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All I packed for 6 months in Europe - Find out how here!
Travel Advice

Packing List for Europe: Summer, Fall, and Winter in A Carry-On

My 6 month Europe adventure spanned a wide variety of climates. I started off in Southern France, Spain, and Morocco in the summer, made my way through the Balkans in the fall, and ended in snowy Denmark. I experienced everything from the hot, dry heat of Spain all the way to the freezing snow of Skagen, the northernmost point of Denmark. So, without further ado, here is my ultimate carry-on packing list for Europe for all seasons!

Packing List for Europe: Backpack and Related Gear

I chose a Tortuga 44L Backpack because they’re compact, carry-on friendly, and don’t scream “backpacker” as loudly as other bags. They have lots of pockets and storage options that make them, in my opinion, superior to your typical hiking backpack. Plus, it’s side-zipping like a carry-on suitcase would be, so it’s easy to find whatever you have in there. The hip belt has pockets and takes the weight off your shoulders, so it’s great for moving between cities in Europe. However, because it’s not designed for hiking, it’s not great for things like overnight camping trips if you plan on packing a tent or sleeping bag or the like. In that case, I’d recommend something like the Deuter 45+10L Backpack which is designed for trekking and camping. In that case, I’d use the 10L as my “personal item” and the 45L backpack part would work as your carry-on for most airlines. I also carry a smaller personal item-sized daypack as well where I stash my odds and ends.

 

 

I absolutely love love love my eBags Pack-it-Flat Toiletry Kit. It takes up so little space and it actually fits perfectly in the outer pocket of my Tortuga so they pair really well together. Although it’s flat and compact, it fits quite a bit – virtually all my toiletries, which as a bit of an admitted girly-girl I have a lot of! An absolute must-have for your sanity when backpacking.

 

 

If you travel with any one thing, please make it these eBags Packing Cubes (I swear I’m not being paid by eBags, they just make awesome travel gear! Also they match which pleases my packing OCD)  I use my large packing cube for bottoms and dresses, my medium packing cube for tops, and my small packing cube for socks and undies. I also keep a few spare reusable tote bag for dirty laundry so it doesn’t all mix together and make my clean clothes smell funky.

Packing List for Europe: Clothing for Multiple Seasons

This was without a doubt the hardest part of packing. I had so much cute summery stuff that I wanted to wear, but I knew that once October rolled around, most of that would be useless. Here’s what I ended up bringing:

3 lightweight tank tops in different colors

2 linen V-neck shirts for super hot days in conservative places like Morocco

A chambray button-up shirt to wear as a light jacket on summer nights and layered under a sweater in winter

1 pair lightweight linen shorts in black or neutral, perfect for ridiculously hot days

1 large scarf to wear in the summer in too much AC or as a wrap in conservative countries, and for warmth in winter

1 lightweight cashmere sweater (I love UNIQLO’s because they roll up super thin) for winter – maybe two if you want variety!

 

1 pair black ponte leggings  for versatility and comfort on bus rides

1 pair roll-up denim shorts for the hot European summer

1 pair dark indigo skinny jeans (you can skip the heels) for nights and winter (layered with leggings underneath for extra warmth)

 

1 midi skirt that goes just past the knee – great for conservative places like churches and countries like Morocco

1 versatile black mini skirt for nights out in the summer – also great paired with warm leggings for winter travel in Europe

2 lightweight fun summer dresses – I tried to pick out patterns that would go with a jacket, leggings, and boots in the winter so they’d be versatile

 

2 pairs comfortable cotton leggings for sleeping in and layering in fall weather

1 pair fleece-lined leggings for cold nights and winter travel in Europe

1 ultra-packable light down jacket for wearing as-is or layering under another jacket for added warmth. I bought mine from UNIQLO but this one is even cheaper

 

1 multi-pack of ankle socks all in one color so when they inevitably go missing you won’t go insane

far more underwear than you think is necessary – I usually pack 14 pairs because I’m lazy and hate doing laundry. I’m obsessed with these Calvin Klein ones – so comfy and pack down tiny!

1 bikini, or more if you’re more of a swimmer than I am

1 pair silk sleepwear – it packs down to nothing and it’s so nice to get to feel like a girly girl instead of a grimy backpacker!

