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Ask Amanda: Packing for Europe

posted on July 16, 2012 | by Amanda Holstein

Ask Amanda: Packing for Europe

A two week vacation to Spain to explore the cities, relax on the beaches, and party at night with your friends? Sounds freakin’ amazing, but what do you pack?? I received this dilemma (oh what I nice dilemma to be in) from a reader and thought, I bet a lot of people run into this “issue”. So instead of making you all suffer and figure out what to pack for yourselves (although I’d love to do that), I created a packing list for you.

Now this isn’t just any packing list. I don’t just hand you a check list of numbered items and expect you to decide what to throw in your suite case. I help you figure out how much to pack and what to pack, depending on the occasion and time of day. So let’s get started.

I usually divide my packing into two categories: day and night. Then I divide those into subcategories: tops, bottoms, dresses, outerwear, and shoes. In every category, the key thing to remember is to include one item that goes with everything, and one item that’s just for fun. Then add a few more in between. You can pick out your accessories last. Another important rule of thumb is to stick with a similar color scheme, that way you can mix and match as much as possible. Let’s start with your daytime necessities…

Let’s review:

5 Tops: The white T-shirt is my “goes with everything” option, and the plaid button down is my “just for fun” option. The other options fall somewhere in between.

3 Shorts: The blue denim shorts are my “goes with everything” option, and the floral print shorts are my “just for fun” option. The bright coral ones fall somewhere in between.

2 Dresses: The simple navy cotton dress is my “goes with everything” option, and the printed red one is my “just for fun” dress.

2 Bathing suites: You don’t really have to follow the same rule for this category, but I usually go with one that’s simple and great for tanning (the orange bandeau), and one that’s just for fun.

2 Pairs of shoes: Make sure at least one goes with everything and at least one is comfortable enough to walk around in for long periods of time.

Let’s review:

4 Tops: Choose a variety of shapes and textures. The leopard blouse is my “goes with everything” top (yes, leopard is the new neutral), and the others are just for fun yet still versatile.

2 Skirts: Choose 2 that will match at least 2 of the tops. Both the black leather and solid coral are pretty versatile.

3-4 Dresses: The white lace is my “goes with anything” and “any occasion” option, and the multicolored body con is obviously my “just for fun” option. If you have room in your suite case, I’d throw in a maxi dress that you could wear for day or night, just for good measure.

2 Pairs of jeans: Go simple – a perfect pair of dark wash skinny’s and a well-fitted pair of white denim. Both will go with any of the tops you brought.

3 Pairs of shoes: Black heels are a great “go with everything” pair. I also always bring comfortable heels with me, in this case the wedges. And if there’s room, throw in a “just for fun” colorful pair of pumps.

3 Outerwear: A denim jacket is your “goes with anything” option – perfect for day or night. Your leather jacket is for those fun nights out. And it can never hurt to have a cardigan – wear it on the plane!

And don’t forget the…

2 bags: One small shoulder bag that goes with everything, day or night. Also use a tote as your carry-on as well as your beach bag.

Jewelry: 2 statement necklaces, 3 fun earrings, plus your go-to pieces (a simple necklace and studs).

Extra room?
Add a sun hat, a scarf, or a fun clutch. Or throw in that maxi skirt you’ve been dying to wear.

Not enough room?
You can usually afford to take out a pair of shoes, and probably 2 tops you threw in that you love, but don’t really need.

Most importantly…HAVE FUN!