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Packing List For Backpacking Europe: The Essential Gear You Need!

Ahh, backpacking Europe. The ultimate expression of freedom! With a little bit of organisation, and an awesome packing list for backpacking Europe, you can travel the continent without a care in the world. You can eat all the waffles in Amsterdam, see the glorious sights of Prague, or live la dolce vita in Italy’s Amalfi Coast region.

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Or you can go unprepared, and find yourself desperately trying to mime “I need a USB cable” at a Moldovan mini-market manager, only to handed a tin of dog food. You buy it out of embarrassment, slink out in shame, and resign yourself to a flat phone battery. We’ve all been there.

Yes, backpacking through Europe is definitely the best way to see one of the world’s most diverse corners, but having a good European travel kit is definitely going to help you out. Although you can generally lay your hands on anything you’ll need in an emergency, your experience is going to be a lot less stressful if you know that you’re already covered for the main stuff.

By the way! Thar be affiliate links in this article, mateys. These incur absolutely zero extra cost to you, should you decide to buy anything, and may even save you a bit of cash. Now, onwards!

A blue domed Greek building against a blue sky and sea

The importance of having a packing list for backpacking Europe

When I was in Vienna, I needed some medication for a poorly stomach caused by too much rich food in Romania and Hungary. “No problem!” I merrily thought to myself, “I’ll go to a chemist or a supermarket, and get some“. Except that it was Saturday evening, and everywhere was closed by 7pm. They didn’t open again until Monday. I could’ve saved myself a lot of discomfort by being prepared in advance!

It’s tempting to freewheel it – after all, isn’t freedom exactly the point of backpacking across Europe? A desire not to be tied down, and to have ultimate flexibility? Absolutely – but there’s a difference between having freedom and being savvy. Having a good packing list for Europe isn’t restrictive; it’s giving yourself the freedom of not worrying about unforeseen circumstances. You can truly relax. and concentrate on taking in your surroundings.

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So without further ado, let’s look at some top tips for your Europe backpacking trip!

The dome of St. Peter

The one thing that should be top of your Europe travel checklist


Let’s face it: there’s no point in making plans for backpacking around Europe until you get your visa – if you need one, of course.

If you’re a resident of the USA, Canada, Japan, Australia or New Zealand, and you’re not planning to stay longer than three months, then congratulations! You won’t need a visa. You can blow up balloons, throw some confetti, and continue onwards to to the next section. It’s all shiny there, with soft cushions and cakes!

For everyone else, you’re going to have to do some research before you continue on. But it’s okay; I’m going to stay here with you, and guide you through, onwards to that lovely land of visa freedom. And it’s actually pretty simple!

Firstly, pop the relevant info (where you’re from, and where you’re going) into the box below. This will take you to iVisa, a trusted site which can help you get everything sorted nice and quickly. Once done, you’ve got the most important item on your backpacking Europe checklist!

The best backpack for backpacking Europe

Before I give you the ultimate packing list for backpacking Europe (yeah, it’s in bold because it’s just that freakin’ awesome), you need something to put all those travel accessories in. So I’m going to let you into the secret of what I genuinely consider the best backpack for Europe.

Yep, like every other travel blogger in the world, I’m going to recommend Osprey backpacks. But honestly, there’s a reason why everyone tips them – they’re extremely well made and durable. I’ve had my Fairview 40 for over a year, and I use it every single month with a heavy load in it (namely, my gaming laptop, and every other aspect of my life. I’m like a terribly English snail). Guess what: it still look absolutely good as new. I don’t think it even has a scuff on it, which is amazing considering all the countries and public transport systems I’ve dragged it through.

I also really appreciate that they make backpacks specially designed to fit female travellers. My Fairview is one of those, and it’s soooo comfortable – I can attach the chest clips to distribute the weight properly, and nothing digs in to sensitive areas!

As for which size you should get – that really depends on how long you’re planning to travel for, and what you’re more comfortable with. A 40 liter will easily hold what you need for a couple of weeks, without having to do any washing. It’ll also be within the hand luggage size of most airlines (be sure to check first, though – I’ve had no problems with it on easyJet, for example, but it’s considered oversize on Ryanair flights. Though Ryanair are famously stingy on bag sizes). If you feel like you need a bit extra, go for a 70 liter – they’re still a manageable size, but you can get that much more in!

A green Osprey backpack with a keyring stating

Packing for Europe – the best travel accessories for Europe

Okay, so you’ve got your backpack; hurrah! It’s time to get those nifty little gadgets: the great ideas that’ll save you time, stress, and frenzied dashes around unfamiliar shops trying to find items listed in another language. I’ve personally tested all of these on a recent trip, and I can tell you that I’ve immediately added them all to a Europe packing checklist, which has been chiseled into the finest granite available, and placed in my living room. I don’t want to travel anywhere without these; they are genuine hero items.

Here we go – this is what to pack for Europe in order to have a savvy, smart trip!

A pair of European two-pin plugs

USB Plugs

On a previous trip to Budapest, my boyfriend and I experienced a real crisis. Nope, not relationship problems, snoring, or unsightly hairs left in the shower. But a crisis over… plugs.

You see, we used to travel to Europe with one of those plug adapters: the ones where you fit a plug into the adapter, and then plug it into the wall. And there was no problem with the plug itself – it worked exactly as it was meant to, was reliable and solid. The problem was that we just had too many things that needed to be charged up.

Think about all the electronic items which are travel necessities these days, and how many of them you have, especially if you’re travelling as a couple or a family. Between us, my boyfriend and I have two phones, a vape (his), and a camera (mine). We tend to get back to the hotel room in the late evening – so how on earth do you charge all that up by the morning, unless you’re willing to wake up and switch items over every few hours (spoiler: I am not willing to do that)?

Kinda simple, actually! Get these Europe USB plugs, and you can charge all of your devices at the same time. They’re also designed to stop charging as soon as the battery is full, so you won’t have to worry about things getting overheated whilst you’re asleep. Perfect! These really did save the day multiple times on my trip, and save those arguments over whose turn it is to use the plug!

A woman

My Little Sudocrem

I freakin’ love Sudocrem. There. I said it. I’ve declared my love to the world, and Sudocrem and I are running away together! Nothing will come between us!

Seriously though, I never travel without Sudocrem. It is legitimately the most useful substance in the world – it calms irritated skin, and is a blissful balm on sunburn (as someone who has permanently scorched shoulders, this is a particular godsend). Insect bites are soothed by its mere touch. It moisturizes dry skin, which can be so uncomfortable if you’re travelling in the winter. It’s fantastic on cuts and grazes, softening up the skin and assisting healing. It is beautifully efficient at eliminating chafing (girls, you know what I’m talking about). You can even use it as a general moisturizer for your skin – perfect for when you’re heading out for the evening!

Little and often is the Sudocrem watchword: it’s so efficient at what it’s meant to do!

Until now, taking Sudocrem abroad has meant having to take one of the iconic grey pots with you, but this came with its own issues. Namely, they they could be a little bulky, and that the generous sizing resigned them to being packed in the suitcase, and going in the hold of the plane. You’ll all know that being on a long flight really dries out your skin, and I’d inevitably forget to put some Sudocrem on before checking my bags in. What was a girl to do?

Well, my love of Sudocrem has increased tenfold, because they’ve brought out My Little Sudocrem – a genius product in a sturdy, petite package. At 22 grams of cream, it’s more than enough to deal with anything you can throw at it, but small enough to slip into hand luggage on a plane, and a daybag whilst you’re abroad. I can have it with me 24/7. It’s a true boon for those who want to pack light, and have an all-purpose troubleshooter!

A comfortable daypack

Let me tell you a story. It involves me, my back, and a lot of pain.

