What to pack for Europe in spring

Nikki ParkinsonFashion 116 Comments

When not one but three SY readers email me with questions about their May visits to Europe,  requesting some packing tips, I take it as a sign.

A sign to explore these questions further … and not be at all envious that Jo-Ann, Rhonda and Lesley are planning and dreaming about Venice, Barcelona, Paris and London and plenty of other stops in between.

Oh ok, you got me. I’m not envious as we’re also heading to Europe – a month later.

It’s a kind of tricky time to travel as it will be warmer but not summer warm. Even when we head to the UK in June, most days will be like a Queensland winter’s day.

It’s all about layers and (considered) options.

As you know, packing is not my forte but it’s an area that I’m getting much better at.

For our trip I will have to keep my luggage to 20kg (I hear you gasping now!) as we are doing some internal flights on smaller airlines and that’s pretty much the maximum.

I’m super determined to not over-pack. I’m going to make it work and I’m going to become the capsule wardrobe traveller I’ve always yearned to be.

So it’s with this newly discovered mindset that I’m tackling this week’s reader style questions and sharing my ideas for what to pack for Europe in spring.

To give you an indication of temperatures in Europe in May, Paris has an average minimum of 11 degrees and maximum of 20 degrees; Barcelona 14-22 degrees; Rome 11-23 degrees; London 10-18 degrees.

Yes, that’s a Queensland winter! Mild but nowhere near Australian summer temperatures. The good news is if you need to top up your travel wardrobe then what’s available in store now is the type of clothes you’ll need to pack.

Before you read on, catch up on this post – 9 tips for packing clothes for a trip away – for general tips to consider when packing for any getaway.

Your next step is to dissect this capsule travel wardrobe I’ve created below. What works for you? What do you already have in your wardrobe that’s similar.

Use this as a starter jigsaw puzzle to create a capsule in your favourite colours and incorporate your favourite pieces.

What to pack for Europe in spring

1. Bohemian Traders dress $129 | 2. Metalicus dress $129.95 | 3. Country Road tee $69.95 | 4. Boho Bird tee $49.95 | 5. Metalicus top $129.95 | 6. Blue Illusion leather jacket $549.95 | 7. Everyday Cashmere travel shrug $195 | 8. Seed scarf $49.95 | 9. Bonds leggings $19.95 | 10. Blue Illusion jeans $199.95 | 11. Louenhide bag $99.95 @birdsnest | 12. Mollini boots $199.95 | 13. Frankie4 footwear sneakers $219.95 | 14. Bohemian Traders bag $273.90

My husband and I are doing a Mediterranean cruise in May for three weeks (Venice to Barcelona including 17 ports). Really looking forward to it and it is my treat after 12 months of treatment for breast cancer. My question is – what to pack?  I have gained weight with the steroids (hope to lose it) and now a size 18, so bear that in mind.  Some things just don’t look good on me. I have a lot of Mela Purdie, ie soft cargo pants (black and sand), heaps of Mela Purdie mousseline tanks, tees, shirts, maxi pants in navy, white tux jacket etc (you get the picture). Any ideas would be appreciated as I’ve never been to Europe only Asia. – Jo-Ann 

Mela Purdie is such a great label for travel – whether you’re heading for overseas or just around the corner, Mela Purdie pieces are worth the dollar value. I received my first Mela piece more than 10 years ago and it’s still going strong. They are easy to wash and don’t need ironing. They also take up minimal space in your wardrobe – or suitcase. Can you tell I’m a fan?! Work out from your current collection what gaps – if any – you have and aim to buy and fill those gaps by the time you travel.

I am a 63-year-old woman who loves fashion and your great approach to styling. We are very fortunate to be travelling to France in May and doing an 11-day river cruise as well as five days in Paris after. I am very excited but also a little unsure as to what to pack. I always find shoes a real challenge when you travel … must have too many! Any suggestions would be very welcome. Rhonda

Ah, Rhonda, I too am hopeless in the shoe department when it comes to travel. I need my options. BUT. Increasingly I’m managing with two or three pairs (yes, I don’t know myself either) but I know things need to change for the future so I’m working on myself in that area. In your case, I would pack one pair of sneakers for walking around in all day and one heel (even if only a slight heel) for a night out with your husband. I can not recommend highly enough the Frankie4 Footwear brand for comfort and style – and there is a new autumn-winter collection being released very soon.

