Since I started traveling over a century ago, my to-go packing list has been on a serious diet – though without shrinking in value.
My motivation behind packing light is not only for comfort. But also for a fair amount of money, you can save by only packing cabin luggage when traveling Europe.
But the good thing is you rarely need more space for two weeks during the summer here. And to prove this, I’ll share with you my exact packing list.
And in case you want to pack a check-in anyways, then let’s make sure you don’t forget anything important that results in your trip taking a toll.
So get out your favorite backpack or suitcase and get ready!
Table of Contents
- My 2-Week Packing List for Europe in the Summer (Cabin Luggage Friendly)
- Pack Smart and Save Up to 40% On Your Flights in Europe
- Free Smaller Cabin Luggage (Personal Item) vs Paid Normal-sized Cabin Luggage
- How To Get Extra Liters for Free With the “Waist Bag” Hack
- The Best Cabin-friendly Luggage for Traveling Europe
- Do You Want to Experience the Freedom of Traveling Light?
My 2-Week Packing List for Europe in the Summer (Cabin Luggage Friendly)
|Items||Weight (ounces)||Weight (grams)|
|Beard trimmer + charger||11.46||325|
|Cap (wearing it)||0||0|
|Charger for phone and cable||Waist bag**||Waist bag**|
|*Use your backpacks if you can|
|*Consider buying it when you arrive|
|Earplugs (4 x pcs)||0.18||5|
|Fleece (wearing it)||0||0|
|Hand sanitizer (50 ml.)||Waist bag**||Waist bag**|
|Headset (in-ear)||Waist bag**||Waist bag**|
|Jeans (wearing it)||0||0|
|Lock for hostel lockers||4.94||140|
|Lock with long cable*||3.17||90|
|Lock for backpack zippers (2 x pcs)*||4.41||125|
|*Examples: Both for backpack zippers, trains, or storage at hostels|
|Perfume (30 ml)||4.23||120|
|Shirts – short sleeve (4 x pcs)||21.16||600|
|Shorts (2 x pcs)||16.93||480|
|Sneakers (wearing it)||0||0|
|Socks – long (5 x pcs)||10.58||300|
|Socks – long (wearing it)||0||0|
|Socks – short (9 x pcs)||6.35||180|
|Sunglasses||Waist bag**||Waist bag**|
|*Consider buying it when you arrive|
|T-shirts (3 x pcs)||15.87||450|
|T-shirt (wearing it)||0||0|
|Toilet bags (empty – 2 x pcs)||8.47||240|
|*Consider buying it when you arrive|
|Underwear (7 x pcs)||19.75||560|
|Underwear (wearing it)||0||0|
|Total weight without backpack =||14.48 lb||6,570 kg|
|Backpack (Osprey Daylite 26 + 6)||29.63 (oz)||840 (grams)|
|Total weight with backpack =||15.96 lb||7,410 kg|
Pack Smart and Save Up to 40% On Your Flights in Europe
Many airlines have started to charge for normal-sized cabin luggage, only allowing a “personal item” for free – such as a small backpack.
While the airlines have different dimensions and weights defining this limit, it often means your luggage should fit under the seat in front of you.
And with my packing list slightly above the 15 lbs mark (7 kg), including the dimensions of this particular backpack, make it qualified.
And if you decide to skip the items on the list I suggest buying once you arrive you’ll even have some extra space.
Though if you’re not planning on flying a lot in Europe, it might be limited what you’ll gain from trying to stay within the limits of a free personal item.
Just keep in mind that flying in Europe is often cheaper compared to taking the train or bus for longer distances. Even with the famous Interrail pass.
This is without mentioning the comfort of traveling light, that you don’t have to wait for your luggage at the airport, or risk losing it.
TIP: When comparing flight prices with other types of transportation, remember to count in the price of getting from and to the airport too. Because if you rely on taxis it can quickly add up.
Free Smaller Cabin Luggage (Personal Item) vs Paid Normal-sized Cabin Luggage
Since you’re traveling during the summer, it’s not unrealistic to go with a “personal item”. Though it can be challenging, depending on your personal preferences.
The typical dimensions for the free smaller cabin luggage are up to 17 x 13 x 6 inches (43 x 33 x 16 cm) totaling around 20-25 liters.
