By Nicole Munoz
Packing for your European backpacking adventure is one of the most crucial keys to a successful and enjoyable trip. Since you will be carrying everything you pack on your back for the majority of your trip, you want to concentrate on making your belongings as light and compact as possible, only taking the very bare minimum of clothing and supplies.
The most important supply for your backpacking trip though Europe is your backpack. Click here for help choosing the right backpack. The clothing you select for your trip can strongly influence the weight of your pack so take care to only take basic items and look for pieces that can double. Consider the normal temperature of each area you plan to visit at the time of year you will be traveling and pack your clothing accordingly. If your trip will last through more than one season, you will need extra layers for cooler months.
Begin with two pairs of pants. Look for pants with plenty of pockets. Pockets come in handy for easily accessible storage on the road. Pants that zip off into shorts are great for decreasing weight, otherwise you will also want a pair of shorts. Pack two or three t-shirts and a couple long sleeve shirts or sweatshirts. You will probably buy more shirts on your trip, so don’t worry about not packing enough. You may also consider packing popular logo t-shirts and trading them along the way with other backpackers. Remember to pack 3 or 4 pairs of underwear, a swimsuit, and something to sleep in.
Take along a comfortable pair of hiking shoes. These will be your primary footwear on your trip, so remember a couple pairs of socks as well. You will also want a light pair of sandals or flip-flops for hostel showers and a pair of open-toed shoes for going out. Make use of the space wasted by any shoes you pack by filling the insides with small items.
Hostels provide bathrooms with showers, as well as laundry facilities. Most hostels do not offer towels, though, so bring along a small towel designed for carrying, like the Coleman pack towel. You will also want a small set of toiletry items, like soap, toothpaste, shampoo, toothpaste, and deodorant. A washcloth or sponge may be an item to remember as well. Most hostels do have vending machines for laundry detergent and it may be easier to buy these supplies rather than carry them.
Remember to make copies of all your important documents, like passports and any important medical information, and store the copies in separate places. Secure all credit and debit cards, traveler’s checks, and other valuable items, and don’t forget to pack an adequate supply of any needed medications. A few other items you will want to be sure to remember are a camera, a good, detailed guide book, and plenty of sunscreen.
Most backpackers who have traveled through Europe come back and realize they packed too much. The lighter your pack is, the more fun you will have on your trip, so only pack the things that you know you will need. If you realize later you forgot a necessity, you can always pick it up on the road.