Home » What to pack for Europe in fall – the complete packing guide for Europe
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What to pack for Europe in fall – the complete packing guide for Europe

by Daniela

Europe is at its best in the autumn – no crowds, no burning sun, affordable prices and fall foliage. If you are traveling to Europe in fall, then you’ve made the right choice. So, tickets and accommodation – booked, it’s time to start packing. What should you bring on your trip to Europe? What’s the weather like in Europe in fall? What would you need in Europe? What shouldn’t you bother taking with you? The questions don’t stop. But hey, no worries! You’ve come to the right place. Here you will find your complete packing list for Europe in fall, plus tips on how to pack for Europe and what to pack.

Read more: Find out which are the best cities to visit in Europe this autumn, as well as a selection of the best places to stay in each city.
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When I was preparing for my last trip, I found a small piece of paper, most likely being once some white space of a magazine with words scribbled on it, obviously in my handwriting but beyond legibility. So, I was staring at it, trying to decipher my hieroglyphs, and then it dawned to me! It was my packing list from three years ago when we went camping in France! That’s handy! We were camping again this summer, so I could use it. No need to make a new one.


Packing lists are a life and time savior. Don’t throw them away after your trip. You’ll save on time making a new one and you won’t be stressing out that you might be forgetting something. But don’t do it like me – scribbles on a piece of paper. Download my free packing list! It’s customizable – you can note down how many pieces you will need per item and you can personalize it with your name and place where you are going to. This is handy if you are packing for more than one person or to quickly find it in your archive what you have packed for that trip to Paris 2 years ago, as you’re heading to London this fall.

Enough talking, let’s start preparing. Yes, preparing. Not packing yet! And I’ll tell you why. You don’t need to open your wardrobe and just throw in some clothes. You need to know where you are going, what you’ll be doing, where you’ll be staying and a couple of other things. Start first with answering the questions below and read first the handy tips about packing for Europe before you rush head over hills to your suitcases. You might not even need them!

Read more: Going to Europe in summer? Check out my packing guide for your summer trip to Europe.

How to pack for your trip to Europe in the autumn?

Here are some questions that you might consider. Giving an answer to them for yourself will help you identify what you need and what you don’t:


How long is your trip?


This is a tip I gave in another post of mine about packing to Europe. Still important and absolutely essential.

The duration of your stay will determine what or how many to pack. If you are going only for a short break of about let’s say 4-5 days, you might consider traveling only with a carry-on. You can choose between a backpack or a carry-on bag. Read further to determine which one is more suitable for your trip. If you are staying longer –  5 days or more, then a suitcase will be better or a larger backpack. This, however, doesn’t mean that if you are staying a month you will need two suitcases.

 


What is the baggage allowance of your airline?


This is also something that I covered in another post. Don’t forget to check also your connecting flights in Europe, especially if you are traveling with budget airlines, as there might be a surprise.

Before you start packing, check what size luggage is allowed by the airline you are flying with. Check also the weight restrictions and how many items you can check-in and bring on board. You don’t want to go through the hassle of oversized luggage or checking in at soaring prices extra luggage items at the airport. Been there, done that. Once I was visiting my family and had to throw away 5 packs with coffee at the airport, because my suitcase was exceeding the 10 kgs allowed. I wasn’t happy then. Always weigh your luggage before the trip. If you don’t have an electronic scale, I strongly advise you to invest in one.

Tip: Even if you think you know what’s the baggage allowance of you airlines because you are frequent flier, check it again before packing. Airlines change their policies so often and they don’t announce them to the public.

To which country (-ies) are you traveling in Europe?


Essential! Depending on whether you are traveling to Northern or Southern Europe you will need different things. In general, Southern Europe is warmer in the autumn, especially in the Mediterranean region. Check the weather forecast before you go. I can’t stress enough on how important this is. Don’t assume things. Don’t think that as Bulgaria is in Southern Europe it will be sunny and warm at the beginning in November. It might be snowing! Or it might be warm if the country is enjoying a beautiful Indian Summer. Do your research before you go!

I went to Northern Ireland last year in October and an experienced traveler as I am I was thinking, well it’s to the north of the Netherlands and weather will be much colder and worse than in here. Not! The weather was mild and much warmer than in the Netherlands. I didn’t need that thick pullover or the mittens. I should have missed that geography lesson at school when the teacher’s been talking about the Gulf Stream and its impact on the weather in Europe. Assumptions are your biggest enemy when you travel.

Read more: Are you traveling to Bulgaria? Read here everything you need to know before you go.



Where will you be staying?


Whether you are staying in a hotel or a hostel, it all matters. You might need a luggage lock and a quick-drying towel, if you are staying in a hostel, but hotels do provide towels – so why bring one with you. Most hotels in Europe (depending of course on the stars the hotel has) provide also toiletries which are refilled or substituted, so carrying that huge tube with shampoo with your is not necessary.

Tip: Check if your hotels have a swimming pool. You might need to pack your swimsuit. And check if they provide laundry services – handy if you are staying 3 weeks in Europe, for example.

