Hello from the other siiiiiideeee. Of the pond that is 🙂 Now that I’ve been in London for a few weeks now, I wanted to officially let you all know what exactly you need to pack for a summer here! Since I live in such a warm place normally, had never been to the UK before and had heard rumors of crazy weather (its all true) packing for this summer wasn’t so easy. Here are my tips to make sure you feel more prepared for your trip than I did! Key things to keep in mind: You aren’t going to the middle of no where! London has anything you could possibly want to buy. BUT, it is expensive. Bring all that you can but don’t stress too much, you can buy anything else. Also, keep in mind that there’s a good chance you may be traveling to places warmer than London for a quick holiday in a holiday, so account for that as well!
- 6-7 long sleeve tops – Think layers. I brought all solid long sleeve tees that I can wear under sweaters but also can wear alone dressed up with a scarf for necklace and a jacket.
- 2 dressier tops – I’d say one cute short sleeve and one longer sleeve blouse. These are good to have on hand for a nice dinner or night to the theater.
- 2 sweaters – I’d almost say bring three because it has been pretty cold here, but you have to think about how much space they take up. Both of mine are turtle necks thanks to my obsession with them this past winter, but that has been great for when it is windy. I recommend one longer tunic style to wear with leggings for a comfy yet put-together look.
- 1 long-sleeved flannel top – I love flannels because they are warm and super easy to layer underneath. Also, you can unbutton and tie around your waist when the weather warms up and it still looks cute!
- 2-3 t-shirts/casual tanks – You can never go wrong with a few good graphic or plain tops. Perfect for layering, cute alone, or comfy for lounging around or working out.
- 3-4 tank tops – I am notorious for having too many crop tops (thanks to all those samples from Pac!) so I brought a few for going out, but I have found that it is pretty much always too cold to just wear just a tank at night. I would bring a few tanks to wear out. Think layering again… Mock necks are my favorite right now but, don’t always look the best layered under a long sleeve.
- 3 pairs of jeans – I am so into vintage and boyfriend fits right now so thats mostly what I brought. I find they are great because they are comfy and casual but can be dressed up with a cute top tucked into due to the higher-rise. I brought one pair of super distressed jeans for warmer days but keep in mind jeans are for warmth mostly.
- 2 leggings – Comfy for traveling or great for days adventuring with a long top/sweater. I brought one black and one print.
- 2 soft cotton shorts – One of these can be swapped for denim shorts if you desire. I was torn on this when packing but have actually found the times I’ve bean able to wear shorts out to be pretty slim so far. I figured two pairs of soft shorts would be more practical since I don’t find denim shorts to be comfy for most days just hanging out at home and they take up less room in your bag. Plus, if you bring prints, they’re easily paired with your solid tops for lots of outfit options!
- 1 skirt – Cute for wearing with tights on a warmer day and can be dressed up or down. Denim button-up skirts are super cute right now.
- 2 exercise shorts or leggings – Depending how often you work out. If you plan to workout outdoors bring a pair of leggings, but I always bring some workout shorts with me no matter what. Plus, they can double as sleep shorts/lounge wear!
- 4 long sleeve dresses/rompers -I know. Sounds like a lot. But, dresses are one outfit all in one which take up minimal room in your bag! They also look cute with tights, high socks or alone. Forever 21 has some really cute solid-colored long sleeve tshirt dresses for like $6 which I love. I also got a thicker nicer ribbed dress from Topshop which has been great!
- 2 sundresses or rompers – Try to bring ones that would be cute with tights as well for colder days if possible…bonus if you can layer a long sleeve top or sweater underneath for a cute and trendy look! I brought one printed flowy dress (more for trips to warmer places) and 1 plain colored midi tank that is easy to dress up if needed.
- 1 cardigan – I’m not exactly a cardigan person but I found this olive chunky cardigan right before leaving (maaaaaybe found in the sample bin…) and am so glad I did! Stick with a neutral for sure for a versatile and cute layering piece.
- 1 warm peacoat – You could survive if you absolutely can’t fit it in your bag/wear on the plane, but a nicer jacket is nice to have for dressier nights out. Make sure you get a size up to be able to fit a sweater and layers underneath!
- 1 lighter jacket – I brought my staple Stela 9 denim jacket because its a great piece to add some texture/pop of print to any outfit (all their jackets use traditional Mayan huipil textiles which are beautiful!) but think of this as the jacket you’d want to wear with your day outfits.
- 1 rain jacket – Ugh, I know. I brought a long-lined tan rain coat and am so happy I did. While not the most cute thing ever, it is easy to roll up and light to carry, plus has a little zipper pocket that hides a hood. It also doubles as a great windbreaker which is very useful here.
- 2 walking shoes— Make sure they’re comfortable and going to match with everything. No joke, you’re going to be wearing them every day. I brought my white Converse high tops for everyday and my Toms for warmer days. (Keep in mind Toms are pretty awful in the rain though.)
