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Summer in Europe is beautiful – it’s all about relaxing in biergartens, visiting castles, wandering in leafy green forests, and exploring half-timbered towns. Of course, the weather varies from one end of this large part of the world to the other. If you’re up north in Germany, you can expect temperatures around 17ºC-22ºC (63ºF-68ºF), but down south in Spain, it gets up to 35-32ºC (90ºF-104ºF). If you’re planning on visiting a few places in Europe, you will definitely need layers.
When we travel in Germany or head into France, Italy or Switzerland in the summer, I pack a capsule wardrobe of dresses, cardigans, leggings, sandals, and scarves, with a packable rain jacket for surprise showers. I am definitely a dress person, and I will let you into my secret for wearing dresses with no tights as a woman whose thighs touch (no matter what size I’ve been, they’ve always done that, just the way I’m built!). I admit I’m pretty minimal when it comes to my colour palette, so most of my clothes are black. This makes it easy to build a small capsule wardrobe though.
Our European travel tends towards historic sites, city visits, museums, markets, and easy forest walks. If you’re doing some hiking, your list will be a bit different!
One week Summer Europe packing list
- Three dresses
- One midi skirt – either plain or a bit flashy, ASOS is a great source for this length. I like midi skirts for travel as they give you more coverage in case you are visiting religious sites, or end up clambering into tour boats, or sitting on stone walls
- One pair of stretchy skinny jeans
- Two cardigans
- Two t-shirts and a sleeveless top (I like H&M for these basics)
- One pair of leggings
- Packable rain jacket
- Two scarves
- Two pairs of earrings
- Two necklaces
- Three pairs of slipshorts (these are my secret to wearing dresses with bare legs!)
- Cotton underwear
- Apple Watch
I bring two pairs of sandals if I’m traveling in the summer: one pair with a small wedge, and a very flat pair. Both of my sandals are very practical Birkenstocks, but they aren’t their standard styles. If you’re keen on having a closed toe trainer, I would suggest a stream-lined white or grey shoe that won’t look out of place with summer dresses. Personally I love Italian Supergras, I have a silver hightop pair I love.
I am very aware of my belongings, many years of living in a big city like London will do that to you, so I don’t carry money belts or special bags or anything like that. I used to bring too many bags, but I now realize that I will always have my camera bag with me so there’s no point bringing another purse because I won’t use it. This is why I invested in a camera bag that looks like a regular bag, not one of those hyper-technical things. I wrote a whole post when I was researching a stylish-looking camera bag! I do bring my small laptop backpack if I am bringing my computer, as it allows me to keep all the cables and bits with me. If I’m on train, I will stow my suitcase and then I have my laptop there ready to go. If you’re not bringing a camera bag, I suggest a medium-sized cross body bag so you’ve got your hands free. Though do wear it fashionably pulled forward in front to discourage pickpockets.
- Gatta camera bag or cross-body satchel, like my favourite Cambridge Satchel Company bags
- Felt backpack
Cosmetics and toiletries
I keep my cosmetics pretty streamlined in general, so when I travel there’s nothing really different than my usual routine. I do often opt for make-up remover wipes, and throw a bunch of cotton pads in a zip-top bag with my favourite exfoliator squirted all over them. But that’s it!
- Make up (foundation, concealer, mascara, eyeliner, brow pencil)
- Make-up remover wipes like these
- Ziptop bag with cotton pads soaked in Pixi Glow Tonic
This is our family name for all the cables, chargers, and whatnot required to keep everything plugged in and charged while we’re away. Mine is a bit different as I have to bring my CPAP machine with me (a device with a mask I need to wear when I sleep, it’s to deal with sleep apnea), so I bring a surge-protected power bar with built-in USB ports for plugging in my devices. But my husband brings just a plug-in USB charging block, that has the brightest light on it ever, so it functions as a nightlight as well. We’re also adding a couple of universal plug adapters to our infrastructure as well.
Did I miss any of your must-pack items?
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