The Art of Packing Light

“Pack for the best-case scenario, not the worst-case scenario. Think in terms of what you can do without, not what will be handy on your trip” – Rick Steves

Ok, I would LOVE any helpful suggestions anyone reading this can offer!

A couple friends and I are backpacking through Europe for a month. With a little more than two weeks before we leave, I have finally begun really thinking about my packing situation. I have been dreading it for some time, but it’s time to come to terms and figure it out. How do you pack for a MONTH in something that now feels the size of a shoebox?!

Everyone I talk to and everything I read suggests packing light is the key to successfully backpacking. Ok, sure, got it. I figured, “I can do this. It won’t be so hard.” The I got the shoebox backpack, looked at the size and am nervous. Yikes! Whether I can do it or not…I will be forced! Now I’m not a MAJOR packer, I’m not ridiculous about it. I realize I can’t bring the stilettos that would be handy in Paris, or the extra books for the plane, or a variety of club shirts, sweaters, jeans, purses etc that I’m sure at some point in time would be handy. Yes, I know THAT! I was prepared to bring clothes that can be easily mixed and matched as well as layered. What I didn’t realize is that I really am only going to be able to bring about 3 outfits worth and a few extra shirts. Right?

So I need HELP! What is the most important things to bring, what WON’T I need? This is going to be my challenge. The good news, once I’m there…getting ready in the morning will be EASY! I can’t wait for THAT! Also, I surely don’t want to be lugging major weight around Europe either…so I know it is a must to pack light, but the question remains:

How do I turn


Pile of clothes




*disclosure* the backpack isn’t QUITE as small as my sample picture above, but it does FEEL that small!

5 responses to “The Art of Packing Light

  1. I couldn’t do it. I have WAY TOO MUCH stuff.

    Tip 1.) Don’t forget your Tide to go pen.

    Tip 2.) ALWAYS wear clean underwear.

    Tip 3.) Bring a flask {for that emergency alcohol}

    Tip 4.) Bring travel size deoderant {If you want the 2 friends to accompany you the ENTIRE trip}

  2. 1. Buy a backpack designed for hiking, if you haven’t already. They’re ultra light and hold about twice as much, if not more, than a regular backpack.

    2. Roll each item of clothing into a burrito-like shape instead of folding. You can usually get a lot more in the bag if you do this, and it helps avoid wrinkles. 😉

    3. Enjoy Europe! It’s a blast. Bring a translation dictionary or electronic translator, if possible. 90% of people can speak English pretty well, but the 10% that don’t will appreciate it.

  3. I am also going to be backpacking through Europe this summer! It’s exciting!

    1 pair jeans (you can rewear these a lot without washing, if you don’t plan on taking shorts go ahead and throw in an extra pair, but you need at least 1 pair of long pants for some churches/museums)
    1-2 pairs shorts (as I am not sure of your genders, I say shorts. I am a girl and usually take at least one skirt- they’re breezy and comfortable and you can get into the churches and museums that don’t allow shorts)
    5 shirts (I do two tanks, two t-shirts, 1 long-sleeve)
    5 pairs underpants (for girls, the sexy mesh ones dry superfast after you wash)
    5 pairs socks (more or less depending on how often you wear sandals)
    1 sweatshirt, sweater, or fleece jacket.
    swimsuit (depending on travel plans)
    You may need one nicer outfit depending on if you foresee attending plays, symphonies, etc. Men should be fine in a long sleeve button-up and khakis/slacks. I usually take a nicer summer dress that I go ahead and wear throughout my trip. Or I just buy something there, wear it to the event, and call it a souvenir!
    You need good walking shoes that you have already broken in. That is very important, you do not want to start your trip with new shoe blisters.
    I start with travel size toiletries and pick more up there. Pack 30 lb TOPS! Also, make sure you have a decent amount of space left in your bag when you leave for souvenirs, food you will pick up at markets for lunches on the road, and bottles of water (and wine).
    You can buy a lot there, so it is safer to underpack than overpack.
    Finally, have so much fun!

  4. Pingback: Europe, here I come! | Brief Hiatus·


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