- 1 boots – Unfortunately they take up more space, but you’ll be glad you brought them for nicer outings. I brought ankle booties but you could do a knee high as long as you plan ahead and make sure it works with your jeans/dresses.
- 1 flats or sandals -You probably won’t wear these in London, but good to have if you do have the room. I brought an open toe black sandal just in case for warmer places like Italy or Spain.
- 1 sneakers – Bring these if you plan on working out or hiking on a trip.
- DON’T bring: Heels. You won’t need them! I’ve seen maybe two girls wearing heels so far. Most people wear cute sneakers or boots everywhere, even bars and the streets in London are not ideal for heels/wedges at all.
- 2 scarves – I brought my vintage neck scarf to dress up my plain tops and a warmer long scarf which I have yet to wear but definitively see it being useful on some occasions.
- 1 pair of sunglasses – Honestly, you probably won’t wear them much so don’t bring anything too nice in case you misplace them.
- 1 cross-body bag – This will be your purse for every day and every night. Choose wisely 😉 Make sure it has a top flap AND a zipper. Pockets are also great to have for your tube card, coins etc.
- 1 tote bag – This will be for taking to the park and for caring groceries (plastic bags are 5+ pence every time.) Even better if it has a zipper and isn’t easy to get into!
- 1 umbrella
- 1-2 earrings – I wear my sun and moon studs every day but bring a statement pair if you’re into that!
- 1 simple necklace – a thin black choker is my go to for almost everything these days.
- 2 statement necklaces – Remember all those plain tops you packed? These are key for dressing those up a bit.
- 1 bracelet and/or watch
- 3 bras – Think about the types of tops you’re bringing. I know you’ve got this, I won’t elaborate.
- 12 pairs of underwear
- 2 sports bras
- 5 pairs of socks
- 2 pairs of tights – Honestly, these take up so little room bring more if you’ve got em! I brought one black pair and one lacy floral in a light grey for my solid dresses.
- 1 sleepset/pjs
- 2 swimsuits – This was one of my hardest choices. Keep in mind people are pretty modest here so cheeky bottoms may not be the best bet. But…I think that’s different in Italy/Spain/Greece etc.
- Shower products – I brought full sized shampoo/conditioner/body wash so we wouldn’t have to buy it here. Make sure you do have a travel sized toiletry kit for trips as well.
- Make up bag— Keep it simple! In mine: BB crème, cover up powder, concealer stick, mascara, liquid eyeliner, bronzer, eyebrow pencil, a small eyeshadow duo, chapstick, tweezers & nail clipper.
- Vitamins & Medications – Daily vitamins, Emergen-C vitamin C packs, ibuprofen, allergy tablets, and any prescribed medications (definitively refill your prescriptions though the entire summer ahead of time!)
- First-aid kit – A few band-aids and neosporin should be good.
- Toothpaste – Regular and travel sized
- Dental floss
- Moisturizer – I’m partial to almond oil
- Sunscreen (travel sized)
- Hand sanitizer
- Hair ties
- Packet of tissues – I know, lame. But you never know when you will need a napkin. Plus, if you’re like me and allergic to cigarette smoke, you will definitely need these in Europe since everyone here smokes!
- If you can fit it: 1 towel and a neck pillow – Hostels often don’t provide towels, but we typically use Airbnb so that hasn’t been so much of a problem for us. Just depends how you plan on traveling.
- Laptop and/or tablet – If you don’t think you’ll need your laptop, don’t bring it. Its heavy and another thing you’ll have to be conscious of keeping safe.
- Laptop/tablet chargers
- Phone – Obviously you’ll have this on you at all times for photos. More details on phone usage with wifi/data here.
- Phone charger
- Camera & camera accessories – Only bring if you’re reeeally into photography. If not, it may be more of a hassle.
- Outlet converter— Don’t forget this! Target/Walmart have them for pretty cheap.
- Buy once you get here if you need: Cheap hair dryer, curling wand and/ore straightener – Pretty sure I broke my wand by trying to use it here, even using a converter. Its not worth trying it:)
- Copies of passport – Hide these in both your carry-on and checked bag.
- Driver’s license
- 2 debit/credit cards – There will be foreign transaction fees but you can use basically anywhere. I keep one hidden at home as a back-up.
I know packing is daunting. My tip is to start early. Be practical, but pack all things you think you’ll really want to bring. As long as you leave yourself time and don’t procrastinate you can keep going through what you’ve picked out to refine down to the essential pieces you really need to bring. Its hard to be practical when all your stuff is cute, I get it, but you’ll thank yourself once you’re here. Overcharges on your bags are not worth it and once you drag all that luggage on the plane/bus/train/tube I promise you will never over pack again.
Good luck and safe travels!