One of my biggest fears I had before setting off on my trip was how on earth would I pack for two months in just a backpack. And two months in Europe, nonetheless, this was not a place I wanted to be wearing t-shirts and leggings every day. I needed to look nice, but also be prepared for a number of scenarios: clothes to hike in, to protect me from rain, clothes for the beach, clothes for conservative churches….the list goes on.
Overall I am quite proud of what I packed, everything served a purpose and I never really felt like I missed something major. Read on below for my list and more suggestions for packing for long trips!
Everything I packed for 2 months all in one 60L bag!
- Plan for the weather but also the unexpected weather. I was going to Europe in June/July I planned for hot weather but I knew that Brittany and Berlin would be a lot colder so I still needed long pants and a sweater. Adjust your list based on the climate/time of year but general rule would be to have one outfit for colder weather than you expect and one outfit for warmer weather than you would expect.
- Pick a colour scheme. Besides one or two pieces all of clothes fit the black, white, navy, red colour scheme. Which meant I could pair anything with anything and it would look good. This was a lifesaver, you will wake up one day and hate everything you packed and be desperate for something new so being able to mix and match is crucial
- For Europe you will 100% need more conservative clothes you can wear into a church– especially in Italy and Spain. Pack a maxi dress, skirt or pants without rips you can wear all day. You want something light ( it will be hot) but that covers your shoulders and knees.
- Scarfs are a life saver. Cover your shoulders or knees in a church, warm up on a chilly night, or make your plain white tee shirt more interesting after you have worn in a million times.
- Pack something nice. A lot of people will tell you to leave your nice clothes at home and yeah, you don’t need your 3 inch heels and diamonds but on long trips you will get sick of wearing the same dirty sneakers and sweaty tee shirts everyday. Bring one nice of shoes and one nicer top or dress you can throw on for dinner when everything else in your backpack makes you want to vomit ( this happened to me)
- Don’t forget stuff to do laundry! Bring a couple Tide Pods if you will have access to a washing machine or just bring powder laundry soap and do your laundry in the sink.
- Pack lots of sunscreen. I put on sunscreen every single day, multiple times a day and so I went through the little bottle I brought fast. We found it was absurdly expensive in Southern Europe so if you have rooms, bring extra.
The Clothing List
8 Dresses, including one nicer one and one maxi
3 Jackets: Jean, light brown one and rain jacket
2 bathing suits
3 Sweaters: grey crewneck, cropped grey and white cardigan
7 Tops: a white, black, navy and striped t-shirt, white button down, blue blouse, long sleeve striped shirt
3 Tanks: white, black, athletic
3 Shorts: white, red and one pair of gym shorts
3 Pants: dark jeans, white jeans( switched these in for navy chinos in photo), workout leggings
3 Skirts: red floral, blue floral and jean skirt
3 pairs of shoes: white runners for everyday, good walking sandals ( Naturalizer sandals are my favourite) that are nice enough for city use and one pair of wedges for nicer evenings.
3 scarves: 2 small and one larger shawl
2 belts: brown and black
2 bathing suits
1 red crossbody purse, 1 little black wallet for nighttime and 1 day bag that came with my backpack.
Some outfits from my trip:
Travel outfit: white tank+ cropped sweater+jean jacket+ leggings
Art gallery outfit: white tank+ blue skirt+ sandals
Exploring Brittany: white button down+ jeans+ espadrilles(bought in Spain)+ scarf in hair
Versailles: little black dress, jean jacket, scarf and runners
Exploring Rome: maxi, sandals, scarf hidden in purse to cover up in churches.
My Post-Trip Analysis
I ended up buying: a pair of espadrilles in Barcelona ( more for a souvenir than because I needed them) one black tank for going out in Budapest, one new white tee at the end of my trip and one Breton shirt in Brittany. I never really felt there was something major I was missing and I still had room for these extra purchases.
One thing I did wish I packed was a Longchamp or other small, foldable tote. Sometimes you want to bring lots of stuff with you during the day and don’t feel like carrying around your backpack.
While I was quite happy to have the wedges, I think next time I would bring a cute pair of flats that I could wear more.
If I had had the space I might have packed a slightly warmer jacket- maybe subbed a leather jacket for my light brown one as it did get cold in Brittany at night.
- Get a backpack that opens like a suitcase. I cannot recommend my backpack enough! It was amazing in fitting everything, being incredibly comfortable and not too bulky even for me at 5’3!
- Packing cubes, packing cubes, packing cubes! It may sound like I packed a ton but everything ( plus lots of underwear and socks) fits into the four cubes you see below. This also meant finding clothes was super easy as they were all organizing in cubes. I did one for tops, one for dresses, one for bottoms and one for extras.
- Roll your clothes!!! This saves so much room and I find keeps them less wrinkly.
- Shampoo bars are amazing! I got mine from Lush- it took up no room and did a great job of cleaning my hair! Also mini dry shampoo is a lifesaver.
- For towels- find a smaller microfibre one. They take up way less room. ( See above photo)