How to Pack for Europe in a Carry-On

As a meticulous planner and list-maker, I’ve already started thinking about what to pack in my carry-on for our week long trip to Europe. Yes, you read that correctly – just a carry-on! Normally I’m an over packer and would happily fill up a monster checked bag in addition to my carry-on, but we’ll be traveling through two different airports, subways systems, and the train from London to Paris.

8 days…1 tiny suitcase

With that in mind, I wanted to share what I’ll be packing and a few tidbits I learned along the way.

Four t-shirts, three sweaters, and a few tank tops (plus hopefully an extra shirt or two if I can fit them)



One pair of skinny jeans, one pair of black skinny jeans, and one pair of green corduroys



Tan crossbody bag, jewelry, two scarves, and sunglasses



Boots that can survive the rain and two pairs of comfortable walking flats


Waiting for these to arrive in the mail


Raincoat, Hair Straightener, Power Adapter, Umbrella, Toiletries

Packing Tips:

  • Comfortable walking shoes! – I’ve worn the wrong type of shoes way too many times to not emphasize this point. Blisters and bloody feet will ruin a vacation and cannot be easily fixed.
  • Roll your casual clothes – This is a huge space saver and it can help lessen wrinkles. Check out how-to videos here and here.
  • Packing Cubes – A great way to keep clothes organized and neatly rolled / folded. They can also serve as separators for clean and dirty clothes during the trip.
  • Wear your bulkiest clothes on the plane – This may be obvious but still worth mentioning. My raincoat and boots would take up the most space, so I’ll be wearing both of them on the flight.
  • Get a suitcase with four wheels that spin in all directions – These type of carry-ons are much easier to roll around than the 2 straight wheels versions.
  • Consider the fashion style of the location your visiting – I want to avoid looking like a tourist when I travel for multiple reasons: not wanting to cause offense, susceptibility to scammers/pick-pocketers, blending in if I’m alone, etc. For London and Paris I’m bringing mostly neutral colors, skinny jeans, and flats (not sneakers).

What are you favorite packing tips? Are you an over packer or an under packer?



  1. I did a week in Ireland last year with the same size and took about the same amount but found I could have taken less. I realized since I wore a jacket over everything most of the time it didn’t matter what I wore as long as it was comfortable under the jacket. Very pretty scarves. Remember to save room for whatever you buy there too. Silk pajamas take up very little to no room plus a pair of thick socks for end of the day were nice to have.

    1. I’m hoping it won’t rain too much, so I won’t just be wearing my rain coat everywhere, but you never know. Love the socks suggestion too, comfy socks would be great to have at the end of the day.

  2. Oh I still check my luggage as I’m not strong enough to put it in the overhead bin. Next time I would take a weekender bag for carry on as suitcases are heavy.

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