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The Ultimate Packing List for Europe: Fall Edition

Europe Packing

Here’s a not-so-secret fact about us: fall is our favorite time to travel in Europe.

Crunching leaves, changing colors, the wine and olive oil harvests, dissipating crowds, cozy clothes, and cooling temperatures: traveling to Europe during autumn is absolutely fantastic, and you couldn’t ask for a better time to plan a trip.

Heading off on an autumn adventure and ready to put together a packing list for Europe in the fall?

We’ve rounded up everything to need to pack for autumn in Europe here–plus some advice on what to wear.

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How to Use This Packing List for Visiting Europe in the Fall

At the risk of stating the obvious, Europe is a large and diverse continent.

In other words, if you’re planning a September trip to Sicily, you’ll need a much different packing list than if you’re planning a trip to Norway in November (and you’ll definitely notice some stark variety in my outfits in the photos for this post–all of which were taken in Europe during the fall!).

Couple on roof of St. Stephen's Basilica, Best Things to Do in Budapest

This packing list for Europe in the fall is designed for a traveler who’s visiting Europe in late September, October, or early November, and is sticking mostly to destinations in central and southern Europe.

Think strolling through the streets of Paris, wine tasting in Tuscany, or admiring the fall foliage over Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, for example.

Of course, always be sure to carefully check the weather in the destinations you’re planning to visit as your trip gets closer–but this fall packing list for Europe will provide a great jumping-off point for deciding what to bring (and what to leave behind).

How to Use an Eurail Train Pass: photo of river surrounded by fall foliage in Bolzano.

The Absolute Essentials for Visiting Europe in the Fall

Passport — Definitely the most important item on any packing list for Europe in the fall!

Travel Insurance — We don’t ever suggest traveling without travel insurance–anything can happen, and visiting Europe in autumn is definitely a case of better safe than sorry. We use and recommend World Nomads for trips to Europe.

Visa (If Needed) — Though 26 countries in Europe are part of the Schengen Zone that allows many nationalities (including US citizens, Canadians, and Australians) to enter and travel freely between their countries for 90 days for tourism, that still leaves around half of Europe’s countries that are not part of this agreement.

Regardless of where you are from, always double-check entrance requirements before showing up at the airport to fly to any European country (or any country at all that isn’t your own, for that matter).

Grapes hanging from a vine during an October trip to Bucharest Romania--the wine harvest is a great reason to pack for Europe in autumn!

Money — We recommend bringing two credit cards (one to use, and one to keep as a backup), and two debit cards. Ideally, bring cards with no foreign transaction fees. We’ve never felt it necessary to obtain currency before arriving (we just withdraw from an ATM when we get there), but you can purchase most currencies in your home country if it makes you feel more comfortable.

Keep in mind that not all countries in Europe are on the Euro, so be sure to double-check what currency you’ll need based on your itinerary!

International Driving Permit — If you are coming from outside the EU and plan to rent a car during your fall trip to Europe, you may need an International Driving Permit to do so! Italy is particular is well-known for enforcing this requirement. Be sure to check the rental requirements in any country that you plan to drive in before you arrive!

Kate sitting on a wall next to a canal in Bruges Belgium, with a wooden inn in front of her. Kate is wearing a black coat--by mid-November in Europe, you'll want a coat in many areas!

Travel Gear You Should Definitely Pack for Fall in Europe

Camera — We recently upgraded to our Sony a7R III and absolutely adore it, but whatever camera you’re comfortable with works–just make sure you have something with you to preserve your memories! 

Travel Adaptors for Europe — If you’re coming from outside of Europe, you’ll definitely need adaptors for your electronics. Be sure to check the requirements for any particular countries you visit–the United Kingdom, for example, is well-known for using different plugs than most of the continent.

Pacsafe — We can’t recommend our Pacsafe enough: this travel safe is affordable, sturdy, easy to pack, and will help keep your valuables safe in your hotel room (not that you should need to worry much about theft from your hotel room during your trip to Europe, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!).

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Comfortable Day Bag — We currently use Pacsafe’s sleek anti-theft backpack and love it, but if you don’t want to shell out the cash for this trip, that’s totally understandable. Just aim for something comfortable to wear, not flashy, and medium-sized–we used a Northface Jester backpack for years and loved it as well.

Umbrella — Option A: Plan on buying an umbrella when it starts pouring down rain. Option B: Plan ahead and buy a (probably much sturdier) umbrella before leaving. Option C: Hope you get lucky with the weather. When visiting Europe in the fall, I promise Option B is the best bet!

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Portable USB Charger — Don’t stress about your phone dying while you’re sightseeing: add a portable charger to your packing list for Europe this autumn.

RuMe Bag — Incredibly light and easy to pack, a RuMe bag can serve as a grocery bag, beach bag, laundry bag, or just about anything else. They’re incredibly handy and we recommend adding one to your packing list for Europe this fall. We’ve been carrying ours for years and it never stops coming in handy!