I have been scrolling through your posts and looking at your jeans recommendations to try and decide what to buy. I have a cupboard full of multi sized jeans at home and a trip to UK and Italy in May. I’m not happy with any of them. I need comfy/stylish jeans to wear while there. I have lost weight but I still like to be comfy round the waist, specially when there’s a lot of sitting involved and then there’s the inevitable extra kgs from all that eating and drinking I plan on doing. So what is your best travel jean option? The white ripped Embody denim jeans look sensational on you, as do the black Harlow Australia jeans, then there is the Blue Illusion shaping jeans that pop up in your feed. I can’t afford them all! – Lesley

Firstly Lesley, you need to ditch all the jeans that don’t work for you. It may seem harsh but you can’t embrace the new without letting go of the old. I love all three pairs of jeans you’ve mentioned. I think if you need to narrow it down (and I sure will have to) then opt for the Blue Illusion shaping jeans. Regardless of what else you pack, a dark blue jean will see you through everything from casual to stepping out to a recommended restaurant. These jeans are comfortable for travelling (no cutting in!) and continue to wash very well.

If you’ve travelled to Europe at this time of year, share your tips in the comments below. Got a style question of your own? Email me: [email protected]

Comments 116

  1. Thanks. No backpacks but want to have enough room for souvenirs. will b on river cruise ship that will go to Switzerland, Rhine river and Paris. (early spring) May 1st-17th. Have any tips?

    1. I’m not talking backpacks Jeanette – this post was in response to others doing the same as you … if you scroll through the comments you’ll also find some more tips from people who have been on the same sort of cruises.

  2. Another question from me (my first one was about a zip up tote bag – thanks responders! )- I’m wondering if a leather jacket will get me through a Switzerland trip in April? Or should I consider a thicker ,longer, bottom covering parka style coat? I’m mainly touring around Lake a Geneva but have included time in Zermatt. I will be packing layers , merino and will have a puffer style zip up vest , and boots. Trip includes UK /Scotland so could get any sort of weather really, and ends in Thailand My mission is to keep it under 15kg cos I will be lugging my luggage on and off trains! Advice about which coat please!

    1. Interesting Bonnie … I haven’t travelled at that time of year. Leather jacket was great for me in London late June but it was just like a QLD winter. Scotland will be cold I’d imagine. Someone will hopefully help you out here … but what about instead of a puffer vest, you swap that out with a Uniqlo puffer jacket (long or short) – rolls up to nothing and is light.

      1. Actually I did have a puffer vest! Last year’s Country Road and then also base layers of merino in long sleeve and tank. I could squeeze the leather jacket over the top of everything, thankfully only had to do that once in Zermatt at -4 deg but sunny. Nice “Michelin Man” look. The rest of the time it was either the puffy vest or the leather jacket Everywhere inside is roasting hot with central heating so it is important to be able to shed the layers. Can’t wait for your AW16 capsule shop Nikki. Always full of great suggestions. And thanks for the holiday capsule post yesterday they are so very helpful for someone like me that needs help putting it all together. I also get too distracted by shiny things and am really trying to focus on a wardrobe base of neutrals from now on with the option to change up via scarves, jewellery etc. Love your work Nikki!

  3. Dear Nikki, I found two fab dresses at Autograph, the Maxi Column dress, in grey and black, I love them, very easy to wear and easy to pack and I’m sure versatile. I’m just not sure how to change them up so i don’t look like a frump in a long grey or black dress. Your advice would be greatly appreciated. 🙂

  4. A travel tip for packing boots if you don’t want to wear them on the plane over – is to pack socks, stockings, underwear in the boots when you lay them in the bottom of your suitcase. It take up less room and the padding is great for the boots. I’m heading over in a few weeks, so this post is timely as I’m trying to work out what to pack.

  5. Love this post! I would also add a pop of red to brighten up all the black and white, my mother swears by this when she packs! Another friend also uses khaki to break up neutral tones. It’s also worth noting that May in some of those southern countries can get quite warm – we had 30 degree days in Italy and Spain in May and June when we were there, so tshirts and shorts just in case are a must!

  6. Some great suggestions. I would also suggest NOT taking white clothing – when travelling wanting to chuck everything in the washing machine, it’s so much easier if it is all coloured clothing, and you don’t need to worry about colours running, the whites turning off-white/grey.

