How to Pack & Prepare for 2 Weeks in Europe (in one suitcase)
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What should I pack for my trip to Europe?
Two weeks is a very common amount of time for a European vacation. The last time I visited Europe I went for two weeks and visited four countries. If your trip is a bit longer, even up to a month, you can use this same list and packing tips. In fact, you shouldn’t pack more than you would for one week even if you are traveling for two, three, four weeks or more.
Especially when you are traveling to different countries and cities, it is so much easier to wear outfits more than one time. This isn’t’ a cruise where you’ll be having dinner with the same people on a nightly basis. Besides your traveling partner (if you have one), most likely no one will see you when you re-wear an outfit.
Travel Fashion Girl offers some great travel fashion math; take 10 clothing pieces for your main wardrobe. 3 bottoms and 7 shirts. When you mix and match you come up with 21 different outfits!
Rick Steves suggests “before flying to Europe, give yourself a test. Pack everything completely and walk around your house or block with the suitcase. Or practice being a tourist in your hometown for an hour“. This is great advice because you’ll walk with your luggage more than you think you will. If you are traveling by train, some stations don’t have an elevator, meaning you’ll be carrying your luggage up and downstairs.
Rick and I part ways on the type of luggage. Rick swears by a 9″ × 21″ × 14” backpack for travel. I travel with a wheeled carry-on sized suitcase. The standard carry-on luggage size in the United States is 22” x 14” x 9” (which includes the handle and the wheels). Which is the best option for you?
How to Pack & Prepare for 2 Weeks in Europe (in one suitcase):
Prepare and Plan
Below are a few planning items you’ll want to make sure are in place sooner rather than later! This would be your pre-planning or the first step to organizing once you have planned your trip dates and found airfare.
The first thing you must to do is secure a passport (if you’ve never had one) or verify your passport is still valid. You absolutely don’t want to miss your trip because you don’t have a valid passport.
You also, need to know that a U.S. passport must be valid for at least 90 days beyond your intended date of departure.
Most foreign countries require a specific number of blank visa pages in a passport as an entry requirement. Some airlines will not allow you to board if this requirement is not met. So, double-check your current passport has the correct amount of blank pages!
Need a passport? Check out RushMyPassport.com ➜
It’s never enjoyable to think about things that could go wrong on a trip. Travel insurance can put your mind at ease and a good plan can ensure that emergencies that may come up – medical trouble, stolen items, damage to your belongings, etc. – are easier to handle, and at little to no extra expense to you. Plans aren’t very expensive – I highly recommend checking out World Nomads before you travel. World Nomads travel insurance has been designed by travelers for travelers, to cover your trip essentials.
I love my PRO Packing Cubes. I use them to organize outfits; one for tops and one for pants and skirts. I’ll use one for shoes, one for underwear, and one for toiletries. The cubes make it so easy to organize and find what I am looking for when I arrive. Once I arrive at my destination, I turn one cube into a dirty laundry bag.
Packing cubes are the perfect way to keep an organized suitcase. This brand offers many color options and has multiple sizes in the set.
Check out the Packing Cubes on Amazon ➜
4) Power Adapters for Europe
You’ll want to order adapters in advance. They are essential for charging any electronics and using a computer or anything else you might want to plug in such as a hair straightener. If you are traveling with someone, make sure to get enough of the adapters, so you can both charge your phone or camera at the end of the day.
Upon arrival at one’s overseas destination, charge all electronic devices with either the Ventev Global Charging Hub 300 or the SKROSS: World Adapter MUV USB. Unlike traditional international adapters, these adapters have dual USB ports, so one can charge two USB devices easily even if another device is connected via the adapter at the same time.
Check out the Power Adapters on Amazon ➜
One of my favorite things to do prior to a trip is research what to do, where to go, what restaurants to visit, what tours to take and if there are good day tours to other smaller villages or towns. Picking up a travel guide or two as well as searching online will provide a wealth of information!
