Traveling to Europe this summer, but not sure what to take? Here are a few guidelines for what to pack that’s practical and Euro-chic.
1. Pack Neutral and Dark Shades
Just because it’s summer, don’t assume you should be packing bright-colored clothing and fun prints. What looks cute and sporty in North America can look loud and unsophisticated in Europe. In general, Europeans prefer few patterns and darker, more muted colors with splashes of color here and there instead of head to toe. European style has a more elegant, understated vibe.
2. Assemble a Classic Mix and Wardrobe Capsule
A travel wardrobe consisting of simple, classic pieces will always make you look chic. Instead of packing several completely separate outfits, choose pieces that you can coordinate with each other into multiple outfits. By mixing and matching, you can pack less.
Cropped pants, jeans, leggings, and sundresses are chicer than shorts. Stick to neutral colors and mix and match these pieces with more colorful accessories if you like.
For browsing an eclectic market, a print cotton sundress worn with metallic, flat sandals and big sunglasses looks cute. For an afternoon at a museum, black crop pants or capris can be worn with a cami, and a light cardigan rolled up at the sleeves.
A classic pair of dark wash jeans is a travel staple that can be dressed up or down. For a day trip, cuff your jeans up to the narrowest part of your calf to create a casual capris look. Wear a loose-fitting cotton camisole over your jeans and wrap a silk scarf loosely around your neck. Dress your jeans up for the evening by rolling them back down and pairing them with a silky blouse.
3. Think Layering
You never know what the weather is going to be like, so you need to pack smart. Layers are the way to do it. Think tanks, tees, cardigans, wraps, scarves, sweater coats, and light jackets. Make sure they are easy to roll up and throw into a handy tote. Stay away from fabrics that are heavy, stiff, or that crease easily. You want to be able to grab and go.
4. Choose Very Comfortable Footwear
It can be hard, but try to resist the temptation to pack every style of shoe in your closet. All you need are a couple of pairs of comfy shoes that you can wear to sightseeing and dining while you are on vacation. The top priority is a pair of good walking shoes for those long day trips when you want to keep moving and see everything you want to see.
Look stylish and feel comfy by packing a pair of flats or flat sandals that support the arch of your foot. A neutral color will work best with everything else you packed.
If you’re planning on a formal night out, you’ll also need a more elegant pair of shoes. Depending on where you are going, you might want to bring a pair of pumps or strappy sandals (not too high) with a wider heel. However, most travelers find that a low wedge sandal is most practical, comfy, and cute, especially when worn with a simple summer dress.
5. Be Smart about the Bag You Bring
When you’re traveling, you need a versatile bag that can carry tourist must-haves like guide books, sunscreen, and, of course, your camera. However, a large backpack will instantly peg you as a tourist. A messenger bag is a great way to achieve both style and roominess. Wear a bag with a cross-body strap so that you can be hands-free to browse through shops and take photos. It can also double as your carry-on bag to save luggage space. A large nylon tote is another option if you prefer something light. You may also want to pack a small evening clutch for a dressy night out.