Hi Frugalistas! Here at frugal first class travel my husband, Mr frugalfirstclass, is definitely the chief baggage handler when we travel together. So like MissG and I, he appreciates the value of one bag travel. There is no reason why men can’t pack light too, so here is my one bag men’s packing list for Europe.
Tops in a men’s packing list for Europe
Mr frugalfirstclass prefers collared T shirts as the mainstay of his travel wardrobe. They are more versatile than a plain round neck T shirt or singlet top in a holiday packing list for men. The collar can be turned up to keep the sun off exposed necks. Men who like to take a traditional button down shirt should check out the options at their local outdoor and camping store. Many of these stores will stock casual shirts in fabrics that can be simply washed in a bathroom basin and then left to drip dry in the bathroom. This makes them far more convenient men’s travel clothes for Europe than a traditional polycotton shirt. Who wants to spend their entire trip washing and ironing shirts?
Three to four tops should be plenty.
Men’s holiday packing list: keeping warm
Obviously when and where you are traveling will determine what is needed here. For a summer Mediterranean trip a light top or jacket is really all that is necessary. For many destinations or times of the year though, something more substantial is necessary. If you have traveled in Europe before you will know European men love their jumpers (sweaters). A light jumper (sweater) in a fabric suitable for the climate will take you most places. Only the most formal of restaurants will insist on a jacket, so unless it is really “you” or the weather is likely to be cool don’t worry about one. Go for lighter knits such as cotton, fine wool or cashmere so you can fit in a couple without too much bulk. Leave the bulky fleeces and thick winter woollies at home – they just take up too much space.
Two to three long sleeved tops and/or jackets should be enough. Remember to colour coordinate with the tops to maximise the number of different combos available. Layer longer tops for added warmth in colder weather.
Best vacation essentials for men: keeping dry
Regardless of how cold the weather may or not be, you will still need some sort of jacket for the rain. Depending on the weather a light rain jacket may be enough, but for winter go all out with a down coat. Mr frugalfirstclass’ down coat comes with its own little carry bag, and packs down to be smaller than one of his shoes – great if he doesn’t want to wear it.
While it’s tempting to just pack jeans, I always suggest leaving the denim at home. They are big and bulky and take ages to dry if they get wet. Instead go for chinos or similar casual pants in dark colours. Make sure the pants match tops and jackets. Again, that will give you more options. Unless you are on a beach holiday, leave the board shorts at home, and stick to something more conservative that can be worn in sophisticated cities, or out to dinner.
Two to three pairs of pants, including the pair for the plane are enough on a travel checklist for men.
On one level men have it easier with shoes. For starters, not many men have shoe fetishes, and there is far less need to pack different shoes for different occasions. The problem men have though is that their shoes are just so big. Sensible packing and having a shoe strategy is therefore key. Sticking to our family’s two pair of shoes rule (plus flip flops if the trip dictates), Mr frugalfirstclass wears his bulkier pair of shoes on the plane. The smaller, lighter pair is packed, stuffed with socks and undies to save space.
So, what shoes to take? Obviously sandals in summer. Personally, I think it is best to leave the heavy white gym shoes at home (although I knew many of you will completely ignore me on this one). Instead go for casual leather walking shoes, lightweight hiking shoes or boat shoes for those who like them. If you really have to pack a gym shoe go for something more like a leather runner that will automatically look a little dressier.
Remember, two pairs of shoes is plenty. In summer, one pair of sandals and one covered shoe.
Travel packing list for men: socks ‘n’ jocks
Three or four pairs of underwear is enough. Our family like to take old pairs, then discard them before we leave.
Three pairs of socks in sensible, dark colours that will match the shoes and pants.
We also like to take thermals regardless of the time of year. In winter they are a necessity. At other times of the year they add layered warmth without bulk, and take up little room in the bag. Two sets for winter travel, one top at other times.
For a men’s beach vacation packing list you should obviously pack a swimming costume. In some European countries (particularly in France) Speedo/bikini style swimmers are essential rather than board shorts if you wish to swim in a public swimming pool.
Toiletries list for men
For some reason men’s toiletries all seem to come in massive containers, so head to the toiletries aisle in the supermarket for travel size deodorant and shaving cream before you go. Cologne or aftershave wearers need to visit their favourite brand for some samples. Stick it all in a small soft sided toiletries bag – they definitely take up far less bag space.
Odds and ends and keeping it all together
A belt in a plain dark colour to match the shoes and pants.
Don’t bother about a tie unless you know for certain you will need one. Only the most formal of restaurants will insist on one these days. (Although if you are taking up my suggestion of afternoon tea at the Ritz Hotel in London, you will need both a jacket and tie).
Camera/tablet or MP3
Chargers and adaptor plug
Mr frugalfirstclass travels with a small day pack. On the plane, it holds his camera and reading material, and becomes the family day pack to hold water bottles, picnic lunches etc while we are away.
So, guys, what are your favorite tips for packing light?