I’ve been to a few dozen countries around the world with just a backpack on my back. Today I’m going to show you how to pack light for Europe.
I’ve had my fair share of overpacking and under packing for trips around the world through the years.
Overpacking is far worse. You really don’t need much for a 2-week trip!
Avoid my mistakes by following these tips on how to pack light for Europe.
5 Packing Light for Europe Tips
1. It can be found locally.
When something is missing from your gear, it’s almost always minor and almost always available locally.
During one trip to Europe, I managed to forget a power adapter and converter.
I wound up having a fun adventure hunting for a replacement in Sweden that is now permanently on my international packing list. It’s smaller and more adaptable than the one it replaced.
2. Don’t overpack.
It may seem obvious if you’re looking for packing light tips, but don’t overpack.
Overpacking means weight—physical and mental—every day of the trip.
While you may think an additional item may not weigh much physically, it has other forms of weight. It’s remembering what’s in which bag or zipper. It’s not forgetting that extra gadget by the bed. It’s not losing one more thing.
3. Roll your compressibles.
Clothes are especially compressible, so roll them up. They’ll take up less space.
I find that rolling clothes tend to reduce wrinkles since you’re not making harsh creases, so you’ll look better and spend less time ironing!
4. Bring universal items.
If you are thinking about packing a special blouse or pair of slacks just because you might go to that one thing that one night, don’t.
Aim for universal items that are cross-functional.
Shoot for color combinations and styles on individual articles that’ll work with each other so you can create combinations to make your wardrobe last.
5. If you need it, bring it.
Think if you really need it before you pack it, and if it’s worth those extra forms of weight – bring it!
Just make sure it doesn’t mean it’s checked bag time. Sometimes the best packing light tips enforce your need to bring it!
Packing List for 2 Weeks in Europe
I recently traveled with family from Germany to Italy for about 2 weeks in the summer weather.
I was packing light for Europe! I only brought 30 things.
Here’s my packing list for the trip:
- Day pack – Deuter Futura 28 AC: This bag has been with me since the Peace Corps in 2008 and has held up remarkably well. I love the compartments!
- Random black neoprene clothes bag
- Neoprene black bathroom gig bag: It carries all my toiletries which are the basics you’d expect.
- Small cables bag: earbuds, charger, sync cable
- Sunglasses and case
- Brown J-crew cotton shorts
- EMS blue convertible pants
- Cloudveil tan convertible pants
- EMS hiking pants
- Columbia long-sleeve Omni shirt: Have to love that sail color
- Green Icebreaker T: Gizmodo’s Greatest T-shirt in the world
- Orange Icebreaker T: Gizmodo’s Greatest T-shirt in the world
- REI short-sleeve hiking synthetic shirt
- Mountain Hardwear grey long-sleeve synthetic hiking shirt
- Charles Tyrwhitt slim-fit long-sleeve casual button-down
- Icebreaker Tech Polo in black
- ExOfficio Boxer Briefs: 4-count anti-microbial synthetic
- ExOfficio Briefs: 2-count anti-microbial synthetic
- Cotton boxer – 1 pair for a breezier day
- UnderArmor white socks
- SmartWool PHD short socks
- SmartWool hiking socks
- SmartWool crew socks
- B&N Nook Simple Touch
- Sketchers brown leather casual shoes
- Salomon Trail Running gore-tex shoes
- Vibram FiveFinger Classics
- Columbia leather sandals
- iPhone (not pictured)
I hope these packing light tips for Europe and travel in general help you on your next trip. Remember, consider the real weight of everything you bring before you pack it!