  7. I just love the cashmere shrug and how each item mixes and matches with each other. I’m terrible at packing for trips, I always over pack. I’m British and I’d say these clothes are spot on as our Summer’s are often quite chilly, especially if you’re used to hot weather.
    Lorna Mai Blog

  8. This is awesome. Im going to UK & Europe and have never been before. I have a few longer jumpers to go with leggings and Jeggings and jeans and will take all this advise on board of layering 🙂 we will be doing London as well as a Med Cruise so need to pack for both cold and warm 🙂

  9. Thx for the post! I too am going to Europe in June/July. Major dilemma what to pack as I lived in London & know the weather can be cool or hot. We are also going to Paris & Germany where weather can be cool. Last stop is Italy (San Remo) where it will be very warm so I may need to pack for 4 seasons. Husband has told me to pack light (pfft! please) and also said no shopping (again … pllleeeaaasse!) If he thinks I’m going to Paris & not buy anything, he is in la la land. Any advice would be much appreciated!

  10. I was in Europe last May, Germany, France and Belgium. Belgium is the windiest place on earth. I bought an khaki anorak in Brussels as I didn’t take mine from Sydney because of space issues. Scarves are great with everything. Everywhere is heated so you need layers. I wore a cotton singlet then a long-sleeved t shirt and then a jacket and scarf. I wore volleys (I don’t need the support) and flat ankle boots in the day and had a heeled ankle boot for night. Dark blue skinny jeans will take you everywhere in Europe. I ditched my Fossil leather bag for pleather because of the weight. I recommend taking your leather jacket, everyone wears one and they dress up an outfit. As for toiletries, I kept leaving them at places as we travelled from Germany with only carry on. ( My son lives in Berlin and I left my big bag there). If you stay in apartments like Airbnb, they all have washing machines. Most of the trip I did with carry on. I brought home stuff I didn’t wear. We are going to the US in June and I will be paring down the luggage this time.

    I would take all of the above things that Nikki has chosen except dresses, I don’t wear dresses.

  11. Oh Nikki, that’s a really good collection of pieces…totally the kind of things needed for Europe in May. Yes June can be warmer dependant on the area of Europe and you can occasionally get mini-heat waves so it’s something to factor in. As you say for us in QLD it’s comparable to winter temperatures. A cross-body bag is essential for many cities (I see you included one above). Keeps your hands free for browsing some local souvenirs etc and of course for security reasons. Spain and Portugal have excellent cheap handmade leather goods, gorgeous belts, bags and moccasins…so save room in your luggage anyone heading in that direction 🙂

  12. Ah, Nikki, great suggestions there! The only thing I would add is a light wool cardigan – I got cold in Paris in May and bought myself the most hilarious souvenir sloppy joe. It’d been warmer in the UK!! I always pack the scarves/shawls as well, but a cardi doesn’t need rearranging!! We seem to manage two suitcases, a wheely carry-on and a backpack (for all the ‘puter stuff that my darling carries everywhere) between the 4 of us – most of the time!! I vowed that next time we travel I am going to purchase a special travel wardrobe – I hate packing and working it out!!

  13. yep lots of similar colour palate items- September UK/Paris trip and I took black, white denim, stripes, with a splash of red and it worked a treat- even when needed to do washing and limited options, everything went together. Boots, ballet flats and converse sorted the shoes. A few scarf options helped make the outfits feel different, even if this base was similar. Happy travels everyone, I’m jealous!!

  14. I have found an absolute MUST is an anorak length lightweight type of jacket with hood for those unexpected days of rain plus a good quality umbrella. Who wants to miss out on seeing Europe’s famous places and monuments stuck in your accommodation waiting for a break in the weather? The hood keeps your hair dry and in place even if you do look strange in all the holiday snaps.

  15. Wonderful timing Nikki – I’m off to Barcelona, South of France and North of Italy for a month this September / October with Hubbie and Miss 7 and Master 9. My goal this year was to pack crazy light for everyone – I love your suggestions and now just want to go shopping and packing 🙂 I’ll use my long weekend in Broome as a practice run 🙂 What I do struggle with is toiletries – they always seem to take up so much room and weight! Any helpful tips on this one?

    1. Take small amounts and top up on arrival and/or at duty free on departure. Consider using good quality hair soap instead of shampoo and conditioner. Pare your make up down to flexible basics.

