Heading to Europe this year but are lost on what to pack? Whether you plan to stroll the streets of Paris, hike in Norway, or relaxing on Croatian beaches, these basic items should be on your Europe packing list.
Each destination is unique and you should tailor your list according to the weather (add a few extra sweaters in the winter, maybe nix the cashmere shawl in the summer), but for the most part these are basic, versatile items that will serve you will for any European destination, any time of year.
Plus, there are some things that help with packing itself, like packing cubes or a hanging toiletry kit or a mini steamer that means you don’t have to worry about wrinkles. And don’t forget leak-free bottles for your travel liquids!
It’s all here, on the ultimate Europe packing list:
1. Packing Cubes
Packing cubes are essential when traveling abroad, especially if you’re going on a long trip. This five-piece set from TravelWise comes with one small, two medium, and two large packing cubes. The different sizes help streamline packing (small items go in the small bag, t-shirts and shorts in the medium, and collared shirts and dresses in the large, for example) and maximizes luggage space.
The lightweight, durable nylon is great for protecting your clothes, but doesn’t add weight or bulk to your bag. The bags have a mesh section which allows you to see what’s inside, and the dual zipper function makes it easy to open and take out clothes without messing up your organization.
The large packing cubes are 4 x 12 x 17 inches; the medium are 3 x 9 x 13 inches; and the small is 3 x 6.5 x 11 inches. They come in seven colors.
One user said the packing cubes will “change the way you travel,” and in general people were happy with the design and multiple sizes. However, these cubes do not compress, which was an issue for those who only bring a carry-on or travel with larger items, like outdoor gear.
2. Camry Luggage Scale
The Camry luggage scale should be on every Europe packing list. Never get caught with overweight luggage at check-in again after buying too many souvenirs. This scale has a capacity of 110 pounds and is accurate to within 0.1 pound. The screen has a clear, easy-to-read LCD face that also tells you the temperature both in Fahrenheit and Celsius. One unique feature is that it lets you start weighing your bag at zero, then add and weigh each item individually, so you know what’s taking up the most weight if you need to discard items.
The handle is designed to be ergonomic and easy to grip, but it does require lifting your luggage, which could be a challenge depending on how heavy your suitcase is. One reviewermentioned having to stand on a stool to lift her luggage.
According to Amazon reviews, the scale has proven to show the same number as airport scales. Plus, it comes with a strap that attaches to almost all suitcase handles, making easy to bring along in case you overload on souvenirs and need to weigh your luggage again before returning home.
3. Hanging Toiletry Bag
This hanging toiletry bag should be part of your Europe packing list because it makes getting ready abroad simple, and is great for traveling through multiple countries and staying organized. Unfold it to find four zippered, clear pockets that are spacious enough to store numerous toiletries and make it easy to see what’s inside.
The pockets fit travel sized shampoos, deodorant, lotions, face wipes, and more. Users said it also fits some full-size products, though if you want to fit it in a carry-on you’ll have to make sure your products are TSA compliant. You can separate items by cosmetics, shower supplies, etc., and the leak-free pockets mean you don’t have to worry about things seeping into other areas. Reviewers were impressed that the leak-proof claims actually held up. Use the hook to hang it from the back of any door and help display everything and give easy access.
At 34 x 11 inches the bag is spacious enough to pack everything you need for a long trip. The only downside is it will take up some space in your bag. However, the bottom pocket is detachable, which can help save space.
4. LiquiSnugs Travel Bottles
Unzipping your toiletry bag only to find your face wash or lotion has leaked all over your belongings is one of the most annoying things that can happen after a long day of travel. Luckily, these no leak bottles from LiquiSnug ensure that never happens again.
The BPA-free silicone bottles come in both two and three ounces, so you can mix and match to fit whichever products you use more or less of, while not having to worry about TSA. Most importantly though, they’re guaranteed leak proof. Fill these bottles with cleansers, gels, or lotions and try shaking them around. You’ll see that not even a drop leaks, and if it does the company guarantees a full refund.
