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How to Travel Like a European

There’s just something about European style that’s so effortlessly cool and put together. If you’ve ever traveled to Europe or seen them while they travelled abroad, you probably noticed how cool, calm, and collected they looked as they navigated the airport or busy train station.

Imagine the stereotypical image of American vacationers with Hawaiian shirts and socks and sandals, and European travelers are just the opposite. If you’ve ever wondered how you can capture their essence, we have some style tips that will help you look like a local when you’re traveling in Europe or blend in while you’re anywhere abroad.

Build on your basics

The key to achieving that quintessential Euro-style is simplicity. Start by investing in a few basic pieces to incorporate into your travel attire. Remember, basic is key. You don’t need to bring multiple printed shirts or overly formal dressy attire. Just a few simple options can be the bulk of your travel attire.

Here are a few must-haves to get you started (for girls that is):

  • A pair of high-quality denim jeans
  • Black pants
  • A leather jacket
  • A dress or skirt
  • A nice blouse
  • Practical sneakers
  • Neutral shoes

Once you’ve put together your basic go-to travel wardrobe, you can start to have a little more fun with accessories and other staple items, like going-out clothes, if that’s what you’re into. Or, choose athletic wear if you’d rather explore nature as you travel the world.

Accessorize with practical items

If you want to look like a seasoned traveler or better yet, a stylish European traveler, buying the right accessories is crucial to building your travel wardrobe. When choosing your accessories, you want them to be a balance of practical and fashionable.

Here are a few ideas to guide your shopping trip:

  • Watch: You can pretty much assume that you’ll never see a European over-dressed in accessories. A gold watch is an excellent choice of accessory whether you’re going sightseeing or going out for a night on the town. It’s understated, practical, and a staple in European fashion.
  • Backpack: It’s easy for a backpack to become somewhat of a tourist-target if you buy one that’s too big or one that has a design that’s too complicated for your travel needs. A simple black travel backpack is an ideal alternative to clumsy duffel bags and suitcases because they’re compact and blend right into any environment you find yourself in.
  • Tech: Technology has become a huge part of modern travel and the best part is, all you really need can fit right in the palm of your hands with your smartphone. Say goodbye to heavy travel guides and opt for virtual guides instead. Say “au revoir!” to language dictionaries and “bonjour!” to online translators that fit right into your pocket and allow you to stay under the radar while you’re off exploring an unfamiliar country. Here are a few key apps to load onto your phone before your departure:
    • Duolingo
    • XE Currency
    • Google Maps
    • Airbnb
    • Hostelworld

Go for neutral tones

One of the hardest parts about packing for a vacation is finding items that can be mixed and matched to look like cohesive outfits. If you want to pack light, you’ll have to opt for dual-purpose items that go together. When you’re shopping for travel attire, try and choose neutral colors that can easily be combined to form outfits. There’s a reason you see so many Europeans dressing in all black!

Never underdress at the airport

If you’ve already traveled to Europe, you probably noticed that the Europeans typically dress more formal than Americans do when they’re traveling. Don’t be tempted to sport the sweatpants and old graphic t-shirt as you would at home, and opt for something in between, like a pair of leggings with a basic t-shirt.

Don’t overpack

There’s nothing that screams “tourist” more than someone who’s overpacked their bags. Before you start shoveling items into your suitcase, take a moment to really consider what you’re going to need on your vacation. Take a look at your itinerary and use that to make a list of what items are necessary. In addition, you should also do some research on the weather at your destination as this can greatly impact what you need to bring.

suitcases airport

You should also keep in mind that you might find some souvenirs (wearable or otherwise), that you’ll want to bring home with you. And in that case, you’ll want to have some extra room in your bags to accommodate the extra weight.

So if you really want to travel in style and not as a “Tourist here!” mode you should definitely consider these tips for your next trip.

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