What’s in My Backpack: Europe

I'm off to Europe for roughly 2 months. And, despite the fact that I run this travel blog full-time, I don't actually travel full-time. In fact, this will be my longest continuous trip to date (unless you count my study abroad stint in New Zealand, which I don't).

I usually travel for a week or two at a time, so packing is usually not a problem.Β However, this trip is different.

Not only am I traveling for 8 weeks, but I'm also traveling through 11 different countries — packing light is imperative.

So what's in my backpack?

I'll share it with you here, but keep in mind that this is MY backpack. Some will say I've taken too much. Others may say I've taken too little. But, for me, I've taken what I feel I need. This may not be a suitable packing list for you, but hopefully it will work for me!

In My Backpack

Here's a look at what's in my main 60L REI backpack:


  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 3 pairs of shorts
  • 2 skirts
  • 2 dresses
  • 1 pair of leggings
  • 3 t-shirts
  • 5 tank tops
  • 1 light sweater
  • 1 set of sleepwear
  • 1 swim suit
  • 4 pairs of socks
  • 3 bras
  • A weeks worth of underwear
  • 1 scarf



Sound like a lot? I actually still have some wiggle room!Β 

I know someone will ask why I'm taking jeans, a sweater, leggings, and a scarf. Well, I have explanations! Most of my trip will be through very warm countries, but the end of my trip will have me traveling through England and Scotland, which are notorious for being chilly, even in the summer.Β The leggings and scarf are mostly for instances where I may be visiting monasteries and mosques and will have to cover up my knees, shoulders, and perhaps even hair for modesty's sake.

Like a Boy Scout, I like to live by a “be prepared” motto. Also, I don't really want to have to buy anything abroad!

In my Pacsafe Slingsafe

Brooke Schoenman from Brooke vs. the World recently wrote a review of her Pacsafe Slingsafe 300 GII. She completely sold me on this small, secure backpack, and I went and ordered one of my own in time for this trip. I'm using it as my carry-on and also as a daypack.

Here's what's inside:

  • My 11″ Macbook Air
  • My Kindle
  • Electronics chargers and outlet adapters for Europe
  • An Eastern Europe phrasebook
  • A small planner/journal
  • Extra camera lens
  • My glasses
  • Headphones
  • Some business cards (because you never know who you'll meet!)
  • My small make-up bag (which has everything from my toothbrush to earrings in it)
  • Change purse with back-up funds/credit cards
  • My Camelbak water bottle

I seriously love this bag, with it's slash-proof exterior and secure zipper clips. It also holds an astonishing amount for its size, yet is still comfortable to carry. (And no, I'm not getting paid to plug this item — I honestly am just a huge fan!)

In My Purse

And, of course, I'm taking along my trusty green purse. I'm not sure how much I'll use it day-to-day since I'm in love with my Slingsafe, but it's coming along anyway.

Inside you'll find:

  • My wallet
  • My iPhone
  • My Olympus E-PM1 camera
  • My Kodak Playsport video camera
  • Sunglasses
  • Extra camera battery/lens cloth
  • Mini brush
  • Chapstick
  • USB drives

And there you have it! My complete packing list for 2 months in Europe. Whew. Now let's see how much of it goes unused!

What do you think of my list? Is there anything else you'd take to Europe, or anything listed here you'd leave behind?

Here are some links to help you pack like me:




  • Rebecca says:

    Business cards are the BEST! I found them super helpful in group travel that instead of having to write down your details a million times, just hand people a card. Plus, most people are super impressed! Love it.

    Have a great time!
    Rebecca recently posted..Flying like a local – Star Peru

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Yup, I don’t travel anywhere without them now! Any time I tell people I’m a travel blogger, they want to know what my site is. So I just hand over a card! SO much easier.

  • Gabi says:

    A really great collection of essentials! How much does the whole package weight? The MacBook Air must have been the best choice for a long travel like yours, because of its small weight.
    Gabi recently posted..Bald sind wir schon auf Korfu!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I think my bag weighed under 20 pounds, though I can’t remember the exact number. It’s light enough for me to lug around on my back, though, so I suppose that’s all that matters, right? πŸ˜‰

      And yes, my Macbook Air has been a GREAT purchase so far!

  • Ruby says:

    wow that is quite a long trip…for sure you will have fun! let me know if you happen to be in bavaria, germany…have a safe trip!
    Ruby recently posted..Let’s Go To Segovia, Spain

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Yup, long trip but I’m sure it will be a blast. I’m sadly not making it to Germany on this trip, however.

