travel, Uncategorized

Packing for Europe- 3 Weeks in a Carry-on

We’re going to Europe! We’ll be seeing the sights in France, Switzerland, Italy and Greece for 3 weeks, and we only have a handful of days left before our trip! We’ll be travelling carry-on only, so I’ll be packing very lightly. This will be a new experience for me; I’ve traveled carry-on only many times, but not for this long. So far, the average temperatures for where we’ll be visiting range from the low 70’s to mid 80’s, with varying chances for rain, so I’ll be packing lots of layers!

There’s tons of packing lists on the web about packing for carry-on-only travel, but they seem to be geared towards sans-makeup backpackers, parents travelling with children, or young kids staying in hostels. I like my makeup, hate backpacking, have no children, and am no longer a college student staying in dorm-style rooms. So I made my own list!

This is what I’m packing for my trip:

Measuring 22″ x 14″, this is the perfect size for a carry-on bag, and it meets international budget airline size restrictions. I’ve used this pack on several trips, and love it! It has two buckle straps across the top of the bag you can tighten to compress the bag and make it smaller, and it also helps deter would-be thieves from accessing the zippers on the bag. The shoulder and waist straps tuck away, perfect for when you need to check the bag for a flight. The bag opens up just like a suitcase, so you don’t need to worry about dumping your entire bag to access the items at the bottom as you do with traditional hiking bags. The straps are padded, and carry up to 20 lbs comfortably.

I love these packing cubes, they function like little organizers for your suitcase, and help everything stay in its place. I have the packing folder, full-size cube, half-cube, and quarter-cube, and all my clothes easily fit in the cube set.

  • Wall Adapters: All of our electronics and devices are dual-voltage (meaning they work both in the US and abroad without a converter) but they will need adapters to plug into the outlets in Europe. We picked some up at Target, and they are available in the Travel section of most travel or big box stores.
  • Money Belts: Some people love them, some people hate them. I don’t want to be stranded overseas without my passport or credit card, so I’m wearing it!
  • Laundry Sheets: We’ll be doing laundry several times. Washeze laundry sheets are laundry detergent and dryer sheets all in one.
  • Sink Stopper- For doing laundry in the sink!
  • Cell phone, iPod, headphones, chargers
  • Eye mask, travel pillow
  • Umbrella
  • Prescription Medication, Over-the counter meds (pain reliever, bandaids, tums, etc)
  • Important Documents: Passport, copies of passport, my travel binder with itinerary and reservation information, maps, etc.
  • Guidebooks & Phrasebooks: Rick Steves Europe Guidebooks, Phrasebooks, Maps

Rick Steves has some of the best guidebooks available for travelling in Europe, and they are updated annually for the most up-to-date information. Rick Steves also has a free app (Rick Steves Audio Europe) available for download on Apple or Android devices with walking tours, travel lectures, tips, and eBooks.

I love my Canon DSLR, and the Jo Totes Camera Bag is the perfect cross-body camera purse, with plenty of room for other items, and an extra lens! I plan to use it as my personal item on our trip.

  • Shoes: I’m packing 3 pairs of shoes, my black Nike Frees, Birkenstock Mayari sandals, and my foldable Ballerina Pink Tieks. I’m also packing a pair of flip-flops for the beach.
  • Jeans: I love my jeans, whether it’s 90 or -9 degrees, so it was a no-brainer for me to bring my favorites- my Silver Sam Boyfriend Jeans. I have 2 pairs, and am bringing both.
  • Shorts- 1 pair of BCG Black Shorts
  • Tops- I have ~6 shirts (mainly my favorite t-shirt in several colors) ~3 tank tops, and 4 camisoles
  • Cardigans:  4 cardigans- 1 tan, 1 white, 1 blue, 1 grey, 1 coral/purple
  • Dresses- 2 dresses- 1 navy & white, 1 black
  • Volley shorts- for my dresses because CHAFING! I spent the most miserable day of my life in Key West one year because I forgot these suckers- never again!
  • Swimsuit & Cover up (this one is similar)-also doubles as a shirt
  • Sleepwear
  • Socks & Underwear/Bras
  • Jewelry
  • Hat & Sunglasses
  • Makeup & Brushes
  • Makeup Remover Wipes
  • Clinique travel sized face wash/toner/moisturizer
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste/floss
  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Hairbrush
  • BabyBliss Mini Hair Straightener
  • Razor
  • Sunscreen
  • Deodorant
  • Deodorant Wipes
  • Nail polish
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Tissues
  • Wet-Ones

Anything I missed? I’ll update this post after our trip with anything I didn’t need or wish I’d brought! Here’s a few of the outfits I packed:

Photo Credit: Mr. S

Shop my packing list:

favorite t shirt
My Favorite T-Shirt
RayBan Wayfarer Sunglasses
panama hat
Panama Hat
Ballerina Pink Tieks
black dress
ASOS Black Ruffle Hem Dress
ombre cardigan
Pink Blush Boutique Ombre Cardigan
Silver Sam Boyfriend Jeans
Osprey Porter 46L Travel Backpack
Osprey Porter 46L Travel Bag
jo tote bag
Jo Totes Gracie Camera Purse
Birkenstock Mayari Sandals
eagle creek packing cube
Eagle Creek Packing Cube Set
**This is NOT an affiliated post, and I receive absolutely NO compensation whatsoever for any purchases made through the links above. However, if you are representing the companies in the links above, I will happily accept payment for promoting your products.**


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