Who hasn’t fallen prey of either totally over-packing and not wearing half of what they brought or, at the other end of the spectrum, feeling way too utilitarian and backpacker-ish for a fancy city break? I have definitely done both when preparing my packing list for Europe. But as a seasoned backpacker, I tend to fall in the latter category most of the time. That said, I do like to feel stylish when I’m city-hopping in trendy capitals. Do you think it’s possible to look sort of trendy-ish yet comfortable AND pack just in a carry-on luggage? I like to think so!
I’ve done a fair bit of city-hopping these past years, and today I’d like to present to you my tried-and-tested packing list for Europe. I’m a pretty neutral-shade type of gal, and in this specific case, it makes sense to pack that way, because everything will fit together. Hurray for keeping it simple! Here are my essential travel items. If you like, also check out my carry on essentials.
NB. All brands featured here are either fair trade, vegan, ethical or all of the above, because it’s important!
Packing list for Europe: my essential travel items
The Best Carry on Backpack
Top priority on your packing list for Europe, picking the best carry on backpack can be a daunting task if you don’t know where to start. The Wayks is a recycled backpack that is ethically made. Ideal for photographers, it’s a modular system where you can detach the camera bag from the rest of the backpack to carry either/or. It also has a yoga mat strap on the outside and looks fab.
TRIED AND TESTED FLAT SHOES
Best to stick to well-worn shoes you know will sustain you through long days of walking. My go-to of the moment are these black cap hi-top trainers by Ethletic, an ethical and vegan shoe brand I absolutely adore. Whatever you decide on, make sure they are well worn in and won’t cause blisters.
I’ve said this a few times, but I live half of my life in yoga clothes. When styled properly, I think they can be super stylish too! Not only that, they are lightweight and take no room in a suitcase and they dry very quickly. This Fall, I’ll be carrying this Yoiqi jumpsuit and these super soft jogger pants from Recolution.
STRETCHY SKINNY JEANS
I missed jeans when I was travelling through South East Asia for 2 years. Skinny jeans are my go-to and I always carry a pair or two of these with me. Whatever the jeans, there must be a ton of stretch! These are really just yoga pants in disguise!
Cozy cotton layers
I love soft cozy layers and this Recolution cardigan is the best! It’s soft and warm and cozy and perfect to wear both on the plane and out and about sightseeing. I also have this one from Plant Faced and I love it too. Very colourful! 😉
Neutral cotton tees
Next on my packing list for Europe are a few neutral-coloured cotton t-shirts and right now, I am loving everything that comes from Organic Basics. To jazz things up, I also carry this peplum tee from Recolution.
Quick drying underwear
I stopped wearing underwire bras long ago and ain’t going back. There are several sports bras that are still flattering, and I love everything that comes from Vyayama. For more ethical underwear, check out AIKYou & Erlich Textil, two other favourites of mine.
I always carry a couple of jewelry items with me and never feel plain! My industrial steel rings from Ashkal Jewelry and my mega-cool 100% vegan watch from Votch are really all I need to go from plain to stylish.
A lightweight compact jacket
Ah, the logistics of travelling with only a carry-on when you don’t know what the weather will be like. This all vegan puffer jacket by Finisterre solves any issue by converting into a travel pillow, turning it into a travel essential. Weighing in at only 400g, it is windproof, water-resistant and most importantly warm.
SUNNIES TO HIDE YOUR TIRED EYES
I know you’re not going to a beach holiday, but trust me when I say pack a pair of sunnies and thank me later when you look at your photos and are pretty grateful that you can’t see your tired eyes from last night’s cheap wine bender.
A TRAVEL YOGA MAT
Don’t let last night’s excess or the fact that you are outside of your usual routine take you away from your mat! I’m still searching for the perfect travel yoga mat, but currently, I travel with this Manduka travel mat and, despite the fact I can’t say I love it, it has the advantage of being really light!
AN OVERSIZED SCARF
Another essential travel item that will double up as a blanket in cold planes and will be your best friend when comes the time to get creative with your Insta-shots, an oversized scarf is also the perfect cozy accessory to jazz up any basics.
WHAT’S ON YOUR Packing list for Europe?
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