    2. Buy normal sized bottles of shampoo etc the day you arrive then you don’t have to lug them around in your luggage. The brands are mostly the same and it’s always good fun looking for something different in local pharmacies too – France and Italy are especially fun for this x

      1. Great idea. I noticed that my normal shampoo did not work at all in Rome as their water is so very different to ours. I couldn’t wash my hair properly there (the cheap hotel I had stayed in did not give small bottles to guests). It is best to buy these there. Also, having travelled through Europe in summer and Melbourne in mid-march (the weather was very changeable and I learned to pack sleeveless thermal singlets which can be worn under t-shirts and no-one will notice. I keep one at work (in Sydney) in case the weather suddenly changes.

  16. Oh and I forgot. If you wear glasses do make sure you take a spare pair. I recently got caught on a domestic trip with frames that broke. Fortunately I had prescription sunnies with me but I did look fairly foolish in those at night 🙂

  17. I went to Europe in June two years ago and I spent the whole trip wishing I had packed my light tan ankle boots (which can be worn with jeans or dresses). It was very cold at night and my feet were cold in the warmest shoes I had (ballet slippers). Ankle boots would have been a bit dressier and much warmer. I decided to look around in the shops and buy a pair of ankle boots but the shops were full of summer sandals and not much choice. NIkki I think you are right – the weather in countries like France and England in spring is virtually the same as our winter in Sydney (perhaps even a little colder at times!).

        1. Thanks for all the tips Nikki ! Enjoying this post and love seeing your outfits each day! Last overseas trip I went on I bought new outfits but I saved them for until I was on holidays. I ended up with a suitcase full of new clothes with nothing matching and some not even fitting right! This time I’ll follow your formula and hopefully have a lighter better matching suitcase! Jo

  18. We are going to France via Hong Kong in September/October, effectively the same weather as there will be in May. We will have a week in Paris then be driving in France for 4 weeks. I am travelling with a medium sized suitcase and determined to leave plenty of space in it so I can buy some goodies on the trip.
    Shoes – I plan to take my low heel long black boots (wear them on the plane so they don’t take up precious space in my luggage). I can wear them with a dress with leggings as well as under or over jeans. Also a pair of Ascent (Australian made, podiatrist recommended) walking shoes and a pair of leopard print flats. Both the boots and the flats will dress up or down as needed. And yes as Maja suggests, do get inserts for all your footwear.
    A black tote for the plane and a black shoulder bag for France and Hong Kong. Shoulder bag worn across my body for security purposes. I won’t carry a back pack as it looks too touristy and is a security risk. I want to blend in as much as possible.
    Pashminas and scarves (2-3) for mixing up my basic outfits and for keeping warm on the flights. A pair of gloves.
    3-4 sets of jewellery to again mix up the basics, mostly low cost but a string of pearls for dress up occasions.
    Minimal amounts of shampoo etc so I have a little on arrival, but will buy larger sizes in Sephora in Paris. We also travel with hand made hair soap which takes up less room and does not need conditioner afterwards. A travel sized hair dryer and flexible make up combinations.
    Clothes: 1 pair of dark denim Bengajeans, so comfortable and they roll up into such a small space in the luggage. 1 pair of red regular jeans (Sportscraft). 1 jersey dress. 1 Sacha Drake reversible black jersey top and matching Sacha Drake black wide leg pants. Two lightweight merino knits, 3 T shirts in neutral colours.
    Underwear: 2 neutral coloured bras, 7 neutral coloured knickers (love those Jockey seamless ones that are comfortable and very lightweight. They take up minimal space and will dry overnight – perfect). 3 pairs of leggings/tights. 2 pairs of Lightfeet socks to wear with walking shoes. 2 camisoles to provide extra warmth. 1 thermal just in case. Definitely compression socks for flying and I love Maja’s suggestion to put them on in the evening (putting your legs up above your body e.g. against the wall, also helps)
    I would love to take my beautiful leather jacket but it is too much of a show pony. I will most likely take a denim jacket instead as it is so flexible and a black Goretex in case of rain. Also a handbag sized umbrella.

  19. I am determined to edit how many pieces I take before going overseas in Sept/autumn, I am shopping now for trans seasonals and sale items like capri pants and tshirts. To the lady who is size 18, trust Maggie T staff, they will put together 4-5 pieces (I have a total of 10 mix and match staples since I first went to humid Japan 6 years ago that they outfitted me with over the last few years) and now I just add to these. They work with statement pieces in your wardrobe too but you have to bring those clothes into the store which might be a drag.
    Also Feathers, no ironing pieces with a bit more pizazz.
    Shoes as per Nikki.
    A few more pretty scarves and nice lippy!
    Personally, I like a trench coat, it’s versatile and smart and very chi chi.
    I love this blog link from Faux Fuchsia, http://unefemme.net

    This lady is stylish and does a mean travel wardrobe too.
    Oh and it was effortless to roll up my short Camilla kaftan and sneak it into my case for a fancy night!

