Here is my packing list for Europe!
The time leading up to a trip is usually filled with excitement and wistful anticipation, but nothing brings you crashing back down to reality faster than the panic that comes with figuring out what to pack. It seems a universal hatred, so I’ll be sharing how and what I pack and then passing along what I ended up using, and what I didn’t.
I think it’s safe to say that I’ve over-packed on every trip I’ve been on, while simultaneously feeling like I had nothing to wear. I think most people feel this while traveling to some extent, but one thing that helped me recently is thinking about my actual daily activities and picking out what I would need for that specific day. Instead of a general “oh, I like this shirt”, I try to decide what I’ll wear on a walking tour of Lisbon on a hot day. Another great help has been finding the right size backpack, and sticking to it.
Europe can be especially difficult since I don’t want to look like a hobo wandering into cafés, but I don’t want to be hauling around a ton of things.
Another challenging aspect of this trip is that one of the cities I’ll be visiting is averaging 65°F with rain, and another has been around 104°F and sunny.
Around 10 days before my trip, I get out the things I think I’m going to want to take. There are some things that I definitely need for this trip, like a rain jacket. When I was in Ireland last year, I took a jacket which turned out to be water-resistant, not waterproof. I didn’t think it would make a big difference, but as I walked to the pub in what was essentially a water absorbing jacket of cold sadness, I knew I would never again travel to Ireland again without a proper waterproof jacket. For this trip I bought a Columbia Arcadia II rain jacket. It promises waterproof comfort and it’s lightweight enough that I can fold it up and fit it in my backpack.
Another larger item to pack which I’m bringing specifically for Ireland is boots. We’re planning a day hiking in the Wicklow mountains, and I’ll definitely need my boots for this, and any other rainy nights out.
- 2 ¾ sleeve dressier shirts
- 2 cotton shirts (1 to wear on the plane)
- 2 pair of day shorts
- 1 pair mesh shorts
- 2 tank Tops
- 8 lightweight summer shirts
- 1 pair of leggings
- 1 pair of jeans (to be worn on the plane)
- 1 cardigan (to be worn on the plane)
- 1 rain jacket
- 1 bathing suit
- 1 beach dress
- 2 pair of socks
8 summery tops does sound like a lot, but some of them are so lightweight that they could fold into a tiny ball taking up hardly any room.
- 1 pair – boots (to be worn on the plane)
- 1 pair – comfy sandals
- 1 pair – dressy sandals
I’m not a heel wearer in general, and found that most places I’ve taken them they’ve gone unworn. I’m definitely not going to be wearing them on this trip, and didn’t even try to convince myself I would. When you want packing with heels, Laine will be the one to go to. (Note from Laine: Damn Right)
Inside my purse
note: I’m bringing this purse because it zippers, is worn across the body, is small – but large enough to fit a wristlet, passport, and the essentials. This is an ideal purse for Madrid markets and other places where pickpockets are a concern
- Credit Cards
Once I’ve decided what I’m going to take, I group similar items together and use gallon plastic bags to organize them. For me, putting like items together is easiest because if I’m looking for a tank top they’re in one place. It’s also important that the bags are clear so you can easily see inside without opening them. A lot of people use packing cubes, and I plan on getting some in the future, but for now this method works well for me.