Once upon a time, I used to roam around Europe using a shoulder bag from a very reputable designer brand. I put everything in there – bottles of water, my super-chonky camera, umbrella, my vast reserves of cash (lol, joking). But there was a problem – the shoulder bag only sat on one shoulder, meaning that all that weight was on one side of my body. Unbeknownst to me, it was merrily causing my back to pull against the strain.

I first noticed the results of this when I was on the Amalfi Coast, hopping off a Roman curb in Herculaneum. A pain, which I can only describe as “eye-wateringly excruciating” shot up my back, and for the rest of the trip I had to frequently stop and sit down. My back would magically go back to normal, until I stood up again and put my bag back on my shoulder. In Florence, the pain became so bad that I had to cut my visit to the Uffizi Gallery short, because I simply couldn’t stand up any more. I had massive anxiety about what was causing it – was it hereditary back problems? Was it early-onset arthritis? Just how many spinal operations was I going to need?

I came back from Florence, and immediately took to Dr. Google. I realized that quite possibly, it was the bag which was causing me problems. Duh.

As I said above, I love Osprey products because they’re so ergonomically designed – consider that I’d had zero problems with my big, heavy 40 liter bag. I immediately went to the Osprey site, and contacted the online help chat with an adviser, asking if they could recommend something that was good for bad backs, urban use, and comprised of enough room to carry all my needed goodies.

They recommended the Sylva 12 – and oh my goodness, it is just the best backpack for Europe. It’s a great day bag which spreads the weight across my back – it’s so light that I can barely feel it. I can carry more stuff around than I ever did, for weeks at a time, and not have a single flare of pain.

Get the Osprey daypack which suits you best (depending on your build and needs), and stuff it into your main backpack. Use it as a daypack, and you have the perfect Europe travel bag.

Comfortable travel shoes

I’ve put travel shoes right next to a comfortable daypack, because I consider them to be just as important!

When I was visiting Florence and suffering from all that back pain (genuinely, I only had a single day where I wasn’t in pain. And that was even though I was staying in a hotel with a hydrotherapy tub), I was foolishly wearing a pair of boots to explore the streets. They had zero support whatsoever, and did nothing to cushion my feet or spine from the hard cobblestones I was walking over! I am 100% convinced that having poor footwear contributed to the pain in my back.

At the same time that I was searching for a new bag, I also had a look to see if I could find the best shoes for backpacking Europe – something light, maybe canvas. Durable enough, but still having a little splash of style.

Well, all the sources that I checked out seemed to lead me to the same brand – Superga. With my natural bias for anything Italian, I ordered a pair – after all, it was worth a try.

I can now conform that they are the most ridiculously comfy shoes I’ve ever owned. They look similar to Converse (and come in just as stunning an array of colours!), but they’re slightly wider – I’d never noticed before how narrow Converse are, and how much they were squashing my feet. I didn’t have time to wear them in before I left on a trip to Budapest, and I didn’t get a single blister. They were comfortable straight out of the box.

There was no way that I could write a packing list for backpacking Europe without including these – if you’ve had foot or back problems, or if you just want a seemingly-indestructible yet fashionable pair of shoes, grab a pair!

Comfortable boots

Similarly to above, you need a comfy pair of boots in your bag. Sometimes sneakers just don’t cut it: you’re going to be visiting something a little more formal, or the time of year isn’t suitable.

At the same time, you’re backpacking. The thought of stuffing heavy boots into your pack makes your spine weep in anticipated anguish. How can you avoid such a dilemma, and tearful body parts?

Well, I’ve got a discovery that’s going to change your life. Check out Hey Dude shoes (or Hey Dude UK for my fellow Brits). These things are an absolute revelation – they’re ridiculously comfy, with a lot of designs being fleece-lined, and soled with memory foam. They’re fashionable yet sturdy, with a whole range of choices. Best of all, they’re incredibly, jaw-droppingly lightweight.

Grab a pair of these, and you’ll never have to worry about having suitable boots for travel again. I got a pair of ankle boots, and they genuinely weigh about the same as a bag of chips. They’re superbly well made, and the lacing system means that they’re slip-on – perfect for getting through airport security!

Want something even better? If you’re a Brit, or if you order through Hey Dude’s UK site, you can use the discount coupon NCADE20 for 20% off. Seriously, don’t miss out on this, because they’ve changed my travel life!

Packing List For Backpacking Europe: The Essential Gear You Need!

Packable hat

Sometimes, you find a travel product so good that you know that you’re never going to go back to the old way of doing things.

Packable hats are that product. I bought mine in Gatwick Airport before a trip to the Amalfi Coast, and thought it was awesome. I didn’t really think too much more about it, until I took a normal, non-packable hat with me to Budapest.

Good gravy: non-packable hats are annoying. How did I ever cope with the things?? They can’t go in your pack because they’ll get squashed. You have to carry them through the airport, an area where you generally need more available limbs than a kraken. You end up arriving in your destination, where it’s currently doing an impression of monsoon season, wearing a dripping straw hat. Ugh.

Instead, get a packable hat. You can fold, spindle, and mutilate them! You can stuff them into the deepest recesses of your pack, and forget about them until you need them. They roll up nicely and fit into your daypack if you’re fed up of wearing them. They do everything a standard hat does, but they do it better.

If you’re wondering what kind of witchcraft this is, they’re basically made out of a felt-like material – but they look exactly the same as a standard hat. The added bonus is that they’re extremely light, meaning that it’s even less weight on your shoulders!

Give one a try – you’ll never go look back.

Hand-cranked fan

News for people who think that places like the UK and Scandinavia are constantly draped in rain or snow clouds: we do actually get hot weather.

In fact, Europe is becoming more and more prone to heatwaves, thanks to a distressing amount of global warming. They’re getting more and more extreme – indeed, a heatwave in 2003 led to the premature deaths of 70,000 people. Yikes.

The problem, especially for places like the UK, is that we don’t often get sustained periods of heat, so fitting all of our buildings with air conditioning simply isn’t a financially viable option. Why spend that money, when you’ll potentially only use it for a couple of weeks per year? On top of that, our buildings are designed to keep as much heat in as possible, as for the majority of the year we’re prone to chilly conditions. Unfortunately, if you happen to visit during a patch of hot weather, you may well feel like you’re baking in your own skin.

On the hottest day ever recorded in the UK, I was on a coach trip to see Windsor Castle, Bath, and Stonehenge. Whilst we were in the queue for Windsor Castle, the Americans on the tour were melting in the heat, but I was cool as a cucumber – and it was all down to a hand-cranked fan!

Hand-cranking fans means that you’ve got no need for batteries or USBs, taking two power source worries away. They’re small and robust, and you can pop them into your daypack for when you’re feeling the heat a wee bit too much. Plus it takes so little effort to turn the handle: maximum coolness for minimum effort!


If anyone ever asks me for my top tip on how to backpack Europe, there’s always one answer: learn the language.

Speaking the lingo gives you sooo many advantages, guys. You can read signs in airports and train stations, and navigate them a lot easier. If you’re in trouble, you can ask a local for assistance, and not worry about the language barrier. You can amuse yourself by watching bizarre late night television!

The reason I know all these advantages, and why I always tip people to gain a bit of language knowledge, is because I taught myself Italian using Babbel. There’s a whole raft of languages available, from Italian, German, French, Spanish, Danish, Norwegian, Portuguese, Polish, Russian and more. And it is genuinely the best language app I’ve ever used – to put that into context, I think I’ve downloaded every single Italian learning app from the store. None of them grabbed me like Babbel did.

So, why do I like it so much?

Simply put, it has a very immersive way of learning, and a vast vocabulary for you to absorb. You choose a category, starting from the very start if you’re a beginner, and learn the words as if it’s a game. You sort words into the right order, match them against a picture, or listen and repeat. It’s easy to understand, and most importantly, fun!

I know what you’re thinking, there. “Why should I pay a subscription for Babbel when I can get Duolingo for free?”

