City Guides

Backpacking Europe Packing List

A comprehensive packing list and advice for budget backpacking and ultralight travel in Europe — including electronics, clothing, toiletries & accessories.

Packing

I wrote this backpacking Europe packing list because packing for travel can often be very difficult — especially for beginners. Many first-time travelers make the mistake of bringing way too much gear so that travel quickly becomes tiresome. It can also make you a bigger target for thieves because you’re not able to keep track of your belongings as well. This packing guide for Europe will help you know what type of clothes and gear you should bring, and also includes tips for packing light.

Hey Ladies! Check out our new Backpacking Europe Packing List for Women — it’s a similar guide to this one but there are more women-specific suggestions.

This Packing List Includes:

  • Quick Tips for Packing Light
  • Travel Clothing
  • Travel Accessories and Travel Backpacks
  • Travel Toiletries
  • Electronics for Travel
  • What Not to Bring
  • Where to Buy Gear

Quick Tips for Packing Light

ultralight packing list

First, I suggest limiting yourself to 20-22lbs worth of gear (including your backpack). If you exceed 22lbs (10kg), you start running the risk of exceeding the carry-on weight limit for budget airlines (like Ryanair). Even if you don’t plan on taking planes, I still suggest keeping your weight around 20lbs.

Cut the Clothing: Pretty much all the weight in your backpack comes from your clothes. Most inexperienced travelers bring way too much. There isn’t really any difference between packing for 6 weeks and packing for 6 months because you’ll do laundry just about every week.

  • You’re only going to have a few shirts/pants, so make sure they all match each other. Choose dark and neutral colors (dark colors hide dirt/stains better than light colors). Most Europeans tend to wear more subdued clothing anyway.
  • If it is going to be cold, you should dress in layers. A big bulky coat isn’t going to be practical (unless you’re going somewhere extremely cold). A thermal base layer, long-sleeve t-shirt, sweater, and fleece jacket combo is much more practical than a big coat. You can always add/subtract layers if needed. Click here for the Savvy Backpacker guide to keeping warm in the winter.

Cut the Toiletries: Liquids/gels/etc. weigh a lot. Limit yourself to the very basics.

Lose the Bulky Guidebook: Guidebooks are great, but they can be heavy. Cut out the pages that are of interest to you. You’ll lose most of the bulk this way.

Special Note – Looking Good vs. Packing Light

europe clothesYou want to look good in Europe, I understand. Europeans are known for being super fashionable and you want to be the same. It just isn’t practical to wear really nice clothes as a backpacker.  You have limited space in your bag, so it doesn’t make sense to pack an outfit that you’re only going to wear once. This doesn’t mean you have to look like a slob. It is really simple to look presentable as long as you pack items that look good when worn with each other. I’ve put together an article with some general European fashion advice. Okay, on to the packing list.


Clothing Packing List for Backpacking Europe

Let’s start with clothing since clothes will be 90% of the stuff you’ll be hauling around Europe.

Travel Socks and Underwear

packing light socks
Just a few of the socks I own — all wool or wool/synthetic blends.

Socks and underwear are two areas that many beginner travelers don’t think much about but experienced travelers know they’re two of the most important travel items. If you think about it, socks and underwear are worn close to your skin so they can be the difference between being comfortable or not. I highly suggest spending a little extra money to buy quality items because you’ll be much more comfortable.

Socks (4-5 pairs)

High-quality socks are essential. Unfortunately, nice socks can be expensive but I suggest you spend a little extra money to get a few nice pairs (plus, nice socks will last for years so you can still wear them when you are home).

Most experienced travelers recommend quality wool socks — you can get lightweight merino wool socks for the summer and they’ll actually keep your feet cool and dry. Obviously, heavier-weight socks are better for winter travel. Trust me about nice socks — I can’t even wear crappy cotton socks anymore.

Some travelers only bring two pairs of socks but I bring four or five pairs because I don’t like doing laundry that often.

