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Not only are we fans of traveling carryon only, but so are our readers! Find out how this reader traveled carryon only for three weeks across Europe.
Carryon Only Packing List for 3 Weeks in Europe
Written by Heather Rhine
It may sound crazy, but it’s completely possible to travel carryon only for three weeks in Europe. However, it does require a few expert tips and tricks.
TFG reader Heather traveled to Europe for three weeks in early summer with less than 18 pounds (8 kg) packed in her travel backpack. She shares what she packed for visiting multiple climates and city styles.
Europe Packing Challenges
I’ve been traveling carryon only for years thanks to Travel Fashion Girl, but it’s introduced me to some great new things as well! I have under 8kg in my TLS Mother Lode Weekender Junior backpack and am about to travel to Iceland, Norway, and Croatia. I can change outfits from day to night and never repeat in the 21 days!
This was a challenge as I needed to be able to handle several factors:
- A day of cold weather hiking in Iceland
- A possibility of cold rainy days or warm sunny days in Oslo and Bergen
- Dubrovnik city touring
- Hvar beach party wear for warm weather
Despite these challenges, I did it! Even better, there’s still so much room in my bag. While I keep thinking I can add more things, I have to remind myself that less is more.
Long Haul Plane Outfit
I was traveling to Europe from South Korea, so I wanted a comfortable outfit. I wore:
- 1 Diane Kroe Carry-on-Cozy scarf
- 1 Diane Kroe Ultimate Holiday dress
- 1 Officio Storm Logic Jacket (which folds into a neck pillow and can hook on a purse!)
Europe Packing List
For my trip, I was able to pack all of this in my carryon bag for three weeks in Europe:
- 1 pair of Anatomie Skyler pants
- 1 pair of Anatomie Paola pants
- 1 pair of Anatomie Techno Chino pants
- 2 layering tanks
- 2 Diane Kroe One 4 All Tops (which can be worn as a long-sleeve top, halter top, or dress)
- 1 Diane Kroe Wrap top (which can be worn as a blouse, halter top, shrug, or jacket)
- 2 Diane Kroe Endless scarves (which I can wear as a poncho, skirt, dress, halter top, one shoulder top, or scarf)
- 1 Diane Kroe Carry-on-Cozy scarf (which I can wear as a kimono cardigan, halter top, skirt, dress, scarf, or poncho)
- 1 Columbia rain jacket
- 1 swimsuit
- 1 Thermasilk bottom and top layer
- 1 pair of rain booties
- 1 pair of waterproof hiking shoes
- 1 pair of Ipanema flip flops
- An assortment of underwear, compression socks, and pajamas
Europe Travel Essentials
As you can tell, I’m a huge fan of Diane Kroe. This brand is my go-to for versatile non-wrinkle travel clothes. I learned about this brand from Travel Fashion Girl and, while the products are pricey, they’re a great material for travel. If you divide the cost by the number of things each product can do, it’s well worth the price!
As you can see from my packing list and plane outfit, the Endless piece is one of my favorites. The Endless scarf folds up incredibly small in your bag or is an easy piece to transport as a scarf. I took three, one patterned, one solid black, and one reversible blue with ombre. I wore all three as skirts, halter tops, beach cover-ups, and dresses.
The Carry on Cozy also rocks. I used it as a scarf in Iceland, a kimono sleeve cover-up in Norway, a yacht dress/cover-up in Hvar, and a halter top with my Anatomie pants rolled up for wine tasting in Croatia.
Anatomie is another brand I found out about on Travel Fashion Girl. They are the most expensive pants I own, but they are incredibly lightweight and comfortable. All three rolled up take up the same amount of weight and room as the pair of jeans I was considering taking.
They are amazing in the summer and I just layer Thermasilk pants underneath when it’s cold. Also, all three pants went with every version of every top so it was easy to mix and match.
Europe Packing Don’ts
A number of cities in Europe are known for their cobblestone streets, which are beautiful yet difficult to walk on if your shoe has a heel. And depending on the city, these cobblestone streets can also be hilly, slippery when wet, and uneven.
While we all love to dress up, avoid heels because they’ll leave you feeling uncomfortable. Opt for wedges if you must bring a heel. Instead, go for a dressy pair of flats for a night out or boots with a short heel.
Europe Luggage Tips
Packing for Europe, no matter for how long you’re traveling, can be tricky. But with a few organization tips, it’s possible.
Depending on how long you’re traveling for, you may want to use packing organizers, which allow optimum use of the space in your luggage, keeping everything organized and in place during your travels, and making the task of unpacking and repacking simple and stress-free.
If you’re headed to a fashionable city like Paris, Rome, or London, use an equally stylish carry-on, such as the Osprey Ozone, which is a personal favorite. Or if you’re headed on a backpacking trip, go for a sturdy and durable backpack.
Keep in mind that most of Europe’s budget airlines have a carry-on bag allowance of 55cm x 40cm x 20cm. However, you should always check your airline’s individual baggage rules and regulations in advance.
Accommodations in Europe
We prefer to book “the entire home” instead of opting for shared accommodation on Airbnb. Aside from safety, we also like to feel like we’re living in the destination. It’s a small taste of local life plus you get more amenities than you would at a hotel such as a kitchen and washing machine.
Read these Airbnb tips for more info!
For hostels, we recommend Hostelworld and Hostelbookers. Always read the reviews before booking to get the best idea if the hostel is right for you. Some are quiet and family friendly while others are known for their party atmosphere.
Not sure about staying at a hostel? Read this.
Getting Around Europe
To maximize your vacation time, fly into the city where you’re starting your trip and out of the city where your trip ends. Many times it’s the same price and saves you from having to spend extra time and money to go back to where you started your trip.
Once you’re in Europe, there are so many ways to travel to different countries. Trains are one of the most popular, and can be less expensive than flying within Europe. It’s also a great opportunity to see the countryside and unique areas of so many countries.
Additionally, many major cities have subways, buses, and trolleys for getting around to different sites within the city.
What’s on your carryon packing list for a 3-week trip to Europe? Please comment below!
For more Europe packing tips, please read:
- 10-Step Packing Guide for Europe
- How to Choose the Best Shoes for Europe
- What to Wear in Europe: Packing List for Every Destination
- The Only Packing List for Europe You’ll Ever Need!
Suggested travel resources:
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