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Zayed Iqbal

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Packing for Winter Travel in Europe


Between RyanAir flights, hotels with no elevators, and effortlessly chic-looking locals, packing for winter travel in Europe is practically an art form. You want to pack light, and keep warm, but still look good.

When traveling to Europe this past winter, I was faced with the challenge of putting together a warm and fashionable travel wardrobe into one carry on — not so simple for a California transplant who has forgotten what real cold feels like! The Outbreaker is the perfect backpack for European travel, not only chic looking with a well designed packing space, but carry on sized as well. Making packing all of the extras for winter easier by using packing cubes. Two full sets fit inside the Outbreaker 45. The duffle is a great add in to your bag to bring home those European souvenirs that you just couldn’t resist purchasing

In the end, I used this fail proof list of what to bring while packing for my winter trip to Europe. It helped me pack everything in one carry on, keep warm once I was in Europe, and look good doing it!

The Basics

No matter when and where you’re traveling, your basic carry on packing list shouldn’t change much. Winter or summer, you’re still going to need to pack underwear, right? Start by packing your basics.

The Add Ins

Do you know the secret trick to pulling off skinny jeans and boots in below freezing temperatures? Wearing an invisible layer of long underwear underneath!

Plan to bring one pair of thermal leggings, and one long-sleeved thermal top on your winter trip to Europe.

Patagonia and Icebreaker have the best quality options (though they are more expensive than other options).

For more economical options, try Under Armour Cold Gear or Uniqlo’s HeatTech line — which, though budget-friendly and fashionable, isn’t as warm as the other brands listed.

Added bonus: Long underwear can double as PJs (especially in Southern European countries that don’t have great indoor heating) or leggings under a skirt.

What to Swap Out

Sweaters, though cozy and chic, unfortunately take up more space in your bag than other tops. So swap out three (or even four!) tops you normally would have packed for two sweaters or sweatshirts.

Personally, I’ll wear one bulkier sweater with jeans or leggings while traveling, and have one or two lightweight cardigans, or sweaters, that I can wear over a thermal top packed away in my bag.

Ultimately the rule here is: don’t add in sweaters, but replace other tops with them.

Basic Black

A quick confession: I love black clothes. Black clothes are chic, easy to match, and never look as dirty as they really are.

When preparing for a trip to Europe, I always pack one pair of black pants. They’re easy to pair with a t-shirt for a casual outfit, or dress up with a nice silk top or sweater when going out for a nice dinner.

My boyfriend does the same. He wears his black pants with a t-shirt for a casual, yet put together look, or with a button down shirt when going out.

Pack Boots, not Shoes

I’m a big believer in the one-pair-of-shoes rule. For winter European travel, go for a comfortable pair of slip on boots.