If you’re a backpacker and you want to travel to Europe, it’s important to do your homework, especially when it comes to your backpacking in Europe packing list! Europe is a lot more than just beautiful scenery, monuments, and natural wonders.
There are also amazing opportunities to learn about the history of the many fascinating nations and their cultures.
Of course, you’ll never be able to see everything, especially not in one short trip, but if you’re well prepared, you can at least have the chance of having an adventurous and awesome time there.
No matter if you are a student backpacking across Europe for the first time or a seasoned world traveler hitting your 20th country, there are some items you need to be prepared with.
Table of Contents
Note About Traveling During Covid-19
We are trying to stay updated with the latest travel restrictions during this crazy time, of the coronavirus, that has hit the tourism industry hard.
But as rules for visiting a destination change quickly, it is important to check with your government websites to see the latest travel restrictions, requirements, and travel advisories.
They will have updated information on the latest covid 19 vaccine, whether or not you need to present a negative covid 19 test.
Travel Plans can change quickly, I’ve had 4 flights canceled, so stay updated with the latest travel advisories before you start booking things in your destination.
Pros and Cons of Backpacker Vs Wheeled Luggage
Do you travel light with a backpack or do you prefer to roll? There are plenty of pros and cons for each, so we’ve rounded them up for you to consider when planning your next trip.
Luggage or a backpack for Europe? If you are planning a trip to Europe, that question may be at the forefront of your mind. Luggage is convenient because it usually has wheels and therefore makes transportation much easier. But can be a pain to carry up and downstairs. It also keeps your hands full.
On top of that, luggage can be more protective of your belongings which is especially useful if you are carrying expensive electronic equipment or clothing.
Backpacks on the other hand are heavier since you are carrying the weight. But since your hands will not be full, you can easily hold other things while traveling such as cameras or shopping bags.
Backpacks also offer travelers better mobility and flexibility during travel in European Cities than heavy roller bags can achieve.
Best Backpacks For Traveling Europe
When it comes to picking a travel backpack, there are a seemingly endless amount of criteria to consider: size, cost, durability, capacity.
And after 10 minutes into the search, it feels like you might need a degree in engineering to make the right choice.
That’s where we come in! Here are our favorite backpacks for traveling Europe.
Osprey Farpoint 70
The Osprey Farpoint 70 is a rugged and durable travel backpack designed for long-term travel. The backpack has compression straps which allow you to compress the bag to a compact size, useful for when packing into tight areas like buses, airplanes, and even hostels. There are also side compression straps, which can be wrapped around the outside of the backpack, allowing it to be compressed from the sides as well.
Osprey Farpoint 70 is a budget-friendly backpack that can last for years. It’s one of our favorites. If you’re looking for the best travel backpack, this is it. The Farpoint 70 is Osprey’s most popular bag, and it’s easy to see why.
It has everything you want in a travel backpack, and nothing you don’t.
Shop on Amazon
NOMATIC 40L Travel Bag
The 40L bag is a premium travel duffel bag that converts into a backpack. It folds into a flat, compact pouch and can be used as either checked or carry-on luggage.
It is incredibly practical, organizing everything you need in your travels, and has the versatility for any situation.
The backpack straps also make it great for daily use as a backpack, which is how I take it everywhere now.
Check out the Nomatic 40L.
REI Flash 45 Pack
The REI Flash 45 Pack is a great pack for those of us that travel a lot. It features tons of different ways to store your gear, a very sturdy build, and will hold everything you need in a small, organized way.
Look at it at REI.
Eagle Creek Global Companion
The Eagle Creek Global Companion is a large backpack designed to handle lengthy excursions abroad. I was looking for something that could accommodate both my 15-inch laptop as well as my DSLR camera and accessories, and this fit the bill perfectly.
I appreciated the multiple compartments that allowed me to keep my clothes separate from my electronics and toiletries. The bag is lightweight and it was comfortable to carry for extended periods of time. I love that it also comes with an included day pack that easily attaches to the front of the backpack, and is perfect for carrying a jacket.
