13 Essential Items to Pack for the European Summer

Knowing what to pack for any holiday can be daunting, especially if you’re travelling for a few months and have limited luggage space (I’m still waiting for someone to invent a Mary Poppins bag – why hasn’t anyone come up with that yet?!).

As summer heats up in Europe, this time of year is always popular for tourists, especially those who are on the other side of the world and are desperate to escape the cold.

If you are one of the lucky ones boarding the longgg flight to Europe this summer, take note as I want to give you a little advice on the clothes and accessories you should take along with you – believe me, it’ll make packing just that little bit easier!

1. Hat

Hats can be a hassle to pack when you go on holiday, especially if they are big and wide brimmed. However, for me it’s essential to take a hat everywhere with me when I’m away. Not only is a hat great sun protection for your head and face, it also makes any outfit look a little more polished, even if you’re just in denim shorts and a tee.

Now back to that hat packing issue – there is nothing worse than a squished hat! So, I normally wear my hat on to the plane and then simply pop it under the seat in front of me. Alternatively, if I have space in my suitcase, I’ll place the hat upside down in the case so I can fit other things underneath the brim and inside the hat. This also helps to keep the shape of the hat in place during your journey. Hat boxes are also handy for protection, however they can be a bit of a hassle to carry, especially if you already have three suitcases with you!

If you decide to go for a felt hat for your trip, make sure you choose a lighter colour. I made the mistake of getting black, and it just attracts too much heat to your head! Save the darker colours for the cooler months.  Check out two of my favourite hats below:

Ace Of Something hat on The Emasphere

Ace Of Something – Arizona White

lack of colour hat on The Emasphere

Lack of colour – Silver Haze


2. Throw-On Dress

A throw-on dress is totally a must! You need an easy breezy dress to chuck on when you’ve just rolled out of bed and you’re rushing to get the last half hour of buffet breakfast; when you’re going for a beach/pool day; or simply for something to just throw on when its too hot to think about what to wear. I find a dress that is loose and is made out of a lightweight material, like a cotton or linen, is always best. I normally take a couple of these dresses with me, maybe one that shows off the shoulders and another with sleeves.

ASOS Dress on The Emasphere

Christophe Sauvat – Apache Dress

Topshop summer dress on The Emasphere

Topshop – Babydoll Applique Sundress

3. Summer Heels

Should I or shouldn’t I take them?! Heels are definitely that packing toss-up item, but I find I always take them away with me ‘just in case’. However, It can be really hard to choose which pair to take, or how many! I have found with my past trips, taking either a pair of wedges or a mule, clog or sandal with a thick heel has worked best for me. There tends to be lots of cobblestone footpaths in Europe, so you’re in safer hands wearing these types of shoes, especially after a prosecco, or two. They are also versatile and can work with both dressy and casual outfits. Also, remember to just take the one pair with you – the shoes in Europe, especially Italy, are amazing, and you’ll need to have room to fit at least ten new pairs in!

ASOS heels on The Emasphere

ASOS – Hendon Mules

Tory Burch heels on The Emasphere

Tory Burch – Two Band Wedge Slingback

4. Cross Body Bag

A definite must have while travelling. Small, compact and secure, these bags are great to prevent bag snatches and pickpockets. They’re also easy to carry, making them fine to lag around with you while sightseeing or shopping.

Country Road bag on The Emasphere

Country Road – Tyler Seem Bag

Marc Jacobs bag on The Emasphere

Marc by Marc Jacobs – Metropoli Bag

5. Scarf

Yes I know what you’re thinking – why would you need a scarf when it’s summer?! Scarves are great to have in your bag while you’re sightseeing just in case you’re not allowed in somewhere due to your attire. In lots of places around Europe, especially churches and other religious or ancient sites, you have to cover your shoulders, so having a scarf handy is a good idea. A scarf also doubles as a sun protector, so it’s perfect for a wrap-around if your shoulders are starting to look a little red raw. We don’t want sunburn!

Ted Baker scarf on The Emasphere

Ted Baker – Tropika Scarf

Witchery Scarf on The Emasphere

Witchery – Maze Print Scarf

6. Sandals/Thongs

Let your feet free! Summertime is for pulling out those flip-flops and embellished sandals or Birkenstocks, so of course these are another must have in your suitcase. Here are two of my faves:

River Island sandals on The Emasphere

River Island – Molly Gem White Sandals

ASOS sandals on The Emasphere

ASOS – FLICK Leather Sliders

7. Bathers

I normally bring two pairs of bathers with me when I’m on holiday. It’s nice to have the flexibility to mix it up every second swimming/sunbathing day. I normally pack one pair of bikinis and a one-piece. One-pieces are especially great because you can always double them as top, simply by matching with shorts, a skirt or culottes.

Zimmermann bikini on The Emasphere

Zimmermann – Marisol Ladder Bikini

Seafolly swimsuit on The Emasphere

Seafolly – Summer Crush Swimsuit

8. Sunglasses

Of course you need sunglasses on a holiday! I always pop my expensive pair, as well as a cheaper pair into my suitcase. (Yes I know both pairs below are in the pricey-er range – but aren’t they gorgeous!)

Chloe sunglasses on The Emasphere

Chloe –  Dafne Light Havana

Mui Mui sunglasses on The Emasphere

 Miu Miu – Green Havana

9. Beach Bag

Beach bags are so handy. They are obviously great for the beach, but they’re also fab to fit lots of things in for day trips. Make sure you find a bag that you can easily fold up into your suitcase.

Ted Baker Bag on The Emasphere

Ted Baker – Mirrored Tropics Icon Bag

Zara bag on The Emasphere

ZARA – Canvas Shopper Bag 

10. Walking Shoes

Walking shoes are an obvious packing item! Once upon a time, walking shoes or runners/trainers/sneakers, whatever you like to call them, were a hassle to pack because they were so heavy and bulky. Fast forward a few years and they are now light as a feather, and make packing much more easier. These shoes are also light on your feet and breathe, perfect if your walking around all day in the heat.

Converse on The Emasphere

Converse – C.T Fountain Blue Plimsoll

Nike roche on The Emasphere

Nike – Roshe One Print

11. Shorts

Good for walking, bike riding, canoeing, shopping, the list goes on. If you have to pick between shorts or a skirt to take away with you, (even though I’m a major skirt girl myself) I’d pick the shorts. They are perfect and easy to wear for any activity.

Topshop shorts on The Emasphere

Topshop – Graphic Palm Print Shorts

Whistles shorts on The Emasphere

Whistles – Pampus Print High Waist

12. Plain T-Shirt

Plain tee’s are the best for the minimal styling holiday look. I especially like my tee’s in white or light grey. The lighter colours not only detract the heat but they also go with pretty much anything! I bought about four plain tee’s before I went away, and they were they such a breeze to mix and match with the rest of my clothes.

Country Road T-Shirt on The Emasphere

Country Road – Cap Sleeve T-Shirt

Seed Heritage T-shirt on The Emasphere

Seed Heritage – Relaxed Tee

13. Lipstick

A pop of colour is my secret beauty weapon as it always glams up your outfit, no matter what you’re wearing. When I’m super relaxed on holiday, I can never really be bothered to get too dressed up. So instead, I’ll pop on my throw-on dress with my sandals or wedges, smudge some lipstick on, and voilà! You’ll be surprised at how much the colour will smarten up your casual look.

Nars lipstick on The Emasphere

Nars – Audacious Lipstick

YSL lipstick on The Emasphere

YSL – Rouge Volupte Shine

So there you have it. My must have picks to pack for a European adventure. If you’ve got any other fab additions, let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear!

E. Xx

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