  20. Nikki, love your suggestions above. Buying that Metalicus dress as I type this.
    Shoes, shoes, shoes! The most important item for Europe. With cobbles, old hilly streets, stairs, long hours of walking around and admiring the sights then standing in queues for museums and attractions, shoes become the paramount travelling items. Buy the best you can afford – Frankies are great, Ecco, Planet, etc. Buy an extra pair of inserts (such as Scholl) and don’t forget the compression socks or stockings. I usually put them on in the evenings after long day of walking or standing and the legs are as good as new the next day.
    Also, a lightweight, collapsible rain coat/wind cheater. Being around water in Europe can be blustering. Plus, you never know with that English weather.
    Cross body bag like the one suggested here or even better a light weight backpack is also something I’d recommend. Yes it may look a tad touristy, but even women of Paris wear them and your back and shoulders will love you forever.
    Scarves are great, easily collapsible, lightweight and can freshen up any outfit.
    After all, don’t worry if you don’t take everything. The best thing is you can always buy stuff when you get there. Who doesn’t want to go shopping in London or Paris :)?

  21. I’m loving this post as I’m also heading to Europe at the end is April for 9 weeks. We’ll have all sorts of weather as well, from hiking snow topped mountains in Slovakia to cycling in the Greek Islands and finally the Scottish highlands. I need to keep under 20kg as well and need to pack hiking boots to evening shoes. Will take my ‘keen’ walking sandals and planet shoe wedged sandals .. Both so comfy. I’ve bought a pair of good solid black leather flat boat type shoes which I’m currently trying to wear in. I’ll pack one warm puffy jacket, rain coat and a light denim jacket. Three long cotton pants and long leggings to wear under if cold. Three dresses, three shorts and tops that can be mixed n matched. My theme is black n white with a splash of colour, scarfs are great for this.

  22. I usually pack too many pants when all I ever need no matter where I travel, is a pair of stretch blue skinny jeans, black pointe pants and a pair of leggings. I’m on a mission to keep my options to the minimum. I think I overpack and my luggage only weighs around 12-13kg. Shoes are the killer..I’m usually in turmoil choosing but in my heart I know comfort must be a priority because the wrong shoes can ruin a trip.
    And I always return home with unworn items!

  23. I’m off to New Zealand in April for 2 weeks, so this is helpful for me too with temperatures suggested to be similar to those you’ve mentioned if not a little cooler. My biggest struggle with travelling, if there’s going to be lots of walking, is with shoes. In my normal life I would never wear sneakers other than to exercise. Never. Even a casual converse type shoe I struggle to feel “me” with, which is what I wore first day or two in Paris last year for walking around. LOTS of walking, and I was regretting even that choice. Several blisters later, lesson learned for me that for sightseeing days, feeling daggy in a proper pair or supportive shoes is a far better alternative. I bought myself a pair of fluro NIke’s and my feet were so very grateful. Fashion went out the window at that point. I’d love to find some sneakers that are as comfortable/supportive as a gym shoe, but a bit more stylish. Seems like maybe the sneakers you have here might be a solution to my problem!

    1. Converse sneakers are THE worst sneakers for your feet. I’ve been caught out the same as you were! The ones I’ve featured here from Frankie4 are supportive and stylish – and I wear them for casual at home not just travelling. I have in silver and red with black on my list for autumn!

    2. My leather converse blew out in the side after 5 weeks of continuous wear while travelling and walking mega miles each day. I reckon an Ecco shoe or something like the Frankie4 is a go and looks more smart with skirts and casual dresses even.

    3. I just bought a great pair of shoes from Bared. They sell online are really stylish and super comfy! I just bought lace up runners with a print on them. Highly recommend this brand!

