Ten days in Europe is a dream getaway for many people. Many people daydream about roaming the beautiful cobblestone streets of Italy or picnicking in front of the Eiffel tower. But packing for a 10-day trip can often feel more like a nightmare. Although we travel to get away from it all, many of us feel that we have to take everything we own when we travel. Packing light might seem impossible for a trip like this, but lightening the load by packing smartly can ensure that everything needed can be brought without getting bogged down by the baggage.
This list will act as a guide to creating your packing list for your upcoming European vacation.
The first step to packing wisely for a trip of any length is to determine what will be done. Take an honest look at the itinerary and what you will need to be prepared.
- Will you be staying in one place or changing hotels frequently?
- Will you be spending the days in museums in Paris or football matches in Glasgow?
- Best intentions aside, are you really going to use the hotel gym every day, or can you save room and skip packing the gym clothes and sneakers?
Because a Europe trip offers such a wide variety of activities and sightseeing in the many different European countries, creating an itinerary of what you want to do when you visit your chosen destination(s) is crucial in deciding what you are going to pack (beyond the travel essentials like a toothbrush, water bottle and undergarments, of course).
Many hotels have irons and hair dryers, so skip packing those.
For electronics that are needed, like laptops, a camera, phone chargers and hair curlers or straighteners, make sure that they are dual voltage. If not, an electric converter is needed.
An adapter is needed because plugs in other countries have different pin configurations.
Additionally, plugs are different in mainland Europe versus Ireland and the United Kingdom, and Switzerland is slightly different from all.
So if the travels through Europe include stops in Reykjavik, London, Zurich and Milan, make sure to have converters that work in each place.
Also, think about extra batteries and data cards for digital cameras or film for a non-digital camera.
You may be able to purchase the converter you will need online through Amazon.
Local Dress and Weather
Research local dress conventions in the places that will be visited.
In Europe, people are less likely to wear shorts; and in some places such as churches and cathedrals, tourists are still expected to be modestly covered up.
Baseball caps and fanny packs will mark a tourist anywhere. Years ago, I wore a baseball cap to Ireland attending St. Patrick's Day and was an easy mark as a cheeky American. If you don't want to stand out (especially to pickpockets), do some homework.
Look into the current weather in order to pack the appropriate attire. Even if the weather is warm, pack a sweater, cardigan, long sleeve or wrap for cool evenings and airplane cabins.
Regardless of where you are going, keep in mind that weather cools down as the evening approaches — it’s wise to bring along a pair of pants to keep your legs warm when the sun goes down.
Leggings might also be a good idea, especially for the long flight there and back.
Choosing a color scheme for the entire trip allows one to do more with less. Every piece of clothing that is brought should mix and match with multiple other items. Think of it as Garanimals for grown-ups. A neutral base color scheme, like black, navy, brown or gray, is easy to build on, and darker colors are less likely to show wrinkles and general wear.
A general rule of thumb for deciding how much to pack for 10 days is: undergarments and socks for each day, no more than three pairs of shoes (including the ones worn onto the plane and sandals/flip-flops if you are traveling to a warmer country), one bottom for every two or three days of the trip, six tops (t-shirts, tank tops and/or long sleeves, depending on where you are going), one jacket or sweater, one dressy outfit, and then some well-chosen extras like accessories and a bathing suit.
Walking shoes are a must. Decide what your comfiest walking shoes are, and make sure you pack them as one of your three pairs. Going anywhere in Europe usually entails plenty of walking as you sightsee, especially if you are visiting a more historical location such as Rome, Italy.
Remember the 3-1-1 rule if looking to carry-on toiletries. All that is allowed by TSA is a single 1-qt., clear, re-sealable bag filled with 3-oz. bottles for each passenger.
If checking bags, it is possible to pack larger bottles and containers, but decide whether it is really needed for 10 days.
- Will there be shampoo and conditioner already in the hotel room or airbnb?
- Is a big tube of toothpaste really needed?
- Can dry items such as bar soap instead of shower gel be substituted?
- Is it possible to get by with less?
Make sure that only the items you absolutely need for the trip (i.e., toothbrush and deodorant) are placed into your toiletry bag. Worst case scenario, you can always purchase new toiletries, such as sunscreen, once you arrive, so don’t stress if you happen to forget something.
Once the items that are going to be taken are chosen, figuring out how to pack it should be easy. It's a matter of personal preference.
Rolling the clothes can save a remarkable amount of space in the suitcase, while simply layering the clothing can mean fewer wrinkles.
Don't forget to save room for souvenirs.
You may also choose to use packing cubes, which are extremely helpful in saving space and organizing your suitcase or travel backpack/carry-on luggage. Using these cubes, you can decide how you want to categorize and separate different articles of clothing.
For example, you might place dresses in one cube, pairs of jeans/pants in the next, shirts and blouses in another cube, swimsuits in another, and bras and other undergarments in the last cube.
For those who tend to overpack, you may actually get away with packing more than you need with these cubes, as you can roll your clothes into the cubes and compress them to fit a lot more than you otherwise would without them.
Amazon offers many different sets of packing cubes, and avid travelers might find that this is the perfect addition to their “travel must-haves” list.
Overall, a ten-day trip to Europe is an amazing opportunity to interact with other cultures and explore sights beyond the U.S.
Since this is a little bit longer than a standard week trip, it is useful to know how to pack efficiently, so as to not overwhelm yourself when the travel process begins.
The last travel tip we will leave you with is to protect your valuables like passports and credit cards during your vacation. Pickpockets are not uncommon in Europe, and it’s crucial to keep your most important items protected at all times. Ensure that you have a method to keep them safe while you enjoy the sights and activities that Europe has to offer.