The Ultimate Packing List for Europe: Must-Haves for European Travel
Picture this: You’ve finally taken the plunge and decided to embark on that long-awaited European adventure you’ve been dreaming of for ages. Your flights are booked, your itinerary is set, and your accommodations are secured. You’ve got the trip of a lifetime ahead of you.
But before you can jet off to enchanting locales like Valencia in Spain or explore the winding streets of Lisbon in Portugal, there’s one crucial detail that requires your attention: packing. The thought of it might be daunting, but we’re here to spare you the stress with our comprehensive guide to what to pack for Europe.
From smart packing strategies to European travel essentials, we’ve got you covered. So, whether you’re setting off to the sun-soaked shores of Sorrento in Italy or anywhere else across this mesmerizing continent, let’s ensure your Europe trip is unforgettable and hassle-free.
Europe Packing List Overview
If you’re searching for what to bring to Europe, that likely means you’re traveling from another continent — so you’ve come to the right place! Before we go into more detail about what to add to your international packing list, here’s a quick overview of Europe travel essentials that ensure a smooth getaway.
Your passport and visa
Proof of travel insurance
Credit and debit cards
Universal plug adapter for electronic devices
Basic first-aid kit
Travel-sized laundry detergent
Travel-sized laundry bag
Weather appropriate clothing
Hat or cap
Local SIM card
Reusable water bottle
Travel pillow and eye mask
Backpack or daypack
Reusable tote bag
Water purification tablets
Portable luggage scale
A travel journal or notebook
Book, tablet, or e-reader
Camera and memory card
AirTag, Tile tracker, or similar device
Europe Travel Bag Checklist
Assuming you’re traveling with at least one check-in luggage and one carry-on bag, preparing for a trip to Europe involves strategic packing to ensure both convenience and compliance with airline regulations.
In your carry-on luggage, essentials like travel documents, medications, a change of clothes, and chargers should be prioritized for easy access during the flight. Meanwhile, in your checked-in suitcase, focus on packing clothing suitable for the region’s weather and any bulkier items you may need for your European adventure. Let’s take a closer look at what to put in each of your bags.
Carry-On Packing List for Europe
Everything in your carry-on are items that need to be easily accessible or valuable, which includes:
Your passport and visa. Your passport is the most important travel document, and your visa — if it’s required in the country you’re traveling to — allows you to enter the country legally. Always keep these documents with you, preferably in a secure, easily accessible pocket.
Local currency. Be sure to have local currency on hand, depending on which European countries you plan to visit. 19 of the 27 countries in the European Union (EU) use the Euro as their official currency, so be sure to double-check before your trip.
Charging devices and universal power adapters. When it comes to a universal power adapter, this is crucial for any international trip. Most countries in Europe operate on 220V or 230V, but some parts of Ireland use 240V or 110V, so having a universal one can be incredibly helpful. It’s helpful to keep your chargers, power banks, and power adapters in one place. This is good to keep in your carry-on so you can easily access it in transit.
Extra change of clothes. Packing an extra change of clothes in your carry-on luggage on your flight to Europe is crucial. It helps you be prepared for unexpected delays or check-in baggage mishaps.
Travel-sized toiletries. We emphasize “travel-sized” here as you don’t want to get stopped for bringing too many liquids on the plane. Having your toiletries in your carry-on can help you stay fresh during a long-haul flight. This can include but is not limited to a toothbrush, toothpaste, and deodorant.
Headphones. Any set of headphones with an aux cord is essential for entertainment during your flight in the event that your seat has a personal TV. You can use them to watch movies, listen to music, or even block out ambient noise with noise-canceling headphones.
Book, tablet, or e-reader. Having something to read during a long-haul flight can make the journey more enjoyable. E-readers or tablets are particularly convenient because they can store multiple books or movies in one place.
Prescription medications. If you have any prescription medications, it’s crucial to keep them in your carry-on bag. This ensures that you have access to your medication in case your checked luggage is delayed or lost. You should always keep the medications in the bottle that they were prescribed with your name on it to avoid any trouble while going through security.
Local SIM card. If you’re planning to use your phone for calls, texts, or data while in Europe, having a local SIM card can save you money on international roaming charges and provide you with reliable connectivity.
Reusable water bottle. Staying hydrated is important during travel, and having a reusable water bottle allows you to refill it after passing through security and throughout your journey. It’s eco-friendly and helps you avoid buying overpriced bottled water at the airport.
Travel pillow and eye mask. A travel pillow and eye mask can help make your flight so much more comfortable, so you can get a good rest and reduce the effects of jet lag upon arrival.
Sunglasses. While you won’t need these on the plane, sunglasses are good to have to protect your eyes from the sun the moment you land.
What to Pack in Your Check-In Luggage
Trip lengths will vary from one person to the next, but here’s a general idea of what to pack for international travel anywhere in Europe.
AirTag, Tile tracker, or similar device. Putting these types of tracking devices inside your check-in luggage makes it easier to monitor if your bags are delayed or lost. This is especially helpful if you have a connecting international flight to make sure your bags end up on the correct plane. They can also prevent theft, as you can get a better idea of the exact location of your bag if it goes missing.
Luggage lock. Similar to the tracking device listed above, the first two things you should include in your check-in luggage are for your safety and security.
Travel-sized laundry bag and detergent. These items are useful for doing laundry during your trip, allowing you to pack lighter and avoid over-packing clothes. Laundry detergent helps you maintain cleanliness, and the bag keeps dirty laundry separate.
Small umbrella. Europe’s weather can be unpredictable. Packing a small umbrella can provide protection from rain or sun, ensuring you’re prepared for varying weather conditions. If you’re trying to save space, you can contact your hotel or vacation rental host ahead of time to see if they provide umbrellas for guests to borrow.