What are you going to do during your vacation?


Is it a city trip, or will it be an active holiday? Will there be a lot of hiking and outdoor activities or you will be mostly visiting museums and drinking wine at cute cafés. You might not need your hiking shoes for the museums, but you certainly will if you will be exploring some nature.

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How will you move around in Europe?


The type of transportation is so important for the number and the size of your baggage items. And ultimately for the degree of your happiness. Here’s one more of my tips on transportation and luggage.

Another thing to consider before starting to pack is what type of transportation you will be using during your vacation? Are you staying only at one place? Or maybe you will be making day trips? Then you should take an extra daypack on top of your suitcase. Will you be renting a car? Then you might need some car accessories. Will you be using a lot trains or buses to move around, then you should probably leave that huge suitcase back home and take a backpack in combination with a carry-on bag. The lighter you travel, the happier you will be.

Tip: It’s not fun to walk in the rain, huge backpack on your back, one arm dragging a gigantic suitcase, the other one trying to balance an umbrella. Always pack light.

Are you ready with the answers to the above questions? Let’s start making your packing list now!

First, download the printable checklist! Print it out, grab a pen and let’s start! Use the tips below to decide what you need and how many items. Cross out the things you don’t need.

 

What to pack for Europe in fall?

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#1 essential


Passport – first and foremost have your passport ready, so that you don’t forget it. You don’t want to arrive at the airport just to discover you’ve left it home. To protect your passport you might consider having a passport wallet or cover. I like this one, as it’s very stylish.


Luggage choice for your fall vacation in Europe


Luggage – make your choice carefully. Will you be travelling light? Choose a carry-on. Will you be backpacking – you will obviously need a backpack. Are you making a road trip? Take a suitcase with you.

Daypack – I always have a day pack with me, as normally I’m doing one-day trips from the places where I am staying.

Packing cubes – use them to organize your clothes. If you don’t want to invest in packing cubes, you might also use plastic or fabric bags you have at home. Packing cubes are really practical if you travel long-term or for longer periods.


Which toiletry accessories to pack for Europe in fall?


Refillable travel bottles – if you fly only carry-on, there are restrictions on bringing liquids on the airplane. Here come handy the refillable travel bottles. Also if it’s a short trip you won’t need much shampoo, so leave home the big bottle and use the refillable container instead.

Clear toiletry bag – a must-have if you travel carry-on. When you are choosing one, check whether it’s leakproof as you don’t want to arrive at your destination with your clothes soaked in shampoo.

Toiletry bag – a must-have. Whether you are travelling domestically or internationally you need to pack your toiletries accordingly. A great option is to have a hanging toiletry bag – everything stays nicely organized and you don’t have to rummage around to take a small bottle from the bottom of your bag.

Tip: If you are traveling as a couple, you can combine the toiletries and you actually don’t need to pack double from everything, unless you have different needs or preferences. Perhaps, consider packing larger containers.

Essential toiletries for your trip


  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Shower gel
  • Body lotion
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothbrush cover
  • Floss
  • Cream
  • Deodorant / roll-on
  • Perfume

Tip: If you are staying only in hotels you might consider skipping the shampoo and the shower gel, as most hotels in Europe have them available. If it happens that the hotel you are staying in doesn’t provide them, you can always buy them from the local drugstore.



What clothes should you pack for Europe in fall?


As I mentioned above in the How to section, check what’s the weather forecast for the place(s) where you will be traveling to. Fall has the most changing weather across Europe. There are however a few principles that you have to stick to when packing your clothes:

  • Choose clothes that are easy to mix and match.
  • Think about layers.
  • If you gonna wear that item only once – don’t pack it.
  • Don’t over-pack. Packing light is essential.

Here’s a list of what you will need in general. How many items to pack, will depend on the size of your luggage, the type of your trip and the length of your stay.

Note: This packing list is for women, but if you cut on the dresses and the bras, it can be used for men, as well.  

Dresses – 1 maxi plus 1 short would be enough.

Trousers – 2 pairs of jeans plus 1 pair of slacks.

Skirts – 1 maxi and 1 short.

Long sleeve shirts – depending on the weather you might need 2 or 3 of these.

Tank tops/short sleeve tops – pack 2 or 3. Think about layers and mixing and matching.Cardigans – take 2 or 3. Think of the possible combinations you can make with the rest of your clothing items.

Pullovers/Sweaters/Hoodies – choose depending on your preference but don’t pack more than 3 items. Think here about variety and practicality.

Jacket or coat – you need at least one warm jacket. You can also pack one soft-shell jacket that is fine for warmer days or a rain jacket if the weather forecast predicts rain.

Fleece jacket – I like to have that extra fleece jacket. I wear it during the flight and it’s quite comfy if you need something warm.

Underwear – If you don’t mind washing your clothes or giving them to a laundry, then pack no more than 5 pairs.

Bras – take no more than 3 bras. You can always wash them.

Socks – 5 pairs of sock will be OK for 10 days in Europe. Don’t take more if you staying longer – you can always wash them in the hotel.