Look for socks that are:

  • Moisture-wicking: Your feet will sweat a lot (especially since you’ll be doing a lot of walking), so you want a sock that draws moisture away from your feet. Having dry feet helps eliminate odor and stops the formation of painful blisters.
  • Quick-drying: It is pretty easy to wash your socks in the sink, so you want a pair that will dry overnight (about 6 hours).
  • Odor-eliminating: Some synthetic socks have special anti-bacterial features that help eliminate odor. Light-weight wool socks will also do this naturally (light-weight wool can also work well in the summer).
  • Avoid Cotton: Cotton socks soak up moisture and won’t dry well once wet. They will start to smell very quickly and the moisture will give you blisters.

A nice pair of socks can be worn 2-3 times before they start to stink (although you’ll want to rotate the days you wear each pair).

Recommended Sock Brands:

  • SmartWool Socks – I love my SmartWool socks. I wear them all the time. They have a wide range of socks (from light- to heavy-weight).
  • Darn Tough Socks – Made in Vermont, this brand of really nice socks will last for years. They get great reviews.
  • Wigwam Socks – Worth checking out.
  • Thorlo – Thorlo makes quality socks that aren’t too expensive.

For a more in-depth article about the wonderful world of socks, check out our favorite socks for travel

Underwear (5 pairs)

light packing list - underwear

I like to bring four or five pairs of underwear. You can probably get away with your everyday underwear but I wear a few brands that are made of materials suited for travel.

  • ExOfficio (Synthetic): ExOfficio is the most popular travel underwear brand — they essentially invented travel underwear. I own four pairs and I still wear them when not traveling.
    • They’re not too terribly expensive — usually around $18-$25/pair (prices fluctuate often). ExOfficio has multiple cuts and styles. Available on Amazon and REI
  • SAXX (Synthetic): I’ve been wearing SAXX Quest 2.0 for a few months and I’m very impressed. In fact, National Geographic called them the “ultimate travel boxer” (if that means anything). They’re quick-dry, anti-stink, ultra-light, and have a nice pouch in front (that’s SAXX’s thing).
  • Uniqlo Airism (Synthetic): Uniqlo is one of the few large brands that actually make decent high-performance clothing at a low price — normally $10/pair. Their Airism underwear is popular in the travel world because they’re super lightweight (especially the mesh ones), quick drying, and have anti-microbial/anti-odor properties. I own a few pairs of Airism and they’re pretty good — they’re not super odor resistant and the cut isn’t super comfortable but they’re not bad for the price.
    • They’re only $10 so there is no harm in trying them out. Available from Uniqlo.
  • REI Co-Op Boxer Briefs (Synthetic): REI has their own brand of travel underwear that gets fairly good reviews. They seem to be very similar to the Exofifcio underwear.
    • They’re normally priced around $22/pair but they’re sometimes on sale for under $15. Available at REI.
  • Under Armour (Synthetic): UA is another popular brand that makes a wide range of synthetic underwear that works well for travel. They make various cuts/styles.
  • Wool&Prince (Merino/Synthetic Blend): Wool&Prince is a small company that makes merino wool shirts and underwear. Their 78% merino wool, 22% nylon boxer briefs get a lot of love from the ultralight travel community.
  • Wooly (Merino): Wooly is one of the few brands that make a 100% merino wool underwear. They’re also fairly affordable as well. However, some people report that they start to develop holes after a few months.
    • You can sometimes find them around $25-$30/pair via Amazon

For a more in-depth article about travel underwear, check out our favorite travel underwear!

Shoes

shoesheader

I normally recommend only packing one pair of shoes because they’re bulky and take up a lot of space… but it is understandable if you want to bring two pairs. Check out our favorite travel shoes for specific recommendations.

You’re going to be on your feet a lot while in Europe, so you really want a sturdy pair of comfortable shoes for sightseeing. Personally, I wear leather sneakers that are comfortable during the day and look nice enough for going out at night. Nike, New Balance, Adidas, and similar companies all make leather sneakers like this.

Some people opt for sturdier “hiking” shoes since they’re usually waterproof and have an all-terrain sole. They’re not super stylish but they are usually pretty comfortable. If you plan on traveling during a rainy time of year, I would suggest this option. While we’re talking about hiking, I suggest leaving the hiking boots at home unless you plan on doing some hardcore winter hiking.

Throw in a cheap pair of rubber flip-flop sandals if you’re going to stay in a hostel. You’ll want them for the showers. Trust me.

