What to pack for spring in Europe | Travel capsule wardrobe | Styling You

How to plan and pack for a European spring-summer holiday

Nikki ParkinsonLife, Travel 28 Comments

Sponsored by Allianz Travel Insurance

There are a lot of excited people out there right now with tickets booked, passports checked, travel insurance secured and the countdown firmly on until they jet away to Europe for spring or summer. 

This is peak time for Australians heading to the Northern Hemisphere to take advantage of the warm weather and longer days. 

Don’t hate me but I’m one of them.

As part of my Festival of Fifty, late June we’re heading to Italy and Croatia. We’ve been to Italy once before but only scratched the surface of what’s on offer. Croatia will be completely new to us.

Unlike my previous biggest packing challenge – Europe in June/July 2015 – where my luggage was limited to 20kg and the weather was a mix of Queensland-winter cool (UK) and hot (Italy), this time it will be easier with only warm/hot weather options needed.

But if you’re travelling to Europe in spring or to northern European countries through summer then my tips for how to pack for a European spring-summer holiday start where all my packing tips start: checking out the average temperatures of where you’re headed and then following them more closely via your phone’s weather app as it gets closer to your departure date. You then need to compare those projected temperatures with how that feels like where you live.

{This is my #1 tip on my e-book: Confessions of a Reformed Over-Packer}

One country’s version of summer can feel like your winter at home. And you may travel to a few different countries and need vastly different clothing pieces for each.

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 spring temperatures in most parts of Australia.

When creating a travel capsule wardrobe, one of my other key packing tips is to keep the colour palette tight. This is purposeful so most things can be worn back with pretty much everything in the suitcase. 

If you’re travelling at the start of spring or to northern European countries in summer, then you will need more layering pieces and the addition of ankle boots to your travel capsule. It will still be quite cool/cold so having thin, warm layers that don’t take up much space but are there if needed are key. You may also need a jacket warmer than a leather one. I’d include long-sleeve tops and tees and at least one knit.

The capsule I’ve created below works for spring and summer in cooler regions. Add or subtract heavier or lighter pieces (see the second summer capsule) to suit your destination/s and the timing of your travel. 


What to pack for spring in Europe | Travel capsule wardrobe | Styling You

For links to items featured, head HERE. (Guide only: please note items may no longer be available)

If travelling in the height of summer and only to warm countries, then drop the boots, jeans, long, pants, knit and jacket and sub in sandals, a light jacket, shorts and a skirt. Include a hat, swimsuit and fold-up beach bag that can be stowed in your suitcase. The wedges are optional but I do like to include them for evenings out. In cooler months I’d feel dressed up enough in a mid-heel boot.

Key extras for both ends of the season: a raincoat and umbrella. Accessories-wise, a statement pair of earrings and/or a statement necklace can go a long way to transform your day dress or separates’ combination into evening.

What to pack for SUMMER in Europe | Travel capsule wardrobe | Styling You

For links to items featured, head HERE. (Guide only: please note items may no longer be available)

Why travel insurance is as essential as your passport

I want to take off knowing that if someone in my family needs it, then I’m backed up with help from my travel insurance company. For my last two trips – to Hawaii and to Bali – I’ve chosen Allianz travel insurance. I’ll be choosing Allianz again when we travel to Italy and Croatia in June.

What I found was insurance that was not only simple and easy to obtain – I selected and purchased my cover online – but also insurance that was competitive in price for the inclusions.

For me, it’s about having peace of mind when you travel. I want to know that if anything goes wrong that my family is backed up through medical help or simply help with extra accommodation or replacement belongings should something be stolen.

When our son was sick almost five years ago while in New York, we weren’t concerned by the potential expense should we need hospital treatment. When I was in Bali last year, I wasn’t concerned about being potentially out of pocket should any delays occur because of the unforeseen ash cloud. And when I book holidays in advance, I do so with the knowledge that if unexpected cancellations occur, I’m covered.^

In short, I don’t leave home – or book a holiday – without it.

Book with Allianz Travel Insurance online HERE. Enter  STYLINGYOU to receive up to 10% off International Comprehensive Travel Insurance*

So tell me, are you headed to Europe this year? When are you going and where are you visiting?

How to plan and pack for a European spring-summer holiday | Styling You | Travel capsule wardrobe

A typical spring-summer European travel outfit (for milder days): Sassind tee and cardi; Bohemian Traders jeans; FRANKiE4 Footwear sneakers


*Discount based on standard premium rates and applies to International Comprehensive policies only. Please note some discounts may have already been applied to premiums when a product is purchased through a certain channel (for example, online) (Original Discount). In such a case, the greater of the discount offered under this voucher and the Original Discount will be applied. Discount applies to standard premiums only. No discount will be applied to other premium components such as pre-existing medical condition cover.

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^Terms, conditions, limits, and exclusions apply. Any information or advice here does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. If you purchase a policy, Allianz Global Assistance receives a commission which is a percentage of your premium – ask them for more details before they provide you with any services on this product.

Want more travel packing and planning advice?

Confessions of a Reformed Over-Packer e-book.



Nikki Parkinson from Styling You’s latest e-book, Confessions of a Reformed Over-Packer (How to Plan For Your Next Escape), has you sorted on the dreaded “what to pack” question for your next trip.

What you’ll find in the 51-page e-book:

  • Simple tips to help you plan and pack for any travel destination or situation.
  • What clothing, footwear and accessories should take up the most space in your suitcase?
  • How to minimise your essential beauty product kit.
  • Which extras should you invest in to make your trip away less stressful.
  • Specific capsule travel wardrobe advice and examples for multiple destinations.
  • Advice for domestic getaways – weekends away, a beach holiday, road trips and conferences.
  • Advice for international getaways – northern hemisphere spring, summer, autumn, winter, tropical and sub-tropical island destinations.
  • Advice for what to wear on a flight – short and long haul.
  • Why travel insurance is as essential as your passport.
  • A printable checklist to help you pack and plan your next trip.

