We have already posted about why we think everyone should travel to Europe with a carry-on. But, here’s a quick recap:
- Planes, trains & automobiles! When you are traveling around Europe, don’t make your transportation more difficult by bringing a huge suitcase.
- “Old-World” hotels. The rooms are smaller over in Europe, and sometimes there may not even be an elevator – so, make your life easier!
Just like the Women’s European Packing Tips, for us men, we focus on getting the maximum versatility and options. I choose nice quality t-shirts over a button-down or polo-style short-sleeved shirts. It is easy to use the t-shirt as an undershirt in cooler weather, but I’m still able to wear it separately in warmer weather. And, when touring a city there have been many instances where I am cool at the beginning and end of the day, so I wear a sweater or long-sleeved shirt, but in the middle of the I’m warm, so I remove the outer layer and just wear the t-shirt.
I swear by the Mizzen+Main long-sleeved, button-down shirts. The “tech” fabric is wrinkle-resistant and moisture-wicking, but it really looks nice — not like the “slouchy” tech shirts I usually see. I like the Spinnaker shirt for travel days because the 4-way stretch is unbelievably comfortable. The Leeward shirt is great for times when you want a slightly more “crisp” look, but still, retain the comfort of a casual, wrinkle-resistant shirt with a slight bit of stretch to it.
My other go-to item is a lightweight, merino wool sweater. The merino wool is soft and comfortable (not your grandmother’s itchy wool!). It wicks moisture away from your skin, keeping you cool in warm weather and warm in cool weather. Merino wool is naturally anti-microbial and that means no stink! (Even after multiple wearings!)
I also like a light zip sweater. On travel days, I may be standing on a cold train platform, or stuck in a hot airplane. So, it’s very important for me to be able to quickly add a layer or shed a layer. The light zip sweater does exactly that for me.
For all t-shirts, long-sleeved shirts, and sweaters, I strive to have everything match everything else. It’s not 100% possible, but I try to get as close as I can. Almost every t-shirt looks good under almost every long-sleeved shirt or sweater. It makes getting ready in the morning that much easier and quicker, and I should never have a day where the only clean clothes left in my bag don’t match.
The great features of Merino wool are why I also only bring Merino wool socks. They keep my feet cool and dry (or, warm and dry!) and, again, no stink! They also dry very quickly, so I can easily wash them in the hotel room sink, and they are ready to go the next morning.
Shoes take up a lot of space in carry-on sized luggage, so I try to find that balance of comfort and style to allow me to take only one pair of shoes (in addition to my running shoes, of course!) I am currently wearing Cole Haan. It has just enough support for long days of walking around Europe, but it also looks nicer than an athletic shoe. (We always strive to look like a local, and not a tourist!) I am also very interested in trying Allbirds. Allbirds meet all the specifications of my current shoes, but they have the added benefit of being made of Merino Wool. (and, you know how I love Merino wool!)
For pants, I usually bring two pairs of jeans and one pair of khakis. I have a pair of jeans with a bit of lycra, and the slight stretch makes for a much more comfortable plane and train rides!
Don’t forget a scarf! When you are packing light, it’s a great way to add the warmth you need, but without a lot of bulk in your luggage. It’s amazing how a scarf can make the difference on what would normally be a bone-chilling day of touring. (Plus, you will look very “European!”)
Finally, get a “man bag” — ok, call it a purse if you like! 🙂 Everyone over here has one, and they are so functional. Keep your money, phone, passport, plane tickets, a small umbrella, a bottle of water, and snacks with you and easily accessible. Plus, I think it greatly reduces the chances of becoming a victim of a pickpocket! You can rest your hand on your bag in busy & crowded spots, and there is almost no chance of a pickpocket swiping your wallet. I think diligence is the best way to combat crime — if you look like you are paying attention to your surroundings and your “stuff,” the pickpocket is going to look for a more distracted victim.