Backpacking Europe: Ultimate Packing List for Females

After more experience traveling as a solo backpacker, I feel it’s definitely time for an update to my original packing list (read: Female Backpacking Europe Packing List). I’m currently spending three months backpacking Europe this summer (2014), and I can tell you I feel way more prepared than I did on my first trip to Europe. I’ve learned quite a bit about what to pack and what not to pack. Hopefully, it’ll be of some help to you while you’re planning what to pack for your big trip!

What Kind of Travel Pack Do I Use?

First things first. What kind of travel pack do I use? Well, I actually just bought a new travel pack, the Osprey Farpoint 55L, a few months ago. I absolutely love it. It has a great detachable day pack, a specific laptop space, good waist straps, opens like a suitcase, and it’s a really nice size for long term traveling: not too big, but big enough! The pack also comes in 40L and 70L, as well as black and red. (Read: Travel Pack Review: Osprey FarPoint 55L). You can also check out the pack on Amazon here: Osprey Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack.

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(Note: This travel pack is too big to take as a carry on, unless you get the S/M size and leave the day pack at home. Otherwise, plan on checking it on flights or only taking buses/trains.)

Along with carrying my travel pack, I also always carry my purse separately. It makes it a lot easier to access things I need while I’m traveling. Taking your pack on and off every time you need to get something out isn’t practical, or fun. I always choose a purse that has straps, like a messenger bag. That leaves my hands completely free, which is great for navigating foreign cities.

What’s in My Travel Pack?

20140508_220646Yep. That’s everything! It’s absolutely everything I brought with me to Europe, and it’s actually quite a lot. (My purse is the only thing missing from the picture, but I go into detail about what’s in my purse below.) The outfit on the far left, including the shoes, is what I wore on the plane, so those items weren’t packed. Everything else I packed into my Osprey Farpoint 55L bag.

Let’s Break It Down…

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Clothes for European Summer:

Does it look like a lot? I brought much less my first trip, but I regretted having to wear the same few shirts over and over. Also, keep in mind that I’m traveling all over Europe between Iceland and Egypt, from May to September, so I had to bring clothes to suit weather from 45F/7C to 107F/42C. A little challenging, but layering and mixing and matching is key!

(List is in order from left to right of the picture above.)

  • 2 scarves (Very popular in Europe!)
  • 2 basic tanks
  • 1 pair of jean shorts
  • 1 pair of active shorts (Good for sleeping in, hiking, comfy wear)
  • 1 black skirt
  • 1 pair of leggings (Serves the same purpose as the active shorts, especially in cooler weather. Good for wearing under jeans, as well.)
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 2 basic t-shirts (Good for hiking, sleeping in, travel days)
  • 2 sundresses (You can also dress them up a bit and wear them on a night out)
  • 1 bathing suit cover up dress
  • 1 maxi dress (Mainly brought this for Egypt because it’s more conservative there and I needed to cover up)
  • 2 sleeveless tops
  • 3 short-sleeve tops
  • 2 3/4 length sleeve tops
  • 1 long sleeve shirt
  • 1 3/4 length sleeve pullover sweater
  • 1 long sleeved thicker pullover sweater
  • 1 3/4 length sleeve cream colored cardigan sweater
  • 1 long sleeve black cardigan sweater
  • 1 rain/warm jacket with hood

Bathing Suits/Bras/Undies/Socks:

  • 3 bathing suit tops
  • 2 bathing suit bottoms
  • 2 bras (1 strapless)
  • 2 bandeau bras (1 nude, 1 black)
  • 7 pairs of undies
  • 1 pair of regular socks
  • 1 pair of warmer socks
  • 3 pairs of cotton liners (Good to wear with flats or shoes)

Shoes:

  • Ballet Flats (Casual or dressy)
  • Gladiator sandals (Casual or a little dressier)
  • Flip flops (Great for the beach, hostel bathrooms, casual wear)
  • Closed toe shoes/running shoes (I thought about bringing running shoes, but I wanted something a bit more causal, and not so touristy/athletic looking. The shoes I brought work perfectly.)