Answer: because Babbel goes sooo much more in-depth. I completed the Italian tree on Duolingo, and I still felt like there were things I didn’t understand. I guessed them, or learnt them by repetition. Babbel is like learning from a native – it explains why certain grammar rules work the way they do, or coaches you on your pronunciation. Aside from that, there’s is so much more vocabulary to learn on Babbel. It’s like comparing Fifty Shades of Grey with War and Peace.

Click this link, and give Babbel a try! You won’t be disappointed! And because Babbel has a sleek and functional app, this won’t take up any room in your pack!

Travel Wallet

How did we ever cope without travel wallets, guys?? If you haven’t discovered yet how fantastic they are, then let me take you into a parallel universe. A distant world, a possible world… a world of nightmares!

You’re packing your backpack, dreaming of sipping sangria in Spain, or hiking around a fjord. You grab your passport, and smugly think “aha! You won’t get me, demons of disorganization! I defy you!”, and pop it into a pocket in your pack. Where it slowly, slowly slides down.

You get to the airport, and you need your passport and boarding pass. You wrench a tattered piece of paper out of your bag: the remains of your boarding pass, mocking you. Desperate, you fish around in that pocket where your passport resides… but it’s slid so far down that you can’t locate it. Rather than being an organised, international jetsetter, you’re reduced to having get your underwear out of your pack in public just so you can locate your errant document.

Other travellers laugh at you. Airport workers laugh at you. The demons of disorganization laugh at you!

Okay… so that’s a little dramatic. But that’s essentially what happened to me at Amsterdam Airport. Yes, I was mortified.

Fortunately, my boyfriend gifted me a travel wallet soon after, and life has been so much easier since! I keep my passport, boarding pass, health insurance, and foreign currency inside, and it’s so much easier to keep everything in check. It’s bulky enough that it doesn’t slide into forgotten corners of your pack, but slim enough that it takes up very little room. When I get to my hotel, I sling it into the safety deposit box, safe in the knowledge that all my valuables are in there.


Stop giggling at the back. It’s not sexy, I know.

But neither is diarrhea! I speak from personal experience! And yes, there’s a story coming!

When my boyfriend and I were in Vienna, we started feeling a bit poorly. I’m usually pretty good at spotting foods which should be avoided (I wrote a whole article on it, so I really should’ve known better), but we made a mistake.

Yes, a humble salad in a town in Hungary started having some very adverse effects on my boyfriend and myself. I won’t get into the details, because you really don’t want them, but we lost half a day in the beautiful city of Vienna purely because we felt too rough to stray far from the hotel bathroom. That was time that we couldn’t get back, and probably cost us a day trip out of the city. It was my one regret from my trip (along with the time that I almost accidentally headbutted a lamppost, but that’s another story).

We eventually got into the city centre, found a pharmacist, and begged for something that would help. The kindly Austrian pharmacist handed over some Imodium… and promptly charged us 10 euros for it. Yowch. I must admit, shoveling Imodium down my throat whilst sitting on the steps of the Vienna State Opera is not one of the classiest moments of my life, but it was very necessary. And it worked like an absolute charm. Neither of us had any further problems, thank goodness.

No, it’s not sexy. Buy it anyway; thank me later.


Yes, it’s the item that your mother always reminds you that you need, and you roll your eyes and think “nah, they’ll only take up room, and I never use ’em”.

But when it comes down to it, wouldn’t you rather have them taking up room in your pack than be stuck without them when you need them?

I always carry band-aids (or plasters, to us quirky Brits) when I travel. If I’m with my boyfriend, it’s particularly a necessity, because he’s bizarrely prone to getting blisters. During a two-week trip, he went through two boxes of plasters on his own. And then there’s that time I almost headbutted a lamppost.

It was completely my fault – we were having lunch at a little place in Eger, Hungary, and our table was on a little plinth made out of brick. You had to take a very small step up in order to sit in the chairs. Of course, by the time I finished my lunch, I’d completely forgotten about that. So I got up from my chair to go to the bathroom, and was halfway through telling my boyfriend “we really need to go to Vietnam one daaaaaarrrrgh”. I’d plopped off the step, and completely lost my balance. I was running out of control at a 45 degree angle, before I smacked to the ground, landing on my elbow and knee. Oh, and my head was about one centimeter from a solid iron lamppost.

It honest-to-goodness felt like I’d broken my arm. I ended up with a massive scrape along my elbow (which currently seems to be turning into a scar), which needed some serious patching up with band-aids.

It’s as easy as that to hurt yourself, and get a nasty wound which needs covering up. Take a box of band-aids, and pop a few in your daypack. It’s just silly not to.


The other item that your mother always reminds you to take, and she’s right.

Most people don’t skip on the sunscreen, but there’s still a few folks who think “well, it’s not as hot as back home – I’ll be fine!”. Nope, take that sunscreen, and put it in your pack.

We still have plenty of areas that’ll catch you out. I lathered myself up in sunscreen in Romania, and still got burnt. Similarly, I have an almost-permanent sunburn mark on my shoulder thanks to not protecting myself properly at the notorious oven that is Pompeii. Europe might be more temperate than a lot of continents, but you still need to be sensible.

Personal Alarm

The chances are that you don’t need a personal alarm. I’ve got one – have I ever used it? Nope, never. Heck, I’ve wandered around the backstreets of Naples (a place which isn’t nearly as scary as its reputation would have you believe), and not felt under threat at any time.

But does it make you feel a little bit safer? Yup.

The majority of Europe is completely safe – in fact, the main problem that you’re likely to encounter is that of pickpockets. Whilst you can combat that problem by buying anti-theft backpacks, you can also do your best to raise the alarm… especially in the rare event that you encounter something worse than a pickpocket.

A personal alarm just gives you that peace of mind, especially if you’re backpacking Europe solo, or if you’re female. Sad to say, female travellers still need to keep a special eye out for their safety, and a personal alarm does the trick nicely. They’re generally small and discreet (some are even disguised to look like a cute keyring which you can pop on your bag), and they just make you feel that little bit safer.

Hopefully, you’ll never need to use it, but having a personal alarm is definitely a good idea.

Spare padlock

I always travel with a spare padlock, which I keep locked to the outside of my pack. Is it some kind of metal af fashion accessory, like having a cute keyring?

Nope! (plus I already have a cute keyring on there! Sue me.) It’s just really useful to have a spare one, particularly combination locks, if you’re travelling through Europe by either plane or bus.

A lot of budget airlines operating within Europe have a policy of putting bags, which might’ve been intended as hand luggage, into the hold if space in the overhead lockers fills up too quickly. EasyJet are definitely one, and if you’re planning to start your trip in the UK, your chances of making your onward journey using their services are pretty high. That’s why I started taking a spare padlock – my 40 liter pack qualifies for hand luggage size, but if I can’t fit it in the lockers, I can whack a padlock through the zippers before it gets taken away and put in the hold.

Similarly, I’ve also heard that it’s a good idea for anyone using FlixBus. There’s been some issues with drivers mistakenly taking the wrong bags out of the bus’s storage, or worse, other travellers deliberately taking your pack. Lock your bag to a strut, and no one is getting their hands on that sucker!

Backup battery

Never mind travel; I don’t go anywhere in life without my backup battery. I’ve spent more time with thing than some of my friends. It is my number one Life Pro Tip.

We all know the fear and dread of the low battery. No more mobile phone! No more Candy Crush and Instagram!

But when you’re travelling, it’s more important than that. Running out of phone battery means no camera with which to capture those memories. It means no useful apps, like GoogleMaps or Rome2Rio. Most importantly, it can mean no access to emergency services, or contact with loved ones at home who may be worried about you. It’s important to have all of those things when you need them.

