Winter Travel in Europe: How to Pack a Carry On

My New Years European adventure begins in less than a month, and I've decided to get a head start on my packing. Better to be prepared right? Growing up in Florida, it's taken me quite a few trips up north to establish a packing list that keeps me cozy and warm while also looking the way I want. The best part? It all fits into a carry on size suitcase. So, without further ado...

Here is everything I am bringing with me to Europe during my two weeks of travel this upcoming New Year.

Winter Travel In Europe: How to Pack a Carry On

Start With The Basics

No matter where you are going, how long you'll be gone, or what you're packing for, the basics should stay the same. Everyone needs underwear. Don't be the one to forget your bras and panties. If you're traveling for a longer period of time, don't bring more, wash more. If you don't mind hand washing in the shower (like me) you can bring as few as you like! I'm comfortable with...

  • 4 Pairs of Underwear
  • 4 Pairs of Socks
  • 2 Sports Bras
  • 2 Regular Bras

Comfortable Pajamas

To go along with the basics, you know you'll need something comfortable to sleep in. Winter in Europe calls for warmer sleepwear. Don't worry. If you're cold at night, you can always throw on all your other layers you'll be bringing. For me, I'm sticking with...

  • Sweat Pants
  • 1 Long Sleeve T-Shirt
Europe Packing List: Sweatpants and a Long Sleeve T

Tops & Bottoms

Going anywhere in the world, you're going to need your essential layer of main clothing. When traveling to colder climates, you still have to remember that at times you will be indoors where it is warm and will still need a layer that won't have you sweating all over your restaurant food. That's why we layer! It's also a good idea to keep your tops a neutral color, that way there's no chance they'll clash with your other layers. And I like to stay comfortable yet feeling confident. I'll be bringing..

Europe Packing List: Blue JEans
  • 4 Of My Favorite Neutral Colored Tops
  • 2 Pairs of Skinny Jeans
Europe Packing List: 4 Tops

The Secret Layer

Europe Winter Packing List: Long Johns

Here's the trick to wearing skinny jeans in below freezing temperatures. Wearing a thin yet extremely warm layer of thermal leggings underneath your jeans! These can also double for sleepwear. I'm also bringing a light-weight long-sleeve silk shirt in case it gets really cold while I'm sleeping.

  • 1 Pair of Thermal Leggings/Long Johns
  • 1 Silk shirt.


Yay, my favorite part! The sweater layer. This is the part where you replace a few of your regular tops that you would normally bring with a few of your favorite cozy winter sweaters. Remember that sweaters are bulkier than your normal tops, so choose wisely and replace what you're comfortable with. I also like to take a few sweaters of various sizes so that I can wear multiple at a time if need be. 

  • 3 Cozy Sweaters

Your Outer Coat

This is your biggest most coziest layer. A lot of people will say to just bring one coat, but I'm cheating and bringing one that's a bit lighter and another that's full blown marshmallow. I'm keeping these neutral so they'll mach with other pieces. I'll be taking with me... 

  • One Thick-Knit Cardigan
  • One Black Water-Resistant Down Winter Coat

Normally I'd be opposed to down, but I bought this coat second-hand and it's lightweight wile staying extra warm.

Warm Accessories

This is a great way to change up your look while traveling to Europe in the winter time. To save room however, I will only be bringing some essentials.

  • 1 Scarf
  • 1 Hat
  • 1 Pair of Gloves
Europe Winter Packing List: Accessories

Europe Winter Packing List: Boots

Choose Your Boots Wisely

I'm breaking another rule! Normally, I would say to only bring one pair of boots. But I packed up my suitcase and had enough room to sneak in another pair. This is probably good for me, because my go-to grey lace ups are starting to die!

  • 2 Pairs of Boots

Will There Be Snow?

Are you going to be doing any skiing or other snow activities on your trip? I am! I'll be bringing some heavier snow gear along with me. My step-mother was kind enough to lend me her snow jacket and pants, and I'll be borrowing my friend Anna's snow boots for skiing. She lives where we'll be skiing, so we won't have to carry them around with us.

Europe Winter Packing List: Snow Jacket

But Erin, where are you going to put these heavy snow clothes? Well, the pants fold up nice in the bottom of my suitcase, and I'll tie the snow coat around my suitcase while in transit.


Now that we have all our clothes covered, we need to pack our toiletries. These should stay relatively the same for any travel. For a European winter, don't forget plenty of moisturizer and lip balm. I also like to bring along my own travel towel.

Europe Winter Packing List: Toiletries
  • Toothbrush/Toothpaste
  • Contact Solution/Case
  • Glasses
  • Moisturizer
  • Travel Towel
  • Hairbrush
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo
  • Body Wash

Personal Essentials

Don't forget your personal essentials that you'll have next to you on the plane.

  • Wallet
  • Diary
  • Passport
  • Travel Papers
  • Handbag
  • Wallet
  • Phone
  • Charger
Europe Winter Packing List: Personal Essentials

Tech Gear

Europe Winter Packing List: Camera Bag

I'll be bringing my camera and a smaller travel backpack with me. This is obviously optional. I'll be bringing this small backpack as my personal item on my flights. My Personal essentials and camera will go in here!

You're All Set To Go!

Some advice for packing a carry on? Do a practice pack! Make sure everything you want to bring with you fits into your carry on suitcase. You don't want to be running out the door and having to leave essentials behind.

Europe Winter Packing List: Carry On Bag

For this trip, it took some time to figure out how I was going to plan for city and snow activities while staying minimal. But with the help of borrowing from other friends abroad and scrounging for hammy-downs, I've managed to compile a nice set of clothes and other essentials to bring with me on my European winter adventure.

And it all fits in a carry on!