It’s that time of year again when it seems everyone is gearing up to flee to Europe for the summer. If you’re in college, it’s your friends studying abroad or backpacking Europe post grad. In your mid-twenties it’s all the honeymoons from wedding season and friends running off to fun adventures like Yacht Week or a hiking adventure in Scandinavia. Wherever your summer adventures take you, you have to pack for your trip and that’s where I come in! Summer in Europe is amazing, but packing for it can be a bit tricky.
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The clothes you pack will vary a bit based on your itinerary. If you are packing for a short versus long trip, alter the amount of each item you pack.. These are just the general items I like to always have with me in the summertime, no matter my itinerary!
- It’s summer and the temperature can creep up especially in Southern Europe so definitely throw a pair or two of shorts into your bag! However, do not wear them on a day you intend to visit any churches! Some have rules against shorts but more on that later.
- Tank tops and T-shirts
- I like to pack a combination of tanks and tees for summer time in solid colours. This way I can mix and match with any bottoms I pack. I also recommend lighter colours to keep you cooler in the hot summer sun. I really love these shirts from target because they are soft and comfortable! The tanks are here and the T-shirts are here.
- A light sweater
- In most places, especially further north, the temperature drops low at night. Having a sweater helps you to stay warm as you continue your adventures in the evening.
- A pair of jeans
- The temperature can drop at night(and even during the day in some regions) so it’s smart to have at least one pair of jeans with you for those evenings when you are going to be out a bit later.
- A couple of cute tops
- I like to pack some tops that are nicer than just cotton T-shirts and I always pack at least one that covers my shoulders for more conservative religious buildings that I may visit.
- A Dress or Skirt that hits AT LEAST your knees(I prefer below the knee)
- For the same reason that I pack a top that covers my shoulder, I pack at least one dress or skirt that is longer and not too tight. Many of the cathedrals, mosques and other religious buildings require a skirt or dress to cover your knees in order for you to visit. Some will allow pants but I prefer to play it safe and pack a skirt or dress. Plus, this doubles as a nicer outfit if I go to the theatre or decide to treat myself to a fancy restaurant! Some of my favorite skirts like this come from Modcloth so check them out!
- A fun romper
- I LOVE rompers and they are my outfit of summer. They are the perfect combination of fun and function and they also don’t take up much space in your luggage. A romper can be dressed up for nighttime or down for the day and I love having one.
- Do yourself a favour and pack at least one pair of comfy leggings. Chances are you aren’t just going to one place for your entire trip. Leggings are the perfect thing to wear on travel days whether you are taking a plane, a train, a bus, or a car.
- I like to pack a lighter weight shorts and tank top set and a leggings and long sleeve T-shirt set. This way I’m prepared for either colder nights or warm nights without AC.
- I pack a pair of tights to wear with a dress or skirt if I’m wearing it at night. I opt for black tights because they are the most versatile in my opinion, but any pair will work.
- Underwear, bras and assorted items
- This category is pretty self-explanatory. Bring what you need, also keep a spare pair of undies in your carry on. Don’t forget things.
Shoes tend to be more situational, so this is where some adjustment may be necessary. These are the shoes I take with me when I visit Europe, and all of them are some of myfavorite travel shoes. My itineraries are often city based and involve a large amount of walking so take that into consideration when making your choices
- Walking shoes
- A pair of cute but comfy sandals
- I love a good gladiator sandal and have a well-loved black pair that have been to more countries than my younger brother. THis is an almost identical pair by the same designer and I highly recommend them!
- A nicer pair of flats
- GET YOURSELF SOME TIEKS. I bought my first pair before spending 3 months in Europe studying abroad and they are INCREDIBLE. I have been obsessed ever since. They are cute, can be dressed up or down, and are so comfy!
- Heels of some kind(if that’s your thing)
- I rarely travel with heels unless it’s for professional reasons mostly because I don’t wear heels often, but if you have a favorite COMFORTABLE pair of heels or wedges that you want to pack, more power to you! My one caveat here is that many European cities pride themselves on their history and they history comes with beautiful(uneven) cobblestone streets. So be prepared for a test of your balance if you are rocking heels in some cities.