I’ll happily admit that I bought mine in order to play Pokémon Go more efficiently, but I’ve lost track of how many times it’s saved my bacon when I’m on the road. My boyfriend even uses it in order to charge his vape, because the USB cable for that works in exactly the same way.

Best of all, they’re inexpensive, and generally extremely portable. There’s no way I’d travel without one!


Europe has some of the world’s most beautiful places of worship. Places which were considered ancient before Christopher Columbus set foot on his first boat. St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the Duomo in Florence, the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona – if you’re visiting the city, you’ll want to visit these extraordinary places no matter which beliefs you hold. They’re just that awesome.

Howeverrrrr, they also have rules about keeping covered up, and if you’re visiting in summer, you may well fall foul of them. I’ve been caught out three times – once each in St. Peter’s in Rome and St. Mark’s in Venice, where I was wearing shorts and had to wrap a awkward piece of cloth around my legs. The other time was the church of Matthias Corvinus in Budapest, where I was wearing a shouderless dress, and had to wear my boyfriend’s heavy leather jacket. Boy, how I enjoyed sweating my bits off in one of the most beautiful buildings in Europe!

Do yourself a fashion favour, and remember to pack a scarf in your bag. Not only can you use it to avoid religious incidents, but you can use it for various other purposes. I use one to wrap around my camera, keeping it safe in my daypack. You can also use them to avoid sunburn on your neck and shoulders, or soak them with water and put over your head and neck if you have a heatstroke problem. Heck, they even work as pillows for long train and bus rides. Scarves are one of your travel necessities for Europe, they really are.

Plus, you can get some lovely pretty ones! Who says that every useful travel item has to be plain and boring!

Mosquito repellents

As far as mosquitos and gnats are concerned, I am a all-day, all-you-can-eat buffet.

I don’t know why, but I seem to attract biting insects with the same relentless inevitability as having a hyperactive child sitting behind you on the plane. I’ve been nibbled all over Europe. I even get bitten when I stay at my boyfriend’s place, waking up covered in itching sores whilst he slumbers on, happily bite-free. I clearly taste like the finest chocolate cake.

Accordingly, I have developed a homicidal hatred of flying, biting insects, especially the one which circled the ceiling in my hotel room in Budapest for three days and descended for snacks every night. I finished up that journey in a hotel room in Poland, grumpily applying cream to my 14 bites (yes, I counted them), when a gadget show came on the television. I couldn’t understand a word of it, but I could see the product’s name, and saw that it was clearly designed to help with insect bites. Eagerly, I googled it.

Well, blimey. The Zap-It applies a small electric shock to your bite, which stops it from itching, swelling, and generally being annoying. It doesn’t involve chemicals, nor a battery. It just stops up to 1000 bites from being nuisances from hell.

The future is here; grab it with both hands! As a precautionary measure, you can also try repellent cream, and mosquito bands.

By the way, I eventually managed to swat the gnat in my Budapest hotel about an hour before I left. It felt strangely good.

Eco-friendly travel accessories

I’ve saved my favourite for last. Prepare to fall in love.

I first discovered Ocean & Company through Instagram, when I stumbled upon a photo they’d posted of their products. It was the most adorable bracelet, beaded with a cute little turtle in the middle, with that wonderful- sun-kissed look that I love. I’m very much a sea creature; I’ve lived by the ocean for my entire life. Going inland feels weird. I spent two weeks in Nebraska, and felt extremely discombobulated. Anything to do with the ocean is simply in my blood.

As I looked further into them, I realised that Ocean & Company don’t just make cute turtle bracelets – they are completely devoted to producing eco-friendly travel products which promote a plastic-free, sustainable lifestyle. They donate money back from purchases, and give it to charities which are helping to clean up our oceans. You can buy one of their tees, spread the message, and know that they’ve actually helped.

Most of all, I love their travel accessories, because they’re SO useful. A sea turtle tumbler means that you can refill your water from taps in bars and restaurants, rather than keep buying harmful plastic bottles. The super-cool bamboo toothbrush is naturally antimicrobial. A metal straw eliminates one of the world’s worst polluters, plastic straws – and even comes with a brush to clean it with!

So yup, I’m going to be having a shopping spree very soon, because I’ve had enough of going to my local beach and seeing plastic waste. We all need to make changes, and this is absolutely the simplest way of doing it.

Check out Ocean & Company by clicking here! And if you want some even better news, you can use the code ANXIOUSTRAV10 and get 10% off!

Plastic waste floating in the sea in a port

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Travel clothes for Europe

Knowing what to pack for a trip to Europe is so dependent on different factors. The main one is the season – just to use one example, there’s a vast difference in what you want to wear in Scandinavia in summer, and the exact same place in the winter. The length of your journey, and how much access you’ll have to clothes washing facilities, is another.

But, there’s certainly basics which you want to have with you. And this is why I’m going to let you in on a fantastic resource for creating your own packing list (because when it comes to which clothes to wear, you simply can’t make a one-size-fits-all packing list for a continent so diverse as Europe, with such varying weather).

Simply pop your email into the subscription box on the right-hand side of this site, and I’ll send you a packing list (it’ll subscribe you to my email list, but don’t worry – there’s zero spam. I’d hate that, so I’m not going to do it to you!). The thing which sets my one apart from most packing lists is that not only is there space for you to add your own items – so you can write down all your clothes, plus the travel necessities that you’ve just read about above!) – but there’s a checkbox for the RETURN journey. So when you’re off to the next stop on your backpacking trip through Europe, or when you leave for home with a full pack and a heavy heart, you can check that you’ve got everything. You’ve not left your passport, or your favourite sweater, or that cherished souvenir, in a hotel cupboard.

I genuinely think that it’s the most flexible packing list out there. But if you just don’t like the idea of subscribing – no problem! I’m still going to look after you!

Have a look at the TUI Holiday Checklist. I’ve travelled with TUI many a time, and they really do know their travel stuff – this handy little gizmo lets you pop in your destination, who you’re travelling with, and the length of your stay. You’ll be rewarded with a bespoke packing list that even takes the weather in your destination into account!

Share this packing list for backpacking Europe!

I really hope that this list has been useful to you! I genuinely use and love all of the products I’ve listed, and I wouldn’t be without them. They’ve saved me more times than I care to mention, and I hope that you can get them for your next trip – I can promise you that you won’t regret it. Some of them you’ll use nearly every day; others you might not use at all. But you’ll be healthier, safer, less stressed, more organised, more cultured, and that tiny bit fabulous.

If it’s helped you out, or given you some good ideas, how about helping someone else who might be in the same position as you? Give it a share! You can use the buttons below, or even better, save the below image to Pinterest. You’ll be sharing the love, plus giving yourself a bookmark back to this article when you’re ready to buy for your trip!

Europe in Winter Packing List: 32 Essentials for Him & Her

What to pack for Europe in the winter: the essential backpacking in Europe winter packing list.

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Living in California makes us antsy for winter. We crave snow and Christmas weather and yearn for hot mulled cider. But other than watching cheesy Christmas movies and crying into our peppermint bark every night, the only way we can get our Christmas fix in is to travel! So for the past few years, we’ve been escaping to cold places in the winter seeking snow, cold, short days, and warm comfort food.

The one problem with our Christmas in Europe habit is that it’s … er, not exactly inexpensive. Europe in the winter isn’t high season, but it’s also not low season, so while tickets are affordable (especially in early December) they’re not exactly CHEAP. That means we definitely can’t afford to splurge on a nice place to stay.

So, we strap on our backpacks and head to one of the many excellent Europe hostels. We eat our meals at the Christmas Markets – always the cheapest place to get food, and also hello, SO GOOD – and take advantage of the cheap inter-European transit options available to hop from place to place. Backpacking Europe doesn’t have to be a rite of passage, or something you only do when you’re in college – we are living proof that full-grown, late 20’s/early 30’s people can, indeed, go backpacking in Europe! Like the youths!

