How To Pack For A European Vacation

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As the world has opened back up to travel, helping a handful or two of clients prepare and pack for European trips has been one of our greatest joys.  Because packing for a long trip overseas can be rather tricky….  And because we have some pretty extensive recent experience with it, we thought we would take some time to talk with you guys about a question we get asked A LOT – how to pack for a European vacation!


How To Pack For A European Vacation

Packing for a trip to Europe can be rather tricky indeed.  There are several reasons for this!

  • Though they certainly don’t HAVE to be, these trips tend to be rather long.
  • The weather can vary greatly from location to location, and from day to night.
  • Activities span a very wide range!  Trekking around a bustling city all day…  Lingering over a long and luxurious dinner…  Taking in gorgeous views on a mountainous hike…  Touring a winery and tasting the wonderful wines…  The types of clothes needed for this kind of vacation vary greatly!
  • Lastly, there is no real access to laundry unless you wash clothes in the sink and hang to dry OR pay an absolute fortune to have things laundered through your hotel.

So, needless to say, packing for a trip like this becomes an art form of sorts.  How to get all of the things you need into your suitcase?!?  And specifically in one that can be maneuvered on planes, trains, and automobiles?!?

This blog post is a little different because it is actually written by me and about me!  My family headed to Italy for two weeks to kick off the summer…  And I got the pleasure of working with Katie to plan out what was going to go in my suitcase.  So I can now speak personally to how valuable the Effortless Style team is when packing for a big trip like the one I just took!

To get the process started, I took a first pass at pulling pieces.  After that, Katie came in and worked her magic to help me widdle my compilation of pieces down…  Probably by about half or possibly even more! Let’s take a deeper look at how Katie and I got my suitcase ready for my big trip, shall we?!



Choose A Neutral Color To Build Your Wardrobe Around – And Stick To It

When thinking about how to pack for this European vacation…  I had a general idea of the basics I needed to pack – hiking clothes, a bathing suit and coverup, fashion sneakers for walking, a cardigan, etc…  But I also knew it would be important to pick a primary color to build my wardrobe around.

Choosing a primary color to build your travel wardrobe around is extremely useful because you can then easily mix and match your pieces across the board.  I chose black.  You could certainly also choose brown or navy!  All three of those neutrals pair with countless colors, and they hide stains really well!  And let’s be honest, when you need to pack 15 days worth of clothes into a suitcase that can be lifted onto trains, you are going to need to rewear things as much as possible!

Here are the black basics that Katie and I settled on:

  • Black Tops
    • Casual cotton tank
    • Flutter sleeve top
    • Elevated racerback tank
    • Elevated short sleeve top
  • Black Bottoms
    • Athletic shorts
    • Joggers
    • Shorts
    • Midi skirt
    • Straight leg ankle pants
    • Palazzo pants
  • Other Black Basics:
    • Swimsuits (2)
    • Shirtdress cover up
    • Casual tank and shorts matching set
    • Flutter sleeve dress
    • Midi dress
    • Jumpsuit

Flutter Sleeve Top & Shorts | Shirtdress Cover Up & Strapless Cutout Swimsuit | Jumpsuit

Casual Tank & Shorts Matching Set | Plunge One Piece Swimsuit | Flutter Sleeve Dress


Add In Some Color And Pattern

Personally, I knew that I didn’t want to just wear black for two weeks in Italy (not that there would be anything wrong with that my any means!)…  Therefore, Katie and I worked together to choose a few key pieces with which to add some color and pattern into my rotation.  Most of these pieces did pair nicely with the black, but they also paired with the additional neutral bottoms I chose to take (see section below).

  • Patterned athletic tank
  • Patterned long sleeve athletic shirt
  • Striped tee shirt
  • Bright pink racerback tank
  • Floral dressy tank blouse
  • Rose pink shorts
  • Printed short skirt

Racerback Tank & Palazzo Pants | Floral Tank Blouse & Wide Leg Pants | Elevated White Tank & Printed Short Skirt

 Floral Tank Blouse & Cargo Skirt | Long Sleeve Button-Up Shirt & Rose Pink Shorts | Patterned Athletic Shirt & Athletic Shorts

Striped Tee & Midi Skirt | Floral Tank Blouse & Shorts


Add In A Few More Neutral Pieces

To fill in the additional bottoms and dresses that I needed to get through two weeks of traveling, we chose a few more basic neutral pieces in white/ivory, brown, and olive that paired nicely with the tops we had already selected.  We also added a few tops in white and taupe.

  • Elevated white tank
  • White short sleeve button-up shirt
  • White long sleeve button-up shirt
  • Shimmery taupe tank
  • Olive cargo skirt
  • Ivory faux leather shorts
  • Ivory wrap midi dress
  • Brown wide leg pants

Short Sleeve Button-Up Shirt & Cargo Skirt | Elevated White Tank & Black Shorts | Elevated Black Top & Cargo Skirt

Ivory Wrap Midi Dress | Shimmery Taupe Tank & Wide Leg Pants


Layering Pieces

The mornings and evenings can still be relatively cool in the beginning of summer in Italy – though I will admit much less cool than I was expecting.  Still, it was nice to have a couple of layering options!

  • Casual grey pullover
  • Elevated ivory cardigan

Grey Pullover & Joggers | Elevated Cardigan & Midi Dress

Elevated Cardigan & Wrap Midi Dress | Elevated Cardigan & Elevated Racerback Tank & Ankle Pants


Footwear Is Key

Guys, the footwear you take on a trip like this has monumental impact on your experience!  A few notes to consider….

  • Don’t even bother with heels.  Not only are they not practical, but no one really wears them anyway!  You will not be underdressed, I promise.
  • Choose sandals that are good for walking at least a mile at the time.
  • Of course, pack your running or hiking shoes.  But also, take the time to find a cute pair of fashion sneakers that are comfortable for you.  We know quite a bit about cute sneakers at this point and would love to help you find the perfect brand for you!

Here are the shoes that fit the bill for me and made it into my suitcase…  And I wore every single pair umpteen times!  If you want to check out my exact shoes, they are linked in the images above!

  • Black sandals
  • Gold sandals
  • White sneakers
  • Fun sneakers
  • Birkenstocks (Arizona style)
  • Running or hiking shoes


Other Accessories To Pack For A European Vacation

There are a few key accessories that you need to make sure to pack as well.  You can shop these pieces in the links below the pictures in this blog post.  Here are the accessories I took:

  • Packable sun hat
  • Crossbody that is large enough to hold your necessary items, including your sunglasses, passports, and wallet…  All close to your body to avoid being pick pocketed
  • Good pair of sunglasses
  • Backpack


How To Think About The Jewelry You Take

Here are some things to think about when gathering your jewelry for a trip like this:

  • Keep it to a minimum.  Choose items you are excited to wear over and over with your looks.
  • Do not bring anything extremely special or expensive unless it isn’t leaving your body for the duration of the trip.  All of the rooms have safes, but it’s honestly just one more thing to think about when you are coming and going all hours of the day and night!

Below are the items that made it into my jewelry pouch…  Once again, you can view and shop the specifics in the links below all the pictures in this post.

  • Casual gold hoops
  • Elevated gold hoops
  • Statement earrings
  • All weather bangles
  • Bracelet stack

We hope this post is helpful to you if you have been wondering about how to pack for a European vacation…  And maybe you even have one of your own coming up soon!  Needless to say, we would LOVE to help you to cater to your specific style preferences and needs.  You can contact us here.  Bon voyage!


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