And the traditional larger paid cabin luggage up to 21 x 14 x 9 inches (53 x 36 x 23 cm) totaling around 30-40 liters.
But remember that the allowed dimensions and weight can differ between airlines, so always make sure to check with each of them.
Though should you encounter a single outlier with stricter limits compared to the majority of your flights, you can always upgrade your luggage allowance.
TIP: Every time I've been traveling with a "personal item", I've still been able to use the overhead bin. Despite officially having to place it under the seat in front of me.
How To Get Extra Liters for Free With the “Waist Bag” Hack
You’ve might notice that I’ve switched the weight to “Waist bag” for some items in the packing list above.
Since the waist bag is usually considered an accessory by airlines, chances are it won’t count as a bag. Resulting in a few extra liters for free.
I prefer my Fjällräven Ulvö Hip Pack (Large) on 4 liters, which is comfortable, rainproof, and durable.
And no, you don’t have to carry it around your waist if you don’t want to. I’m not that fashionable – I usually wear it around my shoulders 🙂
Though do notice that 4 liters are pretty large. I’m around 6’4″ and find it comfortable. But you might prefer a smaller size. Also to make it more discrete to the staff at the airport.
TIP: You can get asked to put your waist bag in the overhead bin. So be prepared and don't pack anything you're not comfortable keeping there. Though I've only experienced this a few times, which makes it rare.
The Best Cabin-friendly Luggage for Traveling Europe
I’ve been traveling Europe for months with only the smaller “personal item” or the normal cabin luggage.
Even on a trip that included two days of hiking in the central Balkan mountains (obviously without camping).
Besides my love for “backpack Tetris”, this would have been difficult if I hadn’t picked the right backpacks from the start.
So let me share with you my personal favorites within each size category. Where I can confidently recommend them both.
The Best Small Cabin Luggage Backpack (“Personal Item” Size/20-26 Liters)
This backpack is from my favorite brand, Osprey.
It’s a fairly new model which they introduced back in 2021. Specifically to meet the needs of this size after airlines started to charge for normal cabin luggage.
Since then they have also introduced additional backpacks in this size range, in case you’re curious about similar models.
Here is why I love the Daylite 26 + 6 backpack:
- Suitcase design to utilize the limited space for a “personal item”
- Can expand from 26 to 32 liters with a zipper when you need extra space
- A built-in belt for better compression
- Easier organizing with a two-room divider using a zip pocket
- Practical bottle holders and flat front-pocket
- Can be used as a daypack
- Insanely durable (it’s an Osprey after all)
- Lifetime guarantee
You can check it out on Amazon here.
The Best Normal Sized Cabin Luggage Backpack (30-40 Liters)
If you’re looking for something a bit larger, and are willing to pay for carry-on luggage in case you need to, this is my top recommendation.
I’ve been using the Tortuga Travel Backpack since 2016, including the first edition of their backpack and other products.
And I haven’t found anything matching their products in this size category of dedicated travel backpacks.
I currently own their previous model and have yet to try their new one.
And here is why I love the Tortuga backpacks:
- Suitcase design to utilize the space as cabin luggage
- Practical laptop holder and other features
- Rainproof (rain resistant zippers)
- Very comfortable (including hip belt)
You can check it out on their website.
TIP: If you're looking for a suitcase, I recommend checking out the list of the best-rated on Amazon with the cabin luggage size. It's been a while since I've traveled with a suitcase, so unfortunately I don't feel comfortable recommending you a specific model.
Do You Want to Experience the Freedom of Traveling Light?
If you want to learn how to pack light without packing less, I recommend this other guide of mine:
Here are some of the best reasons to travel light:
- Save money on baggage fees (and things you may skip on buying pre-travel)
- More freedom with increased mobility and comfort
- You won’t be limited to certain types of transportation
- Decreased risk of injury
- Less baggage makes you blend more in with locals decreasing the risk of getting scammed
- Compatibility with more lockers decreases the risk of theft
- It’s easier to pack and unpack
And what might surprise you is that it’s often about what we don’t pack, rather than what we do pack.
Here you’ll also find my personal smart travel packing list for free. Which calculates the total weight of your luggage helping you to stay within airline limits. And give you a recommended max. weight of your backpack based on your body weight.
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