Packing for a 2-Week Backpacking Trip

I’m not the first gal to traverse 3 countries, with different climates, out of just a backpack. I’d like to think I did it stylishly, comfortably, and in a way that allowed me to blend in with the locals. Here’s a breakdown of what I packed for my 2-week trip to 3 countries in Europe, why I packed it, and how it worked out for me. It is totally possible to live out of a backpack for two weeks and still look cute and be comfortable.

backpack

In the Barcelona subway, trekking from airport to accommodations. I’m wearing my short black wool dress.

I used this backpack and also brought a Longchamp Le Pliage large tote bag that could be used as a purse but also emptied and folded up in the backpack for those budget airlines flights that really do only allow one personal item. Without further adieu, here’s all I brought with me on a 2-week trip:

Two Weeks in Europe in a BackpackAre you freaking out because that seems like nothing?! Relax, it looks longer in list form… and I’ve included a couple extra basics to toss in, too.

Clothing (Pictured)

  • black maxi dress
  • short black wool dress (Merino wool is an amazing fabric and I swear by it)
  • black “boyfriend” style blazer
  • chambray button-up shirt
  • short cream-colored lace skirt
  • coordinating patterned scarf
  • pair of black sandals
  • pair of cream-colored lace Toms shoes (order a size down for best fit)
  • light anorak jacket
  • pair of gym shorts (for sleeping)
  • pair of black skinny jeans/jeggings
  • slightly oversized v-neck tee (I brought a men’s shirt, for sleeping but also something I could wear in emergencies)

Clothing Basics (Not Pictured)

  • black long-sleeve shirt
  • black tank top / white tank top
  • black zip-up hoodie (pulled from one of my Goodwill donation piles)
  • plenty of underwear
  • swimsuit
  • bra in nude / bra in black (both that could convert to strapless)
  • black leggings
  • sports/yoga bra
  • white v-neck tee
  • pair of socks (no cold plane feet!)
It seems like a lot laid out in a list, but for two weeks, it’s pretty minimal. How did I wear all of this?
  • International Flight: black leggings + sports bra + v-neck + Toms shoes + socks on the plane + black zip-up + scarf
  • Chilly Irelandblack skinny jeans + white tank + chambray shirt + black zip-up layered under anorak jacket + Toms shoes + scarf
  • Hot and Sunny Spain: Short black dress + sandals, OR short white skirt + black tankOR short pink skirt + white v-neck
  • Temperamental Paris: black maxi dress + chambray + scarf, OR black skinny jeans + tank + scarf  
  • Budget Airlines Outfit: black skinny jeans + Toms shoes + tank + chambray + scarf + blazer + jacket
ireland layers

Layered up in the Irish country side, wearing my chambray shirt under the zip-up hoodie and anorak jacket for extra warmth.

I made sure that everything I packed was in coordinating colors and could be worn with multiple other items in multiple ways. My clothing was mostly blue, black, and white. I also ended up ditching the black zip-up  when we were checking out of the hostel in Dublin, since I knew the chilliest part of the trip was over and I didn’t want to deal with the extra clothing to pack.
This also means my toiletries were minimal. I had the necessities, but I didn’t waste time with full makeup or “doing” my hair. Most days, it got put into a braid and then let out into waves for dinner or a night out.
 backpacking toiletries

Toiletries

  • shampoo bar (I like the ones that Lush Cosmetics carries – look at that fun blue color!)
  • travel size face wash
  • travel size toothpaste + toothbrush
  • deodorant stick
  • razor
  • body soap
  • contacts, glasses, travel-sized solution
  • bare minimum for makeup (concealer, bronzer, mascara, eyeliner, 1 shadow pallet to apply with my finger)
  • lotion bar (another favorite from Lush Cosmetics)
  • travel size face moisturizer
  • any medications you may need (I also add vitamins, Advil, and non-habit forming sleep aid.)
  • travel pack of baby wipes (trust me on this one… post 8-hour flight you’ll be so happy to refresh)
  • travel pack of makeup wipes

Documents and Extras

  • originals AND copies of ALL travel documents, passport, license, ID card, insurance card, reservations, tickets, maps, metro and bus schedules
  • cash (ATMs exist in Europe, so I took advantage of this periodically instead of bringing all my cash at once)
  • credit cards (different ones, many places overseas don’t take American Express)
  • cell phone and camera chargers
  • outlet converter
  • digital waterproof camera (totally optional)
  • mini hand sanitizer
  • travel-size laundry detergent
  • raw almonds or Quest nutrition bars (or whatever your favorite shelf-stable power-fuel is)
  • Vapur collapsible water bottle
  • soft ear plugs (in case of snoring hostel roommate or loud street noise at night)
  • Combination padlock for hostel lockers (I used my gym lock and it worked just fine.)
I packed all of my toiletries in a gallon zipper bag, and the copies of my travel documents into another zipper bag to protect them from spills or tears. It all fit into my backpack! Alhough it was fine to carry, I didn’t end up hiking around with it very often. Hostel lockers and incredibly nice hotel concierge and Airbnb hosts allowed us to leave luggage in safe storage as we explored cities. All packed up and ready for adventure!
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