Check out the Guide Books For Europe on Amazon ➜
A hardshell spinner suitcase with built-in TSA lock is a great option. They are so easy to maneuver and easily hold another smaller bag on top.
Check out the suitcase on Amazon ➜
Clothing, Accessories & Shoes:
When you ask yourself, “What should I pack for my Europe trip”?, you are most likely thinking about what to wear during your trip to Europe.
My motto is: Pack casual clothes that are classic, lightweight and that easily mix and match.
Packing Tip: Spread out everything you want to pack on your bed or the floor. Start removing duplicates (similar shirts in the same color, the second pair of jeans, the second pair of sandals. etc). Then start to mix and match outfits to see how many you can come up with and remove as many pieces that only work for one outfit.
Clothes to Pack for 2 Weeks in Europe:
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I teamed up with Anatomie for my summer trip to Europe & packed smart with a small collection of simple & classic pieces. Anatomie is a women’s luxury travel clothing line and the pieces take up almost no space in a suitcase. Because the clothes take such little space, I was able to pack in one carry on for a trip for just over 2 weeks! Quite an accomplishment for me! I practically lived in the Anatomie Skyler Travel Pants.
I used my favorite PRO Packing Cubes and packed the following for my two weeks in Europe:
- 1 pair of stretchy jeans
- 1 pair of black or kakhi travel pants (I brought the Skyler Travel Pant by Anatomie.)
- 1 pair travel yoga/workout pants or joggers.
- 1 jean (or casual) skirt
- 1 black skirt
- 6 tops
- 1 black tank
- 1 white tank
- 1 pair of pajamas
- 2 pairs of socks
- 10 underwear (including my favorite Clever Travel Companion undies with hidden pockets).
- 2 bras (one black and one nude).
- 1 Wrap (to dress up an outfit). I love the Mer-Sea cotton tassel wrap. It is lightweight, takes up almost no space. It can also double as a sarong or scarf. Unlike many travel wraps that need to be dry cleaned, this wrap is machine or hand washable.
- Sun Hat
- Light Jacket or raincoat (I brought the Travel City Slick jacket by Anatomie)
- Bathing suit
- Bathing suit cover-up. If you stay at a hotel with a pool, it’s so nice to have a cover-up to wear when you walk from your room to the pool or spa. Make sure to choose one that is lightweight and no-wrinkle such as this Bathing suit cover-up found on Amazon.
Whatever you decide to pack, just be sure you have at least one pair of shoes that you’ll be comfortable walking in. Many European cities have cobblestone streets and you don’t want to have to skip a day of exploring because you didn’t bring the right shoes!
- 1 pair of sneakers
- 1 pair of flats or wedge
- A comfortable walking shoe (I brought the Arcopedico Sec V, which are pictured above).
- Flip flops. I live in flip flops at home and love to have a pair such as Aerothotic sandals with arch support).
Cosmetics & Toiletries:
- Hair straightener
- Silk hair scrunchie (One of my new favorite things! They are the perfect hair tie for sleep. When you wake up in the morning simply take out the scrunchie and your hair won’t have any lines from the tie. It’s a lifesaver on styling).
- Q-tips & cotton balls
- Face moisturizer
- Body lotion
- Lip balm
- Travel first aid kit
- Face wipes
- Hand wipes (these come in handy when out for long days of sightseeing.)
- Tissue Packs.
- Bonine (motion sickness)
- Immodium or Pepto (for upset stomach)
- Ibuprofen or aspirin
- Airborne or Vitamin C supplement (to stay healthy during your travels or if you feel a cold coming on).
- Pro-biotic (I use and recommend Terraflora Broad Spectrum Synbiotic probiotic.)
Packing Accessories & Necessities for European Travel
- Packing Cubes (I love my PRO Packing Cubes. I use them to organize outfits, one for shoes, one for underwear and bras. Basically, making it really easy to find what I am looking for when I arrive. Once I arrive at my destination, I turn one cube into a dirty laundry bag.)
