What to Wear in Europe in Summer

As soon as I found out we were going to Europe my first question was “What to wear in Europe in Summer?!” I was extremely excited as we were going for our Honeymoon. We had it all planned out, we were going to visit 3 different countries within those two weeks. I was SO excited! My first European trip!! 

As I started to do research, I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to pack my normal luggage bag that I typically check in. I was going to have to figure out how to pack for two weeks in a carry-on since I was going to be on various planes, buses and subways.

I have to tell you, after this trip I never went back to packing in a larger bag ever again!

what to wear in Europe
Jumping for joy in front of Buckingham Palace in London. (This is how you will feel after packing in a carry on for 2 weeks) 😉

Why Pack using only Carry On?

  1. You don’t have to worry about any lost bags or someone else taking your luggage (this has happened to me before)
  2. Grab and go. You save SO much time by not having to wait for your bag at the luggage carousel. There’s been times where I have had to wait up to 45 minutes for my bag!
  3. If you are going to be on multiple different methods of transportation, this makes travel so easy! No need to carry heavy luggage.
  4. Europe will involve a lot of walking so there’s a chance that you will need to walk a few blocks before getting to the train station so having something light makes it easy. 

Now that you know all the reasons why packing light is the best, here are 10 tips for packing in a carry-on for a two week trip. 🙂 

Tip #1 – Research what to wear in Europe in Summer

First, take time to do some basic research on the cities or counties you will be visiting. In order to know what to wear in Europe in Summer, you need to consider weather conditions to help you prepare for the types of clothing pieces you will need to buy ahead of time if you don’t already have them. (Ex: If you are going to a rainy city, you might want to consider packing a compact umbrella or some waterproof boots)

Tip #2 – Plan

Second, plan out each day that you will be traveling. Consider what type of activities you will be doing on the day to day basis. This will ensure that you can carefully select what type of clothing you will actually wear in Europe in Summer.

*Side note: I am a paper and pen kind of gal, so I print out a blank weekly calendar and start to write down what each day will look like for me. 

Tip #3 – Mix and Match | European Fashion

Once you have your itinerary planned out, think about a color scheme for your overall wardrobe. Mixing and matching colors will be the most important factor! This doesn’t mean that your outfits will be boring, it just means that you have to get a bit creative. I highly recommend sticking to solid colors for easy mixing and matching.

what to wear in Europe in Summer
I packed 2 long sleeve tops, 3 scoop neck t-shirts, 1 mid-length top, 2 white camisoles, 1 dress, 2 scarves, 1 beanie, 2 pairs of jeans, 3 sweaters, 2 cardigan sweaters, 1 military jacket and 2 pairs of shoes. (not pictured are the white converse I wore on the plane)

Tip #4 – Try On

Time for a fashion try on! Time for you to do a quick trial and try things on. Make sure that you will be able to truly mix and match your pieces of clothing and that the items you are selecting are appropriate for the types of activities you will be doing. Make sure to snap pictures of your outfits for easy reference!

Bonus tip: Make sure to wear your most comfortable walking shoes to the airport, they will come in handy throughout your entire trip.

Tip #5 – Reduce

Ok now that you know exactly what to wear in Europe in Summer, it’s time to take a closer look and make sure that you don’t over pack. See if you can reduce each category of clothing by one piece. I know, trust me you won’t regret it!

Tip #6 – Trial Packing for your Europe Trip

Time to pack everything in your carry on to see how it all fits. I find that the best way to pack is to roll each piece of clothing – this way I am able to pack a lot more items. Make sure to leave a little extra room for any souvenirs if you know you will buy some.

Tip #7 – Liquids

Let’s talk about toiletries. Here’s my biggest piece of advice – Limit the amount of liquids you pack!! My experience at European airports is that they are VERY strict with their liquids policy so make sure that you are following their 3-1-1 rule, otherwise you will have to toss some of your items. There are easy swaps you can make to avoid any issues. I recommend you opt for a bar of soap instead of liquid body wash – you can still take your favorite brand without the hassle. Just don’t forget your toothbrush 😉

Tip #8 – Makeup Travel Must Haves

If you are used to packing your whole makeup kit, no worries I am a makeup lover and here is a picture of the exact makeup I packed for my trip. I still looked polished and put together. The key is to really simplify your makeup routine and also take travel size! The travel size items may look small but trust me, it will be plenty for a 2 week trip. I recommend packing 3 different lipstick colors – one nude, one red and one pop of color (I chose pink). If you need to pack a foundation, consider packing a powder foundation. Liquids not only will weigh down your bag, there is also a chance of them leaking and making a mess. I also highly suggest de-potting your liquids / creams into smaller containers. You can easily find a nice set of compact travel containers on Amazon for cheap.

Travel List for Europe
I made sure to select multi-purpose makeup items. I packed: 3 mini lipsticks, 1 liquid concealer, 1 color corrector, 1 powder foundation, 1 eyelash curler, 1 compact with blush/highlight/bronzer, mini eyeshadow primer, eyebrow pencil, eyebrow gel, mini eyeliner, 1 glitter shadow, 1 easy to use versatile eye shadow palette and 4 face brushes/3 eye brushes.

Tip #9 – Packing Hair Tools

If you need to pack hair tools such as a flat iron, make sure that it will be compatible with European outlets (Voltage can vary depending on the country). I also suggest you only pack 1 multi purpose tool. For my trip, I chose to pack a compact straightener and it worked great for straightening and curling. Also, most places will have a blow dryer so don’t waste your precious luggage space on one. 

Tip #10 – Tech Must Haves

Lastly, Tech gear. Don’t forget a universal power adapter and your phone charger! Yes you can buy them in other countries but they are often overpriced and it’s inconvenient to have to go look for one. I also highly recommend packing a luggage scale – this will save you lots of money and they don’t take up much space! European airlines are strict with weight limits on their bags.


Please beware that every airline is different. Each has its own rules about how many carry ons are allowed and size/weight limits. Some only allow 1 carry on item (backpack or carry on; not both). We ran into this issue when we were headed from Amsterdam to Zurich. Unfortunately we had to check in our carry on bags as we had our backpacks with us. When we landed in Zurich, my husband’s bag didn’t make it. We weren’t prepared for this so we had to go searching for at least an extra pair of underwear and extra change of clothes but we soon found out that almost every clothing shop was closed since it was a Sunday. 

Thankfully, his bag made it to us a day later but it was definitely stressful to try to find clothing in a different country when everything is closed. Lesson learned: always pack an extra pair of underwear in your backpack! LOL


I hope you found my tips for what to wear in Europe in summer useful. If you are feeling a little intimidated by packing light just follow the simple steps and take your time to pack ahead of time. I promise once you do this once, you never go back. What cities are you visiting for your European travel?

For more lifestyle and travel tips, check out my other blog posts here.

Europe in May
Canals in Amsterdam. I still felt like I looked fashionable – this top I’m wearing was a souvenir from a show that we attended while in Amsterdam.

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