It’s time again for another family adventure. Every couple of years we plan a big overseas trip where we walk and eat our way through another country. This year we are traveling through two countries in Europe, over three weeks, and we’re only taking carry-on luggage.
Special thanks to SunButter for partnering with me on this post.
We are all packed up and ready for our trip through Northern Italy and Switzerland. We’ve been to other parts of Italy twice now and have learned our lesson on what to pack and what NOT to pack. The first time we visited Italy we had big bags with wheels. This is a big “don’t do it!”
Imagine trying to navigate cobblestone streets with 20 lbs. of luggage on wheels. My dear husband ended up carrying our girls luggage for most of the trip. Since then, we’ve learned our lesson – less is more! Well, it’s “more” better.
With every trip overseas we get smarter with our packing list. This year we’re determined to pack all the clothes we would need for our entire 3 week trip in one carry-on each. My husband and I purchased carry-on bags that also double as backpacks. The cool thing is that they are the same size as carry-on bags, so there’s no need to check them (like you would backpacking backpacks on some smaller planes). The girls are taking a regular large school sized back pack.
What’s our trick? We’re staying at each city for 3-4 nights and we made sure that every other hotel/apartment had a washer and dryer. Ding!
Pack a few of your favorite bathroom essentials and stock up in Europe if you run out.
Let’s start with toiletries. You really don’t need a lot because you can refill in Europe if needed. All of this fits in a standard size toiletry bag that’s TSA approved. Each of us packed:
- Shampoo and conditioner in travel size rubber squeeze tubes (green and pink, we got them at Target)
- Travel size deodorant (except Miss M. she doesn’t use it yet)
- Travel size lotion
- Two travel size sunscreens (we use Goddess Garden)
- Two travel size toothpaste
- Travel size moisturizer
- Sewing kit (only I packed this)
- Lip balm
- Nice n clean wipes
- Extra hair ties and a bobby pin (except my husband, he has very little hair)
- Tylenol (not pictured)
- Tums (not pictured)
- Nail clippers and file (not pictured)
- Mascara and an eyebrow pencil (not pictured, just me packing this)
You can pack light, roll your clothes up tight, and still dress the way you want for your trip. It’s easy, especially during the summer months.
Let’s talk clothes. You know that it’s hot in Europe during the summer, right? That means you only need shorts, shirts, dresses, etc. and all of these things roll up super tight and small. OH! And don’t forget your swimsuit and sunhat. I packed enough outfits to get me through 4-5 days knowing that we would do laundry every 3-4 days. I packed:
- Swimsuit, hat, sunglasses, and flip flops
- 4 light weight shirts
- 3 pairs of shorts
- 1 black cotton skirt
- 1 blue romper
- 1 sundress for going out
- Cardigan (for covering my shoulders in churches)
I’m wearing a pair of pants, a t-shirt, zip up hooded sweatshirt, and sneakers for the airplane ride over because I get cold on planes.
Electronics (and other great stuff)
Not only do you need your camera and cell phone charger, you’ll need a few other electronics (and things) to make sure your trip runs smooth.
If you’ve never traveled to Europe, you will want to get a travel adapter. Also, don’t bother bringing your flat iron. Even with an adapter, it will be useless. Trust me. I learned this from experience. I thought I’d flat iron my otherwise curly hair while vacationing. Nope. I ended up carrying it around the whole time.
Here are some MUST HAVES for your trip (or any trip overseas).
- Cell phone charger, and other chargers you may need (not pictured)
- Camera, batteries (if you don’t want to use your phone)
- Travel adapter set – look for ones that include several countries
- Waterproof safety bags for your phone
- Headphone spliters (these are for sharing a tablet, laptop, or watching movies on planes)
- Bluetooth speaker – Okay, this is not a must have, but it’s sure nice to have. We love listening to music while sunbathing on beaches.
- Portable bag – This is not an electronic item, but it’s a must have. So far, most of the countries we have visited charge for grocery bags. We like to bring our own bag for when we shop for groceries.
- Travel documents, reservations, confirmations
- Passports, and copies of passports
- Travel guide books
We have food allergies, that’s probably a given. Miss M. can’t eat gluten or peanuts, and Miss A. and I can’t eat gluten or dairy. We like to bring 1-2 grocery totes worth of snacks and other foods with us on our trips just in case we can’t find snacks for our family in the stores. We eat our way through our snacks and end up with bags for souvenirs at the end – win! Don’t worry, most airline carriers allow a carry-on and a personal item. Just remember not to bring any liquids over 4oz.
Sometimes it’s challenging to find safe snacks when traveling. We bring food as our personal item on the plane in a insulated bag (that way we can use the bag as a cooler for picnics). You don’t have to bring snacks and food, but if you want to here are some of our favorites.
- SunButter – our go-to protein source when we are traveling and in a pinch for a snack. We LOVE SunButter.
- Glutino – Crackers, Pretzel Twists, Toaster Pastries, and Vanilla Cream Cookies.
- Enjoy Life Foods – Baking Chocolate Snack Packs, Fruit & Seed Mix, boomCHOCOboom bars, pizza mix (it’s Europe! you’ve got to have pizza), and muffin mix. We’re renting apartments most of the time and plan to make some of our own food, especially in the smaller towns with limited choices.
- Canyon Bakehouse – Heritage Style Loaves and Everything Bagels (not pictured because they’re in the freezer until we leave)
- Nima Sensor – This isn’t food, but it’s important if you want to test your food for gluten. We’re taking a Nima with us and testing out the gluten-free foods in Europe to make sure they are safe for us to eat.
All of the above foods fit into one insulated grocery tote, and the clothes, toiletries, and electronics fit in my carry-on bag. No even kidding! As mentioned, while we are in Europe we will be doing our laundry every other city, that’s why we can pack lite. I recommend you do the same. We will also be snacking on our favorite snacks above, and cooking some of our own meals. We do have some planned gluten-free bakery and restaurant visits to make, which I’ll share with you later.
I’ll post a summary of each city we visit, where we ate, and what fun things we find.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by SunButter. Opinions are my own.