Packing for Europe: Minimalist Style

Friday, May 8, 2015

One of our big goals for Europe was not taking our entire apartment with us.  Some trips may require more things, but because we are traveling overseas and we are traveling by train/bus a fair amount once we get to France, we both decided that we could do without a lot. Also, on our return trip to the states, Adam and I will be traveling separately (eek!  I am getting nervous for that flight), so this will make both our return trips a little easier (me with the baby, and him with two suitcases and a backpack).

Last year, when we traveled to Norway, we each took a carry-on, and that worked great, especially because we did some cross-country traveling as well!  So this year, we are taking a carry-on sized suitcase for Fox and sharing a slightly larger suitcase between the two of us.  Then we will each take a backpack, and a small stroller for Fox.  I remember reading about Naomi, from Love Taza taking two backpacks for two weeks in Italy, so I definitely think it is doable.  Plus, we have a washing machine in our apartment, so I can do laundry as often as I need to, once we get to Lyon.

I certainly won't have the most enormous wardrobe over there, but I don't really think that is necessary, and currently I am rotating through about 12 shirts and 3 pairs of pants, so this honestly won't be that different.

My current clothing packing list is as follows (this may change by an item or two once we actually start packing):
7- 8 shirts
3 sweaters
2 scarves
2 belts
2 pairs of pants
2 skirts
1 coat (rain/all weather)
3 pairs of shoes (tennis shoes, flats, wedge sandals) - I am still working on figuring these out
A hat (not pictured... it is a large sunhat)
A few pairs of earrings

One of the tricky things about such a small grouping of clothing items is that they really have to work well together, or else you get bored with them easily (think capsule closet).  I am actually getting pretty excited to make this work, and may implement a capsule style wardrobe when I get home!  I have spent SO much time on this packing list, it is stupid.  Who on earth starts packing for a trip 3 months in advance (that would be me...).  I have rearranged, switched in out and various clothing items, and changed the shirts about 5 times,  so, no guarantees that this is what I am taking, but if all goes well, it will looks something like this.

Anything you world travelers think I am missing or should consider bringing?

 white belt: target// leopard belt: dsw// floral scarf: Ann Taylor// bird scarf: gap// white shirt: forever 21, altered by me// brown shirt: clothing swap// geometric print: kohl's// blue striped: clothing swap// black shirt: target via clothing swap// black and white tee: target// chambray: j crew// floral sweater: target// tan sweater: target via clothing swap// swimsuit: landsend, altered by me// jeans: (these are not the ones I am taking.  I am taking a pair from guess)// black jeans: old navy via plato's closet// jacket: h&m// socks: woven pair// brown skirt: target via clothing swap// pink skirt: made by me from Merrick's Tutorial

Fox's Packing List:  

He had no input.  That is what happens when you can't talk (note: not everything on this list is shown)

3 pairs of PJ's (we have one more set of the grey striped ones that are coming as well... they are my favorite :)
1 sleep sack
2 romper type outfits
8-10 onesies
1 sweatshirt
3 pairs of pants
1 - 2 pairs shorts
swim trunks
rash guard
sun hat
straw fedora
sleeping beanie
a few pairs of socks

sleep sack: made by me// grey&white sleeper: carters// fox sleeper: target// navy romper: ralph lauren// blue romper: Polo// onesies: kohl's, carters and target// swimsuit: target// rash guard: amazon// blue and grey pants: gap// shorts: h&m// blue pants and hoodie:  kohl's

Anything else that is necessary for a baby overseas? 


  1. What are you doing about toiletries, especially shampoo and conditioner? I always struggle with those because I'm attached to my US products, but don't want to haul around the amount of stuff I'd need for an extended period of time!

    1. Caitlin,
      I am planning on doing travel-sized. I have reusable containers that I take with me on all trips, and I generally fill them all the way to the top. Because we will be gone so long, I might consider doing 2 shampoo containers and 2 containers of face wash, because that is what we use the most of, but I don't wash my hair everyday, and we are both pretty conservative in the amounts that we use. I do use loads of lotion, so Fox and I will share a large bottle of that, because he also has really dry skin, but otherwise, I am hoping that our little bottles will last the whole time. If not, I will break down and go buy some, but we don't use enough shampoo around here to justify bringing an entire bottle of product. Plus, the bottles are huge and would be heavy (like you mentioned) and possible leak in the suitcase... Yuck.

      You could also consider getting a 4 oz reusable bottle instead of the little 2.5 oz or whatever, that would hold more, but not be as huge as a full-sized bottle of shampoo. Just check your bag, because they only let you bring 3.2 oz bottles on the plane. Hope this helps... Maybe I can do a follow-up post and let you know what I ended up doing...

  2. I love all of these beautiful pieces! I have a long-sleeved black/white top but I feel like I really need a short-sleeved one for warmer months...and I see you have two! They mix so well with everything without being too plain!

    Heather //

    1. Oh, and if you have the chance snap a couple of outfits you make up with these pieces because I'd love to see how you style them. And have a wonderful time :)

    2. Thanks, Heather! My short-sleeved striped shirts are my favorite. I love pairing them with patterned skirts, colorful pants, and blue jeans. They are the best! I will make sure to take some photos of me in Europe, so you will definitely get to see some outfits! I might even do a "how to make the most of your vacation wardrobe" type post :)

  3. When I was packing for my trip to Europe last month, I found the quick dry towels that were recommended on the savvy backpacker to be perfect. They pack down small and are super light if you are in need of anything like that.

    1. Shelly,

      This is a great suggestion! We probably won't need towels for showering, because we are staying in places that include them (I know some hostels make you pay extra), but we are going to the beach, and we have talked about taking a beach towel, so this is a way better suggestion! Thanks for sharing this!


  4. When I was packing for my trip to Europe last month, I found the quick dry towels that were recommended on the savvy backpacker to be perfect. They pack down small and are super light if you are in need of anything like that.

  5. Have you heard of packing cubes? I'm not sure how much you plan to travel around, but they are great. I packed for two weeks in Italy in my carry on. I really like how they help keep everything in you suitcase organized. Amazon has a great selection, i like ebags.

    1. I have heard of packing cubes! I do love organized suitcases, so those are a great idea! Thanks for sharing! I will have to look into those!

  6. I love all the minimalist things that I'm constantly learning from you and Janssen! You guys seriously inspire me to live with less... the fact that this is it for your entire summer abroad makes me think that I have a lot of things I could probably get rid of in my house!

  7. I packed for 1 week in London and 2 weeks in Italy (in late September, so two different climates) in a backpack that I carried on. It was heavenly. I pack that way for all my trips now. We are headed to Amsterdam and France in a couple weeks, and I have been curating my wardrobe for MONTHS. Minimalist packing is so liberating.

  8. Quite a proven ways they are for European's minimalist's style.
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