Shop on Amazon
Best Luggage for Backpacking Europe
If you’re looking for the best luggage for backpacking Europe, you’ve come to the right place. Packing for Europe is no simple task, but we’ve narrowed down your options to our top picks so you can travel like a professional backpacker.
With many different types of bags available, and different styles that fit different travelers, there is no one perfect bag for everyone.
Samsonite Spinner Luggage
the Samsonite Spinner Luggage. With its nifty design, you can easily roll your wheeled suitcase behind you as you travel from point A to point B.
It is made with durable material which is an absolute must for something that is going to be in constant motion because let’s face it, sooner or later it is going to get knocked around by other people and their luggage. Don’t worry though, the Samsonite is built to last even under heavy wear and tear.
Shop on Amazon
Travelpro Platinum Elite 20-Inch Expandable Spinner Suiter
The Travelpro Platinum Elite 20-Inch Expandable Spinner Suiter is a great wheeled suitcase for committed travelers. Given that it meets all international airline carry-on restrictions, its convenient, flexible, durable, and resilient. It’s also built with innovative features that include a self-aligning Y-Zipper and a quick-lock, self-repairing zipper track system.
These features add to the durability and functionality of this bag. Aside from that, it also comes with a large main compartment that’s spacious enough to fit all your essentials.
With its high-quality construction and innovative features, there’s no doubt that this bag will complement your style while providing you with everything you need on your Europe trip.
Check it out here.
One of the most important things on your backpacking Europe packing list is your daypack.
That thing is going to get used every single day, so it’s going to have to hold a lot including your camera, water bottle, water filter, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, tissues, maps, snacks, phone, and even clothing.
Consider choosing a daypack that can be worn on your front. Day packs with only one strap can get very frustrating and tired after a few days. Your goal is to carry it as lightly and comfortably as possible.
You will be in Europe which means places will be crowded. You do not want to be bumping into everyone around you with your backpack swinging on your back all day long.
If you are going to be traveling in the summer months look for a pack that has mesh fabric on the back.
The pack will stay cooler and you will not feel like you are carrying around an oven.
The Osprey Farpoint 70 comes with an unzippable day pack!
WHY PACK LIGHT?
Whether you’re going on safari (one of the best adventure tours, for more see our G Adventure Review) or trekking across Europe, packing light is the way to go.
There’s a common saying among travelers and backpackers.
Set out everything you think you need to pack….then get rid of half of it.
This is because our natural impulse is to overpack, “just in case”. But the truth is we never use those things!
You’ll also be picking up stuff as you go!
So why pack light?
Things equal weight. The more weight the harder it is to lug around your gear! Especially, if you are planning a lot of train travel.
Another perk; go full minimalistic and only take a carry-on. This saves you money on expenses luggage fees.
So get rid of the things you don’t need, like a laundry bag, or a big plastic bag filled with toiletries.
Backpacking Europe Packing List
My backpacking Europe packing list is a comprehensive guide for anyone who might be heading off for a European adventure and is planning to backpack Europe.
It’s the travel guide I wish I’d had before I went, and it’s the same one I use when we travel.
It’s not a complete guide to becoming a backpacker, but it’s a solid checklist of things you should consider packing for your trip.
In general, the rule is the lighter and smaller you pack, the better.
You want to keep in mind that there will be a lot of walking on most trips so things get heavy quickly. Here are my top picks for what not to forget when packing your bag:
Backpacking in Europe Packing List Essentials
In general, it takes six weeks or more from when you applied for your passport until they arrive in the mail so don’t take chances! Make sure your passport has plenty of time before travel dates expire by checking out these tips on how long a passport can be valid.
Be sure to have copies of all visas if needed as well as any ID cards needed too like a driver’s license or social security card that may also need scanned copies attached (these typically only require one copy).
Remember, having this document just in case could save hours at customs!