1 pair reliable flip flops – people swear by Havainas, I always lose my flip flops so I’ve never developed a particular attachment to them as I’m always replacing them

1 waterproof jacket – I personally love and swear by a water-resistant waxed canvas jacket from J Crew that I can’t find any close replicas of 🙁

1 pair running shoes – even though you won’t catch me dead running, my new Nikes are so comfy for walking around the city or mild hikes. I had Pumas before and they were also quite comfortable!

1 pair slightly more stylish comfortable sandals – alas, my favorites are nowhere to be found anymore, but these Aerosoles look cute and its the same brand as my old sandals.

1 pair comfortable ankle boots – I’m totally obsessed with these Lucky Brand boots and wore them almost every day that was below 90 degrees F. I usually wore these while moving locations in order to keep my pack lighter.

This sounds like a lot — it is! But it all managed to fit into two packing cubes (I actually didn’t even need to use the third one, as I kept all my underwear, socks, and sleepwear in pockets that come with my backpack). My Uniqlo down jacket rolls up nicely, secured with a belt, and fits in an outer pocket of my backpack. I didn’t bring a hat or gloves with me and just bought them cheaply once the weather got cold. I did toss two tank tops near the end of my trip to make room for another sweater.

packing list for europe: All I packed for 6 months in Europe - Find out how here!

This is everything I packed clothes-wise to last me from June through December in Europe. (Sleepwear, socks, & underwear in internal pockets in my backpack). The small bag contains all my shirts, and the larger one contains dresses and bottoms. That small black cylinder is my compacted Ultra Light Down from Uniqlo, which I secure with a belt to keep it nice and tiny!

Packing List for Europe: Smart Toiletries & Hygiene Supplies

1 Diva cup – I love menstrual cups and think that every woman should get one! It’ll save you tons of money and the Earth tons of landfill, and it’s not as gross as you think.

1 pack of GoToobs for your must-have toiletries you think will be hard to find abroad

1 2-pack travel folding toothbrush – so convenient since I always lose those stupid clip on toothbrush protectors

1 LUSH solid shampoo (buy with a metal carrying case) – btw, it’s much much cheaper if you buy at a LUSH store or lush.com, but it won’t ship to all countries

1 dry shampoo for in-between washes

1 pack hair ties – so many others break my fine hair so I swear by scünci brand!

1 bamboo wide-toothed comb – much better than brushes for my thin fine hair, though your mileage may vary!

1 nail kit (or do as I do and just travel with a nail file and clippers)

 

1 pair of good quality tweezers – I’m obsessed with my eyebrows (#shessovain) and I love Tweezerman for keeping them in shape

1 solid sunscreen – I also buy a ton of liquid sunscreen in my destination but this is a good backup to have in my purse.

1 pack of your favorite razor heads – it can sometimes be hard to find your favorite brand abroad (and a razor, obviously!)

1 anti-friction stick or powder for girls like me with thick thighs — chub rub is real and it ain’t cute (LUSH also makes a great one called Silky Underwear)

 

Packing List for Europe: My Travel First Aid Kit

1 pack bismuth sub-salicylate tablets (aka cheap ass Pepto Bismol) for the inevitable stomach upsets

1 pack Imodium, which I only take in emergencies (like an 8 hour bus ride)

1 pack Pedialyte oral rehydration salts – perfect for recovering from illnesses, dehydration, hikes, and hangovers.

1 bottle Aleve – I can never find Aleve in other countries and it works better than ibuprofen, aspirin, and acetaminophen/paracetamol for me.

1 pack Excedrin migraine if you’re prone to migraines like I am – I’ve had trouble finding this overseas sometimes

1 bottle Dramamine if you get motion sickness like I do

1 bottle B-complex vitamins, helpful for people with anxiety or depression

1 bottle zinc supplements, also helpful for those with anxiety like I have

1 bottle multivitamins – I can’t help it, I love these gummies!

1 tube Neosporin for the accident prone like I am

1 pack mosquito repellent wipes – I always forget to bring the big bottles with me so I keep this in my bag

1 pack bandaids – because it’s better to have them on hand than to hobble bleeding to a pharmacy, not that I’ve done that….

