Before leaving for my trip, I never thought that I could live minimalistically. I spent two weeks packing/preparing for my trip, and when I left, I had only two bags. One backpack and one cross-body purse. This was surprising to everyone due to my well known reputation of being what they like to call “an overpacker.” But the more time I spent packing, the more time I had to think about the things I would actually need. Eventually I came to the conclusion I didn’t actually “need” anything, aside from an opened mind.
Having this new found mind-set I was able to pack smart. Here is what I took:
- 2 pairs of shoes: converse and nikes, anticipating a lot of walking, I figured it would be good to rotate shoes to avoid sore feet. The converse doubled as my “going out shoes” and the nikes as my workout shoes. (This was a good call on my end)
- 4 pairs of thin ankle socks. Yes, four pairs for six weeks. Relax. You can hand wash them in the sink at the hostel and lay them out to dry over night.
- 5 pairs of underwear. Same situation as the socks.
- 3 tanks–If you go to Marshalls, in their sportswear section they have a lot of good/cheap tanks. I like the sportswear tanks because they are made with light material which is both great for packing purposes and dealing with heat. For aesthetic reasons, try to go with solid colors, it makes it easier to mix and match outfits.
- 2 t-shirts, I typically reserved those strictly for sleeping.
- A denim button down that I often wore as a sweater.
- 1 swim suit, for obvious reasons.
- 1 pair of denim shorts. If you bring denim, make sure they are good for walking around in.
- 1 pair of running shorts-6 weeks is a long time, you gotta stay fit.
- 1 pair of running pants, these were nice because they pack well and are versatile in their nature.
- 1 pair of jeans-It gets cold at night.
- 1 solid black tennis skirt. Yes, a skort. Out dated, maybe. But extremely practical for travel. Not only is it comfortable, but when worn correctly, it can be created into an evening outfit. I wore my black skort with my black tank and my converse to all the bars in Budapest.. I may not have found love, but I did find a few free drinks. 😉
- A light zip-up hoodie (which I wore on the planes/trains to avoid packing it)
- A light rain jacket. I found a nice Columbia one at Academy for $30. It was a fantastic investment. For the nights that it got cold, I would put on my zip up under my rain jacket. The material of the rain jacket blocked the wind from getting in and the sweater kept me warm.
- Toiletries will vary from person to person, just make sure to be aware of the size of liquids you take, European airways are pretty strict and will make you throw things away while passing through security.
In the end, I figured if there was anything I missed that I found myself really needing, I could pick it up when I got there. Which is exactly what I did, I picked up a cute scarf in Rome, and a little cardigan in Sweden.
One thing I quickly realized, the people I was surrounded by (the other guests of the hostels) were doing the exact same thing as me. Traveling for an extended period of time with only one bag in tow. The outfits we were wearing were not going to effect the experiences we were searching to have. No one will judge you if you wear the same outfit two days in a row. I promise.
Here are a few snapshots of me in my european wardrobe.
Now go forth my children, and pack smart. You can do it, I believe in you!