Kate sitting on a bench in Orvieto Italy. She's wearing a red dress, black tights, and black boots. There are red flowers in pots on the wall behind her.

Nalgene — Cut down on plastic waste during your fall trip to Europe and bring a reusable water bottle instead!

Swiss Army Knife — Want to open wine bottles in your hotel room, slice cheese from the market, or cut up that baguette from the bakery? You’ll be so glad you brought along a Swiss Army Knife!

Sunscreen — Because sunburns are never a good look in vacation photos.

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Student ID — If you’re a student, you’ll be entitled to lots of discounts on museums and attractions throughout Europe. Be sure to add it to your packing list for Europe.

Cell Phone — We spent more than a year traveling without working cell phones, just relying on wifi… and while that’s completely fine, we would never go back. Consider purchasing an international plan for your cell phone (most carriers offer them), or, if you have an unlocked phone, you can just by a local SIM card once you land in Europe.

Purell Hand Sanitizer — We carry this everywhere, and never been sorry to have it floating around in our day bag.

Empty street in Ghent Belgium with a few cars visible in the distance and yellow leaves on the ground--keep this damp weather in mind when making a fall packing list for Europe!

Packing List for Europe: Fall Wardrobe for Women

You’ll want to structure your personal wardrobe for traveling in Europe based on where you’re going, of course–a glamorous trip to Paris calls for different clothes than hiking in Ireland or soaking up the last of the year’s warmth in Greece–but if you’re looking for a great all-in-one fall packing list for Europe, this is it!

We like to spend nearly the entire autumn in Europe these days, and these picks reflect my personal favorite things to wear in Europe in the fall.

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Dresses

Dresses with tights underneath them and a cute pair of boots basically make up my uniform when visiting Europe in the fall–bonus points for sweater dresses.

Think something similar to this one, or something like this for a maxi dress look.

Don’t forget the tights! I love these tights and own several pairs (they hold up forever). If you’re traveling later in the fall or to a cooler climate, consider adding a pair of cozy fleece tights to your packing list for Europe in the fall.

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Tops

Simple blouses like this are perfect for most places in the fall in Europe. Be sure to also bring a sweater or two along–thinner ones are easier to pack and layer, so keep that in mind when shopping. Something like this is a great option.

Bottoms

A Europe packing list for autumn absolutely requires a pair of jeans–I’m obsessed with this pair and wear them everywhere.

If you prefer wearing pants, you might also like to bring an additional pair of jeans–black ones like these are a great way to mix things up.

If you are like me and prefer to wear dresses and skirts more often than not, a cute skirt like this layered with tights and boots is a fashionable and comfortable choice for your fall in Europe packing list.

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Shoes

During autumn in Europe, cute boots rule the streets when it comes to shoes. I’m currently in love with these boots and wearing them on a near-daily basis. Something similar to this is also a fabulous option.

Jackets

Fall in Europe is still a bit early for full-on lined coats in most parts of the continent–consider bringing a cute, but lighter option like this along for your trip if it looks like the weather will call for it.

Fallen leaves gathered on a street in Ghent Belgium.

Accessories

When it comes to accessorizing for fall in Europe, it’s all about the scarves! We recommend adding 1-2 on your autumn packing list for Europe, but also keep in mind that scarves make easy, cheap, and lovely souvenirs.

Also consider bringing a cozy hat, and depending on where you’re going, a pair of gloves.

Though they’re far from necessary, I also personally love these cuffs to mix up my look when wearing boots.

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Packing List for Europe: Fall Wardrobe for Men

Tops

Fitted, casual shirts like this and light sweaters like this are both great options for men when packing for Europe in the fall.

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Bottoms

Casual slacks or chinos like these are a versatile and easy option for your fall in Europe packing list. We recommend bringing at least one pair of fitted, dark-wash jeans like these as well.

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Shoes

Subtle boots like these or classic shoes like these are both good options. Jeremy is currently wearing these boots and loves them.

Jacket

Depending on the weather for your trip to Europe, you may not need a heavy jacket at all when visiting Europe in the fall. Jeremy was comfortable in this jacket last year all the way through mid-November.

If you want something warmer, consider something a bit thicker–just be sure not to get one that’s too heavy for the season.

Sweaters like this are another great option!

Jeremy standing with Mouth of Truth in Rome, wearing his favorite black jacket that always ends up on our packing list for Europe fall.

Accessories

Scarves are both fashionable and comfortable this time of year–we recommend adding one to your fall packing list for Europe and potentially picking up another one as a souvenir along the way.

Other Travel Gear for Your Packing List for Europe in Autumn

Sea Bands & Non-Drowsy Dramamine — If you’re prone to motion sickness like me, I strongly recommend adding Sea Bands and Dramamine to your packing list for fall in Europe–you just never know when a long ferry or mountain road might call for some assistance.

