How to Pack when Backpacking
Packing can be one of the most stressful parts of your trip. But it really shouldn’t be. All of the questions of: what do I bring, do I really need this, what if it rains/snows; can come up before leaving for a trip. When you are traveling around Europe without a set itinerary this can become even more frustrating. It may be cold and rainy in London, but then very humid and hot in Madrid. Thankfully for you there are some very easy tips for packing for any trip and this article will help you alleviate some of that stress.
Choose the right backpack
No matter where you go you will be needing a sturdy backpack of some kind (hence the name). A good suggestion is that smaller is better, but just not too small. For instance you will want something to keep all your belongings in, just make sure that you will be comfortable totting it around from place to place. Next make sure it is waterproof. Are you using an internal or external framed backpack? Internal frames hug the body closer and are better for lengthy travel. External frames keep the weight lower and are better for hiking. Make sure when packing your items that you keep the heaviest items in the center, closest to your center of gravity. This will help keep you balanced and make mobility a lot easier.
Bring the travel necessities and keep them safe
The necessities of traveling are the passport, health insurance card, traveler insurance card (if you have one), and emergency contact numbers. Also your international cell phone or international calling card are really important for emergency contact, or if you’re just missing Mom. You may want to have an additional smaller pack for day trips and exploring to keep these items in. Something that hugs close to the waist or can be strapped in under a sweatshirt is a good idea. Look ahead to when you will be traveling. It goes without saying that a time like winter will be much colder then summer. Europe is generally a mild weather continent. It mimics the weather in America too. If you know what time of year you are coming and the area you will be staying in then pack items that will be needed, like sunscreen or snow boots. And it might seem silly but if you are a female traveling for an extended amount of time you will want to seriously consider bringing your own tampons. Many Mediterranean countries only sell pads and it may sound like a dumb thing to think of, but you really don’t want to be uncomfortable.
Choose what you pack wisely
Be smart when you backpack. Don’t bring any fancy jewelry, watches, or clothing. That designer purse you received for your birthday can stay at home. Besides something like your passport, which is a necessity for travel, don’t bring anything you would be upset about losing. No family mementos or heirlooms. They are much safer at home and you will be happy you didn’t lose them. Keep this in mind when packing and ask someone to check your stuff over to make sure you have everything you need and leave what you don’t. Items that you will need to bring regardless of the season you go to Europe is comfortable walking shoes, an umbrella, reading materials (books, magazines, even an IPod), heavy and light sweatshirts (the weather can shift slightly from country to country), sunscreen, sunglasses, and maps. Also remember that you can purchase these items too if you forget anything. Most major cities in Europe have the goods and supplies you will need to carry on your trip comfortably.