Whether it’s your first or your fifth trip to Europe, if you’ve never visited in the winter you might be in for a surprise. Namely: it’s cold. Surprise! But hey, we’ve gotcha covered.

In this post we’re laying out all of our favorite, field-tested essentials for visiting Europe in the winter, from gear to clothing. If you’ve ever read any of our packing lists before, we’re REAL persnickety about stuff, so please excuse us if we nerd out and like, wax poetic about the scientific properties of merino wool or whatever. We live for that sh*t. Spoilers: you’re gonna learn a lot about merino wool in this post.

Table of Contents

Looking for more inspiration for your winter trip to Europe? Here are some of our favorite destinations – or you can just read all of our posts about traveling Europe in the winter (you get bonus points for binge reading, y’all)!

Hey, need a handy dandy checklist to help you pack? We’ve got a printable version of this post that includes EVERYTHING you’ll need for your trip. Sign up in the box below and we’ll deliver it right to your inbox. Just call us Amazon prime for packing lists!

Lia and Jeremy and the rooftops of Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic.

Just bein’ mushy in our warm winter clothes in Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic.

Europe Winter Travel FAQ’S

How cold does Europe get in the winter?

Honestly, that completely depends on where you’re going. Some parts of Europe are actually not cold at all during the winter (like Spain or southern France, which are quite temperate) and some areas are frozen tundras (like the Nordics).

As a general rule, the further north you go, the colder it gets. Southern areas – particularly on the coast – will be warmer – think Los Angeles in the winter kind of weather, like you’ll need a light jacket but you’ll be comfortable.

As you head north, the temperature plummets and the days grow shorter and shorter, until you’re literally at the North Pole, sitting on Santa’s lap in the dark as the northern lights dance above you somewhere in Finnish Lapland. (That sounded … weirdly romantic, but what we meant is that Finland is the home of Santa Claus).

For a nice balance of daylight hours and snow, head to the mountains in central Europe! It won’t be CRAZY cold, but it will be nice and snowy and … well, mountainy.

Is there like … daylight?

Yes! Much like the temperature, daylight hours in Europe get shorter as you head north. In Paris, France you’ll get about 8 hours of daylight in the dead of winter – a perfectly reasonable amount. Stockholm, Sweden will give you 6. If you’re up in Helsinki, Finland night falls around 4pm. Plan for shorter hours the further north you go!

Which European destinations should I visit in the winter?

All of them! OK, not helpful. We’ve spent a few years exploring Europe in the winter, and we’ve got some suggestions from our travels:

  • Best for Christmas Markets:Bremen, Germany
  • Best for Romance (and Chocolate):Bruges, Belgium
  • Best for Medieval Charm and History:Český Krumlov, Czech Republic
  • Best for Real Life Christmas Village Scenery:Hallstatt, Austria
  • Best for Coffee, Comfort Food & Culture:Vienna, Austria
  • Best for Christmas After New Years … and Beer:Prague, Czech Republic
  • Best for Actual Reindeer:Norway
  • Best Overall:Copenhagen

One place we DON’T recommend visiting in the winter? Southern France. It’s not just that the lavender is all dead. It’s also that there are no people (just cats, oddly enough), everything is closed (including restaurants, aka the best part of visiting France) and you might get stuck in a castle. OK, that’s probably just us.

Still, save Provence for another season and visit Colmar instead, which we’ve heard has an AMAZING Christmas Market.

Lia and her backpack in her coat looking at a castle near Copenhagen.

I packed everything I needed for a month in Europe in this tiny backpack. No, I’m kidding, you guys. That’s … like even if that was possible, no thank you. This is just my day bag!

Is it actually possible to pack light for winter travel? … How?

Yes, it IS possible and you can absolutely pack winter clothes in a carry on! The trick is to wear all of your heaviest stuff on your travel days – like your bulky jacket, that scarf that’s as big as a blanket, and so on. Other than your bulky stuff, you want everything else to be soft, lightweight, and travel friendly – and you want your clothes to pull double duty so you don’t need as many of them.

We’ll talk more about this below, but in order to achieve the difficult goal of packing light for winter travel we get REAL nerdy about textiles. And no, it’s not just because Lia has a degree in fashion design. Well OK, that does help a lot, actually. Like, a merino wool sweater will keep you roughly 86252526x as warm as an acrylic sweater, meaning you have fewer layers overall that you need to bring.

The beauty of winter travel is that 99% of the time, all anyone is going to see is the very outer layer of your clothing. So as long as you’ve got clothes that can withstand being worn over and over again, you really don’t actually need to bring very many items. Our typical Europe in winter packing list looks something like this (we’ll get into specifics in the next section).

  • Base Layer. This is the most important part of your outfit! On a cold day, you’ll want the layer closest to your body to be warm and insulting – think merino wool or silk, not cotton.
  • Two pairs of pants. We both bring our favorite pair of travel jeans. I bring a pair of warm leggings, and Jeremy brings a pair of chinos to spice things up.
  • 2-3 Sweaters. We look for a few neutral-colored sweaters that are made from at LEAST 20% merino wool and aren’t bulky.
  • 2-3 Collared Shirts. These get layered under the sweaters for a variety of spiffy sweater/collared shirt looks. I dress mine up with statement necklaces and Jeremy dresses his up with scarves and a well-groomed ginger beard. You’d hardly even know we were backpackers! ... Except for the fact that we’re carrying backpacks. And sleeping in hostels. Still, though.
  • 1-2 T-Shirts. These get layered underneath our other clothing as needed and worn to bed. I also bring a cardigan so that I can mix things up from the whole sweater/collared shirt situation on those warm, balmy 40 degree days.
  • 1 Skirt: To switch things up from the ol’ sweater routine, I bring a cute skirt that I can wear with my t-shirts, button-down shirts, or sweaters. I wear leggings or tights underneath to keep my legs warm, and a little belt to dress it up. Bam: that’s like, TRIPLE the outfit options.
  • 1-2 Scarves. You’ll be wearing these every day and they’ll be in every picture. So if there’s one accessory you’re really going to be extra about, make it your scarves! I have a scarf collection that spans every color, so I usually match her scarves to her sweaters when deciding which to bring. Jeremy … has one scarf. It is a good scarf. It is dark grey.
  • 1-2 Hats. Jeremy brings a gray beanie that goes with everything, and I bring a couple of hats in different colors. You know, for accessorizing.
  • 2 Jackets: We each wear our bulky outer jacket, and bring another jacket that squishes down really small and weighs almost nothing.
  • 1 Pair of Shoes: Yep, really, just one. We’ve found the PERFECT pair of boots for cold weather and they’re all we need to bring. Plus we wear them every day so we don’t even have to bother packing them in our bags.
  • Toiletries/Makeup/Gear/Yadda Yadda. We try to keep this bit as lightweight as possible – Lia has mastered the art of packing travel makeup and we’ve managed to get all of our gear to fit into one single packing cube.
  • Underwear: Our rule of thumb is 1 pair of undies per day up to 7. After 7, we sink wash and hang-dry with this.
  • Sleepwear: Our sleepwear doubles as lounge pants and even plane wear! Made from cozy antibacterial merino wool, so they don’t get stinky.

Whoop, there it is: one carry-on bag each.

Er, plus our camera bag. Annnnnnd a day bag. We wear those in front. So like … two carry-on bags each. STILL COUNTS, EUROPEAN BUDGET AIRLINES.


Singin’ in the rain in Avignon, France. Pro tip: a brightly colored umbrella makes a great photo prop on rainy days! Also, ya know, keeps you dry or whatever.

