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Packing for a summer Eurotrip can seem pretty daunting, especially if it is your first time backpacking. I have created this female packing guide based on my 35 day trip to Europe in June where I traveled to 6 countries. Attached is a FREE downloadable checklist!
I used a 60 liter backpack for my 35 day Eurotrip, however I found it to be very uncomfortable and heavy! This may be due to the pack I chose (which I ordered over the internet without trying it on first). BIG MISTAKE. If you are buying a backpack for the first time I would strongly recommend going to REI or some other outdoor shop to be fitted. You can always choose one that you like and look for deals online later (backcountry or Sierra Trading Post).
Believe me an ill fitting backpack can make you miserable. It is also important to figure out how much weight you are fit to carry. My 60L backpack was much too heavy for me to carry long distances. I also found that I did not use about 1/4 of the stuff I packed. If I could plan my trip over again, I would get a 50L pack and reduce my packing list. It is important to note that we stayed in hostels and Airbnbs for our trip so camping gear was not necessary.
I used packing cubes to organize my clothes, shoes and toiletries in my backpack. The packing cubes were extremely helpful in keeping all of my stuff organized and made unpacking and repacking pretty simple. You can find many affordable packing cubes on Amazon.
Cross Body Handbag
I always use a cross body bag that has lots of zippers/compartments when traveling because it keeps my stuff safer from pickpockets. For my Eurotrip I used the Kipling Alvar Crossbody Bag which was large enough to hold my camera, cell phone, etc.
Packable Tote Bag
A packable tote bag is great for day trips to the beach, picnics or for picking up groceries. I use the Kammok Tote because it folds up super tiny and can hold up to 50 pounds!
I am obsessed with my Ahnu Sugarpine Hiking Boots. They are lightweight which is excellent for backpacking and they are waterproof. I wore these boots a lot more than I thought I would during my trip because it rained pretty often. These boots kept me dry and kept me from being miserable. My boyfriend decided not to bring his hiking boots…that was a decision he quickly regretted. My hiking boots did not fit in my backpack. I wore them on most travel days and tied them to the outside of my backpack when I didn’t feel like wearing them.
I wore my canvas sneakers everywhere! I love them because they can be worn with shorts and a t-shirt or with a cute dress. They are also light and easy to pack. Target and TJ Maxx both have great choices that are budget friendly.
It is important to pack comfortable sandals that can be both dressed down and worn for a night out. Some cities in Europe have very strict dress codes for entrance into bars/clubs so packing the right pair of sandals is essential.
Depending on where you are traveling in Europe, you may be facing a lot of rain. It is super important to pack a lightweight, but durable raincoat. I love the Columbia Arcadia II because it is waterproof and packable into a hand pocket.
Light Sweater (1)
Many countries in Europe are decently cold even during the summer months. I traveled to Scotland and Ireland in June and I was freezing! It is really important to pack light layers if you are going to be traveling to many countries with different climates.
Large Light Scarf (1)
A large and flowy scarf can do a lot for you on a long trip. Firstly, it can give variation to an outfit that you may need to repeat. It can also keep you warm when riding on a train or plane and help block out the sun on a super hot day.
Dark or Black Jeans (2)
Jeans? In summer? Um Yes! I wore jeans every day in both Scotland and Ireland and a few days in London because it was chilly!
Little Black Dress (1)
A casual LBD is one of the most versatile pieces that you can pack for your Eurotrip. I wore mine walking around the cities with sneakers and a scarf, then changed into sandals and statement jewelry for a night out. The best LBD can be dressed up or down depending on where you are headed.
Knee Length Skirt (1)
They feel very European to me.
Maxi Dress or Colorful Casual Dress (1)
Pack an easy to throw on dress that can be casual or dressy and layered with the sweater you will be packing. See the collage above for some inspiration!
Chambray Long Sleeve Shirt or Jean Jacket (1)
As mentioned before, it can be quite cold in some European countries even in the summer. A chambray shirt or jean jacket that can be layered over the sweater you pack is definitely worth the space in your suitcase.
Personally, I like comfortable and modest shorts when I am traveling.
Cute/Plain Shirts for Mix and Match (4)
Mixing and matching is the only way to survive on a backpacking trip. Make sure that all of your tops will match all of your bottoms!
Comfort, comfort, comfort! Sleeping is so important when traveling so be sure to pack your most comfortable pjs.
Athletic Shorts (1)
Grab a pair of athletic shorts if you plan on doing any outdoor activities in your hotter destinations.
Light Jacket or Fleece (1)
To be honest, I was not prepared for the cold when I arrived in Scotland. I had to buy a fleece when I got there. Please do not make this mistake and pack a light fleece!
Hiking Pants/Leggings (1)
For those of you who plan on going on some amazing hikes!
Sports Bra (2)
For outdoor activities and exercising.
Be sure that you actually like the t-shirts that you bring. I ended up with a bunch of hiking photos of me in an ugly over-sized blue t-shirt. I was comfortable though!
Bathing Suit (2)
They are small so you can afford to pack more than one. I generally like to alternate days so I can wash the suit out after wearing it and let it dry.
Eye protection: Check! Beautiful photos with no squinty eyes: Check!
Beach Cover/Romper (1)
I prefer a beach cover up that can also be worn around town (so nothing super sheer). This way you can head to the beach, then on to lunch and other activities without having to worry about changing.
I don’t go anywhere without it. A trip can get ruined by a terrible sunburn. So just take the extra few minutes to lather it on.
I always travel with a travel towel because they are quick drying and take up little space. I would definitely recommend buying a large or extra large as they will only take up a little of your precious space. You can find a lot of great/cheap options for travel towels on Amazon.
Pick a sun hat that you can wear both at the beach and walking around European cities. Not only will it protect you from the sun, it will give your outfit a little added flair. Packing hats can be very frustrating so only bring one if you think you will wear it a lot. I ended up wearing my hat on all of our travel days so that I did not have to shove it in my backpack.
Camera and Scan Disk Cards
I am in love with my Sony Alpha a5000 Mirrorless Digital Camera. This is an awesome camera for travel because it is small enough to fit in a medium sized purse and is easy to use for beginners. If you are a more advanced photographer you can purchase a detachable lens.
Ipad or Tablet
This is personal preference. I always bring my Kindle when traveling because I love to read. I can upload a bunch of books and be set for an entire trip.
Phone and Charger
Even though you won’t have cell service, you can still use your cell phone on wifi to keep in touch with family, do research, manage finances, etc.
I always buy adapters that allow you to charge multiple electronics at once. You may need to charge your camera and phone at the same time, but the hostel you are staying in may only have one available outlet. You can use this website to find out what type of adapter(s) you will need based on the countries you will be traveling to.
Bring along a portable charger so you don’t run out of battery on the go.
For the planes, trains and buses.
Hygiene and Beauty
I always bring face wipes when I am traveling. I use them while I’m in transit when I start to feel icky and don’t have access to my luggage. I also use them to wipe sweat off of my back, arms and chest when carrying my backpack.
I don’t recommend bringing a lot of makeup because it takes up space and can get cracked or messy. However, you should bring whatever you need to feel like your best you.
I never travel without chapstick!
Even if you are not at the beach, sunscreen is essential! I wore a moisturizer with SPF 15 everyday.
Other Hygiene Products
- Body Wash/Face Wash
I hope this female packing guide has given you some clarity on what you will need for your Summer Eurotrip. Download the checklist here –> Female Packing Guide for a Summer Eurotrip. Check out my post titled A Realistic Budget for Backpacking Europe for tips for planning your European adventure!