- Anti-Theft Cross-body purse (My absolute favorite is the Baggalini, which is pictured above.) The bags have cut-proof straps and locking zippers to deter pickpockets and bag snatching. Inside the center portion of the purse is a pouch that is connected by a small carabiner. The pouch has RFID-blocking technology that protects personal information from being scanned and stolen
- Travel umbrella
- Water Bottle
- Small purse for evenings
- Makeup bag
- Toiletry bag
- Silicone Collapsible Travel Cup. I really cringe at the thought of drinking out of the glasses in a hotel room. It’s pretty difficult to determine if they are truly clean and sterilized.
Related Article >> Why You Should Never Drink Out of Glasses in Hotel Rooms
Entertainment, Electronics & Gear
Minimize your tech gear as much as you can. It can get bulky, heavy and take up quite a bit of space. Here are a few items you might consider bringing.
- A book or two or Kindle.
- Camera (I recently switched to the Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera and love it. It has made a huge difference in the quality of my photos and it’s super easy to use. It’s like using a point and shoot that also has some great bells and whistles if you want more advanced options.)
- Camera jacket (In case it rains and you still want to take photos and protect your camera.)
- GoPro – There are several options today ranging from about $70 and great for filming while doing any outdoor activity.
- Gorilla Pod – A very easy tripod to carry and take any kind of photo with.
- Selfie stick– They are great to get shots of everyone you are traveling with or just yourself.
- Portable charger such as the HyperAir. This device offers the fastest charging speeds on contact for both iOS and Android devices – all with the same charger. For a high power charger that can keep devices charged for long haul flights and full days of sightseeing, check out the 22000mAh 5.8A 3-Port portable charger. For a lightweight option to keep an iPhone charged for the entire day, pack along the Anker PowerCore+ 10050 portable charger.
- Adapter plus charger. Charge all electronic devices with either the Ventev Global Charging Hub 300 or the SKROSS: World Adapter MUV USB. Unlike traditional international adapters, these adapters have dual USB ports, so one can charge two USB devices easily even if another device is connected via the adapter at the same time.
What I Pack in my Carry On
My new favorite carry-on bag is the Baggallini overnight expandable laptop tote with RFID phone wristlet. Most of the time I travel with my laptop, and I find this is a great option that offers plenty of space for my computer, camera, kindle and a few extra items I like to bring as a carryon.
- Compression Socks
- Reading Glasses
- A sweet treat
- Passport and travel documents
- Travel Pillow (This one is pure memory foam with a breathable cover that is machine washable).
- Saline nasal sprays with Xylitol such as Xlear helps keep you healthy on flights. Before and after your flight use Xlear to help fight off any sickness or cold.
Packing Tip: If you are traveling with someone from the same location, pack half and half. This means each person puts half of their clothes and other items in each suitcase. Just in case a bag gets lost or delayed, you still have half of what you packed for the trip.
European Travel Tips
The euro is the official currency of 19 of the 28 member states of the European Union (as of the writing of this article). They are Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain. For European countries not in the E.U. or the previously mentioned countries, they will have their own currency. Before you travel, check for an up to date list of E.U. countries and a list of currencies for each country in Europe.
The rule of thumb of tipping in Europe is to simply round up. So, if your bill is 57 Euros, common practice would be to leave 60 Euros.
If you are happy with the service, a tip of 5% is good and a tip of 10% is generous. You will find that many countries in Europe, a 10 to 15 percent service charge is included in your bill. If this is the case, you’re not expected to pay an additional percentage, although you should tip at least a few extra euros on top of the bill.
Best time to Visit Europe
My favorite time to visit is late spring and early fall. The weather is gorgeous almost everywhere and you don’t have to deal with the summer crowds and the prices in summer. Many European cities have wonderful Christmas Markets and this is another stellar time to visit.
Learn the Language
It’s important to learn useful phrases for every country you plan to travel to. Making an effort to learn a few key phrases of the local language is fun, good manners and can make a big impact on your trip. Not only will it save you a lot of frustration when you inevitably run into someone who doesn’t speak English, but it’s polite when you try to speak the local language. Learn the 13 Most Useful Phrases For Traveling Around Europe or take it a step further and sign up for Babbel and learn even more!