Europe Winter Travel Essentials

You’ll need to bring a few things with you on your Europe winter trip! Oh, and don’t forget to prepare for the long haul flight (when we flew back from Prague last year, it took a grueling 19 hours). We’ve got a whole post with recommendations for our favorite long-haul flight essentials, plus tips to make your flight easier (especially if you sprung for a cheap budget airline flight)!

  • Carry-On Luggage:Zipping through Europe on budget airlines and buses for like, $10 a ticket is totally doable – if you have carry-on luggage, that is. If you’re looking to take advantage of the crazy-cheap deals offered by budget airlines, you’re gonna want to keep your luggage as lightweight as possible! We already covered our tips for packing light for winter travel above, but there’s one last thing you’ll need: a carry-on bag. If you’re partial to backpacks, this PacSafe bag is comfortable, roomy, and as deterrent as it gets – it’s our go-to backpack for carry-on travel. It’s also perfect for those tiny, windy European staircases that you have to climb up because your room is somehow always on the 6th floor and there’s never an elevator (UGH WHY). But if you prefer a rolling bag,the Away suitcase is as beautiful as it is high-tech, with a built-in portable charger, an incredibly durable exterior, tons of space, and a built-in dirty laundry compressor (whaaaaat, game-changing).
  • Day Bag: You’ll want a bag with you to store things like extra layers, your camera, a phone charger, weird European snacks, and trinkets you pick up at the Christmas Markets – you know, the essentials. I carried super cute this day bag with me every single day packed with my packable down jacket, an extra pair of gloves, and anything else I needed for the day. We also have this theft-resistant camera bag specifically for our camera gear, because we’re extra AF professional bloggers or whatever. If you don’t have like … camera gear, you probably don’t need it, but if you do, it’s REALLY nice.
  • Umbrella: Yep, it does rain in Europe in the winter. Thanks, climate change! Bring a little travel umbrella with you just in case. As a bonus, it can double as a cool photo prop to add color to a dreary day – just like that picture up above!
  • Filtered Water Bottle: The water in Europe is safe to drink almost everywhere, with the exception of Eastern Europe. If you’ll be traveling to the Balkans, bring along a water bottle with a built-in filter so you don’t have to worry about where you’ll find water – you can just drink from the tap like normal. You’ll also be saving money and environmental waste by not purchasing plastic disposable water bottles! I know it’s a little pricey for a water bottle, but we’ve tested several water purifying techniques and this is by far the easiest – you just fill it up and drink, and the filter lasts for AGES. You’ll be able to use this bottle for years in other countries without safe drinking water or even on hikes and other outdoor adventures! We think it’s a worthwhile investment.
  • Chapstick & Moisturizer: The air in Europe is dry as a bone. You’d think like, snow might help, but no. Spend a few days in Europe in the winter and you’re gonna end up with chapped lips and thirsty, parched skin! So I highly recommend carrying some good quality chapstick with you during your trip. I love these handmade, all-natural lip balms from Etsy that come in compostable packaging! I also recommend using a heavy moisturizer like this one on your face every night. I also recommend taking alone something you can use for chapped skin elsewhere, like your elbows, feet, and hands. I’m obsessed with this Burt’s Bees salve; Jeremy and I slather it on ourselves religiously during the winter.
  • Travel Insurance: At this point in our lives, we never travel anywhere without travel insurance. We’re way too accident-prone to risk it! We’ve filed several claims with World Nomads, so at this point, our insurance policies have all paid for themselves. Not sure if that’s like, a good thing, or just a sign that we should probably lock ourselves indoors and barricade the room with pillows… We also really like SafetyWing, which offers quarantine coverage, low rates, and long-term travel coverage for digital nomads. Not sure if you need travel insurance? Take a look at our guide to travel insurance to help you decide!
  • Travel Credit Card:We book all of our international trips on our favorite travel credit card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Not only do we earn cash back that we can spend on more travel, but the card also offers fantastic travel perks, like no foreign transaction fees, trip delay and cancellation coverage, lost baggage reimbursement, and rental car coverage, all of which helps protect us on our travels. We’ve filed several claims and the card has saved our butt many times! Take a look at our full review of the card. (Psst: shopping for your upcoming trip? You can put your purchases on the card to help you meet the sign-up bonus minimum spend!)

Lia and Jeremy hand in hand in Christmassy decorated alley in Vienna, Austria.

Wandering through Christmassy alleys in Vienna, Austria, covered in layers of jackets and scarves and hats.

Europe Travel Necessities

There are a few specific things you’ll need to bring if you’re traveling in Europe, especially if you’ll be staying in hostels or places with shared amenities. By the way, don’t be scared of hostels: the hostels in Europe tend to feel more like boutique hotels. They literally have “luxury hostels,” which is apparently NOT an oxymoron. We stayed in a hostel in Hamburg, Germany that was SO nice, we didn’t leave at all except to visit the Christmas Market. Seriously, check out how nice this hostel is! Can we live there?!

That said, you’ll want to take precautions to keep your belongings safe. The most common crime you’ll need to worry about in Europe is petty theft and opportunity theft, so if you make your stuff harder to steal than the average tourist’s, you’ll be good to go.

I got pickpocketed regularly on my first few trips to Europe, but since I grew up and became a seasoned, hardened traveler I haven’t been pickpocketed at ALL. Probably because they’d have to reach underneath 8 layers of scarves, jackets, sweaters, and shirts just to get to where I keep my cash, which both keeps them from stealing it and me from spending it.

For more theft prevention tips, head over and read our travel safety guide.

OK, enough gabbing. Here are all the backpacking essentials you’ll need to stay comfortable in the hostels in Europe!

  • Lightweight Combination Locks: You’ll want to discourage opportunity theft by putting locks on all of your bags – that extra step makes you a harder mark which is often enough to make stealing your stuff not worth it! Important Note: TSA-friendly locks are OK for checked baggage, but for our day bags and non-checked luggage we actually prefer locks that AREN’T TSA friendly, like these, because it’s apparently super easy to manufacture keys that can open all TSA locks. Scary.
  • Plug Adapters: Yep, these are very important. Don’t forget them! And don’t make the same mistake we did and buy a giant, clunky 5-in-1 adapter brick: you don’t need it. 99% of Europe uses just one plug: this one. If you don’t have a 3-prong laptop charger in your luggage, all you’ll need is this tiny little inexpensive adapter. And by the way, the outlets are all round, so our stupid brick-shaped adapter didn’t even work anyway. We binned it. Do make sure that you’re not in the 1% of Europe that inexplicably has a different plug, though: apparently, certain parts of Italy have their own version with 3 prongs that require this adapter, which I unpleasantly discovered after arriving in Italy. Fun.
  • Outlet Splitters: Outlets are at a premium in Europe – they’re just never as common as you want them to be! Enter outlet splitters: now, you only need to find 1 functioning outlet, which means you can bring fewer plug adapters. Congratulations, you now possess the power to turn a single outlet into 3 outlets or even 3 outlets & 2 USB ports! You just might be your hostel dorm’s resident hero.
  • Money Belt or Bra Pocket: So, confession: I can’t stand purses. It’s not just because they’re easily snatched and stolen. They’re also just a giant hassle. From leaving them behind to aching shoulders to getting tangled up in coat sleeves, purses and I just do not get along. So until everyone realizes that girls just want to have pockets in their clothing (and again I bless Aviator Jeans for their giant, roomy, zippered pockets) my solution is the Bra Pocket. It snaps onto my bra and hangs out inconspicuously between the girls, ready the moment I need to take out a card. Nothing got lost or stolen. I highly recommend one. I’ll never go back to purses & wallets! Jeremy, on the other hand, wears a silk money belt under his shirt. For the rest of our daily essentials, we bring along a day bag. This little tool totally verges on extra, but it’s so useful that I’m including it anyway. It’s a little lockable safe that can fit your passport, phone, money, and other small valuables. It even attach to the legs of your bed. This is an essential if you’re staying in a hostel – sometimes you’ll get lucky and your hostel will have trundle drawers close to the bed for easy access, but that’s not always the case – one particular hostel that we stayed at in Brussels only had full-sized lockers available IN THE LOBBY. (WHY!?) Heck, even if your locker is more than arm’s length away, this handy little guy makes it super convenient to stash everything right next to you while you sleep!
  • Travel Slippers: I know this sounds super unnecessary, but these are one of those rare “luxury items” that are SO worth it. Here’s the thing about Europe in the winter: it’s cold. The floors are cold. And the bathroom is probably at LEAST several feet away on that stupid, cold floor. But you have to shower, because – ya know, germs. So you have a few choices: bring a whole extra pair of shoes just for walking to the shower, try to put socks on while your feet are still wet, put your giant winter boots on every time you have to leave your room, or run like the wind across the freezing cold floor, tracking water and misery everywhere. OR? Just bring slippers. They’re SO NICE to have. You can wear them to breakfast, to the lounge, to the shower – and you’ll raise your comfort level to infinity. There’s nothing more cozy and homey than plopping a little pair of slippers down next to your bed and sliding into them in the morning. We even wear our slippers on long plane rides … and at home, like, every day!
  • Travel Towel:Yes, most hotels in Europe will provide you with towels free of charge. BUT, there is no guarantee that those towels will actually fit around your body. And as a tall, curvy woman, they never do. So use the hotel’s towel for your hair and bring a full-sized travel towel instead. As a bonus, if you’re staying in a budget-friendly place with “shared bathrooms” and taking your leisurely post-shower stroll down the hall in your warm, cozy slippers, you won’t be accidentally flashing everyone too.
  • Travel Laundry Supplies: Look, nobody wants to do laundry on vacation. But also, we pack light! So we rely on our anti-microbial clothing to do most of the work, and then we do a little bit of handwashing in the sink or shower, mostly so we can pack fewer pairs of undies! All you’ll need is a tiny bottle of concentrated soap like this laundry wash(a little bottle of plain castile soap like this works just fine too – and you can use it in the shower, too) and a little travel clothesline to hang your clothes up to dry. The heater and super-dry air will do the job just fine, and we find that our merino wool travel undies typically dry completely in under 24 hours. (Optional: some folks also bring a sink stopper, too – but we typically just bring our dirty clothes into the shower with us. Saves water, way easier, we’re lazy, bla bla.)