  24. Serendipitous! I’m also going to Europe (Italy, Germany, Poland) for
    May. I’m plus size so can’t rely on shopping overseas (and would prefer to save my shopping time for things other than clothes). I’m also trying for the capsule wardrobe. Denim, black, red and white are the themes. I have a London Fog hip length, black Trench coat and flat, black Duo long boots. I’ll wear the trench and boots on the plane and they should do me for the colder nights, rain and look a little smarter for going out. I know boots sound strange in summer but I’ve travelled the world in them – they are so comfortable and smart and go with anything. I’ll take my old faithful Oroton black cross body bag and my Lucky Brand floral backpack (both well travelled and repaired like new – investment pieces from years ago that have proved their worth many times over). My Frankie4 silver Ellie’s are mandatory, along with my 17Sundays denim shirt. A couple of summer tops, jeans, black pants, two light wraps (one white, one red), a cute/stylish dress, black ballet flats and my Nikki Lissoni necklace with interchangeable pendants. Done. Except for the formal outfit for the Italian family Christening we are attending ….I may have to sneak in an extra dress. BTW, love the blog, so much inspiration that I’ve taken on – Thanks so much Nikki!

  25. I spent 6 months Jan to June in UK and France with a 20 kg suitcase. I wore a navy blazer and couple of silk scarves, pants, tees, a sweater, a lightweight raincoat, a hat, gloves for colder nights. It was warm on transport and inside. I even needed sunscreen. The blazer was a mood lifter in Paris and with the scarf,I was taken for a local. Frankie4 footwear was great.

  26. A timely post for me too. I have done Europe in early summer many times and you still need a mix of things in June depending on where you are. Helsinki in June is exactly like a Brisbane winter day. Barcelona is a lot warmer but still trans seasonal in May.
    Actually, Nikki, I am going through all this in a different way as I am about to go and live in the U.S, an hour away from New York, for 4 months myself. FOUR months, ONE suitcase.
    It will be just finishing snowing when I first arrive and then warming up. Just when I have that under control we head to Finland, then Russia and finish with a week in the south of Italy where it will be hot to come back to our Brisbane winter in July.
    I have 2 weeks left to figure this all out. My overcoat is 20 years old and has padded shoulders. I feel I need to get some kind of multi purpose jacket to use instead as I will wear pants a lot. I just don’t want to invest in too much that will just sit in the wardrobe here once I am home.
    Something tells me that I am going to be turning up to Brisbane airport in March wearing a LOT of clothes. Wish me luck!

    1. Oh that is a huge task! Less last week’s style question post for some great ideas on a coat from readers in the comments. You might pick one up on sale. You could also buy high summer stuff over there? See you in the south of Italy in July!

  27. I have no tips for your lovely readers sorry but I love the capsule wardrobe you have created Nikki.I think layering would be key,I love the cashmere scarf wrap and I feel for you Nikki only having a 20kg limit ,maybe wear your heaviest shoes on the plane? Have a great weekend Xx

  28. We are travelling to Europe too- but not leaving Australia till mid August.
    As is our usual habit we’ll be doing a fair bit of internal travel by train visiting Scandinavia, The Netherlands, Belgium, France then across to London and finally driving around Scotland. I need to leave here with 15 kilograms maximum to have any chance of slinging the bag onto trains and having some room for special purchases.
    The good news is the cool weather means your clothes don’t need washing after a single wear- and you also get to wear a lovely wool beret or knit hat which can hide bad hair days.
    I think when you’re away for a few weeks finding a laundromat and dropping a bag (hello, New York) or spending a couple of hours to get things properly washed and dried can make a huge difference. There’s nothing like the feeling of putting on really clean clothes (especially those things that can’t be washed and dried in your hotel room), when you’ve been wearing the same things day in day out. We will be staying in a tiny apartment in Paris (and have done this previously), with laundry facilities and will wash everything at that point in the trip.
    My top tips though:
    * Give up trying to look like a local, and accept that you’re a traveller.
    * Aim to be comfortable (warm/cool and with your shoes), so you can spend time walking around enjoying these beautiful places.
    * No-one notices that your shoes aren’t the perfect match for your outfit- and you can crop them out of photos if it worries you that much.
    * I rotated the same 2 scarves almost every day on a trip to Europe a few years ago, so I’m wearing one of them in every photo. Who cares?!

      1. And when you have been wearing things over and over (even in combo with other things) they make you feel a bit more colourful if you have pops of new colours that match back to your base items. Also as worn close to the face, they can lift a pic too! Buy scarves in places you go as they give a nice memory for your wardrobe and don’t take up much space!

