Since I am currently travelling in Europe for the month of May, I decided to write about more travel tips this month. Below you’ll find my tried and true packing list for backpacking through Europe in April-August. I pack all my things in my travel backpack and use compression packs to help with organization. Look out for a post in the near future reviewing these! Also if you decide to read nothing but the intro, I want to stress something to you: if you don’t wear it/use it at home, don’t bring it.
Clothing/Outerwear: When choosing what clothes to bring, I recommend picking clothes that all go together so that you have a wide variety of outfits. If that shirt only goes with 1 other item, then probably not worth it. Please note: this list is really tailored to going to Europe in Spring or Summer. Adjustments will need to be made for other times of year.
4 short-sleeve shirts or tank tops: Pick tops that go with everything
1 or 2 long sleeve shirts: This depends on if you’re going somewhere colder, but I’d still recommend bringing one even if you’re going to be somewhere warm.
1 sweater: I highly recommend packing the smallest yet warmest sweater you can find. Another option is a nano-puff jacket that folds up small. Sweatshirts take up a ton of space in bags, if you’re not going anywhere cold consider not bringing a sweatshirt. I did not bring one on my first trip to Europe and was totally fine as I was there in July and I had a long sleeve shirt and rain jacket.
2 pairs of pants: I recommend bringing a pair of leggings and a pair of linen pants for warmer destinations. For colder destinations, I recommend a pair of warm leggings with jeans (or more leggings). Leggings are great because they are comfortable, don’t take up a ton of room in a suitcase, and are mostly fuss free.
2 pairs of shorts: I mostly bring jean or dark colored shorts as these show signs of dirt much more slowly.
1 dress: I don’t personally bring a dress as I don’t wear them at home (pro tip: if you don’t wear it at home don’t pack it). However, they are a very nice addition as they are easy to look put together with, don’t take up much space, and are great for warm destinations.
2-3 bras: I recommend taking a normal bra, a sports bra and then either an extra comfy bra or a bralette. Between these 2-3 bras you should be set for a long time. You can also get quick dry bras that are easy to wash if you are concerned and want to wash your bra between most wears. I find washing them weekly when I do laundry is enough for me.
4 pairs travel underwear: There is nothing I can recommend more than buying some pairs of travel underwear to save on space and for ultimate comfort. I own 4 pairs and they are my favorite underwear ever, they’re super comfortable and you can wash them in the sink with soap or shampoo and they will be dry in a few hours.
5 pairs noncotton socks: I highly recommend noncotton socks as they are much easier to wash in sinks. Cotton socks don’t dry and really don’t get that clean when washing in the sink.
Bathing suit: even if you don’t plan on going somewhere where you will use it I recommend bringing a bathing suit just in case as they are small to pack anyways.
Sneakers: You’re going to be doing a lot of walking, I can guarantee it, so a pair of sneakers is awesome. I bought a pair of all black Nikes that go well with a lot of things and aren’t horribly ugly and they work great. You might not be the most fashionable person ever but just remember no one knows you and you can be fashionable at home 😉
Sandals: these are super important for many reasons. First, you need something to walk around the hostel in. Second, some days it’s just too hot for sneakers so sandals are ideal. And lastly, you might be going to the beach where you will need sandals. I recommend getting a pair of multifunctional sandals that you can both wear out places but also get wet. I have a pair of yoga mat sandals and I love them.
Rain Jacket: Bring a rain jacket! They are multifunctional because they keep you dry but can also keep you warm, and they fold up really small.
Small Scarf: This is optional but if you are going somewhere cold or are constantly cold this might be a good idea.
Hat: only if you will wear it! I bring a baseball cap as it is great for the beach or really sunny days.
Toiletries: as you may know by now, I am a makeup FIEND. I love it, but I chose not to travel with it. Makeup is a hobby, a hobby I can easily do at home so I chose to not bring it so I can focus doing things I can’t do at home. Additionally, my skincare routine is very “extra” but again I chose to travel with the bare minimum skincare wise as I travel with a carryon only. Lastly, some stuff you can just buy once you’re at your destination especially if you’re travelling with one or more people, as you can just share them.
Floss: Be honest with yourself, if you don’t normally floss don’t bring it.
Travel sized toothpaste: I recommend trying to find a 2-3oz travel toothpaste so it can hopefully last you the whole trip
Travel sized bottles: I bought mine from Amazon and I use these to bring my necessities with me. I have 3 bottles, 1 for face/all over body lotion, 1 for shampoo and 1 for conditioner. I am allergic to fragrances so I have to bring my own supplies, however if you are fine with a 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner totally get that to save on space! It’s not the best but also not that bad for a few weeks.
Bandaids: highly recommend investing in hella expensive blister bandaids. They are amazing/game changers if you get blisters.
Hairbrush/comb: I bring a comb as it works for my hair and it smaller.
Sunscreen: do not forget this!! Very important, but can also easily be bought once you’re at your destination which I sometimes do.
Razor: I personally am able to shave without shaving cream so I don’t bring any. However, to save on space you can shave using conditioner or just normal soap, so keep that in mind.
Body soap: personally I prefer bar soaps so that is what I bring, however even if you prefer liquid body soap you might want to opt for bar soap as it is not a liquid.
Prescription Medication: make sure it has the prescription label attached
Other medication: bring any other medication you take. I also suggest bringing some Advil with you just in case.
Makeup: bring any makeup you want but pack this last as it is the least “necessary.” I personally bring an eyebrow pencil, dark circle corrector, eyelash curler, and a lipstick.
Other Items: important stuff like passports!
Inflatable neck pillow: I did not have this on my first trip but oh man on my trips since this has been a game changer. I often take overnight buses or sleep in airports or on airplanes and having a neck pillow makes the experience so much better. I recommend one you can inflate so it takes less room.
Reusable water bottle: save money on water bottles by filling up your own. Water is safe in most places so tap water is totally drinkable! Also, great to fill up once you pass security at the airport.
Padlock: bring your own padlock so you can actually lock your stuff in lockers at hostels.
Passport: please be sure to check your passport is not expiring soon and that you have any visas if you need them.
Phone charger/Adapter: make sure to check the countries you are going to and that you have the right adapters.
Tablet: I do not personally bring anything other than my phone as I can do everything I need to do on there while travelling, but if you know you need a tablet bring one.
Handwashing Laundry Soap: I order this off Amazon and it is awesome in a pinch.
Credit cards: My recommendation while travelling is getting a credit card that does not fee you when you are travelling/spending money abroad. This is the best exchange rate/deal you will get and most places do take card. I personally have two credit cards now for when I travel alone in case one does not work. The key with credit cards is to not spend more than you have.
Debit card: talk to your bank and see where you can withdraw money abroad with the least amount of fees.
Photocopies of important documents: if you lose your passport but have a photocopy your life will be much easier. I also keep photocopies in my drive so I can view it from anywhere.
Ziplock bags: you will probably need these for a variety of different reasons, good to keep them on hand.