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Money Belt — This is up to you: we no longer use one, but if you’re more comfortable having your passports on your person while exploring Europe this fall, you can consider bringing one. We used to use this one and had no complaints. These days, we prefer just to leave valuables in our Pacsafe during the day.

Travel Journal — If you want to keep a travel journal during your fall trip to Europe but can’t commit to a huge amount of writing each night, I can’t recommend the One Line a Day Journal enough–I’ve been using it for more than two years now and absolutely love it.

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Basic Medication — Some people prefer to buy medication for basic headaches, fevers, and stomach aches as needed, but who wants to deal with language barriers when they’re sick? We’ve never regretted packing our own basic meds.

Tripod & Wireless Remote — If you’re traveling with a group and want to ensure that you get pictures of everyone together, a tripod and a remote will allow you to snap non-selfie photos easily! True, it’s a bit of a pain to carry and not advised in busy areas, but the memories are priceless and the photos you end up with are generally so much better than the ones you get by asking a stranger to snap a photo for you!

Extra Memory Cards — Don’t stress about your camera’s memory card getting full–bring extras along! They’re so tiny you’ll barely notice them, anyway.

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Packing List for Europe in the Fall

17 Comments Write a comment

Kate has been traveling the world full-time for more than 3 years. She tries to keep a balance between going on new adventures and exploring favorite destinations (like Italy!) in depth, and is always on the lookout for the next beautiful overlook and delicious meal.

17 Comments

  • Fiona Mai August 18, 2017

    This is such a comprehensive packing list that I’m sure anyone can benefit from. It’s true that using a money belt is a bit controversial as you said, but I have to admit that I feel safer and more confident with it when travelling to crowded places. I also find your suggestion of UV Lens Protection quite useful, too.

    • Kate Storm August 20, 2017

      Thanks, FIona! I would definitely get some UV Filters for your lenses–they’re very inexpensive and definitely make a difference.

  • Lisa August 19, 2017

    Wow you guys really have thought of everything! The idea of a portable safe sounds very useful, especially for backpackers. You mentioned a purse at the beginning; is this like a crossover bag? You’re both clearly very organised people, it makes me question my own travelling prep!

    • Kate Storm August 20, 2017

      We definitely try! The portable safe is definitely useful. My purse is a crossover bag, but it’s a fairly small one–definitely couldn’t fit a laptop or anything like that in there!

  • Riely August 19, 2017

    A great packing list that is quite useful for many types of trips. I had no idea that there was Sea Bands available to combat sea sickness! I definitely need those for my next trip out on a boat. I love your tips about camera devices. I need to start getting into photography more and this is very helpful. Thanks! Enjoy your trip to Europe.

    • Kate Storm August 20, 2017

      You will love the Sea Bands! I couldn’t believe how well they worked, and I’m so excited to find an excuse to use them again this fall.

  • Nicole Anderson | Camping for Women August 19, 2017

    What a really well thought through, comprehensive list. I love how you have been more inclusive here than conservative so people can individually cut out things they may not want. I totally agree with the choices you have made on the more expensive items as they have clearly lasted you some time. You have both developed a great system for backpacking and I hope you have a wonderful time in your upcoming travels.

    • Kate Storm August 20, 2017

      Thanks, Nicole! We definitely prefer to pay a little more and buy something once and be done with it when possible.

  • Ami August 20, 2017

    Wow, you have captured every small thing here – from clothes to camera. Even small things like extra zip lock pouches. That is something I remember everytime I am on a travel and realize that the next time I need to add those. Well done and I am book marking this for my easy list for packing next time.

    • Kate Storm August 20, 2017

      Thanks, Ami! Glad we could help. 🙂

  • Lydia Smith August 20, 2017

    Your list is just the best. It covers all that would suitable for a comfy journey. Thanks for this post. I need a new camera, I’d run through the ones on this list maybe I’d find something satisfying.

    • Kate Storm August 20, 2017

      Thanks, Lydia! We definitely love our camera–it has been the perfect camera to learn manual shooting on.

  • Kerry Ireland August 20, 2017

    This is spot on! I am so jealous of your full-time travel life. Its a future goal for me. These pictures are beyond beautiful. I will keep this for my next European adventure in the Fall!

    • Kate Storm August 20, 2017

      Thanks, Kerry! So excited for you to get a chance to travel full time–hope you reach your goal soon!

  • Mimi & Mitch August 20, 2017

    Wow that’s a lot to pack but you guys sure thought of everything to not be needing anything at all! Loved going through your camera gear, it’s always amazing to see what other photographers and travellers pack for it!

  • Cat August 21, 2017

    Such a comprehensive list! It is very important to bring medicine, in case anything happens. Extra memory cards and batteries are also essential!

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