Getting ready for my Europe trip last summer, one of the most common questions that friends and family asked was, “How do you pack for a trip like that?” Whether you’re traveling for ten days or three months, packing for an overseas trip isn’t easy – in the spring or summer, you want to be prepared for rain and shine, and still be able to feasibly carry your luggage through narrow cobblestone streets, up flights of stairs, and onto trains and ferries.
I’m a supporter of the capsule wardrobe, especially for travel. Aside from saving time, space, and money, packing a capsule wardrobe always helps me find new ways to wear the clothes I already own.
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First, take a look at what destinations and activities are planned for your trip, and the pieces in your closet that would work best – a few dresses, a favorite top, the most comfortable sandals. Lay everything out (or use this wardrobe app), and you’ll probably see things starting to come together – including a color palette that will help you mix-and-match. If you see some gaps (like a lack of summer skirts, or a need for new sandals), you’ll know exactly what to shop for.
For twelve weeks abroad, my suitcase looked something like this:
As you can see, there are about 20 different outfits in just a few packing cubes. Because we were moving from place to place about once a week, we needed to be able to fit things like shampoo, toothpaste, and sunscreen into our suitcases – which meant one checked bag and one carry-on each. But if you’re staying in one spot on your trip (or just spending a week or two), plan on buying your toiletries after you arrive – it will be so much easier to get around with less!
Tops: A mix of tops in a variety of lightweight fabrics means easy summer layering.
Bottoms: Skirts are my favorite, but shorts and jeans are great neutral pieces for easy traveling.
Dresses: I love summer dresses, and wore them for everything from road tripping to fancy dinners.
Jackets: Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean it’s always warm and sunny – bring an extra layer or two.
Shoes: You’ll probably be walking a lot on your Europe trip, so pack comfortable sandals, espadrilles, flats and sneakers. Add in something slightly less practical for when you want to feel fancier.
Accessories: For traveling, markets, and beaches, bring a tote bag. For everything else, carry a crossbody purse. Sunglasses are necessary of course, and a few pieces of jewelry go a long way for feeling put together.
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guide to packing light &
traveling in style