EPICKA Universal Travel Adapter
The Universal EC3 Power Adapter from EPICKA is a must-have item for international travel, and you might need a few if you are Traveling as a family . It supports power plug types from all around the world.
This lightweight device is compact and has two USB ports for charging multiple devices simultaneously.
Bank Account & Debit Card
Whether you are traveling abroad or across the country, traveling is a bank-intensive activity. What banks let you withdraw money from foreign ATMs without an ATM fee? The Best Bank for traveling in Europe is Charles Schwab, which doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee when withdrawing money.
There are some debit cards that give up to 5% of Crypto! This lets you get cash back, and invest at the same time. If you are interested in learning and doing something new, you can buy Bitcoin Cash and discover the world of cryptocurrencies for yourself.
Travel Credit Card
An ideal travel credit card is one that can earn you miles or points toward free travel, has excellent insurance coverage to protect expensive purchases and rental, and has no foreign transaction fees or other hidden fees. There are many travel credit cards that fit the bill.
But which one is the best? It depends on your wants and needs.
Before you choose a travel credit card, ask yourself these questions: Will You Be Traveling Abroad?
If so, will you be using your credit card to pay for purchases backpacking in Europe?
Do you want to be able to use your card for cash advances in foreign currencies?
If so, you’ll need a card with no foreign transaction fee or low-to-no foreign exchange fee.
How Many Miles/Points Do You Want?
Consider how many miles or points you want from a single purchase when choosing a rewards card.
A couple of the best cards are..
- Capital One Venture Card
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
Travel Tips: Don’t get a credit card unless you pay it off at the end of each month.
Travel Insurance is one of the best investments you can make for your trip. It provides peace of mind while you are on an adventure.
Travel Insurance covers medical expenses, trip cancellation and interruption, stolen luggage, and more. Some people may not think they would need Travel Insurance, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
Clothes for Backpacking Europe
The clothes you choose to pack for traveling Europe are important as they can make or break your backpacking trip. Planning the right items to bring is just as important as knowing how to pack them. For this reason, we are sharing with you some tips and tricks for packing while still looking smart, fashionable, and trendy.
Button-down Shirt (2-3)
Before you decide to pack away your comfy button-down shirt, take a moment to consider all you can do with it when you travel. A button-down shirt can be dressed down with jeans for a day around town or dressed up for a night on the town. And as you know, there are many occasions in between.
A shirt is an integral part of a person’s outfit. Especially for traveling, it will often be the one piece that you use to cover up when in areas that travelers to cover up. A button-down shirt fulfills this need and given its functionality, it would be wise to invest in a good quality shirt.
A good brand to bring on your travels, and that you may wear instead of packing business attire, is an REI button-down shirt. These are often very lightweight so they won’t take up much space or weight in your bag so they’re great for travel!
Shop on REI
Bluffworks MERIDIAN DRESS SHIRT
The Meridian Dress Shirt is designed to take you from a day of travel to a dinner out with friends and back again.
The 100% wrinkle-free poplin fabric combined with the wrinkle-resistant Clearshot wrinkle-release finish makes this shirt as easy to pack and wear as it is effortless to look at.
Other Key Features Include – Lightweight and breathable. Moisture-wicking and odor-resisting. Wrinkle-resistant shirt, no iron needed.
Check it out on Bluffworks.
westernrise Limitless Merino Button-Down Shirt
Western Rise Limitless Merino Button-Down Shirt: A button-down shirt with a merino wool blend and some added spandex makes it supremely soft and stretchy.
A great shirt for travel, as it doesn’t wrinkle easily, dries quickly, and repels odor.
Head to Westernrise
Sweater and Hoddie (2-3)
When it’s cold outside, you need to prepare for the elements. You don’t want to freeze and you also want to stay comfortable on your trip. You need a good travel sweater.
The first things you should think about when looking for a good travel sweater is if it’s warm enough, how big it is, and if it is itchy. If you are heading somewhere that is cold then you will need something that will keep you warm when you are walking the streets where there is little or no heat.
