Packing for Europe in a carry-on can seem restrictive, but in reality, it will allow you to be more mobile as well as free you from the hassle of lugging around a heavy bag. I hope this guide will help you pack for your dream vacation.
1. Research the areas you will be visiting. Look into the local climates, as well as the activities you plan to do there. Also, keep in mind that many churches have dress codes (ex. shoulders & knees must be covered). Knowing exactly what kind of weather, events, and excursions you will be doing will help you eliminate unnecessary items. It is wise to pre-purchase train/event/theatre tickets as soon as you can confirm your itinerary dates. This will save you money, as the cheapest tickets go first.
2. Gather all documents you may need while traveling. This includes passports, ID’s, boarding passes, event tickets etc. It is also wise to make photocopies of the documents in case they are lost or stolen. Having copies will help speed up the process of replacing them.
3. Layout all outfits down to the jewelry and underclothing. This helps you visually organize, as well as see where you can mix and match clothing items. It also ensures that you do not forget anything. When choosing what to bring, keep in mind that lightweight materials will take up less space in your bag, and they also will not be as hot to walk around in. Personally, I plan to pack mostly sundresses because they are lightweight, condense easily in my bag, and still look feminine and fashionable. It is also easy to throw a cardigan over a sundress for cooler climates such as London, or to enter churches.
4. Finding good luggage is just as important as what goes into it. For Christmas, I received this Samsonite, which I absolutely love. From personal experience, I have found that soft luggage is better than hard. Soft allows for it to expand, and has pockets which allows for more items to be placed inside.
1. Toiletries: I have found that the best way to transport toiletries is in a bag with a hook. Many hotels in Europe have very little counter space, so a bag with a hook comes in very handy. I use a this bag from L.L. Bean, and it is awesome because it is compact, but still holds everything I need it too. I also fill these bottles with shampoo and conditioner to ensure there is no leakage, and they comply with the airline restrictions on liquids.
3. Make-up: For a makeup bag, choose something that is small. Remember that since you will be using a carry on, all liquids must be under the restricted limits and in a plastic bag to go through screening.
4. Clothing: Personally, packing in a carry on would not be possible without my Ebags . The bags make the amount of items you can bring exponentially higher. Use the largest of the bags for your bulkiest items. This includes pants, jackets etc. Roll them as tightly as you can and place into the bag. I use the medium sized bag for my blouses, sundresses, cardigans etc. The smallest bag I use for underclothing and other miscellaneous items. Again, roll everything as tightly as possible before placing in the packing bag. These bags also help prevent wrinkling and disorganization.
5. Making it Fit: Now is the time to actually put everything into the carry on. Place your shoes in first, around the perimeter of the carry on. Next, place the largest packing bag in, followed by the medium sized, then the smallest. I then make room for the toiletry bag.
6. Miscellaneous: I put my laptop and charger in the outside pocket of the bag, along with any other miscellaneous items you may have. You will also want to purchase an outlet adaptor, because US outlets are different than outlets in Europe.
7. Personal Item: I have a completely separate post for my personal item here. For my personal item, I bring a large bag that will double as my purse in Europe. Items that I keep in my personal item include : Wallet, documents (see #2 on Pre-Packing), camera, phone, phone rechargeable battery pack (similar here) so I can charge on the go, small snacks, small pouch with jewelry, lip balm, magazines, and my Kate Spade Saturday Travel Pack that includes an eye mask and neck pillow for the long flight.
I hope that this guide was helpful in packing for your upcoming trip to Europe. I will be going to London, Paris, Rome, Cinque Terre, Venice, and Florence in August. Any great recommendations in those cities? Do you have any other suggestions for packing tips? Share them with me in the comments below!