Tights – packing only 2 of these will be OK.

Leggings – 1 or two pairs. Consider packing one fleece-lined.

Swimsuit – take it with you only if there’s a swimming pool in the hotel.

Yoga pants or lounge pants – this is also one item that I always pack with me.

PJ’s or a large comfy top – it depends on your sleeping habits, whether you’ll go for pajamas or for a comfy top.

Flip flops – I always pack my flip flops – I use them under the shower or in the hotel, but if you don’t have space or you are traveling carry-on only, you can always leave them. For me, they are a must, even in a carry-on

Shoes – one pair of comfortable shoes (sneakers or walking shoes); one pair of boots – ankle boots are perfect for the season. I would leave my high boots at home, as they take a lot of space and you can’t wear them with all your clothes.


Which accessories will you need on your trip to Europe?


Jewelry – do not take expensive jewelry with you and always use a case or a jewelry travel organizer that cannot open during traveling, as your bags will be tossed around at the airports.

Scarf and /or pashmina – a must-have for Europe if you travel in the autumn. Pack at least 2.

Hat – a hat is a bit exaggerated to take with you, unless you are going to Northern Europe, but you might consider packing one of those cold weather headbands, that will keep your ears warm if it gets too cold unexpectedly.

Gloves – check the weather before you pack one of these. A good idea is to take a pair of thin leather gloves or fingerless gloves.

Belt – 1 would be enough.


What electronics should you take on your trip to Europe?


Smart phone – I know it’s obvious that you have to take your smart phone with you, but just don’t forget it. It’s one thing going to work and forgetting it, you will survive that day, but going for 10 days to Europe… it’s gonna be like going back in time. I am a great fan of the OnePlus smart phones – the perfect phone for travelling. Great pictures, long battery life, dash charging – what can you probably want more. Oh, and pretty affordable. Check them out here: OnePlusStore.

Camera – If you are not a photographer a compact camera should be everything you need. My favorite brand is Canon (not affiliated with them) and I have always owned a Canon point-and-shoot camera – easy to use and makes great pictures.

Camera accessories: charger, an extra SD-card (before buying any SD-card, check whether it’s compatible with your camera), tripod (choose for one that fits both you camera and you smartphone), camera case, gimbal (if you want to make nice videos).

Laptop and/or tablet – before you pack them consider whether you will really need them.

Travel adapter – My advice is to invest in a universal travel adapter, especially if your trip includes different countries or if you plan to travel oftener to Europe. The best is to have one of those devices that also serve as a multiple USB charger.

Power bank – you won’t always have the possibility to charge your phone during the day, so this one is a real must-have.

USB car charger – you will need it if you are renting a car in Europe.

Kindle – are you a reader? Then you should take your Kindle with you. I don’t need to explain you that carrying more than one book on your vacation is unnecessary luxury which eats up your luggage space. Don’t have a Kindle account yet? You can sign up here:


First-aid kit for your European trip


Here are some essentials which I hope you won’t need but are however indispensable. Imagine you get blisters and you need some plaster on Sunday. The chances you find a shop or a pharmacy open on Sunday in Europe are next to none. Therefore, I strongly recommend you to pack the following with you:

Painkillers – you might consider taking with you some general painkiller pills or pain relief medication.

Plaster – my favorite ones are the Compeed gel plasters. They are not only discreet but also efficient. I don’g go anywhere without them.

Other medication or prescription drugs you might need.


Other things you will need on your trip


Travel guide – unless you memorize everything in advance or you don’t care what you gonna do and what you gonna visit, you need a proper travel guide for Europe. If you don’t want to take a book with you, consider downloading some guides on your Kindle before your trip.

Swiss-army knife – I consider them indispensable. I have one from Victorinox and I always take it with me on my travels.

Collapsible water bottle – when it’s empty it can be folded, so that it doesn’t take any space. You can refill it easily for daily use.

Collapsible umbrella – you will need one as most likely it will rain in Europe in fall.

Ziploc bags or any other similar resealable bags – you can use them for your shoes, or for dirty clothes. Actually you never know when they will come handy.

Download the fall version of the packing list for Europe

Download here your packing list for Europe in fall and print it out! You can print more copies of it for you and your travel companions. Fill in you name, the dates of your trip and where you are traveling to and how many items you will be taking with you.

The best part about it? It is absolutely free! You don’t need to sign-up or opt-in or whatever else. Just click on the picture below and download it in pdf format. Print it, fill it in and you are ready to pack!

 

Do you have other packing tips? Share them with us in the comments! Or do you have questions for your upcoming trip to Europe? I’ll be happy to answer them. Did I forget something on the packing list? Let me know and I will add it!

Have a safe trip to Europe!

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2 comments

olivia 8th September 2018 - 4:11 pm

This is a great resource! I’m heading to Italy for 10 days in the fall and will be saving this for when it comes to packing for the trip!

Reply
ipanematravels 8th September 2018 - 5:54 pm

Oh, Italy is so beautiful in autumn! Have a safe trip and enjoy your time there!

Reply

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