Packing For 2 Weeks In Europe: How I Did It

I'm still compiling all of our photos together from our trip and I'm busting at the seams to share them! 

First I wanted to share a little about packing for this two week trip.  When we first started the planning process, I started making some new purchases.  I couldn't wait to wear my new outfits while strolling the streets of Italy!

Then came the text.

"Hey baby, I just got some really good advice.  We're going to be taking backpacks instead of luggage on our trip."

I nearly dropped my coffee cup.  After I spit out my coffee.  Husband's outta his dang mind.

(And he ended up being SO spot-on with this advice.)

We were going to be doing a considerable amount of walking and train travel during the trip, and the thought of pulling rolling suitcases over stone streets in crowds and hoisting them up on train racks was less than appealing.  So I gathered my courage, broke out of my comfort zone, and borrowed a hiking pack from a girlfriend.  Things were about to get interesting.

When packing for two weeks, we considered what could be easily washed, dried and reworn.  Items that were bright enough to help us find each other in crowds yet neutral enough to mix and match.

I started out by laying out things I wanted to wear on the bed.  Ian did the same thing on our guestroom bed.  Here's the basics of what I packed:

Black spaghetti-strap tank, black tube top for layering, orange tunic, 2 thin cardi-wraps, black short-sleeved peplum shirt, long-sleeved chambray shirt, 3 sleeveless shirts/tanks, 3 sleeveless blouses for evening

White denim capris, black leggings, black yoga pants, navy shorts, khaki shorts

Grey short-sleeved maxi dress, black chiffon maxi, black convertible high-low dress, long-sleeved mini dress (got subbed out for the red/white dress in the photo above after a weather check)

Casual cross-body bag, gold wristlet for the evenings, gold braided belt, black pashmina, pastel scarf, waterproof anorak, 2 bikini tops with black bikini bottom, black coverup, sunhat, 4 long necklaces, pearl studs, diamond studs, gold hoops, 2 pair large chandelier earrings, wedding earrings for anniversary night

Comfy boat shoes (Sperry Top-Sider Audrey in platinum... looooove), gold kitten heels, black/cheetah kitten heels, gold sandals, rose gold high heels, trusty ol' Rainbow flops

The absolute BEST things ever are The Container Store sweater bags which my Mom gave to me a few Christmases ago.  There were three in a pack and they came together in a plastic pack.  I used one for tops, one for pants/shorts, and one for dresses.  The plastic pack they came in was the perfect size for my wristlet, scarf, and belt.  They were total space-savers; my hiking pack was only about half-way full when we left for our trip!  Also, rather than having to dig through the entire pack for a new shirt, I just pulled out the clear bag that had all of my shirts and then zipped it back up.

Euro Vacay
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Here's what I got the most use out of:
Chambray shirt, black leggings, black yoga pants, black pashmina, long pearl necklace, boat shoes, flip flops, cross-body bag.  All of these were worn multiple times ... for example, I wore the chambray shirt over my black maxi dress for our anniversary, and then I would throw it on over my Lululemon pants with flops the next morning to go downstairs for a bite of breakfast.

In retrospect, I didn't need both bikini tops; I probably didn't need three pairs of shoes with heels ... tons of walking; while the sleeveless blouses at night were great in theory, I didn't wear any of the three I packed due to chilly weather!  I also didn't wear the sunhat.  I thought I'd need it for the coast in Italy but I ended up using the chiffon belt that came on the black maxi dress as a head-wrap for the day we went to Capri.

The Tart convertible high/low dress (in blue above; mine is black) was awesome for our last night's dinner in Italy.  I would have worn it more had the weather cooperated!  That's the great thing about convertible dresses is that by tying the top straps different ways, you can achieve so many different looks (I got mine from Rue La La.  Exact style sold here; similar ones here, here, great maternity version here for my preggo friends).

So as high-maintenance as I may seem, this girl went backpacking!  Who would have thought?  I'll be posting a picture this morning on Instagram (@alizadventures) of me with my pack on.  See it to believe it!  :)


  1. You did not!!! I'm SOOO impressed!

  2. you go girl!!!! I pack for about two weeks even for a darn weekend trip! teach me your ways!! :) can't wait to see photos- loved what I saw via IG

  3. That's awesome! I need to pin this post for sure. What did you do in terms of your beauty products? Did you bring a hairdryer or rely on where you stayed since they have different outlets?

  4. Impressive! So, were you able to fit any purchases in your backpack for the ride home? When I went to Europe I needed room for 12-bottles of wine!! LOL! No kidding though!

  5. Great job! I agree with most of your choices and your decision to do a backpack. I was in Italy for six weeks in law school and I WISH I had a backpack rather than a rolling suitcase! I got tons of wear out of flat sandals, casual dresses, and solid color tops.

  6. That's awesome! Sharing with my friend who's leaving for Europe on Sunday and is trying to do it all in a carry on (she's going for less time).

  7. So impressive! Sounds like something my husband would say... I may be returning to this post in the future when we go on vacation.Great job! Pictures are pretty :)

  8. I'm going to Europe for 2 weeks in August and have been totally stressing about how to pack. Thank you for this!!! I'm going to need to order those bags for my different clothing items. Such a good idea. Did you take a separate bag as your carry on for the plane? I'm too scared to leave my beauty products in a checked bag.

  9. Oh my gosh...I can't believe you fit all of that in to a backpack! You are just about the most stylish traveler I know!

  10. Wow, I need to heed your advice for our trip to France & Spain in August. Definitely going to get some of those bags, too. Can't wait to hear all about your trip, we LOVED Italy!!

  11. this is amazing. serious applause for you! i'll need this help for every vacation but especially for our honeymoon! great tips

  12. I second the space saver plastic bags. Whoever invented those is a genius! Good for you on packing light - I feel so bad seeing Americans in Europe trying to haul their massive suitcases onto the trains and the luggage racks. They look like pack mules!

    We are going for 10 days and it will be carry-on only for me, as always. I find that the biggest space hog in luggage is shoes so to the extent you can plan outfits around the same 3 to 4 pairs max (2 casual and maybe 1 to 2 more formal/fancy depending on your plans) that works well to save space and lighten the load.

    Great advice!

  13. Oh my goodness, THANK YOU for this post!!!! I am pinning it and saving it! We are leaving for 10 days in Italy in 3 weeks, and I plan to use ALL of your tips!!! :)

  14. I went and bought the bags from the Container Store this afternoon! ;)

  15. Good for you! I was proud I put my stuff in a 3ft tall suitcase when we went to Europe! Can't wait for the pics.

  16. Impressive! I can tell you from personal experience that rolling a suitcase (no matter how small) is no fun on the subways and trains : ) Too many stairs!

    Can't wait to see the pictures from your trip!

  17. I love posts about what others pack for trips! You did great, girl!

  18. This is very impressive!! We used packing cubes for Australia and they made a world of difference being able to separate out clothes and knowing what was wear for quick grabbing.

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