Packing Tips for a Six Week Trip Abroad

A few years ago, my husband and I went to Europe for six weeks. We were traveling through Italy, Croatia, Montenegro and ending in Malta for a dear friend’s wedding. I decided to look at packing for six weeks as a challenge. As I get ready to head to back to New York for a few months and then Italy, I thought it would be fun to revisit this post.

How To Pack For A Six Week Trip?

Such a good question. I wasn’t quite sure myself, so I did a lot of googling and read blog posts. But, then I did what I always do – I reached out to a good friend who spends two months in Europe every Summer. She suggested I decide on a color palette. Navy and shades of blue were already beginning to pile up on my couch so that was easy. Next she advised that I figure out what the weather was going to be in each city or island we were traveling to. Then once you know what the weather is going to be, you can begin to think about clothing combos. She starts with a basic packing list and then adds a few special items in.

Believe it not, I found these navy striped espadrilles while sight-seeing one day. As you can see, they immediately became a part of my travel wardrobe.

I started packing about three weeks in advance so that I could think through everything. My packing hack is a two part one: (1) I pack per city/island/place on the itinerary and (2) I always try everything on and every outfit combo. This does two things: confirms that everything fits and it means that I don’t have to plan out every outfit, but once I’m done, I have a sense of what will work well together.

I’ve always been partial to chambray, this dress is a travel staple.

Sample Packing List For A Summer European Vacation

  • A pair of jeans – white or blue;
  • At least one long sleeved t-shirt;
  • At least one long sleeved shirt;
  • A few nice tank tops, I’m partial to the ones from Uniqlo and (DE I HAVE TO GET THE NAME);
  • A nice weight sweater for plane and train rides or cool evenings;
  • A shawl or pashmina that can do double duty as a scarf or wrap;
  • A sarong;
  • A pair of heels;
  • A pair of wedges;
  • Water shoes or flip flops;
  • At least one pair of flat sandals;
  • Sneakers to walk around in and for the occasional workout;
  • Workout clothes;
  • A sweatshirt;
  • A lounge outfit (something comfy for a day you hang out in the hotel or villa);
  • Bathing suits (how many you bring depends on how many you have and what kind you’ll need);
  • A sun hat and a baseball hat;
  • 3 or 4 dresses that can be dressed up or down;
  • 1 to 2 nice dresses for dinners out;
  • A good totebag that can do double duty as a beach bag;
  • A smaller foldable beach bag;
  • 2-3 caftans;
  • 2-4 pairs of shorts;
  • A crossbody bag;
  • An evening bag or small purse;
  • A 36 x 36 inch silk scarf
This Hermès scarf works great as a shawl when the temps drop.
It also turns into a great turban and can take a basic outfit up a notch!

What Kind of Luggage Works Best for A Long Trip?

People have different opinions on the best kind of bag to use for long haul trips. My friend Sarah Graves-Gabbedon, the travel expert, is all about a trunk bag. I myself am partial to a more duffle like suitcase. Whatever you choose, you want something durable that can withstand a lot of abuse from airlines and wheels that will roll smoothly on cobblestone streets if you’re traveling in Europe. My go-to for years has been a Tumi wheeled duffle case. These bad boys are not cheap, but I bought mine 11 years ago for a 2.5 week trip to Asia and it’s held up quite well. For a long trip like this one, I also travel with a carry-on rollerbag. I got a new one a few years ago, click here for details.

The One Thing I Never Travel Without
You know where your bags are at all times with Air Tags!

Whatever it is you do or don’t feel about Apple, run out and buy yourself a set of Air Tags! Yes, the US airlines have gotten pretty good about sending you notifications when your bags are loaded on the plane, but there’s nothing like being able to track the exact location of your bag. And when you travel by ferry and have to leave your bags with everyone else’s, it’s nice to be able to keep track of where they are when they’re not with you. I have two Air Tags – one that goes in my Tumi duffle and one that goes in my carry-on bag. I never take them out of the bags, there’s no need to. This way, I don’t leave home without them; it’s peace of mind for me. It will be for you too.

Pack Well And Leave The Worry At Home

The best advice I can give be thoughtful and take your time when packing for six weeks. Do the work in advance means that while you’re traveling you don’t have to worry about clothes. Will you forget something? Maybe. But, if you pack thoughtfully, you’ll have just about everything you need. And any purchases will be for those wonderful gems you see while wondering around the streets of Puglia. So much better than being a in a panic and trying to find the nearest Zara because you only packed one sun dress.

I’ve worn this outfit in Isthanbul, Cape Town and Miami. I think she’s going to Italy this Summer too!

Stylishly yours,

Kalyn signature

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