When I travel, my accessories often serve a greater purpose than just making my outfit more stylish. I strive to pack items with multiple uses, but I am also damn sure that they will be cute and stylish as well.
- A Summery Scarf
- You’re probably thinking “why the hell do I need a scarf in the summer?” but hear me out. I’m not saying to pack your wool winter scarf. I personally love the cotton infinity scarves from Target because they are lightweight and fulfil the purpose that I need: they add a pop of color to my wardrobe but can also serve as a head covering if I am visiting more conservative churches or mosques.
- Crossbody purse
- The crossbody strap is important to keep your belongings closer to you and safer just in case. The size of the purse is up to you. I have a few different ones in various sizes that I take for different occasions. There is this Kate Spade one for nights out or days when all I need is my wallet, phone and a lipstick. Also, have this Vera Bradley one that is a perfect mid-size one that I can squeeze my Nikon DSLR into for days when I am planning photo shoots or just want the option of something other than my iPhone. Lastly, I have a larger crossbody similar to this one that is for days when I need everything including the kitchen sink(seriously this is a Mary Poppins bag that holds everything).
- It’s summertime so I would consider this an obvious thing to pack. I love a good pair of $5 sunnies as much as the next girl, but my eyes are actually really sensitive to light so I opted to invest in a pair of RayBans wayfarers with polarised lenses to protect my eyes from the sun. Trust me when I say: THEY ARE SO WORTH IT. Do your eyesight a favour and get yourself some quality polarised sunnies!
- A Watch
- I always travel with a watch(personally I use a Fitbit to also track my steps) because it keeps me off my phone a bit more when I don’t need my phone to know the time. It’s also helpful for flights because you can set it to your destination’s time and plan when to sleep for minimal jet lag!
- The fun stuff
- I always pack cute jewelry to help dress up my look on my travels and I’m a true sucker for travel themed jewelry. I have this necklace that I love so much and a few other pieces from Modcloth that are travel themed. Also, I tend to stick to one color of metal when I travel though because I’m not a big fan of mixing metals.
Cosmetics and Toiletries
Everyone has their own go to items in this category, so be sure to pack yours. For me, there are just a few things that summer in Europe requires you to bring with you. Of course,adjust this list to fit your specific needs and the needs of your itinerary, but these are my non-negotiable during the summer time
- Makeup that breathes
- I’m not trying to sweat off my face, but I still want to be cute in my photos. In the summer, I adjust my makeup must-haves a bit for the weather. I include an oil reducing primer and I replace my foundation with a lightweight tinted moisturizer with at least SPF 35. I also change out my moisturizer for one with SPF in it because I’m not trying to get skin cancer.
- Extra strong Deodorant
- With how old many of the buildings in Europe are, it’s pretty common for places not to have AC. In more northern countries, this isn’t too bad, but in places like Italy in July, you are going to sweat. I personally use Old Spice Men’s deodorant because it works really well and I love the smell of it.
- It’s summer, the sun is out, so use some common sense! Apply sunscreen to exposed skin and if you are going to be out all day, bring it with to reapply. There is nothing worse than a sunburn when you are staying some place with No AC.
In addition to everything above, there are a few random things that I like to have with me on a summer trip to Europe. Of course, I pack my Carry on Essentials, but I also bring the following items.
- Summer is less rainy than other seasons, but there is nothing worse than being caught in a rainstorm without an umbrella. I have this Small Vera Bradley one that fits in basically any purse. It’s small and keeps me dry and that’s all I could ask for.
- Water Bottle
- It gets HOT in some places in Europe in the summer. When I was in Italy with my Grandmother a few summers ago, the temps reached 100 degrees Fahrenheit. I always carry a reusable water bottle with me to stay hydrated ESPECIALLY on hot summer days.
- Portable Phone Charger
- For most people, your phone serves a dual purpose as your camera. This means that when you are travelling, you are likely running down your battery on long sightseeing days. Do yourself a favour and pack a powerful portable charger to keep your phone juiced up all day long!
I’m sure there are a few items I missed on this list, but I did my best to compile everything that you should need to pack for summer in Europe! From one misguided millennial to the world, have a fun summer in Europe!