What to pack on your European Vacation- Winter Edition

You booked your vacation months ago, you've been researching all the latest restaurants and things to do but now that the time for your vacation has arrived, panic sets in. What do I wear??? What do I pack??? I have faced this scenario many times and after living in London for the past 8 months, I have made a few observations when it comes to being comfortable and looking cute in the city.

First of all- let's avoid looking like a tourist........

We have all seen them- the people who are obviously tourists and don't blend in with everyone else.
So let's just make a list of the No- Nos:

Hiking Shoes or White Running Shoes
Athletic Clothes or Track Suits
Shirts with American Flags or Logos
Large Hiking Backpacks or Bookbags

Based on my observations and on the ground experience, I present to you an example of how to be comfortable and ready to take on a European city.

My basic outfit for everyday life here in London!  Wearing a Michael Kors Hooded Down Coat, Clarks Chelsea Boots and my Sole Society Backpack


As my friend, Melissa, says "Spare NO expense on your feet".  I 100% completely agree with her. Unless you are planning to have a Taxi literally whisk you away door to door, you will do a ton of walking and climbing stairs. The sidewalks are old and very uneven with cobblestones or tiles out of place. I see people trip or fall down at least once a week. (My kids will trip almost everyday when out walking). 

When my BFF came to visit me this summer, I told her to bring her walking shoes. I guess I should have clarified more because she brought her Converse. While those are very comfortable shoes, they aren't made for walking 13.7 miles in one day. In Paris, we did 34,000 steps and climbed 44 flights of stairs in ONE day. Needless to say, she was in a lot of pain. While I was sore from all the walking, my feet felt great because I had my New Balance sneakers on. So the moral of this story? Spare no expense on your feet!! Your vacation will come to halt if you don't have the right equipment to keep you moving. 

Depending on the length of your trip and how fancy your plans are, I recommend bringing 3 pairs of shoes. I know that sounds like a lot, but hear me out. 

You'll need:
A) Sneakers
B) Flat Ankle Booties
C) Water Proof Shoes

A) Sneakers

These are the shoes that you will wear the majority of the time. These are not running shoes, but light weight supportive sneakers. Wearing large clunky running shoes are going into the tourist zone and you want to steer clear!

I recommend getting dark color shoes that also have dark laces. Lighter color shoes or white laces will come back dirty and dingy. The streets here are filthy!! I am currently wearing the Nike Flex but I have also heard great things about the New Balances 410. Everyone in London wears Athletic shoes (called Trainers here). They look cute with jeans, leggings and even dresses!

B) Flat Ankle Booties

Sometimes you want to look a little dressier at dinner and that will be the time to bring out your flat ankle booties. I know my feet and they do not like heels! I brought heeled ankle booties when we visited London to tour flats and schools last Spring. I was miserable. I wanted to look cute and professional (which I did) but it was not worth it. I wish I had owned these amazing shoes back then- the Clarks Taylor Shine Chelsea Boot. Several of my friends here own these shoes and I recently took the plunge too. I can walk miles in them! I always wear very thick athletic socks underneath just to make sure they don't rub my feet too much. Also, make sure you do not bring suede booties- they will get ruined. You want a hardy leather exterior. 

C) Waterproof Shoes
It rains all the time in London. Most days will start out sunny and you'll think you are safe from rain- ha- joke's on you! For the days where it is raining all day, you'll need short rain boots. Tall rain boots are not comfortable to walk in for a long period and they also take up too much space in your suitcase. 

I love my Sperry Saltwater Duck Boots. I love the look plus they are comfy to walk in. Not as comfortable as sneakers, but I would rather have dry feet. I will say that I haven't seen anyone wearing these shoes here, so if you want to blend in a little more, you may want to try the Sam Edelman Tinsley Rain Boot. It has great reviews on Nordstrom. 

Final Tip- Do not, I repeat, do not bring brand new shoes on your trip. Break your shoes in first. Put on the thickest socks you own and wear your shoes for 2-3 days around your house and on short walks. Make sure they are not going to cause blisters! 


You'll only want to bring one jacket (unless you are such an amazing packer and can fit two) and you'll need to choose your jacket wisely. You'll be wearing this jacket in all your pictures so you want it to be stylish, not frumpy! You also want it to be warm since you'll be outside so much. I recommend a dark, neutral color so you can change up your accessories each day. As cute as it will be in all your pictures, now is not the time to bring your white wool coat. You'll be sitting on trains, taxis and dirty restaurant chairs so you'll want something durable. Double points if you can find a jacket that is water resistant and it can double as your raincoat too. 


You'll definitely need a hat, gloves and a scarf. Beanie hats (with or without the fur pom) and blanket scarves are everywhere so you'll fit right in and look put together for all your photos. Bring at least 2 hats and scarves so you can change up your look by mix and matching. They are small and don't take up much space in a suitcase. 


I never knew how uncomfortable it is to carry a shoulder bag until I tried to carry it around here in the city. Back home, my hand bag is usually on the seat next to me in the car or I carry it in to a store only to stow it on the grocery cart. I have found that a cross body bag or backpack to be a traveling girl's best friend. I carry the Grier Sole Society Vegan Backpack everyday here in the city- I'm able to fit my water bottle, wallet, an extra shopping bag (you have to pay for plastic shopping bags) and anything else I might need during the day. I can even stuff a light weight raincoat in there too! It is super affordable, the perfect size and amazing quality too. I also love that if its raining, I can just wipe off the water!

I always pack a small cross body purse in my suitcase too.  Sometimes I don't want to lug around the backpack and this gives me a smaller option for just my phone and wallet.  A cross body bag is also great to use when you are traveling in the airport. I keep my passport, tickets, and phone in my purse so I have easy access to everything.

Also, don't forget a mini umbrella! You will need to carry this around with you everyday. The weather changes frequently and you'll regret not having it. I put my umbrella in a ziploc bag, then stick it in my purse. Once the rain passes, I can shake off the water, put it in the ziploc bag and throw it in my purse until I get back to my hotel. I dry it out in the bathroom over night and then I'm ready to go for the next day!

Now, stop stressing and start packing! :)

If you don't have your next trip to Europe planned yet- email me stacee@beckylambtravel.com and we'll start planning it today. I just saw roundtrip flights to Italy for only $750!!!


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