5 Top Suitcase Essentials When Packing For Europe

luggage tips for Europe
James Graham


Mar 06, 2017

Jetting off to explore the beachfront cliffs in the Greek Islands, cooling down with gelato in Rome or channelling your inner Gigi Hadid as you stroll the alley ways of Paris?

Leave the extra luggage at home, save your workouts for hiking through the Swiss Alps and most importantly leave plenty of space for shopping with these packing tips from Topdeck travel expert Jane Savage.

1. The beauty bag can be the biggest beast

While we all like to have every blush, brush and bronzer on hand when travelling your beauty bag can be one of the heaviest items in the suitcase! Make sure you pack travel size for all the essentials like shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, sunscreen and moisturisers so you can squeeze them into one compact bag. The bottles are usually bulky, will weigh down your bag and you can always replace them along the way! Paris is famous for its pharmacies, full of skin and body care products not available anywhere else and they are worth a visit in their own right plus are often cheaper, so save the shopping until you arrive if you can. If you are planning a European seaside escape then forget the hairspray and powders and head for the sea, the salt water is the perfect volume and texturiser to give you perfect holiday hair.

beauty bag tips for europe

2. Not all boots are made for walking

It’s one of the hardest life decisions but you really need to pick which FOUR shoes you are going to take. Pack a pair of Havaianas, your favourite sandals, some runners and your most comfortable heels for those special nights out where cobblestones won’t be a problem!  Wearing your trainers on the plane will save room in your luggage and also your feet between terminals.

3. It’s in the bag!

Given your bag is an everyday essential make sure you pack a bag with a shoulder strap to free up your hands for shopping on La Rambla in Barcelona and the many gelato pit-stops all around Italy. If you are planning a few nights out, then a clutch to dress up your outfit should fit inside the bag, double points if your clutch is also your passport wallet.

luggage tips for enjoying europe

4. Can’t wear the same outfit twice?

When you are away for a few weeks at a time but want to still mix up your looks your favourite dress can be styled with small packing inclusions so you don’t look the same every day. Add a waist belt, throw on a tee and tie it at the back for a skirt and top look or throw on a shirt and tie at the front if it’s going to be cooler at night. I generally stick to neutral colours for my staples and then add in some summer inspiration with small items so that I can turn one dress into five different looks, plus if you pick up a few new things along the way then you aren’t going to be short of choice. Mixing and improvising new outfits is also a great tip for when the weather differs between cities or countries – it can be slightly cooler in Eastern European countries such as Hungary or the Czech Republic compared to the Mediterranean isles in Greece or around Italy.

best tips for travelling in europe

5. The carry on

Make sure you are not only prepared for your flight but for when you land so you can make the most of your holiday. Planes are notoriously cold so some socks and a light weight sleeve top or pashmina that can double as a throw and will save you from not only getting sick but trying to steal the leftover aeroplane blankets. The key to not feeling like you have been sitting upright for 15+ hours is to keep the same routine as you would at home, take some baby wipes to clean your face, brush your teeth when you wake-up and change into a fresh outfit so you are set for the day.


By James Graham


With over 20 years as a journalist and TV producer, James Graham has a wealth of experience covering the full media spectrum. James has a formidable reputation as a talented media veteran and worked as a reporter, script writer and as the producer of the TV documentary The Road To Athens. He has worked across newspapers, radio and the biggest flagship magazine brands in Australia and New Zealand. Previously, James was the News Director at Woman's Day and New Idea. Whether filing celebrity exclusives, or some of the biggest real-life splashes of recent years, James’ career has always been at the frontline of mainstream media. When not writing, you’ll find him at Royal Randwick, his beloved Long Reef Golf Club on the Northern Beaches – or visiting his mum in his native New Zealand.



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