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Lately, I’ve found myself trawling Instagram for updates from places we visited in Europe last year. The European spring-summer season is in full swing and I just want to jump on a plane and go.
It’s not to be for us this year (don’t feel sorry for us – we have other plans!) but I will travel vicariously through my friends’ adventures as they take off on amazing holidays.
Maybe you are in full planning mode as you read this post? It is the peak time for Australians heading to Europe for a holiday, so chances are you know someone who is scratching their heads and wondering what to pack. Maybe they’re there already.
In this post, I’ll share my tips on what to pack for a holiday in Europe spring-summer 2018, as well as two capsule wardrobes for you to use as starting points for creating your own capsule wardrobe.
The reasons for the two capsules are:
1. Spring in Europe can vastly differ from the height of summer, temperature-wise.
2. Europe is a huge continent. Where you are travelling to in Europe will also play a part in determining what you need in your suitcase.
It could be that for the time you’re travelling – and where you’re travelling to – that you need a combination of both capsules.
This was the case for us three years ago when travelling to Europe in June-July. We needed Queensland winter clothes for the UK but quickly transitioned to summer clothes for southern Italy.
My number one packing tip for any destination is to track the temperatures at your planned destination. I do this in advance by Googling the average temperatures for that time of year. As it gets closer to the time I need to pack, I follow the actual temperatures more closely, via my phone’s weather app.
Because I’m a weather nut – and have been since Year 8 Geography – I compare those projected temperatures with how those same temps would feel at home.
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 much like a Queensland winter!
In July, Paris’ average temperature range is 15-25; Barcelona 21-30 degrees; Rome 19-31 degrees; London 15-23 degrees. And any one of those destinations could be hotter. We missed a prolonged heatwave by just days last year.
My number two tip for creating a travel capsule wardrobe is to keep the colour palette super tight. You want everything that you pack to work back with each other – and to have dress-up/dress-down versatility.
How many pieces you pack for your travel capsule will depend on how long you are travelling for and how much access you have to washing facilities while travelling. Increase the number of garments to suit your individual holiday needs.
15-piece European spring holiday capsule
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 are needed.
You may also need a jacket warmer than a leather one. This one is a winner in my books as it rolls up into its own bag and takes up next to no room. I’d include long-sleeve tops and tees and at least one knit cardi.
Key extras: a raincoat, umbrella and sunglasses. 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.
(Guide only: please note items may no longer be available)
15-piece European summer holiday capsule
If travelling in the height of summer and only to warm countries, then you can very much lighten the load. 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.
I’d include the same key extras as I’ve listed above.
I also always travel with a scarf – even in summer. A cool cotton scarf helps keep the sun off my chest and provides modesty if needed.
(Guide only: please note items may no longer be available)
Why travel insurance is as important as your passport
For me, I don’t book a holiday without first taking out travel insurance. Often the time of booking flights and accommodation can be long before the time of travel and you can never be certain of what might happen between then and showing your passport at customs.
I then want to take off knowing that if someone in my family needs it, I’m backed up with help from my travel insurance company. For my last three international trips – to Europe, Hawaii and to Bali – I’ve chosen and paid for Allianz travel insurance. I also take out Allianz travel insurance for any domestic travel or road trips we do.
Obtaining Allianz travel insurance is a simple and easy process. I select and purchase my cover online. I’ve found that the insurance cover is competitive in price for the inclusions I select.
For me, it’s about having peace of mind when we 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 six years ago while in New York, we weren’t concerned by the potential expense should we need hospital treatment. 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.
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*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.
Allianz Travel Insurance is issued and managed by AWP Australia Pty Ltd ABN 52 097 227 177 AFS Licence No. 245631, trading as Allianz Global Assistance, on behalf of the insurer Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFS Licence No. 234708. Any information or advice here does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider the Product Disclosure Statement available at allianz.com.au before buying this product.
^Terms, conditions, limits, and exclusions apply. Please see the Product Disclosure Statement for more information. 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.
My 10-step packing guide for any destination
For me, the holiday planning is all part of the excitement and anticipation of being on that escape. I love nothing more than going down the rabbit hole that is the internet looking for inspiration and ideas for what to do at the chosen destination but also for the types of clothes and accessories that will best suit that destination at the time that I’m travelling.
The formula I use for packing is one that can be adapted and applied to every destination and type of holiday. It’s not complicated. If you follow all the steps it’s quite liberating. I can’t ever imagine returning to my bad old days of throwing everything into a suitcase, sitting on said suitcase to get it closed, and hoping that I’d packed what I needed.
Want to get that formula? It’s all in my e-book.
Last year I released my e-book, How to plan and pack for your next holiday (confessions of a reformed over-packer) and I’m excited to let you know that it’s had a 2018 update and an expansion with some new chapters.