What to Wear in Europe this Summer
A His and Hers Packing List of What to Wear in Europe this Summer
I want to start by dispelling one travel myth when it comes to packing for Europe. You do not need to fit two weeks of travel into carry-on luggage.
Backpackers are gasping! “But how will you ever lug your baggage from city-to-city or up flights of stairs when there’s no elevator?”
We traveled to Italy before I jumped back on the fitness train (15 pounds ago I’d like to add…). I was overweight and out of shape, but had no issue wheeling a suitcase over uneven sidewalks or carrying it up a flight of stairs or two. Neither did Mrs. G.
“But you’ll stick out like a sore thumb! You have to blend in!”
Wrong! I looked around on the trains and saw plenty of people with full sized suitcases. Most of them were Europeans. The majority of the backpackers were Americans and Australians. If you really want to blend in, you’ll use your full-size suitcase.
Below is a list of what the two of us packed, what worked, and what didn’t work.
- Two Hard Shell ,Full-size Suitcases – I like a hard shell suitcase because they seem to last longer.
- Pacsafe Slingbag or Camera Bag– Depending on whether or not I’m bringing my DSLR camera, I bring either my Pacsafe VentureSafe 300 GII Travel Bag day bag or my Pacsafe Camsafe Venture V16 Camera Slingpack. I like both of these bags because they are compact. Many churches or museums may require you to check a full-size backpack or large camera bag. Never once have I been asked to check either of these bags. Plus, Pacsafe bags are designed to keep your stuff safe on the road with safety features such as locking zippers, slash proof mesh, steel wires in the straps, and RFID protection for my passport
- TravelOn Purse – Ladies, leave the Coach purse at home unless you never want to see it again. Mrs. G. wore a fashionable secure purse by TravelOn Luggage Anti-Theft Cross-Body Bag. It held the essentials and comes with all of the safety features mentioned above for Pacsafe.
- Compression Bags – Another essential. You are going to buy souvenirs and add them to that already filled suitcase. Make room with compression bags.
- Travel Scale – This is essential! Don’t second guess the weight of your suitcases. It will only cost you time redistributing items at the airport or money to pay the fees for overweight luggage. (You may even miss a flight like Mrs. G. did on the way home from Lithuania.)
- Kindle – I recommend splurging for the Kindle Voyager as it’s designed to read more difficult books to navigate like travel books.
- Cell Phone – We only bring one cell phone as they are expensive to replace if stolen. It was turned on for international roaming before we left and was to be used for emergency purposes only. As we are T-mobile subscribers, we do get from data in most countries which does come in handy.
- Camera – Unless you are a professional photograph or enthusiast, I don’t recommend a DLSR camera. True compact (and light) alternatives are the Sony NEX for a mirrorless system and the Canon S120 for a point-and-shoot.
When packing clothes I bring a few items that are still wearable but on the way to Goodwill to leave behind and make room for souvenirs.
- 5 Plain Colored T-shirts – I’m American, and I like my t-shirts. However, printed t-shirts stand out in Europe. Plain colored t-shirts blend in fine. I prefer black as they can also be worn out to dinner at night.
- Newsboy Hat
- Baseball Cap
- 5 Polo Shirts – Three regular fashion polos. Two were breathable Champion polos – great for hot days!
- 2 Long Sleeve Dress Shirts
- 2 Short Sleeve Button Down Shirts
- 2 Pullovers – If you go in the heat of the summer and are visiting mostly Southern Europe, you may not need these. (Hint, one of these should be a leave behind as sweaters are bulky.)
- 2 Pairs of Shorts – One dress and one cargo. You may bring more depending on when and where you are going. Please don’t bring jorts. Those aren’t even acceptable back home.
- 3 Pairs of Jeans – Again, adjust your shorts / pants mix depending on when and where you are going. We went in May so temperatures weren’t quite as hot yet.