  • Ditch the hairdryer πŸ™‚
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..9 Beautiful Reasons To Get Out of Sucre

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Haha. I’m sure a lot of people will suggest that. But it’s only little! And I hate going out with wet hair, especially if it’s chilly. It’s really my only vanity item that I packed.

  • It seems like a little too much but if you did not fill up the big bag then it is probably not too heavy. I use a 45L and a separate daypack for most of my trips.

    One great way to save weight now is to load electronic guide books onto you kindle or phone.
    Jeff @ GoTravelzing recently posted..The Titanic Museum in Belfast Ireland

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Yeah, I can still comfortably lug the bag around, so I suppose I did alright! πŸ™‚

      And yes, ebooks and e-guidebooks are amazing! I have a few on my Kindle and/or Macbook.

  • I have gotten really good at packing very little when I leave. I left with 7kg this time. But my backpack is a sneaky one – and on my return it is weighing in at 10kg. I cannot fathom where this extra 3kg came from as I have not purchased anything. It is a mystery! Packing is a personal thing though – I just realized I’m lazy and never want to carry around more than I can carry up 4 flights of stairs without being tired. So I keep it below 8kg always with my carry-on weighing 3kg. Hopefully you’ll do a review when you’re done to determine what you used, didnt use, wish you’d brought, wish you’d left at home, etc!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Yes, I think I’ll definitely do a follow-up eventually, and assess what I really didn’t use. So far, though, I’ve been using mostly everything!

  • I’d throw in a pair of those cheap fold up black flats you can get at Walgreens. I like being able to dress up an outfit. Otherwise good choices! I’m going to come back to this post when I’m packing for Portugal, Austria and Germany for a month in September.
    Caroline Eubanks recently posted..Travel Nightmares

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I considered flats… but didn’t really want to add another pair of shoes that I might only wear once or twice. We’ll see if I regret that later!

  • Erica says:

    I’m changing it up a bit as well this Europe trip. <3 Let me know how everything works out. I'm a little freaked out at the thought of trying to fit winter clothes into a 40L backpack.
    Erica recently posted..Revival Fest – Lookin’ Forward to The Reverend

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Haha, yeah, winter clothes are no fun! Though, I did go to Iceland for a week and managed to fit a winter coat AND boots into my 60L backpack, along with everything else I took. It just takes a bit of creative packing! πŸ˜‰

  • Nina says:

    You’re gonna be traveling for 8 weeks, wow! Can’t go travel without my gadgets! Have a safe trip and enjoy!

  • GoldJackieG says:

    Like your list – looks like you have all the essentials. I would ditch the umbrella and buy a PDF version of the Lonely Planet Guidebook – looking forward to your comments at the end of your trip on how it all works out !

  • Pauline says:

    Having scarves is a must! They do so many things from keeping you warm to sprucing up your outfits for a night out! Have a good trip!!
    Pauline recently posted..The Markets of Hong Kong

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I agree! Scarves are fantastic things to take along. And the best part is that they don’t take up much space at all!

  • memographer says:

    Good one! Just reminded me about umbrella and business cards πŸ™‚ Thanks!
    memographer recently posted..Berlin: Ladies & Bicycles or Girls on Bikes 2

  • memographer says:

    By the way, you forgot a power adapter! πŸ˜‰
    memographer recently posted..Berlin: Ladies & Bicycles or Girls on Bikes 2

  • I was sure you wouldn’t be able to get all of the first picture in your backpack but you sure did! I don’t think I over pack but compared to you, I guess I do. Although if I was going for 8 weeks I’d pack very differently than for 2 weeks. Have a great trip!
    Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista recently posted..Miltenberg Calling!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Haha, I had my doubts about fitting it all in, too! But it works, and my pack isn’t stuffed to the point of bursting, which is good!

  • John says:

    I’m sitting here in a hotel room in tulsa on the first night of a five week trip and reading over your list made me realize I left one very important thing at home – a travel towel! Not a big deal in the hotels for work, but the hostels in Nicaragua won’t be as forgiving!
    John recently posted..Confronting the Ethics of Zoos at Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Wichita

  • Hey Amanda, I’m a totally light traveller, I could get by with a 30 litre backback for 6 months. But…. I do travel with a female companion, so I know all about the “be prepared” motto πŸ˜‰

    I would leave out:

    * 2 pairs of shorts (1 should be enough, especially as you have the skirts etc)
    * The hairdryer – you don’t need it, I’m sure you look lovely whether you’ve dried your hair or not. πŸ˜‰
    * Umbrella !!
    * Do you really need the Kindle?
    * As someone else suggested, get a PDF or ebook for the Lonely Planet guide

    Apart from that, good job, seems to have all bases covered without any unreasonable excess!