Toiletries/Makeup:

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Toiletry/Makeup List:

  • Shampoo (I use the travel size shampoo and conditioner in about three uses, so I prefer to just buy the regular sized ones. You’ll have to check your bag, though. Otherwise, just buy the travel size!)
  • Conditioner
  • Leave in Conditioner/Hair repair solution (You WILL need this!)
  • Face Cleanser
  • Body wash (Travel size)
  • Lotion (Travel size)
  • Sunscreen (Travel size)
  • Deodorant (Travel size)
  • Toothpaste (Travel size)
  • Travel toothbrush
  • Floss
  • Razor
  • Hand sanitizer (Keep it in my purse)
  • Contact solution (Travel size)
  • Contacts
  • Contact case (Not shown above)
  • Retainer/Retainer Case
  • Tissues
  • Nail polish
  • Nail polish remover (Not shown above. I don’t use it that often, so I just buy it abroad when I need it)
  • Band-aids (You’ll need them more than you think.)
  • Tampons/Pads (Only bring a few if you won’t need them right away. You can buy them abroad in Europe easily.)
  • Vitamins/Emergen-C
  • Aspirin/Motrin (Not shown)
  • Birth control/Condoms (Not shown)
  • Hair brush
  • Hair ties
  • Bobby pins
  • Compact mirror
  • Make-up (I keep it simple)
  •      Foundation
  •      Foundation brush
  •      Eyeshadow
  •      Eyelid vanilla color
  •      Eyeshadow brush
  •      Blush
  •      Blush brush
  •      Mascara
  •      Eyeliner
  • Chap-stick
  • Lip gloss
  • Tweezers
  • Nail Filer

Jewelery: (Tried to keep it pretty simple.)

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  •  4 necklaces
  • 3 nicer earrings
  • 1 causal pair
  • 3 basic pairs of gold and silver studs

Miscellenous Items:

  • Towel (I chose to bring a thin beach towel, instead of a travel towel. The reason for this is because I’ve used a travel towel before, and I just don’t like them. They feel a bit like rubber, they don’t soak up the water very well, and they are barely big enough to wrap around myself. Personally, the thin beach towel is definitely worth bringing, even though it takes up a bit of space.
  • Sleeping sheet (Nice to have when hostels want to charge you for sheets, or when the bedding looks gross, or when you want to sleep under the stars.)

All of the above fits nicely into the main part of my pack. The rest I store in the detachable day pack.

What’s in My Day Pack?

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 Miscellaneous Travel Items (stored in my day pack):

  • Inflatable neck pillow
  • Ear plugs
  • Wet wipes
  • Tissues
  • Umbrella
  • Purple Misting Fan (Great for Egypt and really hot places!)
  • White travel planner (I should have gotten a smaller size, or just used my phone. I prefer a big planner I can write it, but space was an issue.)
  • Blue travel journal (Try to keep a journal if you can. It’s tough, but so worth it.)
  • Reading book – Game of Thrones, of course! (I watch the series, but still getting caught up on the books.)
  • Locks (1 lock for my main pack, and 1 lock for my day pack)
  • Key chain flashlight or flashlight phone app – Not shown (It’s really helpful for seeing in the dark when you come back late or leave early, and your hostel roommates are sleeping.)
  • Plastics bags/zip lock bags (They come in handy for many things, especially for storing dirty laundry.)

Electronics:

    • Laptop/Laptop Sleeve
    • Laptop charger
    • Camera
    • Camera battery charger
    • Adapters:
          • 1 Northern European adapter
          • 1 3-prong Northern European adapter
          • 1 3-prong UK adapter
          • 1 all-in-one adapter (has adapters for all countries)
          • 1 3-prong multi-plug (Really convenient when you have a lot of things to charge, but only 1 outlet is available. It beats fighting it out with your hostel roommates!
    • Phone (Carry it in my purse)
    • Phone charger (Carry in my purse on travel days; along with the correct adapter.)

What’s in my Purse?

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Above is everything I carry in my purse on travel days. Usually, I pack the makeup bag in the day pack, and I only carry around a toothbrush, toothpaste, and contact solution for overnight trains/buses or red eye flights.

  • Passport
  • Wallet
  • Phone
  • Phone Charger
  • Adapter for phone charger
  • Camera
  • Small hair brush
  • Headphones
  • Make-up bag
  • Compact Mirror
  • Toothbrush/Tooth paste
  • Floss
  • Contact solution
  • Contact case (Not shown)
  • Sunscreen
  • Tampons/pads
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Pen/pencil
  • Chapstick
  • Lip gloss

 That’s Everything!