 

Packing List for Europe: Random Things

1 sleep mask – this is the best one I’ve ever tried!

1 pack earplugs – these are the best of their kind, and trust me, you want the best when you’re in a 12-person dorm

1 set mini padlocks for locking up valuables in hostels or your daypack when traveling on public transit, etc.

1 of your favorite journals and your favorite pens for writing down memories – I love Moleskins and Pilot pens but you may be less particular than I am

1 Steripen – most places in Europe have sterile drinking water but this is great for places where the water isn’t the best or if you’re doing lots of hiking

1 foldable, reusable water bottle – save tons of plastic and cash when the tap water is drinkable!

 

1 or more reusable shopping bags – useful for separating dirty clothes, things that won’t fit in your backpack in a hasty morning pack, etc.

1 headlamp for hostel spelunking, power outages, hikes to good sunset viewpoints, and general badassery. Surprisingly useful!

1 microfiber travel towel – it’s worth it to get the slightly bigger size, as you can cover your entire body with it and it doesn’t take up much more space

 

Packing List for Europe: Electronics & Camera Equipment

1 Kindle Paperlight as English-language bookstores are few and far between (and often quite expensive)

1 universal adaptor – the only one you’ll ever need!

1 Anker portable charger – this one holds enough juice to power up an iPhone twice. Great when you’re not near a power point in a hostel

2 pairs headphones – always searching for one pair sucks, trust me. Luckily these are half the price of Apple’s ones and work just as well!

1 lightweight laptop – I love the Macbook Air but your needs may vary if you’re not as internet-dependent as I am

1 unlocked smartphone for easy SIM card purchases – if you have an unlocked iPhone, even better, but if you don’t feel like shelling out, this will do the trick for one tenth of the price

 

1 mini surge protector with USB connectors – charge all your devices and also other people’s phones!

1 one-TB external hard drive for storing all your photos and downloaded movies

1 tripod – I love this Joby Gorillapod for travel selfies!

As for a camera…. I use and love my Sony A6000 – this link includes the kit lens. I actually recommending buying the body separately and buying lenses specific to your needs – the kit lens will work, but it’s not ideal for professionals. For more in-depth camera recommendations, be sure to sign up for my travel photography eBook, which has a list of recommended gear on the last page — at 2,000+ words, this post is long enough!!

 


Disclaimer: No items were sent to me for review; all are products I’ve purchased independently or something as close to it as possible as I could find. This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you purchase something using one of these links, I will receive a small commission at no added cost to you. No BS – I only recommend accommodations, services, and products I truly believe in.


Further reading: 

  • Want more ideas on what essentials to bring on your trip to Europe? Check out this guide to travel gear and resources from Europe Up CloseI backpacked through Europe for six months, summer through winter, with only a carry-on size backpack! Here are the essential things to bring.

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Danni Lawson
    July 18, 2016 at 3:17 am

    Absolutely stunning packing list! My fave idea is the lush solid shampoo, what a winner! I’ll tweet this out to help others too 🙂

    • Reply
      Allison Green
      July 18, 2016 at 6:06 pm

      Thank you so much Danni!! God, do I love Lush! I have ridiculously flat hair that needs lots of volume, and I love the Seanik shampoo. It’s amazing. The Jason & the Argan Oil is supposed to be great for dry hair. They also have solid conditioners which I’ve yet to try.

  • Reply
    Shelia
    January 27, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    Wow. This is great information. Note: on the GoToobs.. My hubs once filled his with Scotch (you know, priorities) and it dissolved the tube. So, I always put the tubs in a zip-lock bag just to be sure. Luckily his was in a bag when it happened or he would have smelled like a bar the entire trip!

    Thanks for this info and linking everything. Awesome job!

    • Reply
      Allison Green
      January 27, 2017 at 4:17 pm

      Glad you found it useful 🙂 And wow, I had no idea!!! Luckily I’ve always been more concerned about transporting my face wash and moisturizer and haven’t had that happen. But your husband is kind of my hero. Travel hacking 101… if you can get an alcohol proof tube ;D

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