What sweater material should it be? This is also important. The best material for a sweater would be merino wool. It keeps your body heat inside your body and it won’t make you sweat.
JINIDU Men’s Quarter Zip-Up Pullover Sweater
Westernrise StrongCore Merino Hoodie Sweater
Men’s Sparwood Hoodie Sweater
Pro Packing Tip: When packing, ball up your socks and stuff them in your shoes. Its saves a lot of space.
Pants (2 – 3)
Travel pants are the ideal way to blend comfort, convenience, and style into a stylish and easy-to-wear piece of apparel. Aside from looking good, they also need to maximize your comfort for long periods of time spent walking around and sightseeing.
They need to be tough enough so you don’t have to worry about tearing them while exploring the wilderness or wandering around European cities. Finally, they need to have enough pockets so you can keep all your cash and credit cards safe.
When looking at travel pants think about when you’re traveling. If you’re traveling in winter you might want to get heavy-duty pants. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t one of the best places to travel to in December..
Underwear (6 -7 Pairs)
I’ve spent a lot of time reviewing the best underwear for backpacking – or really any travel.
I’ve tried out a few brands and styles of underwear while backpacking around Europe and these are hands down my favorites.
ExOfficio Give-N-Go Boxer Brief
The ExOfficio Give-N-Go Boxer Brief is made in Colombia with 97% nylon and 3% spandex Dri-release fabric to be soft and comfortable, while also being quick-drying and breathable.
These boxer briefs feature a 1″ waistband with a flat, no-roll construction for superior comfort under even the most rigorous conditions.
They are also odor resistant which keeps them smelling fresh long after you don’t. They are perfect for long travel days. Or when miss a chance to wash your clothes.
Shop on Amazon
The UA Boxerjock Built-In 4-Pack is made with UA Storm technology that repels water, so you can stay comfortable and dry when you’re on the move. Featuring a lightweight, ergonomic design for superior movement in any direction.
Moisture Transport System wicks sweat to keep you cool and dry. The antimicrobial treatment fights odor. Signature Moisture Transport fabric keeps you dry and comfortable.
Get it on Amazon
Comfortable Shoes for Traveling Europe
Comfortable Walking shoes – Europe is full of cobbled streets and sidewalk cafes, but Rome is no match for comfortable walking shoes! But a hiking shoe would be awful!
Bring some shoes that don’t hurt your feet after hours of walking around the best cities in Europe.
Some of the most important things to pack when traveling Europe are comfortable shoes.
Hiking boots are good for the outdoors but uncomfortable walking around town.
Imagine walking an entire day across cobblestone streets in Austria or strolling through centuries-old churches in Barcelona.
So unless you are planning on spending a lot of time hiking, leave the hiking boots at home. And the same for dress shoes. Leave them in your closet.
The expectation to the hiking shoe rule is if you are traveling in snowy places in the winter, like Finland or Norway. Then you’ll want a good pair of winter boots.
You need something that is versatile, lightweight, and can walk for miles. The most important thing is to bring shoes that will allow you to walk as much as possible without tiredness.
The Comfiest Shoes for Traveling Europe If you’re looking for comfortable shoes to travel Europe, these are your perfect match:
Travel Socks (4 – 5)
In preparation for a backpacking trip to Europe, I became obsessed with finding the perfect socks. And in the process, I discovered that there are many factors to consider. Socks have a lot of different pros and cons and it can be hard to narrow down which pair(s) will be the most useful. I decided to do lots of research and find a good pair for traveling. Here’s my favorite!
A microfibre towel, also known as a travel towel, is a highly compact and quick-drying travel accessory. There are many advantages to traveling with this towel. For starters, it is super small (about the size one would expect for hand lotion) and weighs practically nothing when wet. Perfect if you stay in a hostel, because they don’t provide towels most of the time.
Warm feet are key on any Europe backpacking trip, and these socks won’t disappoint.
