I visited Paris and London in late September/early October last year and found the below to be exactly what I needed to keep me cool and comfortable for my European vacation.
What to Pack For Europe in the Fall
The Europe in Fall Essentials Packing List
Jeans – 2 denim, 1 black denim
I go for high-wasted and stretchy jeans. I’ve had good experiences with Old Navy and American Eagle for jeans that fit my short, curvy legs.
3 Sweaters, 1 Long Sleeve Shirt, 1 Long Sleeve & 1 Short Sleeve Blouse – I loved my black and white striped Zara sweater along and a Nordstrom sweater with bell sleeves and this fuzzy mauve sweater. My long sleeve black with thin white stripes long sleeve tee is one of my must-haves on nearly every trip I take if the weather is below seventy degrees. It’s simple, thin and easy to layer and tuck into skirts or pants. Given that people just dress nicer in Europe than they do in the US, my two blouses made me feel more like a local during dinners and nights out.
Flat Boots – I left the knee-high boots at home and packed my comfiest flat booties. They’re not completely flat, but they have the tiniest heel that they basically feel flat while walking though the design makes them appear more stylish. I love them with skinny jeans and dresses, plus the size was perfect for my carry-on. *Packing Tip* Stuff items inside of your shoes to use up all available space. Boots are perfect for storing all your socks. ?
Sneakers – I wore black and white Nikes nearly every day of the trip. You do so much walking that it’s pointless to not wear the most comfortable shoes you own. If you’d like to look less like a tourist, go for the more casual sneaker like some Vans or Adidas.
Jackets – I packed a denim jacket and a black boucle-type jacket. If it was cold, I was able to wear the denim jacket underneath the black one.
Coat – Pack one light winter coat. I packed my “packable” one which folds down into a really small size and fit perfectly in one of my suitcase pockets where it stayed the entire trip. Being there in early October I didn’t quite need the coat, but it would likely be needed if you’re heading there late fall.
Small Umbrella or Rain Jacket – Whichever you prefer, but you should have one or the other unless you’ve determined there is 0% chance of rain during your visit. It rained several days while we were there. It was still beautiful and never a downpour, but I was glad to have my raincoat handy.
Scarf – Just one. I wear a lot of black and neutrals so my scarves usually offer a pop of color or pattern. I packed my leopard print scarf. I found it helpful on those mornings when there was an extra chill. But it was lightweight enough that it could be stuffed into a bag or tied around one.
Cross-Body Purse – The first one below is my favorite! So inexpensive, but it is really handy and IMO beneficial against pickpocketing. It has the zippered main compartment, but also a flap over that for an extra layer of protection. Plus there is a pocket without a zipper where you can place things like gum or chapstick that aren’t as important as your money, tickets, phone, etc.
Additionally, there is a zipper pocket on the backside of the purse. I would divide my cash & cards between the back hidden zipper pocket and inside the purse so if someone happened to sneak one or the other, I’d still have something. And it’s small enough that it is comfortable to keep on the front of your body. The strap is thin, but I would often wear it under my coat which would help prevent someone from trying to grab the strap. I linked a few similar styles above as well.
Optional Items for Your Fall Europe Packing List
Black Tights – pack 2 pairs just in case you get a tear. These can go under your pants if it gets too cold as an extra layer or they go perfectly with your dresses. Plus everyone looks chic in a dress with black tights and boots.
A Simple Neutral Dress – Pack one that’s an unfussy fabric that can be worn day or night.
I didn’t wear my dress and tights until the last night out and I easily could have repeated one of the my earlier outfits. So it’s really up to you whether you want to use the space to pack the dress and tights. If you’re not one to normally wear them then skip it, but if you’re planning to go out to enjoy the nightlife or some upscale restaurants then you might feel more appropriate in a dress.
Small Backpack or Camera Bag – If you enjoy photography like me, then you’ll want to keep a separate bag or backpack for your camera. I purchased a small travel friendly camera bag for the trip. It wasn’t the most fashionable, but it kept my camera comfortable and beside me at all times. You could also go with a small backpack. If you do, make sure to purchase one with safety features or add a lock to prevent anyone from accessing your valuables. A small backpack or a larger crossbody bag will also come in handy for those days when you know you’ll be away the entire day and want to pack any extra items or save room for souvenirs.
*Travel Tip* Before bringing your backpack to certain sights, make sure it’s allowed! The Louvre does not allow backpacks. I’ve also been to museums in the States that do not allow them. Luckily, at the DC museum, they let me carry the backpack as a purse, though I do not think the Louvre is as flexible. A quick website check should help before deciding whether to take a backpack that day.
Bonus Must-Have: Sephora Red Lip Paint
This one is definitely frivolous, but if you are looking for a long-lasting smudge proof & bold lip color, then may I highly suggest the Sephora Brand Lip Paint.
Seriously, the don’t sponsor me (I wish though!) but I just love this lip color so much and packed my sample size in my liquids bag. It has so much staying power but doesn’t dry out my lips. And it quickly made me feel more Parisian and “done up” for an evening. Had to make the recommendation for anyone else who loves a bold lip.
Along with a few other essentials (pajamas & under garments) these are the clothes that lasted me about 9 days in Paris and London last October. I hope this helps you pack! It really doesn’t take much. One of our Airbnbs came with a washer & dryer so I was able to wash my clothes half way through the trip. If this won’t be the case for you, I would add a few more light long sleeve shirts to wear. My biggest tip is to just be prepared to deal with cooler weather and changing temperatures by having those layers and light jackets available.