Minimalist Packing: How to Pack a Carry-On for 3 Weeks in Europe

Created for Eden
by Created for Eden

Hey guys. Welcome! I am going to be spending 3 weeks in Europe (England and Denmark) with my husband and son in late spring. I finished packing and I thought it would be a great idea to share what I am packing in a carry-on for 3 weeks.

I don't know if it's just me, but packing gets me very excited because it's like a minimalism challenge. I get to create a capsule wardrobe and I'm going to be stuck with those pieces for three weeks.

My process for packing is to write out on a Google doc what I want to bring and then as I pack, I check off each item.

Let's get started with my minimalist travel packing list!

1. My personal item

Backpack as a personal item on the plane

I have two bags I will be taking on the plane, the first is this waterproof backpack, which will be my personal item.

Minimalist makeup bag

In my backpack, I have put my makeup bag, which contains items such as chapstick, a few pieces of jewelry, and hair supplies.


Placing toiletries in a clear plastic bag

I put my toiletries in this bag: deodorant, shampoo, face wash, ibuprofen, soap, toothpaste, and toothbrush. I placed the toiletries in a plastic zipper bag. That way, when I have to go through security, I can easily take this out of my backpack.

Journal and a pen

I also have a journal and a pen in case the places I visit inspire me to be creative.

Packing sunglasses for vacation

Next, I have my sunglasses, which is a staple when traveling and in everyday life.

Traveling with an empty water bottle

I learned with traveling it's good to bring an empty water bottle. When going through security they will make you empty a full bottle, so best to keep it empty and fill it up at a fountain once you have passed through the checkpoint. I'll have it for the whole trip and will not have to spend money on water.

Packing a change of clothes in the backpack

Then I have a change of clothes: jeans and a t-shirt. The last thing in my personal items is my laptop, which I don’t have a photo of as I am using it right now, but I will definitely slip that in my backpack.

2. Clothes for the airport

What to wear to the airport

I'm going to be wearing a pair of sweatpants because it's a 10-hour flight through the night, so I'm hopefully going to sleep and I wanted to be cozy.

Wearing comfy clothes to the airport

I love this oversized striped t-shirt, so I will be wearing this with the sweats.

What to wear on a long flight

On top of the shirt, I will have this chunky cotton sweater which I can wear with other pieces during the holiday.

The best type of shoes to wear on a flight

I am going to wear slip-on shoes because I like to be able to easily put on and remove my shoes on the plane.

So that's everything I'm wearing at the airport and what I'll have in my back.

3. Packing a suitcase

Now let’s check out what I packed for 3 weeks with 1 carry-on suitcase.

Packing for 3 weeks in a carry on

So as far as bottoms, I'm bringing the pair of jeans in my backpack and these thrifted linen pants, which are another great staple piece.

3 weeks 1 carry-on suitcase

To go with this, since they are a little bit bigger on the waist, I'm going to bring this belt.

Packing a dress


Packing leggings

I packed one dress and a pair of leggings, which I can wear under the dress with a sweater if it’s cold. 

Packing a wrap top

I'm bringing my wrap top which adds another piece that I can use to layer. I can wear it over tops and dresses in various ways to change up my vacation wardrobe. 

How to pack a carry-on

Another shirt I'm bringing is this ivory soft turtleneck. It looks really good with my pants, and I could put my wrap top over for a really cute outfit.

Minimalist packing

For something to warm me up I packed this 100% cotton sweater that I wear daily during winter.

Minimalist travel packing list

My last clothing item is a tank top. I can layer this, under the sweater with my jeans. It’s a good staple top to have.

Jacket in a bag

Next for jackets. I've packed one knee-length down jacket which can be folded into a small bag. It is very warm and takes up a small amount of space.

Barefoot boots

As far as shoes, I have my slip on’s that I am wearing on the plane and these barefoot boots which are supposed to mimic your foot's natural movements and be very comfortable for touring.

Packing oversized t-shirts as pajamas

For pajamas, I'm just packing two of my oversized, 100% cotton pajama t-shirts. We have access to a washer so that way if I'm washing one, I’ll have another one to wear. If I'm cold, then I'll wear my sweats or leggings to bed as well.

Purse for day trips

As for accessories, I have my purse in my bag, and this will just be for day trips.

Packing a beanie

My beanie is an essential for me, so that’s coming along.


Packing a fun European-style hat

For a fun item, I have this little hat. It gives me very European vibes. I think it's adorable. 

Packing a bandana

I love bandanas because there are so many uses for this them. I can put it around my waist like a belt, around my neck to be all fancy or I can tie it in my hair like a headband. It takes up virtually no space, so it’s perfect.

How to pack a carry-on for 3 weeks

Lastly, I am bringing a hair clip. I feel like that's essential to have and it will be great just to put my hair up easily.

Packing a carry-on for 3 weeks

So, that is everything that I'm packing in a carry-on for three weeks. It's very minimal, which means I still have lots of space if I buy items while we are away. I feel like I did a good job. We will have access to a washer, so I will be able to wash clothes and re-wear them.

Let me know your thoughts on this packing list in the comments below.

Join the conversation
  • Patsy Patsy on Aug 14, 2022

    No underwear or socks?

  • Gwyn Dean Gwyn Dean on Aug 22, 2022

    I lay out all my outfits I would like to take. I roll each set up with undies and sock in them and place each completed roll in my small carryon suit case with two pairs of shoes and an empty duffle bag (for shopping) in the bottom. My Pajamas, toiletries, makeup, hair stuff, electronics and a small purse are in my backpack. Ta-Da! (I put extras like camera and jewelry tucked inside my shoes.)