What to Pack for Europe in the Winter

by Joanna E
What to Pack for Europe in the Winter
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On my solo trip to Cancun vlog, I claimed to “never visit anywhere cold during the winter again” (referring to Barcelona), but last year I spent a little over a week in Europe in the winter. I’ve wanted to visit London and Paris since forever and honestly couldn’t beat the under $400 nonstop, round trip flight price from NYC to London and Rome to NYC. Let’s not forget that I packed for 10 days with a carry-on and personal item. You don’t have to be a “packing expert”, but I’m sharing some tips for packing light for a week-long Euro-trip. This post is long overdue so if you’re planning a trip, here are some tips for visiting Europe in the winter along with my personal Europe trip packing list.

London in the Winter

On the Tower Bridge in London

Tips for Visiting Europe in the Winter on a Budget

If you’re a budget traveler, the best time to visit Europe during the winter is after the holidays and before Easter. Flight deals on budget and major airlines from the US are around $200-500 and booking accommodations for hotels and Airbnbs cost less. There are also fewer crowds and shorter wait time for getting in major attractions. If you’re visiting Europe during Christmas, the Holidays, or even the ski seasons, make sure to plan and book early.  For travelers going city to city, compare prices for flights, trains, and buses. As much as I wanted to take the Eurostar from London to Paris, it was much cheaper to fly.

As with all trip planning, I recommend doing research before flying out. The European continent is made up of 50 countries so weather varies depending on the country’s location. The more north you are, the colder it is, while destinations in the south are warmer. After dealing with the snow and wind in London and Paris, I received a nice weather break in Rome which was 70 degrees and sunny.

How to Pack Light for Winter in Europe

Packing light for a week in Europe may be difficult for beginners, but not impossible. I usually roll my clothes to minimize wrinkles and use packing cubes for the majority of my shirts, night clothes, and undergarments in my carry-on. I also utilize a travel backpack or medium to large sized tote as a personal item.

What to Pack For Europe in the Winter

When packing for Europe in the winter, check weather trends and average temperatures for your destination during the month (or months) you’ll be visiting. Since temperatures can get pretty cold, bring enough clothes and undergarments for layering. If you’re visiting popular ski destinations or areas in Northern Europe, consider thermal underwear, HeatTech products from Uniqlo, or layer with shirts and leggings like I did. Below are some packing essentials for Europe and my personal packing list for one week in Europe.

Clothing

Unless I’m renting a house or have access while staying with family, I do not do laundry when traveling. My packing cube set comes with a laundry bag to make separating clothes easier. You can bring along an eco-friendly or plastic bag for dirty clothes if you wish. I did not bring one dress, but If you like to wear dresses when travelings, pack a dress that can be layered over jeans or leggings like a shift dress, maxi or midi sweater dress.


  • 1 Peacoat – I wore my Via Spiga peacoat for the majority of the trip not including the two beautiful days in Rome.
  • 6 short sleeved shirts – Most of the short sleeved shirts I wore underneath my long-sleeved shirts and sweaters. Depending on the length of your trip, you can bring a few more or less
  • 3 long sleeved shirts – I brought along three long sleeved shirts for layering and
  • 5 Sweaters – Sweaters took up a lot of space in my luggage and I was able to pack five
  • 2 Cardigans – On cooler days I added a cardigan as a third layer over long-sleeved and short sleeved shirts.
  • 3 pairs leggings – Leggings were a must for cold day trips to London City, Greenwich, and Paris.
  • 3 pairs of jeans – In addition to sweaters, jeans took up a lot of space when packing for Europe. Not including the jeans I wore traveling to London, I packed 3 pairs of jeans to wear throughout the week to wear over my leggings.
  • 20 pairs of underwear – I always bring 2-3 times more pairs of underwear than I need for the week just in case.
  • 2 bras
  • 8 pairs of socks – One pair of socks for each day I stayed.
  • Something to sleep in – My sleepwear of choice is usually shorts and a large t-shirt from a trade show or expo.

Shoes

  • Flip flops – If you’re a budget traveler and staying in a hostel, bring along flip flops for the shower and walking around common areas.
  • Comfortable walking shoes – I love walking around during my travels and did a lot in London and Paris. These cities have great transit systems, but they’re also easy to walk around.
  • Cold Weather Boots – Lucky for me, I traveled to London during Storm Emma. It snowed so I brought along my Hunter Packable Boots and packed them in my tote bag.

Hair Essentials & Toiletries

I generally pack the same toiletries wherever I go. This time around I made sure to include some sheet masks and facial mist to keep my face hydrated after flying so much through the week. I also wore a menstrual cup during the flight to London and brought along extra panty liners for the week. Since my carry-on was packed with clothes, I stuffed my toiletry bag in my boots.

  • Shower gel
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Lotion
  • Moisturizer with SPF
  • Lip balm
  • Facial Mist
  • 3 Sheet Masks
  • Satin scarf & hair bonnet 
  • Hair butter
  • Leave-in Spray

Accessories and Miscellaneous Items

Here are some other things to pack for Europe in the winter that might come in handy.

  • Scarf – For the other days when it was windy and cold.
  • Umbrella – I didn’t think to pack an umbrella during my trip, but I sure needed one in Paris. I purchased one for 12 Euros in a gift shop and it has since become my travel umbrella.
  • Gloves
  • Satin Lined Cap – Grace Eleyae has satin lined caps (SLAPS) that are great for natural hair.

Electronics

  • Camera & Lenses – I took over 1500 photos during my trip to Europe with Sony a6000.
  • Plug adapter – Paris and Rome use European style plugs, while the UK has its own. I purchased a travel adapter from Amazon to address my needs
  • Extra batteries, cords, portable charger – Afraid that my plug adapter wasn’t working, I went to TK Maxx in London on my last day to purchase a portable charger.
What are some other things to pack for Europe in the Winter?

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