    PS, great choice on the Olympus – packs a lot of technology and image quality in such a small camera.
    Nate | http://www.yomadic.com recently posted..Best Travel Camera of 2012 : Travel Cameras Reviewed From $10 to OMG

    • DangerousBiz says:

      The hairdryer is one of those tiny little fold-up ones, and fits nicely into an unoccupied corner of my backpack. I never travel without it… I HATE going anywhere with wet hair! Call me vain, but I just don’t like to do it! The umbrella has already come in handy twice, and I’m actually already really glad I brought it.

      As for the Kindle… yeah, I like to have it, and it takes up basically no room! πŸ˜‰ And the only reason I have the pocket-sized language guide with me is because it was a gift from my boyfriend. πŸ™‚

      As for the clothes, I probably did overpack, but we shall see!

  • Ayngelina says:

    Too much lady! I did a few months in Europe with a 45L with no daypack and I still wish I had gone smaller to 35L.
    Ayngelina recently posted..35 Things I learned from traveling in Latin America

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Haha I’m too much of an over-packer! I could never do such a small backpack… but it’s awesome for those of you who can!

  • Just the sound of having to pack for 11 countries is overwhelming, even if many of them will have similar climates. Like you said, I’m sure some of it will end up just having come along for the ride, but I’m like you and always prefer to be prepared.
    Emily in Chile recently posted..Saturday in Santiago: Maldito Chef

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Yep, “overwhelming” is a good word to describe packing for this trip! Lol. I’ve never traveled like this before, so it’s an experiment for me, really!

  • Amanda, you are packing pro. I love the packing cubes. I have to buy some to organize better my suitcase (I have a carry-on size suitcase that can be converted to a backpack). I like and approve what you are taking. I always take a pair of jeans and a light sweater (even to Central America!!). Last time I visited Europe (in Juy), it was chilly in London and Paris and I had only summer clothes. Ohh, and we have the same Tevas and flip-flops.
    Ruth (Tanama Tales) recently posted..Anacapa Island: A Mirage in the Pacific Ocean

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Haha I don’t know about a pro! πŸ˜‰

      The packing cubes are a MUST. I never go anywhere without them now!

      And my jacket/sweater have already come in handy on this trip – it’s been getting chilly at night here in Romania!

  • Darla Snow says:

    your packing in cubes is great! and the business cards for new contacts is a great idea! I would ahve to agree with the hairdryer thing – on the other hand you are already out on your adventure so enjoy!

  • Arti says:

    I just love the idea of packing cubes. Wish I had done something like that during my last fortnights trip to Japan!!! Enjoy your sojourn Amanda:)
    Arti recently posted..My Yatra Diary Goes International!

  • Angie Yim says:

    Let me share a quote – “β€œWhen preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.” -Susan Heller.

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Great quote, and so apt here! And that’s basically what I did – started with a big pile of stuff, and spent a week or so “editing.”

  • Franca says:

    You are well organised, well done… I love your packing cubes, need to get some for ourselves to keep things more tidy in the backpack!
    Did you use everything? If you didn’t, what did you find unnecessary so far?

    Happy travelling! πŸ™‚
    Franca recently posted..The Mystery & Truth of Pisa’s Luminara

    • DangerousBiz says:

      The packing cubes are amazing; I will never travel anywhere without them again!

      And yes, so far I have used everything that I brought with me!

  • kimberly says:

    I’m very impressed! I’m currently in Japan for 2 months, and you don’t want to see the amount of luggage I brought.

    Some things I also couldn’t live without: my cute moo.com business cards, my MacBook and wrinkle-free spray.

    Happy travels!

  • Michayla says:

    Where did you get the packing cubes from?

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I bought mine at REI, which is an outdoor outfitting store. But they are a brand called Eagle Creek, and you can buy them online (and probably at many other outdoor stores), too.

  • Caz says:

    I love those packing cubes! I absolutely need to get some! I hate having to disturb everything whenever I need something at the bottom of my pack!!
    Caz recently posted..Crunchy Chewy Marshmallow Cookies

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Packing cubes are AMAZING. I don’t go anywhere without them – I even use them now in suitcases and smaller weekend backpacks!

  • Beth says:

    What lens do you use for most your photography? It looks so professional for a point and shoot!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      My camera is actually a micro 4/3 camera. I usually just shoot with the lens that came with the camera, though I also have a decent zoom lens I use occasionally, too.

