What to Pack: 3 Months in Europe (Fall/Winter)

I am a notorious over-packer. Sometimes for 3-to-4-day trips, I’d pack at minimum 5 pairs of shoes and 6 outfits. But I’m a girl who likes options. So when I was gearing up for my trip to Europe (and Morocco) I had a really hard time determining what to take with me. Naturally, I wanted to pack my entire closet, but that was impossible (because what I didn’t mention was that I’m also a clothing/accessory hoarder–I have 40+ dresses, 40+ cardigans, and 40+ scarves along with everything else I own).

Everything I’d read said to pack versatile pieces, no jeans (instead cargo and convertible pants), only two pairs of shoes, fleece… the list goes on. But I knew that wasn’t me. I feel like such a prissy bitch saying this, but fashion does matter to me. I knew I didn’t want to spend my time abroad worrying about whether what I was wearing was appropriate for any given situation, so I wanted to ensure I was covered on all bases.

So, here’s what I, a fashion-conscious woman, packed for three months in Europe during Fall and Winter months.

Fall and Winter Packing List for Europe

I tried to pick neutral colors (which ended up being mostly black) that I could accessorize with colorful scarves. I also packed very basic jewelry, shoes, and purses (I had black and brown, but ended up throwing the black one away because it didn’t hold up well) that would work well in almost any situation. I figured if I needed anything extra, I could pick it up along the way. Towards the end of the trip I was getting really bored with my options, but I was glad that I packed things that mixed and matched so easily.

So, what ended up coming along with me in my bags?

Large Bag (Osprey Sojourn 25 Inch/60L Pack)

Clothes

4 cardigans (black, grey, maroon, and olive & black striped)
4 tanks (white, tan, 2 black–one basic, one dressy)
4 t-shirts (3 black, 1 white)
1 long sleeved t-shirt (black)
1 sweater (striped black and white)
1 raincoat with a hood
1 dress (black)
1 skirt (I actually took a white and black checkered skirt, but next round I’ll take plain black)
1 pair of thick leggings (black)
1 pair of jean leggings
1 pair of bootcut jeans
1 pair of yoga pants
1 workout shirt
1 pair of sleeping/traveling pants (which I wouldn’t take again)
1 sports bra
2 bras (black and white)
14 pairs of underwear
2 pairs of tights
1 pair of legging-style tights
1 bathing suit
5 pairs of socks (various styles–wool, short athletic ones, etc.)

Accessories

4 scarves (I acquired 3 while traveling–I only left with 1)
3 necklaces
2 bracelets
1 watch
2 pairs of earrings
2 belts (black and brown)

Shoes

black flats (that had really good support–I wore these almost every day)
leopard flats (for dressy occasions)
brown boots
sneakers
flip flops (for the shower when I stayed in places with questionable facilities)

Toiletries

I’m not going to list everything–it gets pretty messy. I took the basics (shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush/toothpaste, eyeglass/contact stuff, etc.) and also accounted for random things like various kinds of over-the-counter meds, tampons, q-tips, extra prescription meds, bandaids, etc.

Random Extras

Laundry detergent packets, clothesline, sink stopper (for if I had to do laundry at a hotel)
Jumprope and resistance band (for those workouts that never happened)
Flashlight
Plastic utensils
Nail polish/nail polish remover pads

Carry-On (Plain black backpack)

MacBook Pro
External Hard Drive
DSLR
2 lenses: wide angle and zoom
Camera goodies (extra batteries, battery charger, extra memory cards, card reader, etc.)
Converter
Kindle
Powerstrip
iPhone USB cord
Business cards
Makeup bag
Reusable Water Bottle

Purse

Wallet
iPhone and headphones
Passport
Moleskine and pens
Lipgloss, lotions, etc.

Overall, I feel pretty good about what I packed. It might be too much for a lot of people, but for someone like me it was just enough. I had a few hiccups along the way and had to scramble to buy a few things or have things brought to me from home (thank you, friends!), but I think I’ve got it all pretty well figured out for my next round of travels.

Lastly, I bought travel insurance from Worldnomads.com so that I was protected. I was carrying entirely too many electronics with me to not get insurance. I did quite a bit of research before determining this was the insurance I wanted to go with, and while I didn’t need to use it at any point, it gave me peace of mind to know it was there.

What would you add or remove from my list?

Note: The companies above did not pay me for mentioning them. I genuinely love and use everything I’ve written about. However, the Amazon and World Nomads links are affiliates for which I will receive a small commission if you should purchase something. Thanks for supporting Meganotravels!

