The Essential European Travel Capsule Packing Guide for Fall 2023
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Europe in the fall captures my heart. With its mild weather, fewer tourists than summer, and the added perk of cost-friendly airfares and accommodations, it’s the prime season to journey. If Europe is on your agenda this autumn, then this European Travel Capsule Travel Capsule Packing Guide is a must-read!
Given Europe’s growing popularity and the frequent hiccups in airline services (yes, those pesky lost luggage woes), this Capsule Wardrobe Packing Guide becomes indispensable. Opting for traveling with just a carry-on can save you from unexpected baggage fees, decreases the chance of lost luggage, and spares you those carousel waits. Believe me, as you dart from city to city, be it by plane, train, taxi, or bus, bulky luggage is the last thing you need.
Enter the travel wardrobe capsule. It’s your solution to efficient and light packing for European adventures. Consider my recommendations as a foundation for your carry-on capsule. And if you’re on the hunt for more comprehensive packing insights, don’t miss the freshly revised The Carry-On Capsule Solution: Essential Guide for Packing for Europe.
Layering is Key
With temperatures fluctuating during the day and night, having layers like tanks, t-shirts, lightweight cardigans, button down oxfords and scarves can help you adjust accordingly. The key to selecting the right layers is knowing the weather conditions of your destination. This is always the first step to planning your travel wardrobe capsule for European travel.
Choose the layers that are right for the weather conditions and build your travel outfits from there. If you expect warmer days and cool nights and mornings a tank with a lightweight cardigan serves as the base for your travel outfit that you can pair with pants or a skirt.
In Europe, walking is central to the experience, making your shoe choice essential. I cannot stress this enough, expect to walk at least 10,000 steps a day or more. Travel shoes literally make or break your trip! Always select your travel shoes FIRST and plan outfits around them.
Adopt the “TRAVELISTA DUO/TRIO” approach:
- Primary Walking Pair: Durable, neutral-colored sneakers perfect for lengthy explorations. These are your “daily drivers” that you will rely on for the majority of your trip.
- Secondary Mix-up Pair: Opt for comfy flats, loafers, or versatile boots for cooler days or to switch up your looks. Look for pairs that are comfortable and stylish.
- Optional Third Pair: Choose based on specific travel activities not met by the first two pairs.
Resist adding “just one more pair.” Typically, 2-3 pairs suffice for European city jaunts. For unique itineraries with special events or adventures, consider specific shoes. Shoes are the heaviest items in your suitcase and take up the most room so it’s best to stick to the absolute essentials.
A trench coat is the European classic choice. It’s the ultimate in versatility because it’s lightweight and it matches just about anything. It can also be worn dressed up or down. A lightweight version is perfect for fall travel.
If a trench coat doesn’t fit into your style a utility jacket or leather jacket are also good options. A blazer is a good lightweight choice as well but doesn’t offer much protection from the elements. The weather of your destination determines which outerwear options you select.
Essential Clothing Pieces
When selecting travel attire, aim for pieces that pair well with 2-3 other items. While it’s great to create multiple outfits from a few essentials, don’t overthink it. The goal is versatility, especially for longer trips. Avoid single-use items unless they serve a specific event in your itinerary, like a dress for a wedding. Always prioritize multipurpose clothing for a more functional travel capsule.
- Jeans: A pair of well-fitted jeans can be dressed up or down and are perfectly appropriate for European travel. The right pair should be endlessly versatile and pair easily with your tops and shoe options.
- Trouser/Dark Pant/Jean: In Europe, women frequently pair trousers with sneakers for a casual look, with trousers and black Converse being a favorite combo. Adapt this style for travel, or opt for dark chinos or black denim jeans if trousers aren’t your preference. Keep bottom silhouettes consistent to ensure compatibility with your footwear, as shoes fitting wide-leg pants might not suit skinny jeans and vice versa.
- Dresses: A dress is a travelers BFF! Talk about one and done! Find the style that’s right for you and that matches all of your footwear and outerwear. Neutral tones and patterns give you the most versatility. I personally love the midi-length but choose what works best for your personal style. Plan to pair with tights if you’re expecting chilly weather.
- Tops: Choose from a mix of basic tees, tanks, button downs and blouses to match with your bottoms. Neutral tones provide the most flexibility in planning travel outfit options.
- Mid-Layers: Choose a lightweight sweater, either a pullover or cardigan style. Cardigans are versatile items because you can easily slip them on and off to deal with changing temperatures. Sweaters made of lightweight merino wool or cashmere aren’t bulky and they are highly insulating. When choosing a mid-layer, check that the color complements with the outerwear and tops you’ve selected.
Don’t underestimate the power of accessories to transform your neutral travel outfits! Knit pashmina scarfs provide warmth on chilly evenings and a splash of color. Small and colorful print silk scarves seem “oh so chic” and brighten up what may be an otherwise boring outfit. A small “jewelry capsule” of a simple necklace and earrings can help elevate any look.
As far as handbags go, the crossbody is my bag of choice for European travel. Choose one that can hold your daily essentials and that complements your travel clothes. I’ve relied on the Lululemon Festival bag ( Amazon dupe) time and time again, it magically holds everything I need. I like to bring a black or dark colored neutral for daily travel activities and a more fun option for evening. Another benefit of a crossbody bag is security, you can hold it close to yourself in crowded situations.
For those who are seeking a more comprehensive guide, or perhaps facing the dilemma of packing for extended trips, I’ve got you covered! Dive deeper with my freshly revised e-book, “The Carry on Capsule Solution: The Essential Guide for Packing for Fall in Europe.” This e-book offers more in-depth tips, outfit inspiration, and packing strategies tailored for fall travel in European. It’s the perfect companion for anyone wanting to travel chic and smart!
Remember, the goal of a capsule wardrobe is to pack light while having versatile options for various occasions. With these essentials and my e-book by your side, you’re set to explore Europe in style!
The “TRAVELISTA 12” Carry on Capsule
For this Fall European Travel Wardrobe Capsule I’m introducing the “TRAVELISTA 12“: a streamlined packing blueprint to elevate your travel wardrobe consisting of 12 clothing items. The framework is simple and is in an a easy to remember 4,3,2,2,1 formula.
- 4 tops
- 3 bottoms
- 2 outerwear
- 2 Mid-layers
- 1 dress
That’s it! Keep it simple and you pair this with 2-3 shoes for the perfect mix of ease and elegance. If planned correctly this simple formula can provide you with over 100 outfit options! The sample capsule below follows the formula.
1 DRESS: Jersey Black Dress
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