15 Days in Europe with only a backpack

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, then you probably know about my obsession with packing. I love to pack, and I probably should start up a company where I just go and pack for others. That’s how much I enjoy it! I’m currently spending 15 days in Europe with only a backpack, here is exactly how I packed, a rough idea of what I packed, and some seriously helpful tips.

15 days Europe backpack

You’ve got to seriously cut down

While I would love to bring half of my closet with me, it just isn’t realistic. If you’re looking for a real-life example, here you go! Last year, my family and I went to Europe with my grandparents. Typically, it is just my aunt, myself, and my two younger cousins, but we wanted to take them while they were still able to go. Flash forward two weeks into the trip, and I was literally running upstairs in German train stations carrying not only my hiking backpack which weighed A GOOD 45 pounds and carrying my grandmother’s bag which was every bit of 50 pounds. This is the moment I realized that nothing in my bag was worth this misery. Overpacking is something that I never plan to do again.

Take the time to plan it out

When you begin to pack for 15 days in Europe with just a backpack, it requires some planning, sadly. Knowing exactly what you’re doing, where you’re going, and what the tentative weather is going to be will take you far. For me, I have a few extra things to pack for my plantar fasciitis. The best thing to do is to find some travel-friendly items that don’t take up too much room. I think this is also a great time to make a list of things that you absolutely have to have. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Pajamas or work out gear
  • Modest clothing for churches
  • Swimwear, Event wear, Winter items
  • Special shoes such as hiking boot, high heels, or sneakers
  • Special toiletries, electronics, random items

If you know that you’re going to have some special items for your trip, then this is the time to go ahead and set those items aside. These items will have a huge impact on what you’re able to pack, and what you are not able to pack. I will then make a list of things that I think I need on my trip. During the packing process, this list will go through some serious editing!

My packing process

I like to set things in piles of importance. The first stack of items will be the items that I 100% cannot leave without. The next stack will be basics such as tops, bottoms, underwear, a light jacket, basic makeup, and toiletries. This is usually the smallest pile since I can mix and match all of them to create multiple outfits. The last pile is things that I would enjoy taking, but just might not be able to fit. By making piles, I can visually see the hierarchy of items that I’m packing for 15 days in Europe in only a backpack.

My super secret item

To give you a rough idea of what I was able to fit, let me give you a breakdown of what I actually packed for my trip. *Keep in mind that for this trip, I was actually unable to know if we would have access to laundry facilities. Most of the time we do, but I also am not a fan of risking anything when it comes to travel.

15 days Europe backpack
  • 3 dresses
  • 2 shorts
  • 4 tops
  • 3 skirts
  • 2 sets of pajamas (1 short, 1 sweatpants)
  • 3 pairs of shoes (sneakers, espadrilles, sandals)
  • 1 light jacket
  • 1 swimsuit
  • enough undergarments to last the trip
Beauty & Cosmetics
  • face wash
  • moisturizer
  • witch hazel
  • self-tan
  • hair oil
  • mascara
  • concealer
  • bronzer
  • highlighter
  • perfume

Woo, all that being said, here is the secret item that I was talking about. VACUUM SEAL BAGS! They make a world of difference in the packing process and are amazing for saving space. To be honest with you, I probably couldn’t pack this many items in my bag without them! I picked these up on Amazon, and they were incredibly affordable.

Speaking of secret items, I am obsessed with my Fjallraven Splitpack. While it doesn’t have as many bells & whistles as some other bags, I love the dual sides, and how the zipper is behind my back for extra security. The only problem is the comfort level is definitely lacking. Since I’m only carrying this from hotel to hotel, it hasn’t been a huge issue for me.

Make sure you leave some space!

Future you will seriously thank you for this. I always leave extra space when I pack. This can be used for things you buy along the way, or for those situations where things just don’t fit how they did when you packed the first time. You don’t need to bring everything you own, I promise you that. When I was packing for 15 days in Europe in only my backpack, I actually left half of the bag completely unpacked!

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