I highly recommend that you leave dress shoes at home. While sneakers would probably prevent you from entering any super swanky nightclubs, I doubt most budget backpackers can afford the cover charge + drink prices at those places anyway.

Note: Americans seem to have a love affair with white sneakers/athletic shoes. Don’t wear white shoes if you don’t want to be instantly recognized as an American tourist. But if you don’t care, feel free to wear them.

For a more in-depth guide to finding the best shoes, check out our guide to fashionable and comfortable travel shoes.

Shirts and Tops

travel shirts - backpacking Europe

Button-up shirts (2-4)

I think long-sleeve button-up shirts are the best option when it comes to shirts (be sure to check out my guide to fashion in Europe for a more in-depth guide on being fashionable while traveling in Europe). When looking for shirts keep the following things in mind:

  • Versatile — Don’t bring fancy dress shirts, but a nice casual button up will work well during the day and at night. Basically, pick something that will look fine in a church/museum, in a café, and at a bar.
  • Non-wrinkle — It is hard to keep clothes unwrinkled while traveling, so non-wrinkle fabrics are a nice option.
  • Easy to wash — Stay away from things that you can’t easily wash or that are high maintenance.
  • Dark colors — Dark colors do a better job at hiding stains. Plus, most Europeans tend to wear darker colors, so you’ll blend in better with the locals.

Brands & Shirts We Like:

  • Bluffworks has their high-performance Meridian shirt for $125.
  • Uniqlo has a number of cheap but decent quality shirts.
  • The Outlier NYCO Oxford ($120) fashionable and functional travel shirts.
  • Wool & Prince makes excellent merino wool button-down shirts in multiple colors for $128.
  • REI has a whole slew of clothes built for travel. Patagonia has a number of nice-looking and high-performance options.

Sweaters (1 or 2)

Lightweight sweaters are nice for dressing up or for cool nights. For maximum versatility, make sure your sweaters and button-up shirts all look good together so you can layer them. If you’re traveling in the summer, it might be wise to save space by not bringing a sweater.

T-shirts (3 or 4)

While I prefer wearing mostly button-up shirts, I still like the option of wearing a t-shirt. They are good for around the hostel, sleeping, wearing under other shirts, and even wearing around town. I usually pack about four solid color shirts since those are the most versatile.

I usually pack a couple t-shirts made of lightweight merino-wool since wool inhibits odor, resists wrinkles, and dries quickly so they can be worn a few times before needing to be washed. That said, wool t-shirts are expensive so normal cotton shirts are fine.

Brands & Shirts We Like:

  • Uniqlo has a bunch of solid color shirts for under $10. Their “U” line of t-shirts are $15 but they’re made out of a nice heavyweight cotton.
  • Wool & Prince make really nice merino wool t-shirts that I really like. The short sleeve shirts are $68 and the long sleeve shirts are $84 — so they’re pricey. Available at Wool & Prince.
  • Olivers Convey Tee ($68) is another 100% merino wool option that is popular in the ultralight travel light community. There is also the Olivers Terminal Tech Tee ($68) which is 54% merino, 46% polyester so it’s a little more durable and dries a little quicker. Available at Olivers.
  • Unbound makes 100% merino t-shirts that are well-made with no branding and they come in black, grey, and navy. Priced at $65 each, it’s a solid merino t-shirt for the price. Available at Unbound.

Pants (2 pairs)

jeans and pants for Europe

I normally only travel with two pairs of pants — usually a pair of dark jeans and a pair of neutral-color pants.

Dark jeans can be dressed up or completely casual — plus, they match everything. You can wear jeans for months without washing them and they still won’t stink. Plus, jeans are a staple in every European’s wardrobe. Some hardcore travelers don’t wear jeans because they are fairly heavy and take forever to dry. While they’re right, I still think jeans are perfectly fine for European travel.

Also, bring a pair of well-fitting neutral/dark color chinos (light-weight cotton). These look nice if you want to dress it up a bit. There are a number of travel pants that are super durable but also look fashionable. They’re fairly expensive but they’re nice to have.