Users love the bottles for travel and the gym, with the only complaint being that they can be difficult to clean. They also come with adjustable labels, so you can tell your products apart even if they’re all the same color. Use the included suction pads to stick them to the side of less than clean showers while traveling.
Price: $14.95 for a pack of three
5. Black Skinny Jeans
Black skinny jeans are a classic in Europe, and a versatile item to add to your Europe packing list. They can be worn with a t-shirt or sweater by day, and a silky blouse by night. They can be worn with flats or tennis shoes, or with boots or heels. Plus, black is slimming and helps you look instantly pulled together.
This pair from Mango is skinny fit and mid-rise, with a waxed look. The material is 76 percent viscose, 21 percent polyamide, and three percent elastane. They’re comfortable and stylish, and perfect to wear anywhere in Europe.
6. Trendy Sneakers
A trendy pair of sneakers in black and white or other neutrals goes with most outfits. More importantly, sneakers are comfortable when walking around city streets–especially those made of cobblestones (flats, sandals, or boots can get uncomfortable on these types of streets).
These from Steve Madden should be on your Europe packing list because they’re neutral, comfortable, and breathable. They have a thick synthetic sole and a leather exterior. They also come in a neutral suede.
7. Leather Boots
A cute, comfortable pair of leather boots takes you from day to night. They can be worn with leggings, with jeans, or with dresses. These from Rampage come in 11 colors, including black, brown, gray, and more.
They have a synthetic sole and a 1.25-inch heel. The upper section is made of vegan leather. Reviewers love them, and one said “they’re the most comfortable boots I own.” Another said they’re good for people with wide feet.
8. Classic Sweater
A classic sweater is a must on your Europe packing list, especially if you’re traveling in the fall or winter. This one is elegant, and comes in a variety of colors if you don’t like black.
The pull-on sweater is made of 70 percent viscose and 30 percent polyester. It has a V-neck style with ribbed trim. Users liked that it was soft and comfortable.
Reviewers also liked that it was true to fit, and one said it was comfortable and not tight, but still gave “a bit of shape.”
9. Casual Dress
Pack a casual dress that will take you from strolling museums to sipping wine in a piazza. Every Europe packing list should have a comfortable, casual dress that can be dressed up with jewelry or a change of shoes. Packing is all about bringing a few key items that are versatile enough to wear in different situations.
This one comes in 12 colors, and a few striped options as well. It’s made of 95 percent rayon and 5 percent spandex, so it’s comfortable and a bit stretchy. It’s a t-shirt dress, but the v-neck gives it more flair.
Reviewers liked how the dress fit and draped across their bodies–they said it was a sign of high-quality. They also liked that it’s machine washable.
10. Cocktail Dress
Just like every Europe packing list needs a casual dress, it needs something nicer, too. Pack a black cocktail dress for drinks, dinner, or any other nicer events that come up (you never know!).
This one is made of polyester and spandex and fits true to size. It also comes in blue and yellow, though those don’t have the same classic look. Users found it extremely comfortable, and thought even though it’s made for summer it could be worn in colder months with a cardigan.
Note that the dress should be hand washed.
11. Basic T-Shirts
Basic t-shirts might seem boring, but they’re actually essential for your Europe packing list. A soft t-shirt looks cute with jeans or a skirt, and can be worn with multiple outfits–just add different jewelry or a cardigan.
This two-pack from Amazon Basics is great because the t-shirts are soft and have a nice fit. They’re made of cotton, modal, and spandex. They also come in a wide range of colors, so you can pick the duo that goes best with the rest of your Europe wardrobe.
The t-shirts are crew neck, though Amazon makes a v-neck version, too. One user called them “pure perfection” and said they were great alone or under a sweater for extra warmth.
12. Cashmere Shawl
A nice travel shawl is one of the most versatile and useful travel items on any Europe packing list. Stay warm on chilly airplanes or trains, or use it to dress up a basic outfit. As one reviewer said, “I bought this as a wrap for a long-haul flight, but ended up wearing it all the time in France! It was so warm, yet not too bulky.”
This cashmere blend is extremely soft and warm, and is made to be breathable and prevent itchiness. That said, it’s probably a bit too warm to use in hot weather places.
