It’s hard to decide what to bring for a Europe summer backpacking trip. There are so many photogenic places but on the other hand, you don’t want to carry a huge bag around. I am not saying that my packing list is perfect, but I am here to talk about what I brought and whether I regret bringing it or not:
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Backpack / Wheeled Backpack:
First thing first, bags. You need to decide on a luggage. Going backpacking means you are on the move a lot, and the longest place we have stayed in this trip is 4 nights so that put suitcase out of the window. Here’s mine and my sister’s choice:
Honestly, I wished I would have got this one as well because it’s so versatile. It just about fit in the carryon requirement if you get the S/M one and take off the added backpack, and it’s well decided, too:
Pro: provides an additional backpack with laptop sleeves and waist strap
The backpack attached by zip, less chance of ripping off
Zips that goes all the way around
Cons: With our size, we can’t carry the backpack with the extra backpack zip on the front because it tips us over.
The reason why I went for this is because I got this is because I wanted to bring more things. While the bag is awesome, it is a bit cumbersome to lug around for a high mobility trip. However, there are many good points about it:
Pro: wheeled backpack two in one
Provide an extra backpack that clips on at the front
Provide an extra waterproof toiletry bag
Durable and all terrain wheel
A shoe compartment at the bottom of the backpack
A zipped cover for the shoulder straps when not in use
Cons: heavy frame, I can’t carry it as a backpack at all
The extra shoe compartment requires extra lock
All in all, I would recommend you to get the Osprey backpack for this trip – it’d be a lot easier!
A medium cross body bag
The bag that I brought along for most of the day is a Cath Kidston style messenger bag. It’s water resistant as well and can hold a surprising amount of things. Of course, later, I got a convertible backpack (UK amazon link here) that makes the weight easier to bare, though a camera bag would be a lot handier. I do tend to carry a lot of items with me day-to-day, so having a big enough bag that won’t break my shoulder is important.
>You can read more about my 5 day bag essential here.
A small cross body bag
In case I want to go out for an evening or when I don’t need to bring as much out, a small cross body bag is super useful. It is also great for when we go from place to place to store my valuables and travel documents, so I can get them out quickly. I would recommend getting one with zip and is relatively chic! I stole mine from my mum, but here’s a similar styled one.
I have talked about my top 10 travel essentials before, but here I will mention a few of them again:
Packing cubes: For someone who is an over packer, packing cubes not only act as a compression storage bags for my clothes, it also helps me limit what I bring. By picking a size, I let myself put as many as I can reasonably fit in and nothing more. Plus, it organises my bag a lot more so when I arrive at a hostel, it’s not a mad pullout. I got a bundle packing cubes and pick out a medium size for clothes and a smaller one for underwear etc.
Drawstring bags to store medicine/electronics: Another great organization item, I group items inside drawstring bags so it’s neat in my bag and I can locate them quickly. Gone are the days when I have to pull everything out to find the adaptor at the bottom!
Locks: If you are traveling, having locks on your bags and lockers are essential. I always have at least three on me for any occasion. I recommend getting some sturdy digital locks, and one heavy duty one in case your hostel locker requires it.
Waterproof phone case: You don’t need expensive fancy accessories to take your phone to the water! There are universal phone bags and I put my phone inside it on hikes in case my water bottle leaks (that would be a sad way to lose your phone).
Power Stripe / Extension sockets: Since I was travelling with my sister and outlets in hostels tend to be limited, we brought along a power stripe (called extension socket in UK) so we can charge our phones, cameras and GoPro at the same time. It also saves some argument with fellow roommates.
World adaptor: of course, because how else can you use your extension sockets?
Clothing for the trip
Now on to the good stuff (for some), I am actually going to list everything that I brought with me to the trip, but I will split the list into three tiers according to how frequently I wore them. Since I went to Europe in the summer and our trip involved a lot of hikes, there are pieces that were more useful than others. You can read more about our activities in the 22 days Europe itinerary.
Tier 1: most frequently wore
Straw hat: you can’t go wrong with a straw hat. Not only do they block out the sun, they are breathable and stylish! Mine one has a wide brim, circular cap and black bow: goes with every outfit and head shape: here’s the link to the exact one except with white bow.
Levis Denim cut off: the ultimate versatile piece that goes with any top (except other denims, NEVER go double denim!). I virtually never went on a summer trip without it. They are all one offs, but here’s an etsy shop that sells them.
Grey macrame back top: a simple but sassy top that’s great for any bottoms and hiking, too! I made this one (see how to in my summer DIYs post), but you can get a cross back one here.
Black palm printed shorts: I actually bought this while in Nice since I didn’t bring any comfortable bottoms for hiking. Needless to say, it has become part of my basic wardrobe. The exact one is no longer for sale, but here is a daisy print one that’s similar.
