What clothing to pack for travel to Europe

All it takes is a little planning for compact packing

All it takes is a little planning for compact packing

It goes without saying that when you travel ? to Europe or elsewhere ?clothing takes up the lion?s share of luggage space. To minimize the space you need, plan your wardrobe according to your itinerary, pack as little as possible and get the most use of what you bring. Choose fabrics that resist wrinkling or patterned garments that hide the wrinkles. Here are some ideas of clothing to pack when you travel to Europe. 

You?ll want clothing that washes easily by hand and will dry overnight. By doing some hand washing, you?ll be able to extend your wardrobe. Look for apparel that says ?moisture wicking? on the tags, which will help keep you cool. This kind of clothing is also helpful when layering for warmth. In Europe, layering is your best friend. The weather can change quickly and it?s best to be ready for anything.

If you plan on visiting churches in Italy or Hungary, be sure to have something along to cover bare shoulders. A pashmina, large scarf or light sweater will do the trick nicely. A note for men who plan on swimming in public pools in France ? swim trunks are not allowed; Speedo type suits are necessary. A sun hat, especially one that is crushable and perfectly packable is a great item to bring. These hats are lightweight and many block harmful UV rays.


Try to avoid denim, if you can. Jeans are heavy and can take forever to air-dry. Look for pants that convert to shorts, as they are often lightweight and come in a variety of neutral colors. Also, if you?re wearing them as shorts, the legs can easily be reattached if you need to cover up to visit churches or cathedrals. For women, skirts are ideal. You can pair a skirt with any number of tops, dress them up or down, all while being cool and comfortable. 

Lightweight, easy to wash and quick to dry applies to undergarments, as well. Look for items made of bamboo, microfiber or cotton/nylon blends. These dry quickly and stay soft after air drying. The same applies to socks. All-cotton or wool socks may not dry overnight and cotton tends to be scratchy after air drying. 

One area people often struggle with is what shoes to bring. You?ll definitely want a pair that is comfortable and has good traction as you walk around your destination. Athletic shoes or sneakers are fine for a very casual look. Many companies offer casual shoes that look dressy while having all the attributes of athletic shoes. Take a look for them the next time you go shopping. You?ll also want some kind of a sandal or flip-flop, especially in the summer. For the ladies, a sandal will dress up your skirt and blouse look for a nice evening out.

Comfortable loungewear can double as sleepwear, so there is no need to double up on this type of clothing. Loose t-shirts with yoga pants, leggings or other athletic gear is perfect for lounging in your hotel room before hitting the sack. It will also keep you decent if you need to run down the hall for ice or snacks.

When you pack toiletries, bring only what is truly essential. It?s a good idea to bring at least one set of travel-sized shampoo, conditioner and soap. While hotels often offer these items, not all do. Just like at home, larger sizes are available at shops. In regards to prescriptions, keep medications with you in your carry on and in the original pharmacy bottles, if possible. If medications are not in the original packaging, be sure to have the bottle labels with you to avoid confiscation or other potential trouble.

A few other accessories are worth considering for your European trip. In today?s tech age, the correct power adapter for the country you are visiting is essential. A USB universal adapter works in over a hundred countries, lets you use your plug-in devices and has a USB jack (or jacks) for charging electronic items. Another item that could come in handy is a lightweight water bottle. Most European cities and villages have public fountains for filling up on the go and most of the water can be drunk straight from the tap. 

The most important things to take with you on your trip to Europe are a sense of adventure and curiosity. This is a great opportunity to see living history. Be open to new experiences, use common sense and show good judgment as you travel. Bon voyage!