It’s 76 x 27 inches, so you can wrap it around your shoulders, use it as a blanket, fold it into a scarf, or even fold it up into a pillow on long flights. Users like that it could be used so many different ways, and said the color held up through multiple washes. (Note that the white is actually more of a beige). It comes with a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee 30-day refund.
13. Light Jacket
No matter where you’re traveling, it’s always a good idea to pack a light jacket. Depending on the time of year, rain can be common in Europe and you’ll be happy to have this in your bag just in case. It’s light and small enough to not cause bulk, so add it to your packing list even if you think you don’t need it–you’ll be grateful if you do.
This one comes in five neutral colors and has a fitted look that’s suitable for everything from outdoor adventure to cosmopolitan cities. It’s also windproof and helps shield from the cold to a point. The hood is detachable.
Reviewers loved the style, but some warned it runs on the small side, so if you’re on the cusp you might want to go up a size. One user liked it so much she bought it in two colors.
Sure, you have information on your phone, but your data might not work abroad and your battery might not last a full day of exploring. Pack a guidebook for the countries you’re traveling too and you might be surprised how much you rely on the tips and maps.
For many countries you can find a guidebook specifically geared toward women, like this one for Rome. While it’s not necessary to buy a guidebook aimed at women, it could be helpful for things like safety tips, boutiques, and hostels or local hotels that have women-only areas.
Price: $0.00 on Kindle; $8.99 paperback
15. Portable Charger
This small black box is life changing for travelers to Europe, especially those who use their phone often for photos or work and find themselves recharging at the airport or in coffee shops. I didn’t realize this was a travel item I needed until my brother gave me one for Christmas, and now every time I use it (which is often) I’m thankful I don’t have to search around for open outlets.
Though it’s about the size of a deck of cards and weighs only 6.35 ounces, it can charge an iPhone three and a half times, and a Samsung Galaxy S8 two and a half times. For someone who drains their battery by using Google Maps and updating Instagram Stories constantly, like me, it’s a huge help. It also charges quickly, which is nice on the go.
The charger comes with a micro USB cable, a travel pouch, and an 18-month warranty. There’s a lightning cable option sold separately. Anker is known as one of the most reliable portable charging brands, topping lists from TechRadar, Digital Trends, and more.
16. Travel Camera
This is a high-end zoom camera in a compact body, giving you the best of botht worlds. The large 1.0-inch sensor provides high image quality, and the 15x zoom on a 24-360mm lens allows you to get a wide range of shots. It has a F3.3-6.4 aperture that allows for defocused backgrounds.
As one of the best compact cameras for travel out there, it also has 4K video recording and 4K photo mode so you can capture moments in motion. It also has a variety of scene and filter modes, which help you get creative with your travel shots.
The body has a three-inch touchscreen and an electronic viewfinder. The camera does a lot, but is easy to use, making it great for beginners to more intermediate users. Reviewers loved the camera for its size, zoom, and ease of use. It’s one of the best compact cameras for travel and a great all around option.
These headphones are a splurge, but they’ve been consistently rated among the best by CNET and other reputable publications. We think they should be on your Europe packing list because they help drown out noise in airports and on a flight, which means you’l be better rested on arrival and ready to enjoy your trip. They’re lightweight, adjustable, effectively cancel noise, and have a long battery life of 20 hours of play time.
Often headphones work well for listening to audio, but not for speaking on the phone. Bose says it’s solved this problem by using a noise-rejecting dual microphone that kicks in during phone calls, making them clearer.
The headphones also pair with NFC and Bluetooth so you can talk or listen from different devices without having to deal with a cord. Some users have had issues connecting devices, but they seem to be solved after a bit of trouble shooting, and Bose has reliable customer support.
One reviewer said the headphones are “incredibly lightweight and comfortable. Completely surrounds your ear instead of sitting on top of your ears.” Over the ear headphones could be a problem for people who like to lean on windows or use certain types of pillows during flights, and for those travelers Bose does offer an earbud option.
