How To Pack For a Month In Europe: Carry On Edition

A hand luggage with a wide brimmed hat and leather backpack beside it

How often have you packed for a trip and had the overwhelming feeling that you need to throw in those extra high heels you never wear or those 2 extra dresses ” just in case?”  You struggle at the airport, on the train and pulling your gigantic bag over cobblestone streets and swear to yourself that next time you’ll pack light. We’ve all done it! I’m guilty of it too, but trust me when I say your life is going to be so much easier if you can pare down.

I challenged myself on my latest trip to pack only the essentials and to bring everything I need in a….. Drum roll please…. Carry on! When travelling alone it’s essential that you’re able to carry your bag by yourself for a small distance if you need to and that’s just not possible with a huge bag.

A blonde woman standing beside a stack of luggage
How not to pack

Here’s how to pack everything you need for a month in Europe in a carry on:

Packing List

Summer packing:


  • 4 dresses
  • 2 pairs of pants
  • 4 tops
  • 1 black sweater blazer
  • 1 bathing suit
  • 1 pair of Pj’s
  • 10 undies
  • 2 bras ( one strapless)
  • 2 pairs of sandals
  • 7 pairs of socks

Wear on the Plane:

  • 1 sweater
  • 1 jacket
  • 1 pair leggings
  • 1 tank top
  • hat
  • earings
  • bracelet
  • sunglasses
  • white sneakers


  • Brush
  • travel dry shampoo
  • eye drops
  • hand sanitizer
  • small hand lotion
  • small sunscreen


  • bb cream ( with broad spectrum SPF)
  • cream blush/ highlighter stick
  • mascara
  • small powder bronzer ( can double as eye shadow)
  • small liquid concealer

Electronics and Extras

  • adapter
  • phone charger  and portable battery
  • phone
  • earphones
  • 1 small notebook and pen
  • Passport and travel insurance card
  • 1 small cross body purse

Tips and Tricks

1) Choose Only Multi-Use Items

Think BB Creams, multiple-wear clothing and scarves. If you can only use something once, it’s an unnecessary item.

2) Buy Everyday Items There

Unless you’re traveling somewhere remote, it’s likely that any pharmacy will carry soaps and shampoos. Plan on buying those items when you arrive to save room in your luggage.

3) Go digital

Books, Tickets, Movies and Music can all be downloaded to your phone or device. Try to avoid physical items when you can have digital instead!

4) Pick a Color Palette

Choose matching colours when packing your outfits for maximum reuse. 3 outfits can suddenly turn into 6.

5) Use all space

Never leave any luggage space empty. Stuff shoes, the insides of bras and corners with anything you can.

6) Wear your heaviest items

Your jacket might be warm, but you can take it off as soon as you get through security and boarding. This will save you luggage room and lighten your load.

7) Get creative!

Bronzer that doubles as eye shadow? A scarf that doubles as a shirt? Getting creative with multi-use items can really cut down on items you need to pack.

Looking for more travel tips for your next trip?
 Check out these related posts:

How to survive a long haul flight

5 in-flight beauty essentials under $50

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