  • I meant to ask you dear – how did the Pacsafe bag hold up for you on your trip?!
    Brooke vs. the World recently posted..The September Express 2012: Best of the Month + New Site Sponsor

    • DangerousBiz says:

      My Pacsafe held up incredibly well on my trip! I am in LOVE with it; I think it’s going to travel everywhere with me from now on. Most days, I was using it in lieu of a purse.

  • Wow I wish I could pack like you!! Have a great trip!

    Come visit Arizona soon! :))


    • DangerousBiz says:

      Aww, it’s not really all that hard! You just have to limit yourself and pack less. πŸ™‚

      And I’d love to come back to Arizona sometime soon!

  • Jen says:

    Hi! So I’m surprised no-one has asked this question yet… Now that the trip is over and you’ve had plenty of time to reflect, is there anything that you wish you had brought? Anything you didn’t use? I’m very curious.

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Honestly, I used everything! But, if I had to choose any items to have left behind, it would have been the little phrasebook and one of the skirts.

      And as for things I wish I would have brought? Another swim suit! I got really tired of only having 1 to wear. But that’s just me being picky, really. I also could have used a heavier layer for Scotland, where it actually got quite chilly. I had to buy a sweatshirt in Edinburgh so I didn’t freeze!

  • Becki Kremer says:

    I’m going to have to agree with a comment above – you are a packing pro! Andy and I are leaving next month for a 3-4 month traveling adventure. We are starting off with a cruise in the Caribbean that will then take us across the Atlantic to end in London. So I am seriously starting to freak out about what to pack! So I will for sure be returning to your list for the help πŸ™‚ And those cubes seem like a great idea!
    Becki Kremer recently posted..Bye Ferry… Now What?

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Sounds like an amazing trip, Becki! Good luck with packing – I highly recommend picking up some packing cubes!

  • Dana says:

    Great list, thank you so much for sharing! I’m leaving for a 2 month trip in 2 weeks so I’ll definitely be referring to this when packing?

    Can I ask if you have any tips for coping with carrying a your travel pack and your backpack when moving between locations? I’m concerned about carrying both at the same time.

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Good luck with your own packing challenge!

      As for moving between locations, if you can fit all of your things into your main backpack and a purse/shoulder bag, it will make life a lot easier for you! If, however, you still need a daypack to complement your backpack, pull what is called the “double turtle” when necessary – wear your main pack on your back, and your daypack on your front! You’ll look silly, but it’s the easiest way to transport everything at once.

  • Court says:

    The smaller bags that go within your 60L, what brand are they?
    I had a few similar to that and think that’s a brillant idea!

  • Isn’t it amazing what you can fit in a small amount of space? I packed for a month in Europe in 19 inches plus a small day backpack. πŸ™‚
    Chanel @ La Viajera Morena recently posted..My Travel Pony Experience

  • Claire says:

    I was wondering about your business cards…. Do you include all of your personal information on them (like home address, home phone number, cell. number)?



    • DangerousBiz says:

      Hey Claire. No, I only include my name, website address, e-mail address, Twitter handle, and Facebook page. Since the cards are just for my blog, I feel like that’s enough.

  • Despina says:

    This list helped me so much! Thank you for sharing this!

  • Rebecca says:

    Hi Amanda,
    I love your blog πŸ™‚ The Europe articles and female solo traveller articles have been especially insightful, inspirational and encouraging. Good on you!
    I am planning on a 3 month + Europe trip with bus about, which will also be my longest trip to date. Wondering if you had any information on Australia stockists of the packing cubes? A link etc? Google isn’t proving very productive…
    P.S. Thanks for the list, it will come in handy as a general guide. πŸ™‚

  • Melanie says:

    I know this was years ago now, but it’d be great to hear what worked for you and what didn’t. I add comments to my Excel packing list each time I get back and I’ve found it so handy.

    • Amanda says:

      I’m fairly good at packing as much as I’ll need/wear. I did get really tired of the same clothes after 2 months, but an easy fix would be to go shopping and add another dress and top to my bag (which I did the following summer when I traveling in Europe for three months). πŸ™‚ I would have maybe taken one nicer pair of sandals with me if I had been going to Italy or France (or any city where you’d want to dress up for a nice meal). But otherwise this list worked really well!

  • I agree that we should bring fast-dry travel towel! I experienced not taking shower for 3 days when I was traveling in Northern Europe – cause I forgot to bring it hahahah… I ended up giving up and finally rented a towel in the hostel where I stayed in! LOL!

    Btw, I just published a post about Itinerary, Budget, and Expenses for 2.5 Months Backpacking Trip in Europe, if you would like to read as well:



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