18. Epicka Travel Adapter
This multi-device universal travel adapter covers 150 countries, meaning you can take it almost anywhere, including Europe. In fact, it’s one of the most important items on your Europe packing list. It has US/EU/AU/UK plugs, as well as four USB ports and a USB Type C port.
You can charge six devices at one time with this universal plug adapter, so you’ll never have to wait for your phone to charge before you can charge your computer, or your hair straightener, or any other device.
The adapter is safety certified and the inside pocket is dust proof. It comes with a spare replacement fuse and surge protection. One thing to note is that it does not convert voltage, so you cannot use it with a hair dryer or other high voltage device. The input voltage is 100-250 VAC 50/60Hz and the USB output is 5.0Vdc, 3500mA Max.
The universal plug adapter comes with a 30-day money back guarantee and one year limited warranty. Users loved that they only needed one adapter for multiple countries across Europe, and could charge more than one device at a time.
19. Water Bottle
A nice reusable bottle saves both your wallet and the environment, which are both great reasons to add one to your Europe packing list. These Summit stainless steel water bottles are perfect for travel, as they come in six sizes–great for stashing in your purse or bringing on a more intense hiking trip.
The bottles are vacuum sealed and insulated with copper, so they keep beverages hot or cold for hours. One extremely impressed Amazon reviewer said ice lasted for 52 hours! The BPA-free material will never rust, and the outside is powder coated giving it a nicer feel while holding it. The lids either flip open, which makes drinking hot beverages easy, or can be unscrewed to take bigger sips of water. Multiple types of lids are available for each bottle, and every lid doubles as a handle. The three smaller sized bottles (10 oz, 14 oz, and 18 oz) fit easily in cupholders.
Ten percent of the profit from each bottle sale goes toward natural disaster causes. Users seem to love the bottles for their insulated heat/cold keeping abilities and variety of sizes. However, a few people reported leaks from the flip-top lids.
Price: $10-$35.99 depending on size
20. Repel Travel Umbrella
This travel umbrella is made of tough teflon fabric and has nine ribs, which help it defy wine (most umbrellas only have eight). The resin-reinforced fiberglass ribs flex to withstand wind gusts, while the teflon repels water.
An automatic open/close button makes getting out of a sudden downpour, or into buildings, a breeze. When closed the umbrella is 11.5 inches long and it weighs less than a pound, so it’s great for travel. It also has an ergonomic, slip-proof handle and a wrist strap for easy carrying.
Users testified that it could withstand strong winds, and they liked the color. Perhaps best of all, the travel umbrella comes with a lifetime replacement guarantee.
21. Passport Pouch
Every Europe packing list should include a passport wallet. This one is great for the traveler who carries more than just credit cards. It has a passport pocket, a boarding pass compartment, three credit card slots, one ID slot, a sim card pouch, a coupon or ticket slot, a 5.8 inch cellphone pouch, a zippered coin pocket, a key holder, a pen holder, and an extra pocket. Basically, it fits everything you need while traveling.
The wallet is made from eco-friendly PU leather, which has passed both European and California eco-friendly leather standards. It’s 7.5 x 5 x 1 inches and has a plush feel.Plus, it comes in 34 different colors. Zoppen offers a No Hassle Replacement or Refund if the product is defective on arrival.
Reviews of the wallet are overwhelmingly positive, though some did lament the fact that there’s no strap, so you’ll have to put the wallet in a purse or hold it like a clutch. Users also said even with an iPhone 6 inside, the wallet snapped shut. However, the coin pouch received criticism for being too flat and difficult to remove coins from.
22. Travel Backpack
This travel backpack is great for its versatility. It can go from outdoor adventure to strolling through cities, even to bars, and fits quite a bit while still looking slim. Plus, it comes in 40 attractive colors.
The style is classic, with modern touches like leather straps air mesh back padding, and contoured shoulder straps. Herschel is a well-known travel brand and provides a limited lifetime warranty.
Each backpack has a padded, fleece-lined 15-inch laptop sleeve; adjustable drawstring closure; adjustable strap closures; a front pocket with a hidden zipper; a key clip; and striped fabric liner.
These bags are beloved for their classic design that can fit numerous situations. Some users wished they had more interior pockets, or external water bottle pockets.