33 thoughts on “What to Pack: 3 Months in Europe (Fall/Winter)

    • Typically I leave room for shopping as well, but this time I didn’t really leave much room. I just ended up leaving some things I was bored with and that were easily replaceable behind (or shipping them home) and buying things that made me happy and offered a bit of a change! It’s all about the variety, isn’t it?

  1. Haha, I completely agree about actually caring how you look and the troubles that that can give travellers without the luxury to pack everything! Great list/

  2. Glad I was able to see the carry on things you are packing. Gives me a few ideas. For my trip to Montreal in April (it won’t be a long trip) I have heard to pack all neutral colors and just bring a bunch of scarves. That should be easy enough for me!

    • Yeah, I think that’s one of the keys to packing light–pack neutrals or things you can mix and match, and then bring a few pieces (scarves, belts, other accessories) that can make the outfit pop or that will shake it up a little bit. And I’m glad that my list helped you! :)

  3. I think as backpacking is progressing ore and more people are packing like this. When I went to China 3 years ago a lot of people were encouraging wearing the ‘travel clothes’ I ended up buying one outfit but most of my stuff was basic fashion…. why would you wear it travelling if you don’t wear it at home?!

    • Exactly, Kirsty! I only wanted to pack things I knew I’d wear, otherwise you end up lugging around a bunch of extra weight and bulk, or getting rid of perfectly fine clothing that you spent a lot of money on just because you don’t like it.

  4. Hi Megan, great post! I’m researching winter travel wardrobes for a trip to New Zealand next month (yippee!) Just wondering about the black jacket in your wardrobe collection – could you please share the brand/details? Thank you :-)

  5. Just stumbled in – I’m heading to Europe in 2 weeks and figured it was time to think about packing. This looks like a great list – thank you! I would just add that sufficient prescription medications and copies of prescriptions with GENERIC names can be a lifesaver!

  6. Thank you for this list! I am traveling to a few cities in Europe next month for my honeymoon and am lost in trying to figure out what to take! This list is perfect! I already have most of the clothing since I live in Missouri and it gets very cold here, but of course I want to look cute while traveling to new countries!

  7. I am actually Moving to Scotland and IT IS WILL BE COLD so I am glad i found this list. but I went last year and thermals are almost mandatory. I am taking two bags and two carry one’s and I am still panicking trying no to go over the 51lb weight limit per bag. Thanks for the start though

    • Hope you have a safe move to Scotland! It’s such a beautiful country and I’m sure you’ll get on well there. Good luck staying warm in the winter! :)

      • I’m heading to Europe this fall/winter and love your list. I was curious if you weighed your checked bag and how much did it weigh? I’m concerned about weight since I will be flying Ryan-air a few times once I get there…

  8. GREAT post! How long was your trip for? I’m going to Sweden March – May and Switzerland May-August I’m ADDICTED to always bringing just a carry-on. But it’s obvious I won’t be able to do it for such a long trip. Sooo, I’ll definitely use your list as a started and add a few things like snowboots and long silk underclothes. But where can I find a more extensive list for such a trip? Lastly, I’m thinking of packing a box of summer clothes that I can have a friend ship to me right before the summer. Would you recommend doing that?

    Thanks!

    • This trip was 3 months–September, October, November (and a bit of December).

      As far as a more extensive list, maybe try Rick Steves. This list was literally every single thing I packed, so it’s extensive for me! :)

      If it were me traveling, I’d probably just pack things to wear in layers for the colder months, shed some of those items as I travel, and pick up a few new things along the way. Shipping can take a long time depending upon the country (it can get held up in customs and such)–I once waited 6 weeks for a box in Italy. In fact, I left before it ever arrived and had to have it returned to the States.

      If you’re really attached to all your things and don’t want to get rid of stuff, then yeah, probably having a friend ship you some things and you ship some things back home would work!

  9. In March I’ll be spending 3 weeks in Italy, France, & Spain, and I agree completely that when traveling to fashionable European cities one should look fashionable! It’s tempting to take every fabulous outfit you own, but not very practical. Your list of basic pieces in mix ‘n match neutrals is ideal. I always pack that way — it works! Check ahead for weather and be sure to bring an umbrella, hooded jacket or raincoat, and rubber boots if called for.

    RECOMMENDATIONS: I consider these to be “staples” in cooler weather: a tan Burberry trench coat (removable wool liner) and scarf (great head wrap). As well as black Hunter Wellies. These neutrals go with absolutely everything and look fashionable as well.