Sunblock. Protect your skin by wearing sunscreen every day — especially if you plan to wander European streets under the sun all day!
Hat or cap. A hat or cap provides additional sun protection for your face and can also be a stylish accessory. It’s particularly useful for sunny days when exploring, lying on the beach, or going on a hike.
Shampoo and conditioner. While many hotels provide these amenities, having your preferred brands or types can be more convenient and ensure your hair care needs are met.
Backpack or daypack. A small backpack or daypack is handy for carrying essentials while sightseeing, hiking, or exploring cities. It keeps your hands free and allows you to carry items like water bottles, snacks, and maps.
Reusable tote bag. Keep a reusable tote bag in your daypack or purse in case you decide to go souvenir shopping or even while checking out a local market. It’s a great way to be eco-friendly while traveling to avoid single-use plastic bags.
Fanny pack. A fanny pack is a secure and convenient way to carry valuables like passports, money, and small electronics. It provides easy access to these items and reduces the risk of theft.
Water purification tablets. In some parts of Europe, tap water may not be suitable for drinking. Water purification tablets can ensure you have access to clean and safe drinking water during your travels.
Portable luggage scale. Having a lightweight portable luggage scale is helpful for those who plan to do a little shopping while abroad. This can ensure that your bag stays within the weight limits and saves you from having to pack, unpack, or leave something behind at the airport.
Weather-appropriate clothing. We’ll go into more detail on what clothing to pack in the next section, so keep reading.
Clothing to Pack
Be sure to always check the weather at your destinations while packing for Europe. And if you aren’t doing so already, you should find a reliable set of packing cubes to keep your clothes organized. No matter how long your trip is, your packing list of clothes — at the very least — should include:
2 weather-appropriate bottoms for each week of your trip (shorts, pants, skirt, jeans, etc.)
1 weather-appropriate top for each day (tank top, shirt, blouse, long sleeve, etc.)
1 set of underwear per day
1 pair of socks per day
1 pair of comfortable sneakers
1 pair of comfortable sandals, slippers, slides, or flip-flops
1 weather-appropriate jacket, sweater, or hoodie
2 sets of pajamas for each week of your trip
It’s also good to keep in mind that if there is a washer and dryer at your vacation rental or laundry services at your hotel, you can pack a little lighter as long as you include doing laundry in your itinerary. Depending on the weather, some accessories to consider include:
Hat, cap, or beanie
If you’re still finalizing your European itinerary, check out some of our favorite cities in Spain, Portugal, and Italy, along with lovely hotels you can book in each city.
Valencia in Spain is renowned for its delicious cuisine — particularly the iconic dish, paella, which originated here. The city’s Mediterranean coastline offers beautiful beaches, a calendar filled with colorful festivals, and a dynamic cultural scene.
Experience the ultimate beach vacation at this five-star luxury resort located directly on the beautiful Las Arenas Beach in Valencia. Surrounded by loungers, you can soak up the sun in one of the two seasonal outdoor pools or visit the luxurious spa for a relaxing massage or beauty treatment. Fuel up each morning with the amazing breakfast buffet, which features a variety of options, including gluten-free and vegan items. With the Palacio de la Música and America’s Cup Port within walking distance and public transport stops nearby, you’ll have plenty to explore.
If you’re looking for other beachfront accommodations, Hotel Neptuno is a delightful option. Located in the stunning Poblats Maritims district and overlooking Valencia harbor, this beachfront design hotel offers guests the perfect combination of luxury and ease. Guests have direct access to the ocean and can take advantage of the beachside bars and restaurants nearby. With convenient access to many top attractions, this hotel is an excellent choice for your next holiday.
Portugal’s capital city stands out as a fantastic European destination for its captivating blend of old-world charm and contemporary allure. Its hilly streets are adorned with colorful tiles, historic tramcars, and ancient architecture, creating a picturesque atmosphere that transports visitors to another era.
Situated in the heart of Lisbon, the Epic Sana Lisboa Hotel stands as a marvel among its surroundings. Unwind at the breathtaking rooftop bar, where you can take a dip in the infinity pool or lounge with a refreshing drink in hand. The hotel is located less than five miles away from Lisbon International Airport and a short commute away from the lively Bairro Alto neighborhood.
The Meliá Lisboa Aeroporto Hotel offers the perfect blend of convenience and comfort, located right by Lisbon International Airport. The modern hotel features a lounge bar, restaurant, and El Spa where you can treat yourself to a few hours of relaxation. Each room is air-conditioned and includes a mini-bar, a cable flat-screen TV, and a private bathroom. Whether you’re in the area for business or pleasure, this hotel is sure to provide an enjoyable stay.
Perched atop dramatic cliffs overlooking the azure waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea in Italy, Sorrento offers unparalleled panoramic views and a tranquil ambiance that’s perfect for relaxation. Its strategic location also makes it an ideal base for exploring the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii, and the enchanting island of Capri. With its lemon-scented streets, world-class cuisine, and welcoming atmosphere, Sorrento is an enchanting destination that captures the essence of southern Italian culture and natural splendor.
Overlooking the Bay of Naples and stunning Mediterranean gardens, the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria makes it easy to explore the very best of Sorrento. With impeccable five-star services like a pick-up service from the Napoli train station and friendly staff on hand to help with any need, you’ll feel right at home in this beautiful Italian oasis. Guests have raved about it being a perfect destination for a romantic getaway!
Relais Regina Giovanna is the perfect location for travelers looking to have a truly unique and unforgettable experience. Nestled in Sorrento, enjoy a tranquil morning on the hotel’s private beach, or explore the surrounding area with kayak or paddle board rentals, which are provided at the hotel. After a day out, indulge in a farm-to-table dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, which serves up freshly sourced local produce.
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