Your Wardrobe Packing Guide For Summer Travel In Europe

It’s the summertime and for the travel hungry, that often means a multi-country trip around Europe! Whoo! No matter how long you’re staying, though, you do not want to be that person lugging around a huge suitcase that’s over half your size around the continent (two words: cobblestone + hills).

Here’s my guide to keeping your summer travel wardrobe light, practical, and still have you looking good for the gram.

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Neutral + Pops of Colour

First, let’s talk colour palettes. I tend to stick mainly to neutrals paired with accent colours so that it’s easier to mix and match up new outfits to keep your look fresh. By limiting yourself to only certain colours, you end up minimizing your wardrobe to the essentials.

Here are colours I classify as neutrals:

  • Black, white, grey.
  • Earthy tones (ex: khaki, tan, olive, navy).
  • Denim (putting this under neutrals as it acts as a good base).

Now with these colours as your foundation, it’ll be easier to throw in a brighter shade here and there like yellow, red, etc. You can also opt to go minimalistic with neutrals-only outfits. You may be thinking that neutral is boring, but you’ll appreciate your quick-change abilities once on your trip and having to create something new with what you’ve could be a good creative challenge. With or without thinking, you’ll end up with something definitely wearable sticking to a palette.

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Shapes + Material

Europe in the summer tends to have a lot of hots days and cool nights. Choosing light fabrics with loose shapes can help keep you cool under the sweltering sun and covered up in case of a nightly breeze. Polyester tends to carry around a bad rap but there are a lot of polyester/poly-blend clothes out there today that are very light and wrinkle resistant, making it easy to roll them up into your carry-on. These lightweight materials are also quick-drying, which can be handy after a wash as you can wear your clothes again sooner.

Tops I like to go for:

  • Classic tees,
  • Tanks/camisoles/sleeveless,
  • Bardots, and
  • Oversized anything.

Bottoms I like to go for:

  • Jeans (shorts/skirts/pants),
  • Culottes,
  • Pleated chiffon, and
  • Jersey skirts/dresses.

Now, you don’t have to have one of each style. On a trip that lasts two weeks or more, I usually pick out four tops, three bottoms, and throw a lightweight dress into my carry-on. That leaves me with potentially 13 outfits!

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So, you have a cute outfit all set to go, but what about shoes? These guys can get clunky and awkward to pack so I’d say bring 3-4 pairs at the maximum. You want to make sure that the shoes you pack are shoes you will wear OFTEN, so make sure comfort is a priority. My rule of thumb is if I can’t last an entire day of walking in them, they’re not worth bringing.

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Again, packing shoes that are neutral colours is key way of making sure they’re easy to match up with the rest of your outfit. Here are my suggested shoes:

  • A trusty pair of runners. For intense travel days or if the weather isn’t great to protect your feet. (Thank goodness for the athleisure trend for letting me pair up my Nikes with a skirt!).
  • Tevas or birkenstocks. Cool, comfy and casual. What more could you want?
  • “Dressier” sandals or flats. Easily packable and good for those nights out.
  • Flip flops. For walking around hostels, showering areas, and the beach.

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Remember: luggage space is precious and you don’t want to waste it on an item you’ll only wear once. While you are on your trip, your focus should be on having the time of your life without having baggage weigh you down or having to stress about what to wear. Hopefully these tips will help you out. Now get going good looking!

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Margarita De Guzman

Margarita is a 21 year old English Literature and Creative Writing student at the University of British Columbia in beautiful Vancouver. She has just finished a semester abroad at the University of East Anglia and in the span of 5 months, has seen Her Majesty the Queen twice. Other than trotting around the globe she can be found singing (most likely with her a cappella group), playing on the uke and guitar, trying to up her photography game, or just relaxing with a good cuppa. Peep her adventures on instagram, @ritaroundtheworld.

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