How To Pack For Two Weeks In Europe in Carry-On Luggage Only (with Bonus Packing List!)

Pack for your two week long trip to Europe in carry-on only luggage, with a bonus packing list!


Emily Kaplan

5/1/20235 min read

If you've paid attention to travel news lately, you've seen luggage has been going missing or getting delayed left and right. Which poses a dilemma for a lot of people! You want to look stylish, be comfortable, and have everything you need for different occasions - all while not overpacking. Luckily, I have spent years mastering the art of traveling carry-on only so I've got a few tricks-of-the-trade since it's not always easy! Here are a few of my most utilized tips, with links to some of my favorite items that help accomplish the task for your convenience!

Carry-On Only Tips

  • Utilize compression packing cubes, not just regular packing cubes - COMPRESSION packing cubes! My favorite are ones with different sizes, extra bags for dirty laundry or shoes and mesh so it allows the clothes to breath.

  • Roll (most of) your clothes. Smaller items are best to be rolled, bulkier- not so much. Roll your shirts and thinner material items. Jean material and really thick items like jackets should just be folded and laid on top.

  • Maximize your personal item. Look at what dimensions your personal item can be for the airline you are flying and go big, girl! My favorite bag for this is the BÉIS mini weekender as it allows me to bring all the extras needed to not have to check a bag, while still fitting under the seat in front of me - even on those smaller regional jets I always have to fly since I live in a small midwestern city without a hub. I have the mini weekender in Atlas Pink and love it! However, BÉIS just came out with a new line called the Sherbet Collection with three delicious bright shades and I want them ALL! Go check them out before they are gone!

  • Here is a weird one for you, so hear me out... put items in the "holes" or open spots of other items. Socks in your shoes saves space. They end up in your shoes anyway! It's is a random tip, but it is one I swear by when you are always that person sitting on top of your suitcase to zip it shut you get crafty, ok!

  • Really think how much do you need? How often do you ACTUALLY wash your hair? If you will not use the entire 3oz container full, then use smaller containers! I use small containers for everything and it really saves space. I also put all the creams that ends up in my hair post-shower in one container instead of putting them all in individual containers. There is really no point. P.S. - you can also buy shampoo, conditioner, body wash, shaving cream, etc. there when you get to your location!

  • Packing the items you need to pull out during security (liquids, electronics, etc.) LAST in your personal item. We all know the feeling of pressure standing in line with the TSA agent screaming at us and the feeling of laser eyeballs on the back of our heads as we try to quickly get everything on the belt to only stand there and have to wait to get through anyway. So, put the items you need to access quickly on top. You can always re-arrange anything as needed once you are through since you have all your belongings with you anyway!

These tips have saved SO much time! When I get to the airport I do not have to do the lengthy check-in process to drop my bag, I get to go straight to security! It also has allowed me to take a few international connection that I typically might have been weary of due to shorter connection times. Not having to wait for my bag and then re-drop it off with the airline, I am able to hop right off the plane and go back through security saving a ton of time, not to mention it can sometimes save hundreds of dollars since those sequence of flights are less likely to be purchased. However, I do want to note here, I also have global entry so that saves me time on re-entry into the country- which will be another topic for another day!

But these tips and packing carry-on only have saved me time and time again. I have had my luggage lost. I have had my luggage delayed, and none of those are fun and sometimes can completely ruin the joy of travel. The stress of it all is not worth it to me, so over the years I have come up with these go-to's and it has worked well for me and I hope these can help someone else out there on their next trip!

Bonus Packing List! (for women)

most links are from amazon, if you already don't have amazon prime click here for a free trial!

Clothing: General rule is to stick to versatile pieces and one color pallete or theme (cool toned vs dark toned or neutrals only with one or two statement pieces) so it will be easy to mix and match!

  • 5-7 tops (mix of t-shirts, blouses, and sweaters for layering)

  • 2-3 bottoms (jeans, shorts, or skirts)

  • 1-2 dresses (can eliminate the need for extra bottoms!)

  • 1 jacket (depending on the weather)

  • 1 pair of comfortable walking shoes

  • 1 pair of dressier shoes or heels (optional)

  • 1 pair of sandals

  • Undergarments and socks for 14 days

  • Swimsuit (if you plan to swim)

  • Side note: If you plan to visit religious buildings ensure you have clothing that covers your shoulders & legs


  • Scarf (can be used as a fashion accessory, as a cover-up or to cover shoulders at religious buildings)

  • Hat (to protect from the sun or rain)

  • Sunglasses

  • Jewelry (keep it minimal)

  • Crossbody or Belt bag - here is the one I used on my last trip!

  • Clutch or small purse (for evenings, optional)


  • Travel-size shampoo, conditioner, and body wash

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste

  • Deodorant

  • Travel-size shaving cream and razor

  • Makeup and makeup remover

  • Hairbrush, hair ties, bobby pins

  • Flat iron or curling iron (optional)

  • Sunblock and insect repellent (depending on the season)

  • Feminine hygiene products

  • Any other hair or body products needed should be put in the smallest possible sample size containers to save space and then can be thrown away before you come home and you are not wasting product.


  • Smartphone and charger

  • Camera and charger (optional as smartphones these days take incredible photos - I don't tend to bring my DSLR anymore to save space and give my shoulders a break!)

  • Adapter/converter that has multiple spots to plug in

  • Portable charger [ iPhone | Android ]

Miscellaneous & extras:

  • Passport and travel documents

  • Money and credit cards (get one that has travel benefits! My favorite is the Capital One Venture Card for beginners, or if you are an AVID traveler the new Capital One Venture X is really the best right now for the benefits you get!)

  • E-reader [download books on audible] or a physical book

  • Travel pillow and eye mask (this bundle even has a carrying case and is memory foam!)

  • Small travel umbrella and/or rain jacket (depending on the season)

  • Reusable water bottle (this one has multiple lid options and is stainless steel to keep your water cold during your day)

Just whatever you do, remember to pack light, and leave some space for souvenirs. Happy Travels!

Please note if you click any of the links I added to this post for your convenience they are affiliate links or reward links which I will get a small commission from or rewards from the brand if you choose to purchase any of those items! Purchasing using one of the links provided does not cost you any extra. I am an independent small business and I very much appreciate your support if you do choose to purchase using those links! If you choose to purchase on your own, I do still 100% recommend these items, just search them on your own!