Here are a few recommended travel pants:

  • Bluffworks is the other go-to travel clothing company that many travelers really love. They have two main travel pants — the Original ($98) and the Chino ($125). Both pants are super tough, breathable, moisture-wicking, resist wrinkles, and they’re lightweight.
  • Uniqlo is your go-to place for cheap travel pants that are made from high-tech fabrics. Of course, you’re not going to get the same quality from Uniqlo as you will from other brands on this list but they’re great if you’re on a budget.
  • Prana is one of the more fashionable “outdoor” brands and their Brion pants ($79) are their most popular item.

Shorts: Traditionally, European adults don’t wear shorts but it is becoming a little more common — especially in Southern Europe. Just stay away from khaki cargo shorts and athletic shorts because that’s the stereotypical American tourist outfit.

Swimwear: If you go to the beach, then you’ll need something to wear.

Jackets and Rainwear

jacketsheader Obviously, whether you take a jacket or not will depend on when and where you travel.

  • Fleece Jacket – A nice fleece jacket is great because it is very lightweight and it provides a lot of warmth. I suggest getting a black one because it will be the most versatile. Patagonia has a lot of amazing options.
  • Rain Jacket: A rain jacket is nice to have. We recommend getting a lightweight jacket that can be easily packed away.
    • The Patagonia Houdini weights a tiny 3.6oz (that’s basically a deck of cards) and usually costs around $99. Available via REI and Amazon
    • Outdoor Research Helium II is insanely lightweight at around 6oz and it packs down to the size of an apple. It’s a great summer jacket. It usually sells for $140-$170 so it’s a little pricey. Available via REI and Amazon.
    • Helium HD Rain Jacket is similar to the Helium II but it’s a little heavier at 9oz (which is still crazy lightweight). It does have a few extra features like front pockets and pit zips. It’s also expensive at around $200. Available via Amazon.
    • The Marmot PreCip Jacket it’s not the lightest jacket on the list (it weights respectable 11oz) but it’s still plenty light and durable. The PreCip usually sells for about $100. Available via REI and Amazon.
  • Lightweight Puffy Jacket: A light down jacket is impossible to beat for cool weather travel. Down is crazy lightweight but it provides a ton of warmth. On cool days down jackets work well as an outer layer and on really cold days it makes an excellent insulating layer when paired with a heavy coat. It can also be compressed super well so you can compress your jacket down to the size of a shoe so it’s easy to pack away.
    • The Patagonia Nano Puff (11.9 oz) provides a lot of warmth for a light jacket. It’s also more affordable at $199. Available via Amazon and REI.
    • The Mountain Hardware “Ghost Whisper” jacket is only 7.2 oz. This jacket gets a lot of love because its water resistant and has pockets. The Ghost Whisper can often be found for under $180 so it’s slightly more affordable than other jackets. Available via Amazon and REI.
    • Uniqlo always has a few synthetic down jackets available for very reasonable prices — usually around $60-$70. Don’t expect crazy feature or ultra lightweight but it’s a good budget-friendly option.

Miscellaneous Items

  • Sun Glasses Rayban sunglasses are a very classic choice.
  • Scarf – Both men and women wear scarves in the summer and winter.
  • Hat and Gloves

TRAVEL ACCESSORIES

Here are a few travel accessories you might want to bring along as you backpack through Europe.

Travel Backpack

Best Carry-On Backpack - Train Seats
Tortuga Outbreaker and Osprey Farpoint

Every backpacker needs a backpack — here is a list of travel backpacks that we like.

Packing Cubes

best packing cubes

Get yourself some packing cubes because it makes living out of a backpack much easier. Packing cubes are small, lightweight bags used for packing your clothes into separate compartments. We separate items into different cubes — so we’ll put socks in one, underwear in another, shirts in another, etc.

These things make it easy to access all your clothes without having to rummage through everything. They also help reduce wrinkles and they help compress your clothing so you can fit more stuff into smaller luggage.

Here are a few our of favorite packing cubes:

Read a more in-depth review of our favorite packing cubes

TRAVEL DAYPACK

Europe Packing List | Daypacks

Bring a small backpack for carrying around your day-to-day stuff (camera, rain jacket, etc.) as you’re sightseeing for the day. Bonus points if your daypack can be easily packed away in your luggage.

Here’s a list of our favorite daypacks if you want to get an idea of the different kinds of daypacks are out there.

