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!
My theory for packing is mix and match the best you can. I shoot to have about 85% of my clothes all coordinating with everything. Think of having to pull out a top and bottom from your suitcase in the dark and the likelihood of them matching should be greater than them not matching. I lay everything out and how many items coordinate with each other. I like to stick with neutral colors, but always add a pop of color or a small print in a shirt here and there. Jewelry and scarves can help with this too.
As you all know quite well by now, I love Merino wool. Banana Republic has had some great options for machine washable Merino wool. Merino wool doesn’t stink and keeps you warm in cooler weather and cool in warmer weather. It’s a no-brainer. I usually do all cardigans or all cardigans and one crew or v-neck. Cardigans give more versatility for easily taking it off if it gets warmer during the day. I can layer a tank top under a tee with the sweater on top for a little extra warmth as well.
As for bottoms, one of my pairs will be a stylish legging for travel days or lounging in at night. (Speaking of lounging, the long sleeve tee, yes, mine is Merino wool as well, is for casual travel days or lounging at night or putting on top of my pajama top on a lazy morning.) Back to bottoms, the rest of the pants are jeans, but a darker denim wash and a black wash for a dressier look and then I usually do a gray or army green pant. I would throw in a cropped pant for spring/summer as an addition or in place of one of the jeans. In the fall, I do a sweater dress. It’s a little bit dressier, but also really warm. In the spring/summer, I do a nice knit dress that can look a bit dressy with some jewelry. I do count the dresses as one bottom and one top!
I wash underwear in the sink to save on space, same for socks. And same for everything else for that matter if I don’t actually have laundry facilities, but with Merino wool, you don’t need to wash much!
I like the Yosi Samra foldable flats. They are great for warmer days in the fall and for spring/summer. They dress up your outfit and are good for a few miles for sure. I’ve been doing sporty New Balance sneakers and am now trying the Allbirds Merino wool sneakers as, once again, they are breathable. Thanks to the sneaker revolution in Europe they are acceptable anywhere and you don’t feel underdressed. All the Europeans wear them. Mind you, I’m not talking about your chunky athletic shoes. If you don’t want to look like a tourist, stick with something sleek or simple. Converse are always popular and the Stan Smith Adidas are on everyone’s feet. I bring tall boots in the fall to keep me warmer, but also as a dressier option than sneakers. And it’s often just nice to change your shoes out as you are usually on your feet a lot!
As for running gear, I try to get a couple wears out of each piece to limit my obligation to have to wash them when I could be doing something better like enjoying a glass of wine.
For jewelry, I use a large pill container for the days of the week and put everything in there. It’s small, keeps things separate so you can find them easily and they don’t get into a tangled mess (for the most part).
Finally, scarves…I bring two as it’s nice to have one that is warmer and one that is lighter. I often wear the scarf on the plane and the warmer one I can wrap around me for extra warmth because that airplane blanket just isn’t enough a lot of times. I like to have one that is solid and one that is a print. Again, this is to allow for mixing and matching as much as possible.
This sounds like a lot of things..but it really does all fit and you’ll be glad you packed light!