For more information, visit HERE.

Comments 28

  1. Hi
    I’ve paid for your book via PayPal but have no idea where to download it. It doesn’t seem to have arrived in my iBooks. Help apprecated. Thanks

    1. Post
  2. Hi Nikki, I enjoy reading your travel packing tips whenever I start to think I need to pack more than I do your tips get me back on track. We are off mid July to Northern Europe (we have friends in DK) and St Petersburg as well as Lakes district of England, then for some sun south of France. Best keep secret Marseillian tiny fishing village with a nice plage near by. So lots of climates to pack for, I bought a pair of Arcopedico boots hoping they work out well. Croatia is lovely and can be really hot too. Have a safe, wonderful trip…. Helen

  3. Lovely suggestions Nikki! Your advice on researching weather is absolute key! We travel to some Mediterranean spot each year in September for 2 weeks (last year was Croatia, the year before Barcelona and southern France) – these are all warm and weather to lie on beaches or swim. We follow that up with 2 weeks in the Italian Alps (where we have renovated a house and have family) – here it’s always cold. Layering is key! I take chiffon style tops – singlet/cami under for the warm weather, metalicus long sleeve tee for the cooler weather. Scarves, necklaces etc always jazz them up and make the outfit look “different”. Have a fabulous holiday! Look forward to reading your travel blog 😉

  4. I’ll also be in Italy & Croatia in June/July except I’ll be celebrating my Festival of Forty 😉 Croatia is stunning and the coastline is beyond beautiful, you’ll absolutely love it! We’re heading to London/Paris first (early June) and I’ve been struggling with what to pack given the differences in temps so this post couldn’t have come at a better time!

  5. Would love your tips on travelling to Greece/Italy/Spain (from north to south) in September/October. Worried that the change in seasons will be tricky to pack for – not to mention packing appropriately for three kids!!!

    1. It will be tricky but it will be close to what I’ve suggested for the spring capsule. When we went to the UK and Italy two years ago it was an “all season” situation (well not mid-winter) and layers were key – as was tracking the weather app closely.

  6. Great tips as always Nikki. I can vouch for your tip about being guided by the temperatures. I’m currently enjoying Paris in the springtime and about 2 days ago the maximum (!!) was 7 degrees. Layers have been my saviour! Rugged up for outdoors and then as soon as you step into the museum or cafe, unlayering! Enjoy your travels to Italy and Croatia. Croatia is on my wish list so looking forward to your updates!

  7. It’s tricky packing light for different climates. We’re going to be in Brisbane, Dubai, Greek Islands, London and Shanghai in May. Third world problems!! Thanks for the tips though.

    1. If you can, get your hands on a Uniqlo Ultra Light Down jacket. They pack down into a little pocket and they are so flipping warm. They’re skinny enough without adding huge bulk and they’re a good price if you can get them on sale. Just keep it in its pocket in your handbag (or pocket) until you need it. They’re a great investment for travel.

    2. So tricky. That was us a bit two years ago. Packing cubes are great for keeping the cooler weather garments separate from the warmer weather pieces. Layering is key. Your bottom layers might work when warm on their own … then add others to suit in the other countries.

  8. I’m an Aussie girl who lives in the UK and travels a lot through the year. I’m more of a blues/grey palette with some white, and a definite is always a big scarf with a good pop of orange (pretty much always found at Zara). I fly a lot with just carry-on within Europe, so you have to pack smart – that’s where the big scarf comes in, they work for warm or cold destinations, and a back-up for freezing cold planes. Always tuck a few cheap “statement” type necklaces in as well, they lift a plainer outfit and make it look a bit special. One thing I’ve found is that unless you’re at a beach destination, shorts will mark you out as a tourist. I like a maxi skirt or dress instead of the shorts option. A cross body bag is a must – it’s safer and leaves you two hands free for shopping or wine. 🙂

  9. As part of my Festival of Fifty hubby and I are heading to France, Italy and England in August with a stop in Singapore on the way home. Ticking off a long-held bucket-list dream and spending actual birthday on the Orient Express. Sooo excited!! And even more excited now that my travel capsule will feature a gorgeous OTS white dress. And I have you to thank Nikki – I never would have tried this before (being over 40 and rather big-busted) but I’ve been following your blog for a little while now and you gave me the confidence to try it. And WOW! It looks amazing. I found the right bra, bought the dress yesterday and showed my husband last night. He is still picking his jaw up off the floor. THANK YOU! Looking forward to more posts from this fabulous community.

  10. I am off to Italy next week and watching the weather closely. Have packed a light winter white overcoat as it is supposed to be spring but temps look chilly. My capsule wardrobe is similar to yours in black, navy and white. Love travel but try not to look too touristy.

  11. Germany, Spain, France and Italy for a 50 / 60 / 70 birthday gatherings
    . I’m starting to put together the wardrobe now and am pleased to see the concepts I am using fit in with your suggestions!

  12. your trip sounds wonderful nikki! … part of your fifty festival! very good thinking hun!
    and you are definitely on par with your travel capsule … /packing!
    much love m:)X

  13. That time of year for me but as always, I have to pack for hot and cold. Connecticut, New York, Ireland, Portugal, London.
    I do the colour capsule thing but for me it tends to be shades of blue rather than grey/ neutrals.

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