The stylish brushed look of this suitcase is the perfect place to store everything on your Europe packing list. It’s attractive brushed look makes it look more expensive than it is, and it’s built to last through long-haul flights. It’s made of polycarbonate and meant to absorb any shocks by flexing when impacted, then popping back into its original shape. It’s 21.5 x 13.5 x 9.64 inches and 6.7 pounds and has spinner wheels, which rotate 360 degrees. Inside, you’ll find an interior divider with two mesh pockets, plus cross straps to help pack in clothing.
It also comes with TSA locks mounted on the side, so you can rest assured no one can access your things. You can choose from eight colors, all with the brushed look. The bag has a 10-year limited warranty.
Reviewers commented on its light weight, easy to maneuver wheels, and spacious interior for the size. As one reviewer noted, the bag is not expandable. A few other reviewers said while overall they liked the bag, it did scratch easily.
24. Travel Pillow
Europe is far away, which is why you need a travel pillow on your Europe packing list. The Trtl pillow’s tagline is “Sleep when you travel, be awake when you arrive.” That’s a hefty promise, but one that they say is scientifically proven and has gained it thousands of four and five star reviews on Amazon. The pillow was tested by the Institute of Motion Analysis and Research at the University of Dundee, a process that involved simulated aircraft seating. During the trial, nine out of 10 participants chose the Trtl pillow over a memory foam pillow.
This pillow is great for those who sleep with their head to the side. It uses a ribbed support system covered in fleece and foam that rests on one shoulder. Then, it wraps around your neck like a scarf to hold it in place. The design is meant to fit any neck, jaw, and shoulder shape. An Amazon reviewer who had three neck surgeries said it was “the first travel pillow that helps.” Another called it one of the “great travel inventions of the 21st century.”
Aside from neck support, the pillow is extremely lightweight and folds up small, which is great for light packers. Some users noted that it’s not embarrassing to wear because it looks like a scarf and comes in muted colors. It’s also machine washable.
The pillow is best for those who sleep with their head to one side. If you prefer to sleep in another position, it won’t work for you. Some reviewers also complained that while the fleece material is great in cold weather destinations, in other places it is much too hot and uncomfortable to use. One complaint is that it folds up, but doesn’t lie flat, which could be an issue if you’re really tight for space. It can attach to the outside of your bag, though.
25. Travel Steamer
Travel steamers are one of the best travel accessories for women, as they’re easier to use and faster than irons and can make your dresses and shirts look freshly pressed in a matter of seconds.
This one is small, fitting in even small carry-ons without adding weight or bulk. It’s 8.5 x 6.1 x 3.9 inches and weighs a slight 1.69 pounds. It works from all angles without leaking and leaving water marks, so you can flip your hand upside down to reach wrinkled spots without worrying. It also filters tap water, which protects it from calcification but also protects your clothing.
The steamer heats up in about 25 seconds, but the handle is never too hot to hold. One user called it the “little engine that could.” This is one of the most useful travel accessories out there, especially those who find themselves packing work or formal clothes for most trips.
8. Voice Translator
The days of using hand motions to try and convey your words while traveling are gone, thanks to this voice translator with two-way translation that instantly recognizes what you say and translates and speaks out loud the translation in the native tongue of the country you’re visiting.
Connect the device to WiFi or a 4G Internet network (most SIM cards outside of the US are actually very cheap), set your translation languages, and get talking. It translates both ways, so you can actually have real conversations with people abroad, making your trip that much better and your interactions that much more meaningful.
It translates between the languages of 35 countries, meaning you’re covered in most of the world and especially in Europe. The battery has a life of 150 hours in standby mode and six hours working. It translates automatically and speaks the translation loudly and clearly, but also displays it in text, so you can read and ensure you’re hearing the right thing. This is also a great feature if you’re trying to learn the language and want to see spelling.
A language translation device like this one isn’t cheap, but it’s worth it if you travel often as it will make shopping, ordering food, and asking for directions much easier, and will probably enable better conversations about the place you’re visiting, and maybe even help you make new friends.