Packing for 3 Weeks in Europe!

We leave tomorrow! I've slowly been packing for us five, and each time we go abroad, I feel like I know a little bit more about what's essential and what to leave in Canada. This is the first year that we don't need to pack diapers, which is HUGE. There was a time when we'd have one suitcase just for diapers and wipes! So that frees up a lot of space, but also we now have kids old/big/responsible enough to carry and pack their own carry-on luggage! Game changer. For all the info about how we fly for free, you can check out this detailed post. Read on to see what we've packed!


We're packing for hot and cool summer temperatures, since we'll be in high altitude (the Alps!) and we'd like to be outside into the evenings. The longest stretch that we'll be without laundry is six days, so as long as I have enough clothing for that stretch, I'm great for the whole trip. I wanted to pack neutral, easy to mix and match pieces that we can wear from the mountains to a restaurant in the same day.


Travel Outfit: 
Sweat pants, t-shirt, sweater, running shoes (tip: try to wear your largest items so you have more room in your suitcase for other things!)

2 shorts, 1 pair jeans, 2  dresses/skirts for the girls

2 long sleeve, 4 short sleeve/tank tops

1 swimsuit, 7 underwear, 2 socks, 1 pyjamas, 1 light jacket, 1 pair sandals


Travel Outfit:
Jeans, t-shirt, zip up, running shoes

2 shorts, 1 skirt, 1 dress

2 tank tops, 2 short sleeve blouses, 2 long sleeve blouses, 2 t-shirts

1 swimsuit, 7 underwear, 2 socks, 1 pyjamas, 1 light jacket, 1 workout outfit, 1 pair sandals

I love being forced to pack light and choose our outfits carefully. It really makes you reevaluate your belongings when you need to pack for several weeks elsewhere. It always seems to hard to narrow it all down, until you're away, and living contentedly with those few pieces and you think why do I have so much stuff!? Coming home to all of the other clothes and belongings that we didn't bring is often overwhelming, even though we are fairly minimalist. This past week I purged my wardrobe as I was preparing for our trip, and ended up with 55 items that I love and wear regularly. It feels so good, but I'm sure after our trip, it will feel like too much, still.


Food is something we always try to bring because it's a great way to save money and actually afford travel. I know for many, the idea of a vacation is not cooking and eating out daily, and I totally get that. For us, one way we budget enough for annual travel is to make sure when we're abroad, we are cooking almost all the time. Staying in Airbnbs over hotels makes this possible, and it's much easier that navigating restaurants with kids. We bring as many ingredients as we can in our luggage as well, because costs are higher abroad, and the cost of foreign currency is also high. It's also almost impossible to find peanut butter and cereal that we're used to, so it's nice to have the comfort foods from home with us - especially key when traveling with kids!

Here's an example of what we're bringing with us:

Olive oil, salt, pepper, chili flakes, steak spice, white and brown sugar, yeast (pizza dough!), oats, dry pasta, pasta sauce, canned tuna, cheese strings (believe it or not, they keep refrigerated for a long time), breakfast cereal, almonds, cashews, cliff bars, protein shakes, mayonnaise, hot sauce, tea.

We also have learned to bring 1/4 c and 1/3 c measuring cups, for baking, since most Airbnbs don't have them, and a set of measuring spoons. European kitchens also almost never have Tupperwear, which makes it hard to pack our lunches, which we eat on the go every day. This year, we're learning from past mistakes and bringing several plastic containers and zip-lock bags in all sizes with us. We're also packing 18oz water bottles for every family member.


We are bringing 1 iPad, our iPhones, lots of light weight books, our Bibles (Brad reads the Bible on the iPad, but I can't part with my paper copy!). For the kids, we're bringing a few puzzles, a small bag of Lego, 1 stuffie each, 1 blanket each, adult colouring books and markers, and blank paper. This year for transportation, since they're all a bit too large for the stroller, we're bringing their scooters! They're very light weight and the kids are so quick on them, plus they're more fun than walking, and we'll be walking a lot!


  1. This is a timely read for me. We just recently planned a trip abroad for the fall - two weeks in a camper van in Iceland, twoish weeks in Italy and then a few days in the U.K. To see friend before heading back to the states. Since we usually travel with our home on wheels and ALL of our belongings it will be a new challenge to pack for this adventure. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  2. Wow you guys pack great!! Loved reading all that you bring that really isn't that much!!
    Hope you have a really fun time!!

  3. To see friend before heading back to the states.

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