Sarong: often ends up as a beach towel and wrap as well, it’s a great piece to bring for summer trip. I got mine in a shop in Greece, but here’s a very similar one.
H&M white dress: my ultimate photo dress, I wore this on my first day in Cinque Terre and Riomaggiore and it’s definitely an eye catcher. Little white dress ftw (the dress was brought 3 years ago, but here’s a similar one and here’s one with the same bodice!
White racerback camisole: another basic piece that matches with anything, I wore it on this trip, to Italy and to Vietnam, too!
White Lace off shoulder top: another piece that it’s easy to mix and match – and it’s not pricey!
Hi-low hem sleeveless dress: a printed dress goes a long way, and the hi-low hem makes it more unique! The exact one I got from Cotton On but it’s sold out, but here’s a similar one in black and white print.
Tier two: Nice additions
Brandy Melville cross back daisy dress: I would have put it higher if it isn’t for the tricky cross back – you would have to wear a nude bra for that (I use nippie skin and they are pretty amazing – link here). It’s no longer for sale but here’s one with the same print and one with a similar cut.
Hollister denim shorts: because the Levis cut off I own isn’t terribly comfortable, I brought along this for other occasions.
Printed open back sleeveless top: a great number for a summer trip, the only problem is that it requires a bralette inside, which means extra layers. I got mine in orange, but here’s the blue version.
Blue tube top: it goes really well with my sarong, so yeah…
Forever 21 palm print skort: a more sophisticated option for none hiking day. It’s sold out as well, but here’s a cheaper version from Rare London.
Black and White Romper: super comfortable and still stylish – my exact one was brought in Mong Kok, HK, but here’s a darker but similar one.
Tier three: can probably leave at home
Vintage floral midi skirt: a midi skirt goes a long way at making you look more goddess-reque. Admittedly I only wore it in South of France since it does get too hot. This one I got in Berlin’s Mauerpark Fleamarket, but my favourite brand ChiChi London does a similar number.
Forever 21 open back floral tank: this one is great for boat trips, though too revealing for everyday wear. It is sold out however, Wet seal does a similar one.
Mink green sleeveless shirt: I only wore this shirt once or twice, so it was definitely another piece best left at home! It’s better suited for spring, here’s a similar one.
Motel printed skirt: the print of the skirt is gorgeous, however, it isn’t very friendly for active days since it tends to ride up. The one I got is no longer availabe, but here’s a similar one (they do good prints).
I brought two swimsuits with me on this trip, so that I can have one to change to when the other is in wash. Since tan lines are a no-no, both of the ones I bought are bikinis.
White lace bikini with removable strap: this one I bought in Gilly Hicks, which no longer exist. But here’s an almost identical one.
Blue tie-dyed bikini: It’s always good to have a string bikini.
Shoes are among the heaviest things to lug around, so when picking how many to take on a trip, it is best to keep the number as low as possible. For winter, it can be as easy as wearing the same pair of boots, but for a summer active trip, it’s not as easy.
Flip flops: you should never travel without flip flops, unless you are going to a hotel. I wear them indoors, in showers, and out and about: they are useful! It’s best to get something good quality – I have had mine break on me half way through the trip!
Sandals: it’s summer and if you want to get dressier than flip flops, sandals are a must. You have to pick a comfortable pair or else you will suffer. It’s best to get something comfortable (I recently got a pair made in Hoi An with leather), a similar one is here (but pricey), here’s a cheaper version (albeit less stylish).
Hiking boots: we hiked to Calanques and then up Stromboli to name two, so we had to bring them along. Otherwise, trainers would be fine. There are plenty of brands to go for, but I recommend getting one with ankle support or else you might as well bring trainers.Unless you plan on doing a lot of wet hikes, getting a non-waterproof one will be cheaper and more breathable.
Wet shoes: if you want to swim in places where the terrain is rocky, you’ll need it!
Sunscreen: you can’t go on holiday in summer without sunscreen. My current favourites are banana boat SPF 50 spray for body. You should always have a separate sunscreen for your face, too, and this one by shiseido is highly rated.
Assorted medicine and first aid items: you never know what you will need. Always carry disinfectant, wipes and some bandaids and painkillers.
Body butter: summer heat can be brutal and your skin will suffer, so bring some moisturizer. My favourite are the ones by body shop. They are so solid that I never had any problem bring them with me on carryon.
Wet bags: wet bags are essential for the endless trip to the beach, or your toiletries.
Detangled hair brush: this hairbrush revolutionize my life. Goodbye to tangled hair!
Quick-dry towel: it folds up small and works on top of drying quick. My travel would be a lot more difficult without it.