Shop on Amazon
Essential Toiletries when traveling abroad
Make your life easier when you travel abroad. Here is a list of the essential many different toiletries you should pack for your trip.
1. Shampoo & Conditioner
2. Body Wash
5. Toothbrush & Toothpaste
6. Soap & Shower Gel
7. Razor & Razors Blades
8. A comb & Hair products like Hair Spray, Hair Ties etc.
9. Baby Wipes
10. Face Wash
11. Sun Tan Lotion or Sunblock
13. Nail Clippers
14. Advil/Tylenol/Motrin & Ibuprofen etc
15. Hand Sanitizer
16. Hygiene Products toiletry & Fenime Hygiene Products
The travel accessories you should be taking with you on each trip are dependent on the destination and length of your journey, but there are some essentials that will always be useful. So before you head out on your next trip, make sure you’ve read up on these travel accessories you’ll want to pack for any journey.
Compression Packing Cubes
I’m a backpacking Europe veteran who swears by packing Cubes. They come in handy when shopping abroad; because it frees up some room for souvenirs. Repackaging clothes inside the bag also avoid bulk at customs checkpoints around border crossings.
For travelers using three-month clothes, they should pack six large or twelve small cubes but smaller spaces will work better for shorter travels like weekend getaways.
Here’s another travel tips, pay a little extra and get good ones. I highly recommend the Eagle Creek Pack-it
Sometimes during adventurous travels, for inspired by quotes about adventure people find themselves separated from their group and off-piste.
These will come in handy for sightseeing as well as enjoying those amazing sunsets or looking up at those breathtaking buildings this summer. If you’re traveling in winter you might not need sunglasses.
Life Straw Water Bottle
The LifeStraw Water Bottle is a great option for travelers, hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts. The water purifier bottle is lightweight and small enough to not take up to much space. In most countries the water in Europe is drinkable.
But why not get a water bottle that will last your years! And it’s not recommended to drink the water in some capital cities in Southern Europe and Northern Europe because the pipes are old.
It’s also good for keeping some water by your hostel bed.
Get on Amazon
Every traveler needs to pack a money belt – let me explain why.
Most travelers fear the idea of being robbed or pickpocketed when they travel. While it’s not the safest idea to flaunt your money belt, we’ve found that they can come in handy.
They come in many forms, most commonly as a belt with hidden pockets or zippers. I am telling you, these belts have come in SO handy over the years!
Especially when traveling to Europe where pick-pocketing is a common thread. The best solution for keeping your belongings safe is to carry a money belt around with you and keep it inside of your shirt or just below the chest.
It’ll be more hidden if you constantly wear a backpack on the front, making it harder for thieves to find it as well. They are also good for keeping your vital documents safe staying in a hostel.
See it on Amazon
Other Items You Want Want to Bring
These items are necessary, even more so if you’re packing light. But might make life a little easier.
Eye Mask – An eye mask is good if you’re flying on budget airlines, or when someone turns on the lights in your hostel at 3 a.m.
Laundry Bag – A laundry bag is good, but you can also use a dedicated pocket in your backpack. Protect the environment and don’t use a plastic bag.
Europe Travel Guide – For those long travel days to do more research.
Camera / Or Phone
Europe Summer Packing List
Europe is a fabulous place to travel in the summer. But it’s also hot and different from what most Americans are used to. That means you need to make some adjustments to your packing list.
But this also depends on where you are going. For example, Southern Europe, Italy, Spain, Greece, and Portugal, are hot, dry and get very little rain. So taking up valuable space in your backpack with a rain jacket really isn’t worth it.
On the other hand, in Northern Europe, it’s a little colder (not freezing) but worth having a light rain jacket. Plus, there’s a much higher chance of rain.
For the most part, your summer packing list will stay the same. But make adjustments depending on where you are going, and create your own Europe summer packing list.
About This SIte
Hi! I’m Stephen Schreck! A travel addict, wordsmith, and shutterbug.
My goal is to help you travel smarter!
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