TRAVEL TOWEL

Europe Packing List — Travel Towels

quick-drying travel towel is a must because a normal towel takes hours to dry — which is no good when you’re always on the move (i.e. a wet towel shoved into a backpack will make everything smell musty). These travel towels soak up a lot of liquid but air dry in a few hours.

Here are two travel towels we like:

SMALL FLASHLIGHT

Europe Packing List — Flashlights

A small keychain flashlight comes in handy in hostels so you don’t wake up everyone when you need to find something in the dark. They are also nice for navigating dark streets, illuminating your luggage, etc.

We love the Streamlight 73001 Nano Light Miniature Keychain LED Flashlight because it’s super small (it fits on a keychain) but it provides a ton of light. Streamlight also has a ton of other great-quality pen lights if want other compact light options

NOTEBOOKS

Europe Packing — Travel Notebooks

Jot down directions, phone numbers, addresses, restaurants, spending, etc. in a Moleskine NotebookField Notes or Rhodia notebook. At the end of your trip, your notebook will end up being a nice little souvenir.

PADLOCK & RETRACTABLE CABLE LOCK

Padlocks — Europe Packing List

Keep your stuff safe when you’re staying in hostels. I like the Master Lock Set-Your-Own-Combination Padlock because it allows you to set your own combo.

Retractable cable locks are nice for securing your bag to your bunk or a luggage rack.

TRAVEL SLEEP SHEET

Consider bringing a sleep sheet/sleep sack is your worried about the cleanliness of your hostel sheets. The cheapest option is a cotton Sleep Sheet. Silk Sleep Sacks are more expensive but they’re lighter, less bulky, and feel great to sleep in.

EARPLUGS & EYE MASK

Sleeping on trains/planes/buses/hostels isn’t always easy so consider packing an eye mask. Earplugs are nice too (especially if there is someone who snores in your room). These Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs are comfortable for sleeping.

WATER BOTTLE

Europe Packing List — Water Bottle
The Platypus SoftBottle

basic water bottle works but flexible water bottles like the Platypus Soft Bottle can be rolled up when empty.

TRAVEL UTENSILS

Europe Packing List | Travel Utensils

ring a set of Plastic Travel Utensils for those picnics. Check out this sweet titanium spork.

TOOTHBRUSH COVER

Europe Packing List - Toothbrush Protector

Keep your toothbrush germ-free the Steripod Clip-on Toothbrush Sanitizer cover. It protects the brush and sanitizes it using voodoo science. Or you can just get a normal toothbrush cover if that’s how you roll.

DIGITAL LUGGAGE SCALE

digital luggage scale is great for avoiding those costly overweight luggage fees.

PHOTOCOPIES OF IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS

Make copies (physical and electronic) of your passport and other important documents. We email them to ourselves or save them to Google Docs.

ZIPLOC BAGS (MULTIPLE SIZES)

Separate you dirty/wet clothes with Plastic bags. It’s a good idea to put our liquids in a sealable bag in case of a leak. The large 3 gallon bags are nice for storing shoes so you don’t get your clothes dirty.

MONEY BELT

One of the best ways to avoid becoming a pickpocketing victim is wearing a money belt (learn more about avoiding pickpockets here). I don’t wear one but a lot of people do.

COLLAPSIBLE UMBRELLA

travel umbrella is good in case of rain.

LAUNDRY STUFF

Laundry | Europe Packing List
  • Sink Stopper: Pack a simple Travel Sink Stopper if plan on washing clothes in the sink.
  • Travel Laundry Soap: Bring some Woolite Travel Laundry Soap or Travelon Laundry Soap Sheets if you plan on doing laundry while traveling.
  • Flexible Travel Clothesline: A rubber braided clothesline is a nice way to air dry anything you need to wash. Additionally, the braided clotheslines are ideal because they don’t require any clothespins — just stick the clothes through the braids.
  • Stain Remover: Tide To Go Stain Remover Pens are great for getting stains out of clothes. They even have mini ones that are great for your daypack. These individually wrapped Shout Wipes also work really well and don’t take up a lot of space in your bag.

LINT ROLLER

lint roller is an easy way to help keep your clothes looking presentable.

GUIDEBOOKS

Research the cities you’re going to visit so check out a few guidebooks. Here’s a list of our favorite guidebooks and websites for travel planning.

