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So you snagged a cheap flight to Belgium and you’re super excited to eat your weight in chocolate, explore medieval castles, and hit up a few quirky museums. The only problem is deciding what to pack.
With unpredictable—often cold and rainy—weather, packing for Belgium in the fall can be a challenge. Though some days might be crisp, sunny, and beautiful, other days might be windy, raining, and downright unpleasant.
Further Reading: 13 Things to Know Before Visiting Belgium
Don’t worry. Taking a few key items can ensure you are prepared for whatever the weather throws your way. Here is our comprehensive guide to what to pack for Belgium in the fall.
What to Pack for Belgium in the Fall
Luggage/Organizers for Belgium
Probably the biggest mistake people make when traveling to Europe is over-packing. And while it might seem smarter to prepare for every eventuality, packing too much is a mistake you will quickly regret when you are lugging your bulky bags through train stations and down cobblestone streets.
For that reason, we strongly recommend traveling with only a carry-on. Not only will you avoid back pain, but you will also save money on baggage fees, and you won’t have to stress about the airline losing your luggage (because no one wants to wear the same underwear for three days because the airline accidentally sent your suitcase to Idaho).
We put in some long days sightseeing in Belgium, so we always carried a small backpack to hold any essentials we needed throughout the day (including a guidebook, water bottle, camera).
Sam used one like this. He loves it because it packs down super small so he can easily stow it in his larger carry-on bag on travel days.
I prefer this one because it’s both cute and functional (and it can double as a purse).
No matter what luggage you take, staying organized is important. We always use packing cubes when we travel.
I typically put all my tops in one cube, my bottoms in another, and my pajamas/socks/underwear in a third. Rather than having to pull everything out of my backpack every time I need something, I only have to take out one packing cube. We’ve used these ones for years.
Pro packing tip: Rolling your clothes rather than folding them is a great way to maximize space.
What to Wear in Belgium in the Fall
Packing comfortable shoes for a trip to Belgium is essential. You will be doing a ton of walking, and that last thing you want to worry about is sore feet!
I admit, I have not always taken my own advice on this point. But after suffering from aching feet and blisters on our previous trips to Europe, I finally invested in a pair of comfortable New Balance sneakers. Even after walking 10+ miles a day in Belgium my feet felt great!
Note: I know some Americans avoid packing sneakers because they are worried they will scream “American tourist.” But on my recent trips to Europe, I’ve noticed that most of the locals were wearing them! So don’t harm your feet unnecessarily. Just choose a fashionable style (i.e. not the shoes you wore on your latest trail run). If you really want to blend in, wear white adidas.
You likely will not need a full-fledged parka unless you are traveling closer to the winter months. But having a medium-weight jacket that is waterproof and keeps the chill out is essential.
We visited at the end of October, and I regretted only taking a leather jacket. It looked cute, but I spent most of the trip freezing to death!
I recommend packing two or three warm sweaters when traveling through Belgium in the fall. I found cashmere or wool does a better job keeping me warm than cotton or polyester.
After freezing through the first day of our trip, I stepped into a thrift shop and purchased a second-hand cashmere turtleneck for €20. If you look at many of the photos from our trip, you’ll see that I wore it pretty well every day because it felt so cozy in the cold, windy weather!
Because the weather can be somewhat unpredictable in Belgium in the fall, packing layers is ideal. That way you can add or subtract clothing depending on your comfort level.
We recommend taking one or more tank tops and long sleeve shirts to layer under sweaters or a jacket.
A knit hat doesn’t take up much space in your luggage, and it can keep you warm on those extra chilly days. I wore mine nearly every day of our trip. (It was also helpful to cover crazy, wind-blown hair!)
Not only does a scarf feel nice and cozy on chilly days, but it doubles as a fashion accessory.
Though I know some frequent travelers avoid jeans like the plague, I wore them every day while sightseeing in Belgium. Not only are they super comfortable, but they also go with everything and don’t need to be washed often.
To feel a bit more polished, take a pair of dark wash or black skinny jeans.
If you’re traveling in late fall or get cold easily, you might consider packing a pair of silk leggings to layer under your pants. I wore mine under my jeans in Iceland and Ireland and enjoyed having an extra layer of warmth. I used some like these.
Electronics & Travel Accessories for Belgium
Outlet Adaptor/Voltage Converter
If you are traveling to Belgium from outside Europe, you will likely need to pack an outlet adaptor and/or voltage converter to safely use your electronics. We use this one. Belgium uses type E power sockets and the voltage is 230 V.
Note: Some electronics (such as iPhones or laptops) automatically convert to European voltage and just need an outlet adaptor. Other electronics (including many hair styling tools) require a voltage converter.
A natural law of travel is that there is never an outlet in sight when your phone/tablet/laptop reaches critically low power. We always travel with a power bank so we can charge our devices in any place at any time. We use this one.
Miscellaneous Travel Items for Belgium
Obviously, having a passport is a must when traveling internationally. Be sure that yours is valid for at least 6 months after your entry into Belgium and has two or more blank pages.
Like it or not, you will likely encounter rain at least once on your trip. Avoid feeling like a drowned rat by packing a light, travel-sized umbrella. You’ll be glad you did! Purchase one here.
We always take a guidebook on our trips to use as an on-the-ground reference (I know, I know, we’re kind of still living in 1999…). We took the Lonely Planet Belgium & Luxembourg on our trip to Belgium.
The tap water in Belgium is safe to drink, so taking a water bottle to refill can save you a lot of money (not to mention, it is a more eco-friendly solution!). We use this one, which has a built in water filter.
Eye Cover/Ear Plugs
One thing I’ve learned after years of traveling is that you need to be prepared for any sleeping arrangements. A baby might scream all the way through your red-eye flight, the sun might glare in your face at 6 a.m., or your hotel mates might decide that 2 a.m. is the perfect time to practice their ukulele. You just never know. That’s why Sam and I always travel with an eye cover and ear plugs. They have saved me many sleepless nights!
Anything else you would take to Belgium in the fall?
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