It all fits perfectly into my purse and Osprey Farpoint 55 pack.

Now you’re ready for the trip of a lifetime!

 

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About Devon Nicole

Hey! My name is Devon. I'm a 20-something girl from the sunny state of Florida, USA. In 2012, I made the scary decision to backpack Europe SOLO. Now it's 3 years later and I've traveled to over 30 countries in North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia! I created this blog to inspire other young women to travel abroad solo too. There's a whole world out there just waiting to be explored!

14 Comments

  1. Pingback: Female Packing List for Backpacking Europe

  2. This list is really helpful, bookmarked it. And I can’t believe you were able to fit all of that into one backpack–do you happen to have any folding tips? 😀

  3. Hey devon I love your blog! Im planning a trip for next yr when im done with college. This is off topic for this post, but as far as medical insurance. Do you get insurance while traveling incase something happens? If so how much and what are some reliable companies? Thanks in advance!
    -ben

    • definitely get travel insurance – its so risky going without it. It may seem expensive but it is worth every penny if something goes wrong. Also it doesn’t just cover medical expenses, it also covers loss of luggage, flight cancellations, stolen items, broken electronics, etc.

  4. Hi Devon!
    I’m a college student planning to backpack Europe for 2 months this summer as a solo traveler! I originally purchased an Osprey 44L pack, but just returned it after deciding it was too small. I’m actually considering the one you have listed here because it is larger and has the daypack. However, I’m only 5’3 so I was wondering if you ever felt like this pack was too tall or hard to navigate busy spaces due to the bulk of it?

    Also, THANK YOU for taking the time to compile your blog! It is amazing and so helpful to hear from another solo female traveler! Most of my friends and family think I’m crazy for making this trip! I’m ready to prove them wrong!

    • Hey Laura,
      Glad to hear you’re going solo!
      I never felt like the pack was too tall or hard to navigate. It was sometimes hard to pick up and put on my back because of the weight I was carrying (around 40lbs, I think!), but once I got it on, the weight was distributed very well. It did take a bit to get used to becauase I was used to carrying a 46L pack that was only around 20 lbs. Now I absolutely love my Farpoint pack! I remember reading a review of the Farpoint 55l pack awhile back of someone who was around 5’3 and they didn’t mention any problems with the S/M size, so I think it would work for you!
      Have a great trip!! P.S. You’re def not crazy! They’re prob just jealous… :)

  5. Hello devon,

    I am going on a trip with my school in june to italy and greece! This is my first time flying ever and i was wondering what you did the first time you flew to help you get over nerves or slept?

    • Hey Marina,
      That’s awesome you’re going to Italy and Greece next summer! I don’t know if I can really help with flying nerves… before I went abroad I had flown quite a bit throughout the US to visit relatives as a kid so I was pretty used to flying. I was nervous about going abroad solo for the first time though! I just tried to keep myself busy and not think about things too much. It’s the thinking about it that makes you nervous! Just keep yourself distracted as much as you can! You’ll be fine! Good luck :)

  6. Hi Devon! Great post. I’m planning a RTW trip with my husband next year and love your packing tips! I was wondering if you used a toiletry bag and which one? Hope you had a great trip! Can’t wait to read more from your blog!

    • Yes, I do use a toiletry bag. I recommend getting one that has a hook loop so you can hang it in the showers. The one I have can also opens flat, which is easier for packing than some of the rectangle-shaped ones. Of course, it’s all personal preference.

      (Note: The round brush was overkill, and if you plan on flying on the budget airlines take travel size items.)

      Image and video hosting by TinyPic
      Image and video hosting by TinyPic

  7. the English teacher in me hates that this is called a female packing list because packing lists do not have genitals haha but otherwise cool! Sounds like an amazing trip. Way too much clothes for me personally but I am really envious of that backpack! I need one that size so I can bring lots of stuff back :)

    • Haha, I know. Unfortunately, that’s what a lot of people type in Google, so the title does better for SEO purposes. Yeah, the backpack is awesome. I really love it. The less you can travel with the better, so sounds like you’ll be able to bring lots back!

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