My Travel Packing List: Europe Edition

July 23, 2023


A photo of a gorgeous landscape in Portugal. Taken from a rooftop, depicts bright blue skies and dozens of rooftops with orange roofs

Hi, my name is Tomachi Onyewuchi and I suffer from chronic overpacking syndrome.

Say Hi back to me rn.

Whenever I’ve gone on vacation, I’ve packed for every.single.possible.event.

What if I randomly run into a celebrity on vacation and they fall in love with me at first sight and invite me to an exclusive event? 

I have just the  dress and heels for that.

What if I end up going to the beach every single day and then wind up on some wild excursion after that? 

I have an outfit (or two or ten). 

What if I decide I want to change my outfit 4 times in one day to make it look like I live a lavish lifestyle on IG?

Check.Check andddd… check.

Needless to say – none of these crazy rom-com ass scenarios have ever happened to me. Instead, I’ve only ever experienced a checked bag that’s 10lbs over the weight limit, losing a left shoe (I think it’s in that one hotel from that one time?) and a general disdain for repacking everything when it’s time to go home.

For my trip to Europe (Portugal and Spain), I knew I needed to be better. Instead of bringing my huge Beis bag, I opted for a smaller checked bag and a carry-on to save space.** Creating outfits before my trip and finding ways to be more versatile were major keys for me with packing. My packing list isn’t perfect, but I think it’s a great starting point for anyone who may need it. See below (based on 2 weeks of travel) and leave any comments about  your packing must haves!

**Editors note: We are going to ignore the fact that my luggage was lost for the first four days because Azores Airlines is the worst.

Part I: Clothing

  • 2-3 pairs of Simple White Tees → Honestly, I’m a sucker for a crisp white tee and a good pair of denim, a skirt, etc. It’s simple, but classic. My favourite tees are from Kotn; I love their 90s tee and their essential crew shirt (size up!)
  • 1 sweater → Perfect for planes, colder mornings or after beach visits.
  • A light jacket → When I travelled, it was in the spring so having a light denim jacket to walk around it was perfect. 
  • 2 long flowy dresses/skirts → I think these are the best things to dress up or dress down and they look great on everyone! 
  • 1 button up shirt → I love a classic blue and white striped oversized t-shirt. I love wearing it off the shoulder, but it’s also great to throw on over a swimsuit. I like a cheap one from H&M but if you’re looking for something that’ll last a little longer, I suggest this one from Djerf Avenue.
  • Comfy pair of pants/cargos → I love a non-denim pair of pants or a pair of comfy staples. 
  • A good pair of jeans (shorts or otherwise)
  • 1-2 nice tops for dinner

Part II: Shoes & Accessories

  • A crossbody bag or fanny pack → Leave the handbags and totes at home. I’m telling you, you’re going to want to have your hands free and this is the best accessory to keep you safe from pickpockets. My fave purchase was the Uniqlo round mini shoulder bag. It’s sturdy and fits everything.
  • Scarves → Honestly, the biggest life saver and my top style hack because it completely changes your outfit. I love wearing it on my head, but I’ve worn it as a belt, top, bandana and neck scarf before. My faves are from the Silk Labs
  • Gold jewelry → There’s something about Europe and bright sunny weather that screams GOLD accessories to me. For travel, I highly suggest keeping it simple with a pair of gold hoops, a necklace or two and a ring. You want enough jewellery to boost your outfits but not too much that you’re searching the hotel for your missing ring.

Shoes Guys, when I tell you comfort is KEY, I truly mean it. I promise you can leave the heels and home and instead opt for:

  • Comfy running shoes → I, like everyone else in Toronto, am a New Balance girlie. My tip is to go with a neutral colour that’ll match everything
  • A nice pair of sandals These are perfect for fancier nights out/ when you want to look a little more pulled together
  • Flip flops → Honestly, don’t spend a lot of money on flip flops. I always get a pair from Old Navy

Part III: Makeup

When it’s hot, the last thing you want is a lot on your skin. For me, getting a bit darker because of the sun makes my skin look better anyway, so I don’t feel like I need a lot of makeup. These are my go-tos:

  • Concealer Spot concealing instead of using a full heavy foundation is the way to go. And the pro? It takes up way less space in your makeup bag. My current fave is the Dior Backstage Concealer in the shade 7N because it’s light and gives a luminous, natural finish.
  • Mascara → I don’t like spending tons of mascara, so my fave is the Maybelline lash sensational.
  • Eyeliner Your fave liquid liner is key. I also love a pop of colour from a purple or blue eyeliner for some pizazz.
  • Bronzer → I’m a fenty girl through and through.
  • Pressed Powder Charlotte Tillbury
  • Travel size setting spray from Miss Charlotte Tillbury
  • Highlighter → I love the travel friendly Glossier in quartz.

Part IV: Beauty and Skincare

With skincare, I have to be honest – I don’t like compromising. But, what’s helped me is having mini versions of all my products:

  • Cleanser
  • Makeup remover (Micellar water comes in smaller bottles and is super travel friendly)
  • Paula’s Choice BHA. Also comes in a mini version. For my acne prone girlies, this is a must.
  • Oil Free Moisturiser
  • Sunscreen. This goes without saying for the summer. 

For my body care, I like to keep it simple:

  • Razor
  • Lip balm
  • Sunscreen
  • Mini body wash + lotion. (I love the discovery pack from Alo.)

Part V: Miscellaneous

  • Packing cubes. I highly suggest these to keep your bags organise and help you avoid losing clothing
  • Portable phone charger for on the go
  • Headphones → I love my airpods
  • A book → Perfect to read on the beach or the plane
  • Journal + pen
  • Hand sanitizer and/or wipes
  • Converter for your phone

I hope this list is a good jumping off point for those of you going on vacation! If you have any other suggestions or things you like to include or would swap out, leave them in the comments below!

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