Lia Garcia in Prague, Czech Republic.

I love dressing for winter travel! ‘Tis the season of layers, chunky scarves, and hats, and I am HERE FOR IT. Here’s how to stay warm in Cesky Krumlov (technically this photo is from Prague the week before, but spoilers, I wore all the same stuff).

What to Wear in Europe in Winter

Here are our recommendations for clothing that’s both functional AND super cute to wear in Europe in the winter!

How to Keep Your Feet Warm

We here at Practical Wanderlust would like to personally help you avoid getting cold feet – especially if you’re getting married in Europe in the winter. GET IT? GET IT!? We’ll see ourselves out. Anyway, keep those toes toasty warm! Nothing will cut a day of exploration short like freezing cold toes.

    When it comes to what shoes to wear in Europe in winter, we honestly only have one answer: the VivoBarefoot Gobi boots are hands down the best boots for European winter. Chances are that you’ll be walking everywhere, and half of it will be on uneven cobblestones, and the other half might be ice or snow – and these boots are up for the challenge. They’re cute, they’re insanely comfortable, they’re waterproof leather and lined with shearling to keep your toes toasty warm, and they’re extremely lightweight and foldable so you can stuff them in your bag when you travel. Oh, and they have thin and flexible soles that let your feet function as if you were walking around completely barefoot! Note: you might find yourself in need of some calf strengthening if you’re not used to barefoot-style soles.We can’t recommend these boots enough. They’re made to last and they’re worth every cent – we wore them for 2 months straight in frigid wintry Europe and never suffered a cold or sore foot! Plus, they’re cute AF! Here are my boots and Jeremy’s boots. You can read more about them in our guide to the best travel shoes for women and travel shoes for men. : Warm boots aren’t the only thing you’ll need to keep your feet toasty warm. Don’t forget to bring warm socks! Make sure you don’t just have run-of-the-mill acrylic socks – they won’t keep your feet warm while you’re exploring Europe in the winter. Make sure you get socks that are primarily made of soft, heat-regulating wool, like these or these.

Underneath Your Clothes

THERE’S AN ENDLESS STORY … THERE’S THE MAN I CHOSE, THERE’S MY TERRITORY! Sorry, that’s going to be stuck in your head for the rest of the day. But Shakira is a queen, so.

ANYWAY, back to things that are actually useful: what to wear underneath your clothes (see, you just sang that, didn’t you) to help regulate your body temperature. The goal isn’t just to keep heat in, but also to prevent you from overheating when you walk inside a 70-degree building after running around in 30-degree weather outside. You know that feeling – the “oh god I’m so hot is this what hypothermia feels like because I need all these layers off of me RIGHT NOW” feeling. It’s usually followed shortly thereafter with the “how am I so sweaty it’s 30 degrees outside” feeling. Ick. No thank you.

We cannot stress enough how amazing merino wool is at preventing you from having to use the word moist to describe yourself. Ugh, did anyone else just audibly shudder? Merino wool is a travel miracle fabric. It keeps you warm when it’s cold out, but it keeps you cool when it’s hot out – and it wicks and regulates moisture too, so that even if you do get a lil’ sweaty inside, you’ll dry quickly and still be nice and warm when you step back outside into the cold.

Merino wool is also naturally antibacterial, meaning even if you wear it for 2 weeks straight every single day, it won’t smell. Er, yes, we’ve tested that… for science, you know. Also, fun fact: it’s flame retardant, too, so ya know. Handy. I guess now we know why sheep are so dumb: all of their intelligence is in their extremely high tech, super engineered fluffy coats.

By the way, if you’re allergic to wool, or adverse to wearing it, hemp is another fabric that is temperature regulating as well as sustainable.

We recommend stocking up on a full merino wool base layer, so you’ve got wool from head to toe. Depending on which country you’re in or how cold it is that day, you can layer up underneath any of your other outfits to instantly add extra insulating warmth to any outfit. We also wear our merino base layers to sleep at night, because they are cozy and warm and wonderful and never smell and they’re just magical.

    : These super comfy 100% wool leggings function just like long underwear. Except they’re made of soft, super-luxurious wool instead of cheap polyester, and make your legs feel like they’re being hugged by an extremely soft sheep. I wore a pair of these under my pants on extra-cold days and they kept me toasty warm (without being too hot)! Jeremy has this pair.Bonus: they also double as the world’s coziest lounge leggings or even sleepwear!
  • Merino Wool Undies: You gotta keep those buns warm! I wear these undies (psst: buy a size up) and this travel-friendly bra, and Jeremy wears these. Laying is crucial when it’s this cold. My favorite way to make sure I stay warm all day is to put a warm layer of wool on before everything else. This is the wool cami I wear, and this is the wool undershirt Jeremy wears.

Jeremy in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, bundled up in his warm winter clothes.

What you can’t tell from this picture we took in Amsterdam is that underneath Jeremy’s travel jeans, he’s got a warm, cozy layer of Merino Wool leggings hugging his legs!

Backpacking Europe Packing List (Updated for 2022)

Anywhere you go you need your backpack full of all the essential things like clothes, traveling gear, traveling essentials. Also, you have to avoid less useful things. So here is the ultimate backpacking Europe packing list for making your backpack perfect for any trips and slow travel. Here we give you tips for how to make lightweight travel backpack, backpacking essentials, backpacking Europe gear, ultralight backpacking gear list for your Europe vacation. Also, I give you which list of things I do not put in my bag. So get ready to challenge yourself to pack less for your next trip.

