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There’s something special about a summer trip in Europe — the air is sweet, the days are longer, and it seems wherever you go, the atmosphere is buzzing. With a suitcase in hand, the packing begins and often I look no further than a few easy dresses. Days at the beach, afternoons at cafes, and morning strolls are staples of a summer trip in Europe.

I find clothes that can be mixed and matched are ideal for packing a suitcase that isn’t spilling over — as we all know it’s hard to resist shopping in Europe. With a few staples, those fun tops for a night out, and the simple dress does just fine for a great summer trip in Europe.

Here’s what I recommend packing for a summer trip in Europe:

1. Bottoms

This time of year in Europe tends to run hot, hot, hot. Picture flowy pants like this, or a midi-skirt that can pair well with a number of tops. I always throw in one pair of denim, like a white or ankle-cut for an evening occasion. During the day, I stick to denim or linen shorts.

2. Tops

Running on the theme of a hot summer, an easy off-the-shoulder top is my ultimate European top. I always pack a few t-shirts, two to three loose tanks, and you can never forget a light blouse to throw over.

3. Dresses

Nothing says summer like a flowery-print dressthis one or this maxi is the ultimate one to toss in the suitcase. A few easy dresses like this one or this, make for an easy day to night look. I always pack a romper as well.

4. Shoes

There’s the basics to a Europe trip, and one that cannot be overlooked is a good walking shoe. I edge towards a white sneaker that can pair with shorts. I always have a pair of sandals, often two like this or this. My favorite summer shoe is an espadrille in the form of a flat and a wedge.

5. Accessories

The first accessory in the bag is always a pair of sunglasses that will pair with just about everything, like these black Ray-Bans or these. A straw-summer hat is also in order for the sunnier days and to match, a straw bag for those trips to the farmer’s market. For when it’s time to walk around town, I love this little backpack to stash a camera and necessities.

6. The Essentials

With more time in the sun, I always opt for a good SPF cream like this one or this. I always toss in a dry-shampoo and my favorite body oil (a French classic!.)

7. Tech

I always travel with my camera and 35 mm lens. I would recommend bringing a Kindle for an afternoon read, an extra SD card, a camera cleaning kit (<$10) for on the go, an extra battery pack for your phone, and extra batteries for your camera.

8. Travel Insurance

The last thing I never leave the country without is travel insurance, and my preferred is World Nomad’s. Book here:

Purchase Travel Insurance

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These are the sites I use most to book my own trips. Using the links below is a great way to support Bon Traveler’s travel journalism at no extra cost to you. If you need help organizing your itinerary, get my free travel itinerary template here.

1. Book Your Flights

Use Skyscanner to find the best flights. It searches 100s of airlines and websites across the globe to ensure you’re not missing out on any route options or deals.

2. Book Your Accommodations

Use for hotels and guest houses. They have the biggest inventory and consistently offer the best rates.

3. Book Your Tours & Experiences

Use Viator or Get Your Guide to find the best tours and experiences. They are my favorite tour search engines. I always check both as their inventory varies depending on the destination.

4. Book Your Car

Use Discover Cars or to find the best car rental deals. I recommend comparing rental agency reviews on Google to ensure you are booking with the best company in that destination, as the reviews are often more accurate than the car rental search engines.

5. Don’t Forget Airport Lounge Access

Get a Priority Pass membership to gain access to 1,400+ VIP lounges and airport experiences worldwide. The Priority Pass app is the first thing I check when I have a layover. I’ve been a member for over a decade, and having a comfortable place to relax before and between flights makes air travel so much more enjoyable.

6. Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

I never leave the country without travel insurance. It provides comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong (ie. illness, injury, theft, and cancelations, etc.). I use it frequently for my travels to stay protected.

My favorite companies that offer the best coverage and rates are:


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