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What to Pack for a 10-Day Trip to Europe

Updated on January 27, 2011

Americans, when travelling, are known for over-packing. I am not downplaying the usefulness of that beautiful Samsonite luggage your parents bought you for Christmas, but bulky luggage means big baggage charges at the check-in counter. And with these increased baggage costs that airlines now charge in order to make up for cheaper fares, it is wise and makes good dollar sense to pack light. But at the same time, pack smart - nothing will ruin your European vacation quicker than finding out you forgot to pack one of the essentials. And while there is always the option of going shopping once you get there, with the different sizes in Europe, this may prove daunting. So take a few minutes beforehand - it will make your trip all the much more enjoyable.


First off, if you can avoid taking plug-in electrical appliances, I highly recommend you do so. Many think they can't live without a hairdryer, but trust me - you can. European electrical devices operate on 220 volts. American appliances operate on 110 volts. And the two are not compatible - ever! You can, however, purchase power converters that "step-down" European current to American levels. And they do work, but overall it's a hassle you can live without. Still, if you decide to bring a camcorder with you in order to document your once-in-a-lifetime-trip, then you will definitely need a converter. These are relatively inexpensive and are available at your local Radio Shack. On a side note: batteries for your digital camera or anything else that requires disposable batteries are universal - a AA battery in Europe is the same as a AA battery at home.


Ladies, please don't over-pack - you don't need as many shoes as you might think. Basically you will want a comfortable pair of walking shoes - not necessarily tennis or gym shoes, but a good, reliable pair of shoes is a must. You will also want to pack or rather wear a somewhat dressy pair of shoes in the event you go to a more upscale restaurant or get invited out for a night on the town. Regardless, two pairs of shoes should be sufficient. And remember, you will be wearing one pair so you only need to worry about packing the other.

Men, the same applies to you. One good pair of walking shoes and a pair of dress shoes should be more than sufficient.

Shoes take up a lot of room in a suitcase or a carry-on bag. Don't think of what all you could possibly wear, but rather think of what you will likely wear and you won't go wrong.


Ladies, you can probably get a long nicely with five or so blouses/tops. If you are careful, you can rotate your tops and will never need to worry about laundering them. Men, the same goes for you. Three of four dress shirts (button downs) and a couple of nice knit shirts should be sufficient. And again, if you are careful you can rotate them and not need to worry about laundry while you are on vacation. And don't forget to take a jacket with you. Europe can be quite chilly - even in the summer. Trust me, you will need it.


Ladies, two or three pairs of jeans, two pairs of dress slacks, and one nice skirt should be more than sufficient. And again, rotating them is the key - unless you are hiking in the mud or rain, your pants won't get that dirty. In other words, wear them more than once - mix it up a little. And men, I recommend three pairs of jeans, two pairs of nice khakis, and one pair of dress pants. Mix and match is the key, and as always, rotate your clothing.


Ladies, go easy on the make-up. European women, in general, wear very little make-up so if you go without your usual regimen, no one will notice or even care. But if you insist on taking it, bring basic foundation, lipstick, and mascara. There is no need to waste precious baggage room on make-up supplies you may never even use. And men, I recommend taking shaving cream in the tube in lieu of shaving cream in the more traditional can. Cans take up lots of room in your luggage or carry-on. Tubes, and admittedly they can be tricky to find, take up very little space and tend to go further than shaving cream in the can. And don't forget your deodorant. Despite what you may have heard, Europe has, for the most part, discovered deodorant so don't be caught without it. Deodorant in stick form is preferable to deodorant in the can. And again, this is all about space.


Ladies, pack as many undergarments as you can fit in your luggage. Nothing is more uncomfortable than walking around in "dirty" underwear. Realistically though, ten pairs of panties and two bras should be fine for a ten-day trip. Men, eight to ten pairs of underwear and a few undershirts, if so desired, should be more than enough for a ten-day trip. And don't forget your nightwear - it's easy to do.

In summary, European travel is an amazing experience. Don't weigh yourself down with extra luggage that you will probably never use.



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    • profile image

      js 3 years ago


      "And men, I recommend three pairs of jeans, two pairs of nice khakis, and one pair of dress pants." (And so on...)

      That is a lot!! This article must be some kind of sarcasm? Really!

      For ten days in central Europe a maximum of two pairs of trousers is enough. Usually only one pair of reasonably pocketed one is really needed. Summertime maybe one pair of shorts added. If you REALLY need a suit then the other pair is the trousers belonging to the suit.

      And so on with everything else. E.g. "...and a couple of nice knit shirts should be sufficient...". You never need more than one WOOLLEN one, never cotton. If cotton knit shirt is enough you do not really need it so why carry one or two?And having a woollen one you do not really need a heavy jacket, maybe just some light wind breaker. Well, in winter time you will need an overcoat but you will have that on you all the time when outside.

      I am not going to write this article again. Just use your brains and pack less.

      For the record; I am a male in my early 60s doing regularly 1 to 2 weeks trips in Europe.

    • stevenbcold profile image

      stevenbcold 6 years ago from Wyomissing

      So true. Americans do over pack. I try to pack very light so I can bring lots of things back with me. The only things I do pack in bulk are medications and health goods. This has come in handy for me. Many people consider me to be the "Go to guy" for all your health needs. I am like a traveling pharmacy. Luckily those things take up very little space.

    • DTR0005 profile image

      Doug Robinson 7 years ago from Midwest

      Well, it's just a suggestion. My daughter would pack her closet for a 3-day

    • QudsiaP1 profile image

      QudsiaP1 7 years ago

      Hahaha, I had no idea, I pack like an American.

      I am famously known for overpacking. Specially because I worry on the 'what if's'.

      I pack in such a manner that if I get lost or stranded, I will at least have enough clothes, shoes, utensils, make up and God knows what.

      I loved your tips, we should really try to travel as light as possible. On the recent trip we went for 10 days, I would usually pack 20 clothes and at least 5 different kind of shoes but this time I packed 10 clothes and 2 shoes, I am kind of proud of myself. :P

      P.S. My dad advertising, that the trunk of the car has loads of space, did not help matters, where I packed light, the rest of my family packed heavily. :P

    • DTR0005 profile image

      Doug Robinson 7 years ago from Midwest

      Thank you Stephanie - I appreciate your support.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 7 years ago from USA

      This is great info and very timely for people planning spring vacations. I'm sharing on Facebook!