    If you want to “blend in” be aware that Europeans do not wear sneakers, sweat pants, track suits (yes that includes VS hoodie & yoga pants)… you will stick out sorely if you choose these. For comfort, I wear or pack brown or black leather riding boots (flat) for everyday walking. Dressy ballet flats are fine, but heels are for indoors only… trust me when I say cobblestone streets and stone walkways are very unforgiving!

    SCARVES are your best friend. Tie onto your purse on a sunny day and if it rains you’re covered, literally! They’re warm against the body (or as a hood), they will dress up a plain top or solid color dress, and on the plane you have a cozy wrap/blanket.

    This may not be for everyone, but I highly recommend… Eyelash extensions! You can be ready in a pinch with just a sweep of blush/bronzer and a swipe of lipstick/gloss.

    ALSO… Bring 1 or 2 miniature bottled liquors to make your own in-flight cocktails (1/4 of airline price), polarized sunglasses (for the plane’s extreme glare), GUM to pop your ears on landing. An EYE MASK and/or nook, book, or magazine will (politely) discourage Chatty Cathy in the next seat when you’re wanting to relax quietly. Bring luggage locks to keep your items secure in your hotel room (seriously), a rollerball fragrance for touch-ups, and a corkscrew in your checked bag (not carry-on!) if you will be enjoying wine on your patio.

    Lotions and liquids exploding in your checked bag would be a nightmare! Unscrew the caps to let air in, cover opening with a square of saran wrap, reseal, then place into a zip-top baggy or a Rubbermaid container (1/2 shoebox size) which offers additional protection… if you can fit in your suitcase, do it. Small spray-bottle of Febreeze. A laundry bag or drawstring plastic bag to keep worn undies, etc. SEPARATED from your clean clothes. And don’t forget to write the dose/generic name of your Rx’s (photocopy the labels) in case you need to refill abroad.

    PHOTO of the person(s) you are traveling with in case you become separated. Snap it the day you leave so it’s recent. It’s not something you want to think about but it’s important. Save it on your phone + a hard copy in your bag. Of course copy passport & travel docs as well (originals locked in your hotel room safe).

    I hope these tips are helpful to others traveling! Safe travels!

    DenaMarie

    • While I agree with most of these tips, DenaMarie, I have to disagree with the liquor! Drinking on international flights (or flights in general) severely dehydrates you and can make for an even nastier hangover. No one wants to start a trip off that way!

      • Yes Megan, EXCELLENT point!

        To be clear I wasn’t suggesting getting “hammered” or anything that would result in a nasty hangover or inconsiderate in-air behavior… a bad idea for sure! (1 “miniature”= just 1 .5 cocktails per flight (that covers both going AND returning) I was ust providing a $-saving tip for those who get a little nervous flying, and don’t want to pay $12-15 per cocktail in-air or at those very crowded airport bars, pre-flight.

        Surely there are MANY other (and better) ways to relax and decompress if flying gives you anxiety… and I’d love to hear everyone’s suggestions! Perhaps an in-airport salon service (mani, pedi, neck massage) if there’s enough time before take-off… Anyone tried that?

        • I’d just like to add that the part about sneakers and sweat pants definitely does not apply to ALL of Europe. I live in Denmark and here that’s very common for people to wear outside :)

  10. This is the first really useful list I have seen. It has everything I would like to wear and have available for a mixed weather trip. Thank you, thank you.

  11. I think I would reduce the number of cardigans by one and add a black or other blazer, because I find they’re so versatile. And, for the yoga pants, I would recommend a pair that can double as a pair of leggings, like the Lululemon Wunder Punder roll-down or High Times pant.

    Otherwise, this is a great list. Let’s face it – packing less is recommended, because there is a ton of shopping to be had.

  12. Thank you so much for this list!! This fits me perfectly. Finally, someone who is honest about what to REALLY bring. And your clothing choices are both fashionable AND sensible!! I am so glad I found this!!

  13. Pingback: Italy: General Planning Tips and Thoughts for First-time Travelers | A Long Life

  14. I LOVE your raincoat! I’m getting ready for a trip to Spain, Rome and London and am looking for a cute raincoat. What brand is yours and where did you get it? Thank you so much!

    Erin Carll Daily

  15. I always wonder about flats in the Winter or early Spring. I live in Florida and I think my feet/legs would freeze. I’m traveling to Paris/London in March and shoes are my main concern. I want to be comfortable, practical, and look cute.
    Any thoughts?

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