Movies and Book Inspiration
Fun Europe Travel Tips
Day Trips & Tours
I love to do a combination of exploring on my own as well as a few organized tours when I travel. I love to learn about the history and culture in a new location and tours with local experts is a great way to do this. I recommend the Get Your Guide our company because you can cancel most bookings for free up to 24 hours before they start and their customer service is available 24/7 in multiple languages.
A few Top Tours in Europe
Hop On Hop Off City Tours
This is my favorite tour for day one in a new location. It’s especially great if it’s your first day in Europe after a long-haul flight. A wonderful way to see the city when you are recovering from jetlag! Big Bus Tours can be found in most major cities in Europe.
What to Eat & Drink
Each country has its own specialties and beyond that many cities or regions also have foods and drinks they are famous for. Make sure to eat the local delicacies as well as find out the history behind how the food or drink became emersed in their culture.
How to Stay Healthy When Traveling in Europe
Probiotics can help you stay regular even when the rest of your schedule is way off because of time zones and encountering new foods on the road. Probiotics help your digestion on an everyday basis, but many also say they can help prevent and stop travelers’ diarrhea and boost your immune system overall.
I use and recommend Terraflora Broad Spectrum Synbiotic probiotic. Terraflora has a built-in prebiotic, made from certified organic, wild-harvested, food-based ingredients. The Terraflora brand doesn’t require refrigeration, which makes it a perfect choice for travel.
Tip: Begin taking probiotics at least one week before your trip, every day while traveling and continue at least one week after you return for optimal health.
I’ve only ever taken the recommended dosage on the bottle and have found that to be fine for me. But you may want to talk to your doctor about the right dosage for you based on the location of trip (such as India where you may want to take a higher dose) you’ll be taking and your medical history.
Related Article >> Best Natural Remedies Travelers Should Pack
Printable Packing Checklist
Print my “what to pack for a 2 week trip to Europe checklist”. It comes in handy as you are packing and so you don’t forget anything important!
A few popular Guidebooks for Europe
- Rick Steves Best of Europe
- The Rough Guide to Europe on a Budget
- Lonely Planet Europe
- How to Travel the World on $50 a Day
Essential Items & Paperwork
You’re going to be in some trouble if you forget these items!
- Passport – #1 importance!
- Photocopies of your passport – Important in case of loss or theft.
- Debit and Credit Cards
- Pre-paid Travel Cards – Something that you might want to look into. Monzo or Starling are good options.
- Money – Some cash in the local currency where you’re starting is a good idea for taxis, local transport when you arrive at the airport.
- A printed copy of your travel insurance – To keep with you at all times in case of emergency.
- Extra passport photos – Always handy for visas. If you don’t have a set itinerary, you may end up traveling to countries that require a visa. You can arrange for visas at the borders in some countries (but make sure to do your research as some countries require visa applications in advance).
- Reservations for Hotels and Tours: print any hotel or tour confirmations.
Recommended Travel Resources
- Travel Insurance: World Nomads.
- Transport: AirfareWatchDog and Skyscanner (Best Sites to Research Flight Prices)
- Accommodation: Hotels.com and Orbitz
- Airbnb, Sign up here for a $40 credit.
- Hotel Reviews: TripAdvisor
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Read More About Great Travel Gear and Packing Ideas
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Alexa Meisler is the editorial director of 52 Perfect Days. Born in Paris, France she has since lived in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon. She currently resides in San Diego with her husband and son where they enjoy exploring California and Mexico.
Travel has always been a part of her life; traveling to such places as Morocco, Tangiers and Spain as a young child as well as taking many road trips to Mexico with her grandparents as a young girl. Since then, she has traveled abroad to locations such as Russia, Taiwan and throughout Europe.
Prior to working at 52 Perfect Days she was a freelance travel writer; focusing on family and women’s adventure experiences.