What to Pack for a Trip to Europe

What to Pack for a Trip to Europe

Hi, hello! I’m home from Scotland and I have a terrible case of the post vacation blues. It was seriously the BEST trip I’ve ever taken; I don’t know if I’ve ever been so sad to leave a country before. It is always sad for vacation to end, yes, but Scotland itself truly stole my heart and I feel like I left a part of me behind. I would go back tomorrow if money and work didn’t hold me back. Work, save, travel, repeat….ya feel me?

I’m working on a Guide to Edinburgh blog post as well as a post about roadtripping around Scotland seeing castles, ruins, going on hikes, etc. Stay tuned! In the mean time, I wanted to share a quick recap of what I wore as well as tips on what to pack for a trip to Europe. I received a lot of questions over Instagram DMs about European approved hair tools, power converters, etc. and thought I’d share my tips. But first….an IG outfit roundup! 

We visited Scotland in early October and the weather definitely required a jacket! The temps were in the 50s (fahrenheit) so not crazy cold, but the wind and rain made it feel chilly. The wind in Scotland is seriously insane (it blew the curl right out of my hair) and though it rained almost every day we were there, it never poured for long periods of time. The sun and rain come and go very quickly so there are always rainbows…..but that means you almost always need an umbrella! For Scotland specifically, I’d recommend packing lots of layers, several jackets (I had a rain jacket, moto jacket, puffy jacket, jean jacket and a trench coat haha) and some waterproof boots & rain gear if you plan on hiking at all. 
Now, let’s talk what to pack for a trip to Europe! This was my third trip to Europe so I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on it by now.

Europe Packing List

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Power Adapters – the outlets in Europe are different so you won’t be able to plug in any of your American electronics. Different countries have differed outlets, so I’d recommend getting a universal adapter that supports all of Europe. That way, no matter where you’re traveling, you can plug in your own electronics. I suggest having a few (at least one per person, if not two) so that you can both utilize the outlets at the same time (like at night when charging electronics). 
USB Charging Port – I’ve noticed that there aren’t many outlets in European hotels or airbnbs in general. If you’re like me, you have a LOT of electronics to charge while traveling (phone, watch, camera, computer, tablet, portable chargers, headphones, etc). I have a USB charging port so that I only take up one outlet but can charge multiple things at once!
Dual Voltage Hair Dryer – I learned the hard way that the voltage in Europe is different than in the U.S. Even with a power adapter, a U.S. hair dryer will blow up if turned on in a European socket because it has too much power. Luckily, they make dual voltage hair tools that work in any country! I used THIS $15 hair dryer on our latest trip and had no issues – just make sure to change the voltage switch over before turning it on. 
Dual Voltage Curling Wand or Straightener – the T3 curler has automatic voltage so if you have one of those, you should be good! If not, I’d recommend ordering a cheap one off of Amazon that has dual voltage or the correct plug for the country you plan to visit. I actually purchased a British curling wand the first time I visited Europe…..after my hair dryer blew up on me, lol! I have always used that as I’m nervous to try my T3, but it doesn’t have much heat so my hair never holds a curl. Next time, I’m going to give my T3 a whirl and cross my fingers the voltage works as advertised. 
Travel Makeup Mirror – I NEVER travel anywhere without my little travel mirror! It makes it easy to get ready wherever I am, especially if someone else is needing the bathroom or if I don’t like the bathroom lighting. 
iPhone Tripod – I hate asking strangers to take pictures of me. This little tripod is easy to stand up anywhere or you can wrap it around a post, tree, etc. to get the right angle. Plus it is super cheap! 
Coin Purse – I’ve noticed that Europeans use coins (regardless of if it is Euros or Pounds) a lot more than we do in the states. They can get really heavy and bulky but using a designated coin purse really helps keep them more contained and organized. You will want to find a currency exchange booth at the airport and get some cash out before arriving to your destination as a lot of smaller stores or restaurants only accept cash. 
Credit Card – make sure your credit card doesn’t have foreign fees! Also, make sure to let your bank know you will be traveling so they don’t think European transaction are fraudulent. 
Crossbody Purse – in some parts of Europe, pick pocketing is an issue. I always carry a crossbody so my bag is attached to me at all times. Plus, I like having both hands free to take pictures or carry a coffee! 
iPhone Camera Card Reader – if you use a real camera while traveling (as opposed to an iPhone), this gadget lets you hook up your SD card directly to your phone so you can access photos while on the go….no computer required. 
Portable USB Charger – traveling means lots of phone usage! Between maps, cameras, etc., my battery always dies quicker than usual. A portable charger can really save the day! 
Water Bottle – I am a bit of a camel. I’ve noticed that European restaurants don’t always provide water unless you ask for it (and even then, they don’t give you much). I like to carry a large water bottle with me to help keep myself hydrated. I usually put it in my husband’s backpack…..:) PSA, be sure to ask for tap water at restaurants unless you want to pay for it! 
Sleep Medicine – Jetlag is no joke and it can make sleeping difficult your first few nights. Trying to fall asleep in Europe at 10 pm when it is 4 o’clock at home is tough! I’d recommend talking to your doctor and getting a sleeping pill prescription or purchasing a good over the counter sleep medicine like Unisom to help get your body on track as quickly as possible so you don’t miss out on any of the fun! 
Scarves & Hats & Hair Accessories – I like to pack simple outfits with lots of accessories….that way, you can rewear things and mix and match without looking like an outfit repeater! Plus….I don’t want to wash my hair every night haha. Hats and hair accessories help hide the dirty hair. 
Several Paris of Shoes – I try to not wear the same pair of shoes on back to back days and instead rotate between several pairs. It helps with blister prevention and overall foot comfort! I always pack a cute pair of casual sneakers, flats, and either a cute sandal or boot depending on the time of year. Whatever you pack, make sure they are comfortable and easy to walk in (especially over cobblestone streets). 
Several Jackets – I usually travel in spring or fall so layering is KEY! I almost always travel with a moto jacket and a jean jacket and depending on the weather, I might throw a good packable puffy jacket or rain jacket in as well. For the UK, I had to wear a trench….it’s basically like a rule of British fashion! 
Travel Sized Umbrella – confession……I seriously have about five travel umbrellas because I rarely remember to pack one and end up buying one in the middle of a rain storm haha. Do what I say, not as I do! 
Hand Santizer – because germs are everywhere. Even in Europe. And if you’re riding in Ubers, taking a metro or opening doors before you sit down to eat lunch…….you’re gonna wanna clean those hands! No one has time to get sick on vacation.

Have you ever been to Europe? If so, I’d love to hear what items you pack to help you adjust to the European way of life. I’m hoping to head back across the pond this coming spring/summer so please share your thoughts and tips! If you’re interested, I talked about what to bring in your carryon and how to survive an overnight flight HERE, and shared outfit packing tips and outfit ideas for Europe in the spring HERE
Be sure to check back later this week for a Guide to Edinburgh and next week for a post about road tripping through Scotland. Thanks so much for reading and have a great week, friends! 

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