- Breathable Khakis – Some churches require long pants. Thus, I pack a pair of breathable golf pants like this pair by Izod.
- Birkenstock Sandals – Trust me that these are worth the money. I prefer them to my sneakers when sightseeing.
- Bowling Style Shoes – Notice I didn’t say sneakers. You will leave those behind unless you are a workout freak (Who works out on vacation anyway?). I suggest shopping for more comfort friendly bowling style shoes like Sketchers.
- Dress shoes – If you don’t plan to eat at five star restaurants or attend the theatre, then leave these behind.
- One Belt – Coordinate the color of your shoes to the belt.
- Packable Raincoat – Find something that compacts into a pouch for stuffing into your sling bag. Columbia makes a few options. This will be the ONLY jacket that you need.
Please welcome to the blog as a writer for the first time ever Mrs. G.!
- Sunglasses – If you’re anything like me, make them cheap sunglasses. You won’t be nearly as upset when you lose them!
- 9 Short Sleeve/Sleeveless Shirts – I packed a mixture of causal to semi dressy, light weight to heavy shirts. Your mix depend on the climate and time of year you plan to go. The lighter weight shirts were easier to wash and dry in the hotel room (I’m not as opposed to laundry as Mr. G.), so I suggest bringing less of those.
- Light Weight Short Sleeve Cardigan – This is a must. Most churches require women to cover-up exposed shoulders. A simple cardigan does the trick! It’s also great for cooler nights.
- 3 Mid-Calf Length Skirts – I know, your husband will be disappointed, but most churches will not let you in unless the bottom of the skirt reaches your knees
- 2 Casual Dresses
- Capris –One black and one kaki.
- Fashion Scarf – Nothing says Europe like a scarf… Added fun, buy the scarf there!
- 2 Light Sweatshirts / Sweaters
- 2 Pairs of Jeans – Alter your blend of jeans to capris / skirts depending on when and where you are going.
- Birkenstock Sandals – When Mr. G. first suggested I buy a pair, I scoffed at the price. I could buy at least 4 pairs of shoes off a sale rack for the cost of a pair of Birks. He insisted, and I was thankful. You can truly walk all day long in a pair of Birks! I do suggest wearing them around the house a few days before heading out for an all-day adventure as they can be stiff at first. I know what you’re thinking ladies, “Birks are ugly!” Check out their Papillio line. A little splash of color goes a long way to make Birks prettier.
- Bowling Style Shoes – I bought a pair of Dr. Scholls before leaving. They were somewhat trendy and very comfortable.
- Comfy Flats – As you can tell, I like my shoes. For flats, I pack a neutral color that will go with almost anything like black or beige. I could walk around in these all day and my feet still felt great.
- Packable Raincoat – See Mr. G.’s note above for men. If it’s colder you can always layer with a warmer sweatshirt.
- Essential Toiletries – Things that you can find in most hotel rooms like soap and shampoo you don’t need to pack.
- Power Converters – Their plugs aren’t like ours. Buy a universal converter that can be used on future trips.
- Portable Charger / External Battery – Never be caught with a dead phone, table, or Kindle battery again! Amazon sells a variety of reasonably priced portable chargers. I use an Omaker Intelligent Portable Battery. It has enough juice to charge my cell phone several times.
I store all of the following in a Ziplock bag so they’re ready to pack in my carry-on.
- Inflatable Travel Pillow – Those rinky dink airplane pillows are a joke and filled with germs. However, travel pillows are bulky and a pain in the ass to carry. I have a Samsonite Inflatable Neck Pillow that is there when I need it and shoved to the bottom of my backpack when I don’t.
- Earplugs – Whether is for quiet on a plane, to keep out street noise in a big city hotel room, or to silence you’re snoring partner, earplugs will help you catch quality sleep so you awake energized for tomorrow’s adventure.
- Eye Mask – My eyes are sensitive to light so I always pack an eye mask for overnight flights.