You’re going abroad. Jump up and down. Let out a scream. Update your status. It’s ok–we get it. It’s truly a dream come true! You’re headed to a magical place overflowing with fascinating history, incredible architecture, and delicious food. Now onto the planning.
You were smart when you booked the trip, scheduling 7-14 days in at least two cities (probably countries) because it’s a long, expensive flight and who knows if and when you’ll make it back over the Big Blue. Take advantage of it! So the question begs: what do you pack? One suitcase only gets you so far and our advice is to leave room to spare–you will buy something over there even if it’s just a Big Ben keychain (guilty). The name of the game to smart packing for a week-long trip to Europe is Neutrals Neutrals Neutrals. Ground-breaking, right? Think white, black, denim, and every muted neutral color in between, and pack only that (we’ve established leopard counts). Eliminate the neon, the sparkles, the pastels, the wild and crazy patterns. Force yourself to. They only limit your mixing and matching abilities. Follow the neutral rule and your outfits will be seemingly unlimited. Yes. Jewelry too. Simple, understated jewelry is the way to go. At least that takes up less luggage space and weight!
Keep in mind our list will alter for those traveling in the summer; the cold-weather items like coats, sweaters, or rainboots are primarily for anyone traveling in the fall, winter, or spring, like we did. But the overall theme will remain the same. *Note: bring a scarf even in the summer. Shoulders must be covered to enter any church (which are abundant throughout Europe) so tanks and summer dresses won’t fly without one.
• 3-4 bottoms (include a skirt or dress for warmer seasons)
• 7-10 tops (varies depending on weight, bulk, and season)
• 1-2 sweaters (varies depending on weight, bulk, and season)
• 2 jackets/coats (add another top or two if you’re a summer traveler and only bringing one jacket)
• 2 bags (one large, one small clutch)
• 3 pairs of shoes (no heels necessary in our opinion!)
• and of course pack enough undies, bras, and socks
By switching up jackets and layering combinations with the tops, you can create what looks like many different outfits. And simply changing jewelry and your bag freshens your look from daytime to evening. As for jackets: keep in mind most photos you shoot will be outdoors, so if you’re traveling during cold or rainy weather, you will see this coat in 98% of the photos. It’s not the worst idea to bring two to mix up your look, otherwise you’ll be like Alaina who had on the same red raincoat in hundreds of photos from a very rainy two-week trip to China (space-saving tip: wear your bulkiest coat and boots on the flight to save luggage space!).
We starred the items we found ourselves wearing and using every single day without fail including the portable charger. Charge it up at night and take it out with you during the day. When your phone starts dying mid-afternoon from all the photos you’ve been taking, you can recharge on the go (and up to four times over before needing to charge it again)! Brilliant.
JACKETS & TOPS
BOTTOMS AND SHOES
FOOTWEAR // tip: No need to pack heels unless you know you have something special to wear them to. A nice pair of flats or boots should work in most occasions.
invest: Two Penny Blue $49
*portable charger: Travekpak $44
*2-4 voltage converters (depending on how many items you need to charge at night)
sound-blocking headphones: Urbanears $60
*sunglasses: Madewell $49.50
laptop (we recommend for photographers to upload and safely store photos)
*money – No need for bringing the proper currency–just make an ATM stop once you’re there. Have enough cash for cabs, transportation, tipping and any market shopping you’ll do. Otherwise most stores and restaurants accept debit and credit cards. Just be sure to let your bank know you’re traveling abroad so they don’t stop service midday when you’re trying to purchase something! That also happened to us…
What’s on your list of packing essentials?