  29. Uniqlo is also EXCELLENT for lightweight travel pieces and thin layers. And don’t be put off by the low-ish temperatures – 23 degrees in London can feel like 30 degrees in Australia. At that time of year you will have beautiful long evenings as well – it won’t get dark until after 10 in Paris, after 9 in London (add another hour in June) so a lightweight knit that’s suitable for evening is also a must.

  30. Thank you Nikki, this is soooo helpful!! I struggle with handbags for the plane, would love a tote option but so many are open at the top with just a magnetic clasp. Any ideas for zip top totes ( preferably under the $200 mark?)

    1. I can’t go past my Longchamp Le Pliage. They are like a tardis, zip up, are extremely light and always look stylish. I think they’re around $160 in Australia which seems a lot for what they are, however I’ve had mine for about three years and it still looks new.

      1. Buy one of these when you are over there. They are cheaper in Europe. I got mine in a Munich airport for 75 Euro and they had about 10 colours to choose from!

        1. Ditto re Longchamp nylon bag, La Fayette in Paris, all colours and 90Euro if I remember , best bag for plane, I insist on zipped up bags after my wallet fell out and I waited hours to get it back from the airline lost property…in Italy, they were at lunch!

    2. I use both an open tote and big tote with a zip – had them for a few years now and paid about $300 which is above what you’re looking at but they’ve served me well. Wendy’s idea below might work for you?

    3. I just bought a Fossil crossbody tote on e-bay for my trip to Europe. It was about $100 cheaper than in the shops and has two zippered compartments and a front zip compartment but is not too big.

  31. synchronicity at work here! thankyou lovely nikki! …
    perfect timing! sorting and starting to pack my case for Melbourne!
    all good tips as usual! lots of love m:)X

  32. Oh dear! This is nothing like what I had planned. I was thinking summer dresses and kaftans for our May trip to Rome and cruise to Cannes and Monaco. We also have 5 days in Dubai on the way home. Back to the drawing board, I guess and lots of shopping!

    1. I took a Camilla kaftan on our cruise to wear on the ship, Mel. The Med cruises are a bit glam with dinners/cocktail bars so very appropriate attire. Enjoy!

  33. Don’t fall into the trap of buying “travel clothes” that you would never wear at home. Your body may feel comfortable but you wont feel like yourself and you are also likely to stand out as a tourist. Also, its a complete waste of money!
    And I completely agree with Nikki; if you have some nice nights out on your agenda, you need something chic to wear and nice shoes. Again, you just wont enjoy the experience as much.

  34. Tunic dresses (with shorter sleeves) are great options to pop over layering essentials in fine, thin and quick drying fabric. Travel stores like Katmandu have good options if the budget won’t extend to cashmere 🙂 Keep the layering pieces in a tight colour palette like neutrals and let the dresses do more of the talking. Or keep the dresses simple and jazz them up with accessories…scarves, necklaces to make you feel like you’re wearing something different and to take them from day to night with ease. I find it hard to feel comfy in jeans so soft pants are my go to’s when travelling. 3 tops to 1 bottom.
    Totally agree Nikki that a travel wardrobe makes a great trans-seasonal one and those layering essentials will come in handy to take your summer looks into winter. Just like resortwear is great for a summer holiday and when you get back to life in the burbs. Wish I was off to Europe in May! Enjoy girls! Ax

  35. I live in France and can highly recommend comfy walking shoes, there are a lot of cobblestones and uneven paths in Europe. We travelled to Berlin last May and it was 7 degrees for 3 days and then 20 degrees when we left, it’s unpredictable so layering is practical! I have a couple of icebreaker wool tops that are fine and thin but good for layering, don’t crush and don’t hold odours, ideal for travelling. Finally, a good scarf or fabric necklace can change a plain black/white tee into something a bit dressier. Can’t wait to see how your packing goes Nicki!

  36. Europe an still be very cold at night at this time so a warm jacket and a couple of scarves that can double as wraps are a good idea. A comfortable walking shoe with not only arch support but a slightly elevated heel (eg 2cms) will prevent that awful throbbing feet issue at the end of the day! Children of the Revolution shoe shop in Brisbane has a great selection of attractive walking shoes that don’t look like hiking boots! Mela Purdie and Sacha Drake is pretty much all I pack – Sacha Drake has a new seamless black pant which can go from night to day and a fabulous ‘skinny’ pant which sounds horrendous but hides a multitude of sins, and again can go from day to night

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