the weather is good in Paris, please please please go to the Tour Montparnasse. Everyone always climbs the Eiffel Tower (which is awesome for sure!) but when you are on the top, you're standing on the most iconic thing in the skyline. From Montparnasse, you get insane views of Paris that include the Eiffel Tower 🙂

  • Jennifer Wong

    hi danielle! i love your personal blog as well as the everygirl blog. i think my friend jessica works for the blog. anyway, i'm always going to europe for 2 week work engagements where i have to fit all my professional and personal clothes in a carry on so i can definitely relate to your dilemma. while my outfits are more straight forward with 1 or 2 suits and 5 tops, i know how challenging it is to pack lightly for europe. in fact i will be going for 2 weeks and i will be doing some personal site-seeing in rome and athens! my advice would be similar to all the rest of the comments where layering if your friend (as it does get chilly at night) and comfortable shoes because there is tons of walking. i always wear my bulkiest shoes on the plane so i don't have to deal with them in the suitcase. i would only bring 1 of the dark jeans since you have the black and colored ones already. i would stick with your two most comfortable flats, especially if you're bringing heels and boots. for your bag – have you seen ONA bags or loandsons? i feel like they could be a great option for having a bag for everything you need outside your suitcase and you can have the option of bringing it around while you're walking. also, i always put all my clothes that are silk or wrinkle easily in those plastic bags you get back from dry cleaning. they help immensely and i usually don't need to iron. anyway, hope this helps. have a great trip!

  • Brooke

    I would cut down the whole list! I know that you want to have outfits for each day/night but since you are going to different cities, you're going to want your luggage to be as light as possible, and also have room for souvenirs, and clothing you pick up on the way. I would also cut back on the flats, again, since you are going to different cities, it'll be easier to keep track of all of your shoes if you only bring 3 shoes total.

    I would also just bring your camera bag, it's cute, and doesn't look like a camera bag, which is very important for crowded tourist cities (mainly Rome, my friend almost had her camera stolen there because it was pretty obvious).

    I would also bring less jeans, since you are also bring dresses, cut down to one scarf and bring plenty of socks, those are one item of clothing that is key to have multiples of.

    I'd also purchase a universal outlet like this one http://amzn.com/B0091GB832
    ) It’s so much better then having multiple ones.

    I also suggest taking small bags Like these ( http://www.flight001.com/products/go-clean-1.html) to store dirty clothes.

  • The Janester

    Hi Danielle!

    This is my first comment, though I've been reading your blog for quite a while.
    I think your packing list looks good. My advice would be to make sure you are comfortable and warm enough because you are probably going to walk a lot – in Paris and Rome especially – and days are getting chillier (I live in Brussels, I know ;)). Make sure the purse you bring isn't too heavy and closes well – there tends to be a lot of pickpockets in those cities. I would say a crossbody bag might be a better option than your camera bag.

    Non sequitur, but if you have the opportunity, I suggest you stop by the original Diptyque store while in Paris. I know you love scented candles and their store is quite lovely. 🙂

    Corinne

  • Jen

    Hey Danielle!

    I'm loving this post. I'm a flight attendant and I have literally been everywhere around the world, more than twice. As far as your list- I have some insight as someone who lives out of their suitcase- 2 weeks at a time..

    This is WAY way too much stuff. They have freakishly good shopping in Europe so you're going to want to have space in your bag to bring stuff back.

    I'd definitely do 2 dresses, 2 going out at night tops (not 4), 3 pairs of skinnies in whatever combination you choose (not 4), an UMBRELLA, 4 sweaters/long sleeve tops (not 6), I'd bring your field jacket (but not your anorak because you'll have your umbrella and when the weather gets crazy- you're gona find yourself cabbing it), 2-3 scarves (it's the easiest thing to keep you warm and dress up your outfit because Europe weather can get super bipolar chilly), 2 pairs of flats (because walking on the hard cobblestone ground will blister- so you're most likely gona be in boots when you're sightseeing, and flats for half a day- so you don't really need 3… plus i'd do black and leopard. My light color flats ALWAYS get destroyed and gross), definitely boots but no wellies- but make sure your boots are comfortable to walk around in and bring thick socks to wear with them- as you'll likely be in them the most, and if you bring heels- make sure it's a chunky heel. I understand heels dress things up way more than flats ever can, but you won't be as mobile in stilettos, evening clutch, and a handbag/purse with a zipper so nothing can "accidentally" fall out or get pickpocketed– the over the shoulder handbags with cross body straps are the MOST useful.

    Honestly. This is A LOT of clothing already. You're gona come back, and I wouldn't be surprised with even this minimized list- that you'll have stuff that you didn't get a chance to wear. I'd def also bring some camis/tees to throw under those long sleeves.

    You're gona have so much fun- and depending on who you're flying on, I might even be your Stew! 😉

  • Elizabeth

    You're definitely not going to need wellies- it's not been too rainy in London recently and since you don't need them unless you're tramping around the countryside I wouldn't bother because they take up so much space. If you're concerned about rain shoes, I would bring boat shoes (sperrys). They're water repellant, super comfy for walking long distances and with skinny jeans can look very Grace Kelly-chic.

    I HIGHLY recommend that your 2 scarves be of different weights. The weather is very changeable these days and you're going to want a nice heavy wool or cashmere to wrap up in if it's windy, but a light-weight one for warmer days.

    For going out, if you wear booties I would suggest those over heels. Cobblestones are trickier than you imagine! And a crossbody bag (as many have mentioned) will serve you better than a clutch.

    Above all…ENJOY! I'm so jealous you'll be in London (say hi to my hometown for me!)

  • Elizabeth

    You're definitely not going to need wellies- it's not been too rainy in London recently and since you don't need them unless you're tramping around the countryside I wouldn't bother because they take up so much space. If you're concerned about rain shoes, I would bring boat shoes (sperrys). They're water repellant, super comfy for walking long distances and with skinny jeans can look very Grace Kelly-chic.

    I HIGHLY recommend that your 2 scarves be of different weights. The weather is very changeable these days and you're going to want a nice heavy wool or cashmere to wrap up in if it's windy, but a light-weight one for warmer days.

    For going out, if you wear booties I would suggest those over heels. Cobblestones are trickier than you imagine! And a crossbody bag (as many have mentioned) will serve you better than a clutch.

    Above all…ENJOY! I'm so jealous you'll be in London (say hi to my hometown for me!)

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