A small phrase book is nice if you want to learn a bit of the local language.


ELECTRONICS PACKING LIST

Technology has changed the way we travel so here are a few gadgets to help fuel your addition to technology.

Quick Note: Europe and North America use different voltage so some American electronics won’t work in Europe. But don’t worry because high-end electronics like laptops, phones, cameras, etc. will all work fine with a plug adapter (see below). We suggest reading our guide to traveling with electronics for more in-depth advice about using electronic devices while traveling.

OUTLET PLUG ADAPTERS

Europe Packing List | Travel Adapters

Pack a few outlet plug adapters. Most of Europe uses the same plug but the UK uses a different configuration — technically, Italy and Switzerland uses a slightly different plug but the two-prong plugs (like seen above) will work. If you want to be safe you can buy specific adapters for those countries.

This simple set of adapters from Ceptics will work fine but you might want a plug adapter with USB plugs since most electronics charge via USB these days.

TRAVEL POWER STRIP

Packing List for Europe | Travel Power Strip

I’ve stayed in plenty of hostels and hotels that only have one or two power outlets so a power strip made me a lot of friends. The Belkin Travel Power Strip with USB ports is a popular option since it has USB ports but there are plenty of other travel power strips.

PORTABLE PHONE CHARGER

travel charger for travel apps

Google Maps and Instagram are going to kills your phone battery so pack a portable battery. I use Anker PowerCore 10000 because it’s it’s tiny and affordable.

DIGITAL CAMERA

Modern smartphones take amazing photos but you’ll still want a nice digital camera if you want really great photos. Read our guide to the best digital cameras for travel.

Don’t forget the extras:

  • Extra Memory Cards:  Memory cards are cheap so bring a few extras.
  • External Hard Drive/Cloud Storage: Backup your photos often.
    • Portable external hard drives are cheap and tiny.
    • Google Drive is free cloud storage and it gives you up to 15GB of space. You can also pay for a premium version with more space. The main problem with cloud storage this is not having reliable internet access when you travel.

TABLET OR LAPTOP

I kind of hate traveling with a laptop but I’m a big fan of traveling with my iPad.

SMARTPHONE

Smartphones have changed travel forever — especially since there are some many awesome apps. Here’s a guide to the best travel apps if you want to know what we use on the road.

Curious about data plans and using your phone abroad? Check out our guide to usingData Plans and Smartphone Phones Abroad

E-READERS

Having a book to read on those long flights and train rides is great but lugging a heavy book around is a pain. The Amazon Kindle is great for those of you who love to read. You can even download a lot of travel guidebooks.

HEADPHONES

A pair of noise-canceling headphones are nice for flights and train rides but they’re a little bulky.  I travel with a simple pair of in-ear headphones. We’ve written about our favorite travel headphones but anything will work.


TRAVEL TOILETRIES

Europe Packing Guide | Toiletries

Try minimizing the number of toiletries you bring because liquids add a ton of weight. Don’t forget that you can buy pretty much anything once you’re in Europe. Here is a general list of things you might want:

