How to Pack for a Week in Europe

One of the most stressful things about traveling is packing. Even after dozens of trips, packing still stresses me out. What if I pack too much? Or too little? What if my bag goes over the weight limit? Or the size limit?!

Even though it can be stressful to pack, I like to look at packing as a challenge. It was always my goal to take as small as bag as possible when I would go to summer camp. And to never pay for a bag when flying. Never.

To help minimize my stress and minimize my likelihood of overpacking, I created a template packing list. I adapt the list depending on my specific destination and length of time, but I’ve used the same basic list for a snowboarding trip to Austria, 3 weeks to Thailand and Greece in the summer, and just about every weekend trip in between.

Before getting to the actual list, here are some basic packing tips to keep in mind:

  • Pack versatile clothing. Make sure each item can be worn with at least two other items.
  • Stick to a simple color palette. Don’t bring that one bright, polka dotted shirt that you can only wear with that certain skirt. I usually stick with gray and one (maybe two) accent color.
  • Bring layers. It gives you more outfit options and helps you adjust for unforeseen weather changes.
  • Weigh your bag ahead of time. Many airlines are moving to a weight limit in addition to a size limit. You don’t want to get stuck repacking at the airport!

So here is my template! I adapted it for a week long trip, but feel free to use it as a starting point. Depending on where you are going and what time of year you are going, that’s going to change your list as well. And just remember, unless you are going to the jungle in east Asia or exploring the deserts of Africa, you can almost always buy something there if you forget it. Plus, if it’s a piece of clothing, it can double as a souvenir!

Clothes

  • Tops (3-4)
  • Bottoms (2-3: jeans, black leggings + a colored pair of pants / shorts are my go-to)
  • Socks (5-7)
  • Underwear (5-7)
  • Bra / sports bra (1-2)*
  • PJ’s / sweatpants
  • Cardigan / sweater
  • Jacket (waterproof ideally)
  • Scarf (or tie)
  • Basic jewelry*
  • Sneakers / boots (good walking shoes)
  • Sandals / nice flats

Optionals based on trip:

  • Bathing suit
  • Going out clothes
  • Hiking clothes

Hygiene

  • Toothbrush + paste
  • Floss
  • Hair brush
  • Contact solution + case
  • Contacts (extra)
  • Glasses
  • Bobby pins + hair ties
  • Advil / any necessary meds
  • Q-tips
  • Shampoo + conditioner
  • Razor
  • Deodorant
  • Pads / tampon*
  • Microfiber towel + washcloth
  • Hand lotion
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Tissues
  • Sunscreen
  • Chapstick
  • Makeup*

Electronics

  • Phone + charger
  • Portable charger
  • Camera + charger (if you don’t use your phone)
  • Headphones
  • Kindle
  • Adapter / converter
  • Selfie stick

Basics

  • Reusable water bottle
  • Snacks
  • Gum
  • Purse +/ day bag
  • Notepad + pen
  • Dirty clothes bag
  • Journal
  • Ziplock bag
  • Extra plastic bag
  • Sunglasses
  • Book (if you aren’t bringing a kindle)
  • Guidebook
  • Deck of cards

Documents

  • Passport
  • Boarding passes
  • Driver’s license
  • Student ID
  • Credit cards / debit card
  • Copies of credit cards + important documents
  • Flight + hotel info printouts
  • Health insurance info
  • Emergency cash

Hostel Essentials 

  • Flip-flops (for the showers)
  • Eye mask + ear plugs
  • Lock
  • Pillow case + sheet

*for female travelers

If you want to print out the list, use this image below. Feel free to add any other specific items in the blank corner.

Europe Packing List

What else is on your packing list? Share in the comments below.

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