No, you didn’t read that title incorrectly – I packed everything in ONE backpack for our trip to Europe. Evan also packed one backpack. Our parents think we’re crazy, and maybe they’re right.
So first, why are we doing this to ourselves? Why are we limiting our travel items? Simply put, we want to avoid the hassle. We’re traveling to 8 cities in just under a month, so the last thing we want to worry about is lugging around a huge suitcase from place to place. We made this decision very early on, and it actually influenced our decisions on when and where we chose to go.
We chose to travel in July for a bunch of reasons, one of which was the packing list. The summer months are hot and don’t require bulky coats, heavy sweaters, or boots. We knew that packing would be much lighter in the warm months, and because we already are lovers of the summer heat, this was a great fit for us.
We also chose to travel to countries that would not be cold. Originally, Norway was on our list. Evan has family in Norway, and we had talked about making the trip even back when we were dating. However, the logistics quickly became complicated as we realized all the additional gear we’d need to bring on the trip, among other factors.
So, we settled on France, Italy and Spain. Once we had our route mapped, we started thinking about clothing. In most cities, I wanted to dress both comfortably and fashionably. We all know that these two don’t always go together. I opted for a few simple, classic, light-weight dresses that I could wear over and over again. These are my base outfits. For more adventurous days, I packed two pairs of linen shorts in different colors, lightweight denim shorts, and one pair of athletic running shorts. I paired these with a few different tank tops and chambray tops (which you know I never leave home without!). For shoes, I have one pair of Sperry’s, one pair of strap-y sandals, and flip-flops. I wore sneakers on the plane and I’m also wearing them anytime we travel between cities.
For accessories, I packed light. A pair of earrings, two necklaces, a bracelet, sunglasses, and a hat. We have small bottles for our toiletries which we’re replenishing as we go, and I have a small makeup bag with just the basics.
An essential part of our plan is that we’re doing laundry in every other city that we visit. In some places, we have access to a washing machine. In others, we’re hand washing our clothes and hanging them on a line (which we’re also packing). This means that we have a very small rotation of outfits, which is 100% fine with me – I’m all about that minimalist lifestyle. I chose three pairs of shoes (sneakers, Sperry’s, and sandals) that are super comfortable to walk around in, and the flip-flops are solely because I’m OCD and can’t walk around hotels in my bare feet (don’t judge!).
For camera gear, I kept it super-simple. While it’s painful to part with my Contax 645, I just have my Canon AE-1 35mm film camera and my Canon Mark III with a 50mm lens. I will concede: the gear is in a separate bag – a small camera backpack that is doubling as our daypack when we’re out and about.
What else did we pack? Platypus water bladders, a phone charger, small first aid kit with various medication, a travel-sized straightener, a small towel, passport holders, a folder with copies all of our important documents, and a few other very small odds and ends.
So, I’m a little nervous about our small packing list. I’ve never traveled this lightly before, and definitely not for a month. But I’m really excited about the freedom we’re going to have from “stuff” and the ease with which we’ll be able to travel around.
Are we crazy? Have we forgotten something super important?! Drop me a line or comment below! I’d love your input!
Curious about our travel schedule? Click here to see where we’ll be next!
You can continue to follow our adventures on Facebook, Instagram or the blog. Traveling around Europe this summer, too? Get in touch so we can get together or email me directly at email@example.com!
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