  • Shampoo/Conditioner/Body Wash: I pour shampoo and body wash into these leak-proofGoToob travel-sized bottles. If I need more then I’ll buy it in Europe.
  • Toothpaste & Toothbrush: Don’t waste your money on a travel toothbrush — just bring a normal toothbrush and a toothbrush cover.
  • Shaving Stuff (Razors & Cream): You can find pretty much the exact same products abroad but razors do seem to be a lot more expensive in Europe.
  • Deodorant: Deodorant that I buy in Europe never seems to work as well so bring your own.
  • Chapstick w/Sunscreen
  • Contact Lenses/Solution/Glasses: Contact solution is actually a pain to buy becuase it’s normally only sold in pharmacies. Plus it isn’t cheap. I’d recommend bringing your own if you can.
  • Condoms: Some souvenirs are no fun… so it’s better safe than sorry. I’d buy them before you go. Amazon seems to have the best price/selection of condoms.
  • Travel Fabric Freshener: Your clothes will probably smell a bit funky after a while so travel-sized Febreze To Go is a good way to stay a little fresher.
  • Travel Toilet Paper: You never know when you’ll need a bit of toilet paper so it’s good to carry some travel toilet paper as you travel.
  • Wet Wipes/Baby Wipes: These are a lifesaver when you actually need them. Cottonelle Fresh Flushable Wipes are our favorite because they come individually wrapped so they’re super easy to pack.
  • Hand Sanitizer: You’ll be touching so much dirty stuff all day, and you don’t want to get sick as you’re traveling.
  • Body Powder: A lot of people start chafing after they walk a lot — especially if it is really hot. Anti Monkey Butt is great for those hot days.
  • Foot Cream: Take care of your feet because you’ll be walking a lot. O’Keeffe’s Healthy Feet Cream will keep your feet from becoming rough and cracked.
  • Pepto Tablets: Traveling can take a toll on your stomach. Pepto-Bismol tablets are much more convenient to carry in your bag than the liquid.
  • Band-Aids: They’re nice to have on hand. A lot of people will develop blisters on their feet so we recommend Band-Aids for feet.
  • Pain Medicine: In much of Europe, over-the-counter pain medicine (even basic stuff like Tylenol) is only from a pharmacy. This isn’t a big problem but it’s nice to have a little on hand.
  • Prescription Drugs: Ensure you have the original bottle/box in case you’re asked to prove the medicine is yours. Make sure you have enough medicine to cover your entire trip since it might be hard to get any refills.

Stuff You Don’t Need

There are a lot of things geared toward travelers that you probably won’t need if you’re traveling through Europe.

  • Sleeping Bag: Sleeping bags are bulky and heavy. Unless you are camping or sleeping on someone’s floor, you don’t need a sleeping bag.
  • Sleeping Pad: There is no need for a sleeping pad if you’re staying in hostels. I guess if you’re going to Couchsurf or camp, it could come in handy
  • Wire Mesh Backpack Theft Protection (Pacsafe):  The Pacsafe Anti-Theft Bag Protector may seem like a good idea for protecting your backpack but you really don’t need it — especially since most hostels provide safe places to store your bags. These might be better suited for “sketchier” parts of the world or if you are traveling with lots of expensive electronics. But, for most travelers, they just add a lot of weight to your pack.
  • Water Filter: The water is fine in Europe. You can always buy big bottles of water at the grocery store for cheap.
  • Books: Books are bulky and heavy. Many hostels have a collection of books, and you’re normally free to swap. Travelers also swap books with each other.
  • Beach Towel: Normal cotton towels take forever to dry and take up a lot of room. If you do bring one, make sure it is dry before you put it in your backpack because a damp towel will make everything in your bag smell really musty. I recommend a quick-drying travel towel.
  • Guitar: Don’t be that guy.
  • Hiking/Backpacking Food: You don’t need prepackaged travel meals. These are for hiking in the wilderness. But, if you want to pack a few RX or Cliff bars it probably wouldn’t hurt.

TRAVEL INSURANCE

Travel insurance can be a great investment if you run into any trouble on the road because it helps cover your travel gear, flights, accommodation, rail passes, medical emergencies, and more. We personally use World Nomads but here is a  guide to buying travel insurance if you want to know what to look for when buying travel insurance.


WHERE TO BUY TRAVEL GEAR

There are sooo many places to buy all your travel gear so we wanted to put together a list of places to check out.

  • Amazon seems to have just about everything and the prices tend to be pretty good.
  • Zappos has much more than just shoes — they also sell a pretty good selection of travel gear like clothes, jackets, socks, and backpacks. Their prices are sometimes a bit higher than other stores but their free super-fast shipping and dead-simple returns are often worth the extra cost.
  • REI is one of the largest outdoor retailers and they have a ton of travel gear. A lot of their stuff is more “outdoorsy” but they’re good for things like backpacks, socks, underwear, etc.
  • Bluffworks sells travel clothing that actually looks like normal, fashionable clothes.
  • Uniqlo is king of cheap but fairly decent high-tech travel clothing.

Do a Test Run Before You Go

Load up your bag and see how heavy it is. Walk around with it for 20 minutes. You’ll be surprised how heavy all your stuff can be. You might consider repacking if your backpack weighs too much. I would try to keep your total bag weight around 20lbs. I’ve seen people with packs weighing over 40lbs and they quickly see how terrible having a heavy pack really is.

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