CARRY-ON // How to pack for summer in Europe in just one carry-on travel bag

For those of you who have been following my blog for some time, you’ll know that I absolutely love traveling but hate the hassle that comes along with lugging around, checking and waiting on a huge luggage. And carrying it around my trip! that’s why I’m a big fan of traveling light just with a carry-on bag. Recently I’ve added a new line, the Sahara Weekender to our Carry-on Travel Bag Collection, and in this post I’ll show you how to pack it for summer in Europe, considering its unpredictable weather and reducing the carbon footprints who come with cheap EU flights. Take a look at what I packed to get me from Rome to Biarritz in the beginning of summer. With that said, I thought I’d jump in to make your life a little bit easier by compiling a packing list for you so you can spend the time doing what really matters: actually planning your summer adventure in Europe!

Weekender Bag - Maxi Tote Bag by Fede Surfbags

Biarritz by Fede Surfbags

The Benefits of Packing Carry-On

I love being a carry-on packer when I travel in Europe and I don’t really intend on going back. Here’s why:

  • Budget airlines in Europe charge for checked luggage. It can be really cheap to get around in Europe using budget airlines. It’s nothing luxurious, but it gets you there with enough comfort. I scored a flight from Rome to Bordeaux for 50€ (both ways).

It sounds too good to be true, and that’s because it is. The way budget airlines make money is by charging for extras, and that includes checked luggage. By packing a carry-on, you avoid these fees and you’ll get to your next destination for almost nothing.

  • No lost luggage. Airlines lose stuff, and that could be your checked luggage. If you pack carry-on only, you can rest assured that all your stuff is safe with you.
  • You’ll save money and avoid headaches. Traveling with little luggage means being able to take public transport to the airport/train station instead of sticking to expensive taxis. Carrying huge luggage equals getting dragged down by the weight.

How to Pack a Carry-On Bag for summer in europe by Fede Surfbags

Here’s my carry-on packing list for Europe in Summer:


1-Dressing for travel should be the same as dressing at home. You don’t wear a different outfit every day of your life, do you? Nope. You probably repeat outfits or mix and match items. The same habit should be applied while traveling.

2- You can wash your clothes, so you’ll never run out of clean undies. Bring a bar soap in your toiletries and wash your undies and socks every 1-2 days, so you give them the time to dry as well. You can also use laundry services while traveling. 

3- Use packing cubes and cotton sacks. Packing cubes will save you tons of space because they compress air and they’re also a great way to stay organized. I used one for clothing, one for toiletry and underwear. The cotton sacks are used one for flip flops/shoes and one for food. 

4- Wear the light jacket, cardigan, pants and sneakers on plane, so you can save space and avoid to get cold during the flight.

Travel Carry-On - How to pack a carry on for travelling Europe in summer Fede Surfbags

Clothes + Accessories

  • 5 undies
  • 5 pairs of socks
  • 2-3 bras
  • 4 t-shirts
  • 1-2 pants
  • 1 pair of leggings
  • 1 skirts/shorts
  • 1 dress
  • 1 cardigan
  • 1-2 bikinis
  • 1 pair of sneakers.  Wear them on the plane so they don’t take up space in your luggage. There are so many cobblestone streets in Europe that heels are just a waste of time and energy. I love my black vans, because they are always stilish and go with any outfit (even dresses)…
  • 1 purse. For this trip I choose the Bloom Pouch, because I can carry as a crossbody or pouch around my waste. I already travelled with it and I found very useful in different occasions, at the airport to keep all the precious stuff close to me and on the evening out. But for toiletries and beach time I suggest these small necessaire here.
  • Flip flops. These are useful for hostel showers or questionable hotels. I love the Classic Hawaianas because they are super resistant and don’t take up much space in my luggage. They aren’t meant for walking long distances, but they are perfect for showering at hostels or going at the beach. 
  • Day bag. A day bag is a small backpack you can use to go out and about exploring, or simply to put your most important stuff in when traveling. Our Mini Nomads are perfect for this, but on this trip I brought with me my Bloom Mini Duffle.
  • Extra: If you are headed to countries in the north, I recommend adding to your list 2 long-sleeve shirts and a light jacket. The problem with packing for northern Europe is that the weather is super unpredictable. It got a bit chilly and rain is very frequent. In such a case, layers are the key. 

Canvas Beach Sack Mini Nomads by Fede Surfbags Mini Colorful Clutches - Necesssaire by Fede Surfbags


Toiletries - How to pack a Carry-On bag by Fede Surfbags


I never pack too many toiletries because Europe has supermarkets and you can find everything here. But also because I live a zero-waste life as much as possible. 

  • Travel-sized shampoo or shampoo bar
  • Travel-sized conditioner
  • Travel-sized toothpaste
  • Bamboo Toothbrush
  • Soap Bar
  • Hand-sanitizer
  • Reusable facial rounds
  • Make-up essential (Mascara, Lipstick and eyeliner)
  • Towel. I love my Nomadix towel, perfect also for the outdoor.
  • Sunscreen. I use Manda because it’s organic and safe for the ocean.
  • Wooden Hair Brush. A different feeling than the plastic ones, your hair thank you.

Pro tip #1: If you are very particular about shampoo or conditioner that you know is not available in Europe, get a set of travel bottles and fill them with your shampoo or conditioner of choice.

This will ensure that they don’t get thrown away at the airport as you are only allowed to fly with liquid bottles that are less than 100ml for security reasons.

Pro tip #2: Don’t bother bringing a big toiletry bag if you’re flying between European countries. By law, liquids have to go into ziplock bags when they go through the security scanner at airports.

It’s honestly super annoying having to take your liquids out of your toiletry bag and into a ziplock, so I just use ziplock bags as my toiletry bag during the entire trip. You can also get these Colorful Summer Clutches for toiletries in case you don’t want to sacrifice style.


Drink&Snacks_How to pack a carry-on bag by Fede Surfbags

Food + Drink

I usually carry a small sack of cotton with my zero waste essential for snacking and stay hydrated during my trip. 

Having my reusable bottle with me keeps me hydrated on the flight, since I have to drink all the water before to enter the gate and than I discovered that coffee shops at the airports and around EU are more then welcome to refill the bottle for you. Make sure to buy a coffee or a little something to be kind and …be proud to avoid single use plastic!

  • Small plastic container for food filled with nuts. After you can fill with your home cooked food or fruits and veggies.
  • Bamboo Reusable Cuttlery. I use the To Go Ware set, plus I added inside a metal reusable straw.
  • Bees Wrap. Perfect for packing your sandwiches, I tried this brand and they work just fine. 
  • Reusable Water Bottle. Make sure to drink your water!


  • Phone + charger
  • Universal travel adaptor. Most of Europe uses a Type C plug, so you’ll need an adapter. In the UK, they use a type G. I recommend getting a universal travel adapter like this one (it will work everywhere in Europe, including England).
  • Headphones
  • Camera & Camera Straps. It’s not an essential for all but for who wants to use the camera instead of a phone lens, I suggest to get these cute camera straps so you can wear your camera everyday. 

I’m also currently obsessed with this passport holder. Perfect for carry your passport, cards and money.

Passport Holder - How to pack a carry-on bag by Fede Surfbags

Don’t forget to bring your best smile! Enjoy & Safe Travel.

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