Pack light – Backpacking Europe Packing List

Whether you are going to some of the best hiking trails in Europe, camping, or backpacking trips to Europe, Asia or Australia, the first most crucial thing is pack light your bag.

Do you know why you should pack light?

  • Pack your bag within 20 lbs because mostly low-cost airlines allow handbag within this weight limit. If you have a heavy backpack, then you can’t choose these airlines, and eventually, your traveling budget will go out of its limit.
  • You will get tired and getting stress during walking, tracking with a heavy backpack.
  • After all, during traveling, you will understand that many items you are carrying without any reasons!!
  • Thinks about if you would lose any items within your bag or even full suitcase then you may not have to worry and your travel will be going on.

What to Pack

First, bag packing for travel is the most challenging task. We become confused about what to put and what not to put in a bag. Take many bags with you during the journey will make difficulties in every phase of travel. Whether you are in the metro or any public transport, take more than one bag with you create a problem during traveling. Also, Make bag with lightweight is a significant task. Here we give a list of items and gear you should take with you during your backpacking tour through Europe. Let’s start our Backpacking Europe Packing List.

Full Backpacking Europe Packing List

First, we make the list of items that should be in our Backpacking Europe packing list. After we will discuss each in detail.

Choose right pants in backpacking Europe packing list

I during backpacking travel usually take two pairs of h me. I choose dark color jeans, and others I want light blue jeans. Any color you choose, but it should be making a good pair with all your other outfits.

Also, take one pair of nightwear with you which you need for a relaxing time. Choose lightweight clothes as nightwear.


Socks for backpacking Europe packing list

If you on any trip then you do not want your socks to become wet and make a smell. Buying a pair of socks is also a vital thing. Your socks should have some characteristics.

Should be dry quickly:

If you wash them, then it should be dry overnight, and you would use it the next day.

Should be odorless after use:

You know that if you buy any cheap socks, wear them for one day then it will make a bad odor. So buy your socks wisely. Good material and branded socks never get smell even after two-three times use.

Buy three to four pairs of excellent quality socks which you can take with you during your trip. It should be worn two-three times without getting any trouble. Instead of cotton socks, buy nylon, polyester and wool material mixed ultralight socks.


Buy underwear with your choice and in which you get comfortable. Because trying a new brand feels you uncomfortable while traveling. You can use brands like Exofficio, Uniqlo Airism, Saxx, Under Armor. These brands sell the best backpacking underwear, which is very comfortable.

Backpacking Towel and Tissue Paper

Tissue paper

While your any backpacking, you do not get tissue paper near your hands. Small and cheap hostels do not provide tissue paper most of the time. So put one packet of tissue paper in your backpack. After you get there at your destination, you can buy it anytime. So do not take tissue paper in large quantities. I recommend you to choose the second option also, the backpacking towel if you sweat a lot or you are going on camping and backpacking. Take two backpacking towels made with nylon microfibers which will dry quickly, light in weight, compressible. The backpacking towel differs from a regular towel. Just wipe your face after wash with this backpacking towel; you would feel fresh. PackTowl Ultralite, Sea to Summit Pocket Towel and PackTowl Nano are the best backpacking towels.

Power bank and Adapter


Don’t forget to take a power bank with you. You will need a power bank any time during traveling. It is the easiest option to make your mobile always on condition. Sometimes mobile battery drain when you get late to reach your hostel or during a full-day visit to different places. At this time mobile can be charged by power bank. Also, take an adapter with you which is also must required thing while you are planning for a Europe trip or going to the World tour. Mingtong Universal travel adaptor is an excellent choice for your Europe trip.

Download offline maps

Download Maps

Here we are putting offline maps as an essential thing you should consider before traveling to Europe. Sometimes you may not get the internet during your traveling. Also, download an offline google map for Europian countries like France, Italy, Spain, Iceland and more which you are going to visit. Download train time tables, local train route maps. Do not depend on mobile always. Write down some frequently required phone numbers and addresses in your diary.

Packing Cubes – Backpacking Europe Packing List

Packing Cubes in backpacking Europe packing list

If you are listening to this word the first time, then let me explain to you about this. It is a small fabric container with zip lock which you can put in your backpack, suitcase or bag.

You can put many packing cubes in your bag. Packing cubes make your clothes organized in your bag. Also, it will keep your clothes compressed so your clothes can be kept in good condition, neat and clean.

As a result, it makes more space in your backpack. After choosing packing cubes, do not worry about finding in a full bag and unfolding everything for one cloth because you can put clothes by category.

Packing cubes target, Ikea packing cubes and Rei packing cubes are among the top packing cubes brands available nowadays.

Credit cards and Debit cards

Choosing the right debit cards and credit cards during your Europe tour will make a significant effect. If you are a frequent traveler then select your bank cards which allowed international transactions with no additional fees. You can check their website for the best available packs for the global traveler. Also, your credit card should be valid for international use. Sometimes there are chances of blocking the card by the bank after its first international use.


Take your medicine with doctor’s prescriptions. Keep regular medicine like for cold, headache, diarrhea and painkillers. Also, take vitamin tablets if you use them regularly. Prescribed drugs are required to avoid any trouble during immigration time. Take mosquito repellent with you to protect your body from danger mosquitos.

Important documents


Keep important travel documents, Identification documents and, passport and flight tickets, hotel tickets in one small pocket type bag. Also, put them properly so you can get it quickly when you need it. Also, take scanned documents on your mobile.

What not to pack for Europe – Backpacking Europe Packing List

We have discussed things you should pack during your Europe trip. Now let’s see items you need not include in your backpacking Europe packing list.

Expensive Jewellery

Don’t take expensive jewelry, electronic items. Only take a maximum of two electronics with you.


If you are going to visit Paris in Europe then check this Discover the Beauty of Paris.

Over-ear headphones

Don’t take over-ear headphones rather you really need it. Use of earbuds is the best replacement for over-ear headphones. Otherwise, use wired earpiece during traveling. Choose the noise-canceling option for these items.


Heavy cloths

Try to eliminate heavy cold-weather clothes in your backpack. It will take most of the weight of your backpack. Nowadays warm thin layer clothes are famous in the winter wardrobe. So wear clothes in layers. It will look nice and also you can make space in your bag. You can add or remove these layered clothes as per the outside temperature. It is the best benefit you can get from this idea.

One best item I found on the internet for a woman who travels alone is infinity scarf with zipper pocket. It should be in the backpacking Europe packing list. You can put extra cash, cell phone, credit cards and many more little but important items in its pocket.

Do not take too many toiletries. You can buy most of the things in a place where you are traveling. Also for a large size, you have to check your luggage which is more expensive than you buy it from traveling place. Also, you can use it all during your trip if you buy a small size.

Point and shoot Camera not to add in backpacking Europe Packing List

Point and Shoot Camera

If you have a DSLR camera then you can take it in a camera bag as personal items at the airport. If you have a point and shoot camera than in my opinion you should avoid it. Nowadays mobile camera photo quality is as good as this point and shoots camera.

Bathing Towel and Bedsheets

Bathing Towel - do not include in backpacking Europe packing list

Don’t take a bathing towel in your backpack. Most of the hotels and hostels provide bathing towel during your stay. You can inquire before by a phone call for your requirements.

Don’t take bed sheets with you. First, check out the hostel review on the internet. If you find any bad reviews regarding bed cleanness then you can change your hostel. But most of the hostels keep their things clean and also serious about visitor’s reviews. That’s why we have not included bedsheets in our backpacking Europe packing list. So don’t make your bag full of bedsheets and get more space.

Do not add bedsheets in backpacking europe packing list

Restricted Foods

Don’t take restricted foods with you. Fruits, vegetables are permitted in little quantity in most of the countries. You should not take meat or any dairy products as much as possible. Otherwise, try to eat before you land.

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