Packing for a Europe trip this spring? Your favorite Europe travel guide has rounded up the essentials items you don't want to forget in that suitcase.
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How do I pack for Europe in spring?
As I sat down to write this post, I found myself reflecting fondly on our trips to Europe in the spring/ Our first trip to England was in August (do not recommend) and the second was in April. I was absolutely stunned by the difference. I think I spent 30% of the trip asking my husband if he remembered "how crowded it was last time we were here!!" That said, it really did rain quite a lot in England...but that's England for you.
If you've been following the blog for any period of time, you'll know that packing for a trip is absolutely a highlight for me. It provides me with the impetus to nail down our agenda, really dig into researching the places we'll be seeing, learn something about the culture, and, of course, maybe even shop a bit.
That said, traveling to Europe in each season has its own particular pitfalls in addition to perks and pleasures. As I referenced, packing for a trip to Europe in the potentially rainy and gusty spring has a few considerations you should keep in mind. So, it's taken me a while to get around to it, but I've finally rounded up my tips and my perfect packing list for your European vacation this spring.
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Is spring a good time to visit Europe?
Any time of year is the perfect time to go to Europe, in my book, and stunning spring is no exception. Fewer crowds, cooler temperatures, plenty of blooming flowers, and admittedly a few showers, should make for an excellent recipe for a memorable and relaxing trip to Europe.
What's the weather forecast like in Europe in spring?
In most European countries in early spring, you can expect some fairly cold weather, quite a bit of rain, and the occasional bouts of gleaming sunshine. It's not terribly different from the U.S. For example, the average temperature in Paris in March is 55/42 Fahrenheit, with 9 average days of rain. Once you get to pay, you're up to an average temp of 68/52, though the rainy day average is unchanged.
If you'll be visiting Northern Europe (Germany, Scandinavia), confirm you won't be likely to get snow before continuing on this packing list!
Southern Europe/Mediterranean countries will be considerably warmer, in terms of weather. Barcelona even on our last trip in January was quite warm and I wore a light, unliked 'topper' and a scarf. in May you can expect 73/60 and just 4 days of rain.
What do people wear in spring in Europe?
You can expect to see everyday Europeans wearing a lot of light scarves and cute jackets as they emerge from their winter hibernation! Leave the tank tops, flip flops, and pajamas at home. Europeans are significantly more formally dressed than Americans.
Looking for more Europe travel packing hacks? Check out The Ultimate Guide to Packing for 10 Days in Europe.
Packing Essentials for Spring in Europe
Time to talk packing specifics for your trip to Europe this spring!
...a note on packing cubes
Before we get started, a quick note on one of my favorite Europe travel packing topics: the ever-exciting (and, dare I say, controversial) packing cubes. You'll thank me later. Invest in a good set of packing cubes and keep yourself occupied throughout your trip.
Want to know more?
Waterproof Jacket & Casual Topper
Alright, let's start off with the most important things you'll pack for spring in Europe - the right jackets. I'd recommend bringing two jackets for a spring trip: one waterproof jacket specifically for rain (or the threat of rain) and one light jacket for everyday. For the rain jacket, you can't go wrong with a Barbour waxed jacket.
For days when it isn't actively raining, in most European countries, you'll still likely want a light jacket/topper both for some warmth and because Europeans tend to wear more layers than Americans. Oh and a pocket is great for storing that small umbrella that you'll unfortunately likely need.
Will I need my heavy winter coat for spring in Europe?
No. You likely will not need to haul your Canada Goose over to Europe in springtime. During the aforementioned trip to the UK, I brought a wool, winter coat and literally never took it out of my suitcase. The same coat made another useless trip to Paris that fall. It's just simply not as cold as a Midwesterner might be expecting!
A small, foldable umbrella
A little umbrella that can be easily jammed into that pocket or small purse is a simply must-have. Don't buy anything expensive, as you may lose it or decide to leave it behind if you need extra room for your souvenirs. Don't want to invest in an umbrella or haul it to Europe? Check with your hotel. Many hotels have umbrellas available for guests to use.
Get ready for your trip: American Travel Mistakes in Europe
Comfortable, waterproof walking shoes
For any trip to Europe, the make-it-or-break it item in those suitcases is your hardy, comfortable, yet stylish, footwear. During my time spent touring European cities, I've frequently walked 20,000+ steps in a single day. For 10 days in a row. You can't let a blister ruin even a single moment of tourist time. Comfortable shoes are simply non-negotiable.
For spring in Europe, I'd recommend bringing 3 pairs of shoes: a pair of ankle boots, tennis shoes/sneakers, and a third (wildcard!) either loafers or knee-high boots. In spring, my go-to would be the waterproof ankle boots, the best shoes I've found for Europe exploration's fluctuating weather. They're comfortable to walk in, but they can handle a surprise shower. You'll want to give your feet a break by also bringing some (cute, clean, broken-in) sneakers for big walking days. For the third pair, I like knee-high/riding boots for spring. No one wants chilly feet. If you're going somewhere on the warmer end of the spectrum, then I'd include a pair of loafers for night time, etc.
In spring time, it will not be warm enough for sandals/flip flops in Europe (and who wants to wear them for tourism anyway?). In general, leave the high heels at home, unless you have a very specific event that you're 100% going to attend.
For more on packing shoes for a trip to Europe, check out Buying Shoes for Europe.
Extra Credit: Sweater Dress
Have an evening activity? Going to fancy high tea in London? For spring in Europe, I'd recommend a sweater dress as the go-to fancy outfit idea. Bring some thick stockings, wear those ankle or knee-high boots, and you're all set!
A note on dress codes
It shouldn't be as much of an issue in Europe in the spring as it would in summer, but if you'll be visiting religious sites or high-end restaurants, be sure to check the dress code before you finalize your packing list for the trip. Some religious sites do not allow exposed shoulders or very short shorts. Many high-end restaurants in Europe do not allow 'trainers' or casual sneakers, so be sure you have some boots or loafers in your bag!
A few extra layers
For those colder days, be sure you've included a sufficient number of long-sleeve shirts and light sweaters to keep yourself warm in a strong breeze. Make sure the shirts you pick will fit comfortably under whichever jackets and coats you've selected. Ideally have a couple tops that you can wear more than once, to save space in the suitcase.
As far as pants, I'd bring: jeans (good for everyday tourism), black pants, a couple pairs of leggings if you're planning on wearing riding boots.
The right purse
As with any trip to Europe, you want to be sure to bring a purse that satisfies all of my 'Europe purse criteria.'
First things first, your purse for your Europe trip should be small enough to only hold the essentials: credit cards, cash, phone, keys, any other absolute necessities. Leave the travel backpack at home unless you are traveling with a baby.
Second, and most importantly, *it needs to fully and securely close.* Without making you paranoid, the reality is that pickpocketing is an unfortunate fact of any tourist destination. Don't let the lessened spring crowds trick you into letting your guard down. I generally bring a small, leather crossbody that's nice enough for day or night, but it's so nice that I have to worry too much about it on pub floors and airport bathrooms.
Chic Travel Set
Ugh and just like that, the trip is over and we've made it to the last thing on our packing list. I always think it's a good idea to be sure to include a cute travel set for the airplane to show up looking good after a long flight and a long trip. Frank & Eileen has the cutest travel sets I've found so far!
Packing List for Spring
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