Packing for Europe? Here’s How to Avoid Looking Like an American Tourist

April 20, 2023

Packing for a trip to Europe? Here’s how to avoid looking like an American tourist during your European vacation. From what to pack to what to leave behind!

Europeans, especially the French, and Italian, are chic, elegant dressers. Even when it comes to their normal everyday wear. But suggesting that you make the effort to become a more elegant dresser during your trip to Europe, is not so much to strip you of your own personal fashion sense. But more so to help you blend in while traveling in Europe, avoid looking like an American tourist, and above all, avoid pickpockets who know who to target! So how do you accomplish blending in with fashion-savvy Europeans while on vacation? There are a few things to avoid, and I’ve listed them all below!

Here are 8 Things to Avoid Packing While Traveling to Europe

1) Flip Flops

These cherished sandals, otherwise known as “thongs” outside the US, are highly uncomfortable with the amount of walking you’ll be doing on vacation. Europeans do not wear flip-flops the same way they are worn in the US. If you do plan on packing them, they should only make an appearance when lounging by the pool.

2) Shirts Supporting Your Favorite Sports Team

Football, baseball, basketball, and soccer; it’s easy to wear these around your hometown or on Sunday when watching the game. But leave these sports-fanatic shirts at home before you begin packing for your European vacation!

3) Baseball Hats

Are you planning a European vacation during the summer months? It’ll be important to keep cool from the heat while shielding your face from the sun. Especially if you plan on doing as much site seeing as possible. Needless to say, packing a hat would be a smart option to combat the heat and sun. However, it would be best to pack a fanciful summer hat and leave the baseball caps at home.

4) Workout Clothing

It’s not uncommon to wear yoga pants or active wear when running out to the grocery store, the mall, or even to get your nails done. But the same cannot be said for Europeans. Avoid any type of activewear while traveling in Europe, unless you have a hike scheduled in your itinerary.

5) Fannypack

I will admit, fanny packs have come a long way since the 90s. Gone are the days of neon fanny packs made of thick nylon material and velcro! I personally love the leather fannypacks made by high-end designers that can also be worn as a small crossbody bag. These are great for carrying a small number of cards, cash, and your ID while you are out sightseeing! But make sure if you do plan on using a fanny pack during your European vacation that it is one of the new versions that goes across your body, and not a visible “around the waist” pack.

6) Backpack

I know backpacks seem like an obvious choice when traveling internationally.  But, backpacks scream “I’m a tourist”! If you do decide to wear one, be careful with your wallet, phone, and any other important other documents. I personally choose to carry a backpack while flying instead of a purse. I find backpacks, with all of their many zippers and dividers, to be more durable for flying. Additionally, I’m able to carry my laptop, headphones, and phone while having them easily accessible during a long flight. But once I arrive at my destination and I’m ready to tour I opt to instead to use a small cross-body purse. That way my wallet and belongings are safe!

7) Stilettos & Heels

If this is your first time traveling to Europe, you might be surprised to know that many of the historic streets are still lined with cobblestone. Making it virtually impossible to walk around in anything with a pointed heel. If you are packing for a night out and want to bring along a dressier shoe, chunky heels, wedges, and platforms are much better options!

8) Brand New Shoes

Unless you want to spend your European vacation with aching feet full of blisters, avoid buying or packing new shoes. Your trip will be filled with walking tours, sightseeing, and trying to soak up as much of the history and culture that Europe has to offer. So new shoes are best left at home. If you do find yourself in need of new shoes for your upcoming trip, try to purchase them at least two months in advance. This will give you more than enough time to break them in!

Now that you know what to avoid packing for your trip to Europe, what should you bring?

Below is a List of My Packing Must Have’s When Traveling to Europe!

  • Passport – I know this one goes without saying but double-check that your passport will not expire within 6 months of your travel date!
  • Credit Cards – Alert your credit card companies that you’ll be traveling outside the country. This will help you avoid any unnecessary holds on your accounts!
  • Mobile device chargers
  • Portable mobile chargers (for on-the-go charging during those long days of sightseeing)
  • Universal travel adaptors
  • Headphones
  • Good reading material
  • Download Google Maps of your destination cities for offline access
  • Waterproof jacket or a trench coat
  • Comfortable shoes 
  • A long skirt or pants for visiting basilicas; many have required dress codes in order to gain entry
  • Scarf or shawl; these are wonderful for adjusting to the temperature. Or, if you need to cover your shoulders when entering a basilica.
  • Sunglasses
  • Swimsuit – Yes, even if it’s winter! Your hotel may have a spa or heated pool for you to relax in after a long day of sightseeing
  • Layers – Day and night temperatures often vary, so packing layers is essential
  • Wet wipes and tissues. As you can imagine, these are great for avoiding germs, bacteria, and getting sick while on vacation
  • Ibuprofen (pain killer for those achy backs & knees)
  • Prescription medications
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Insect repellent for a summer trip
  • Sunscreen
  • Midnite Sleep Supplement for the long plane ride and adjusting to your new timezone
  • Get motion sick? My favorite go-to is Bonine. It’s non-drowsy so you can keep on going!
  • Cross-body purse
  • Portable tissues and pocket change! In some cities and tourist areas, you may need to pay a small fee to use public toilets. So keeping spare change in your pockets is a great idea. Despite the small fee, public restrooms are not always kept in the best condition. On that note, you’ll want to have portable tissues on hand to save you from an uncomfortable situation.

One thing I do want to mention when packing for your trip to Europe is to leave your blow-drying at home! You are better off using the hotel-provided option.  Trust me, your luggage weight and the electric converter will be better off! Another important thing to note, if you are only packing a carry-on for your trip to Europe, remember that the current TSA-approved size is 3.4 ounces or smaller for liquids and gels. Looking for even more packing suggestions for your European vacation? My favorite resource is this article by Travel Fashion Girl. She has an informed packing list for every country!

I hope you found this post helpful! After all, your vacation should be a once-in-a-lifetime experience! If you need assistance planning your next European vacation, you can click here to schedule a complimentary consultation with me. As a luxury travel expert I’ll answer all your questions about where to stay, and what to see!







© Scenic way travel 2023


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