What To Pack In A Backpack For Two Weeks In Europe
When we booked our France trip 4 months ago the first thing Cameron told me was that we’re only bringing backpacks. I obviously didn’t take him seriously at first. That was until we were three weeks out and he said he same thing again, just as serious as the first time. I accepted my defeat and started planning for the most interesting packing of my life.
I’m used to packing light and only bringing a carry on, but to me a backpack seemed like a whole new level. A level that I didn’t want to get on or even try to reach. Yet here I am writing about my experience and here you are about ready to read how I took a backpack and filled it with cute outfits for 2 weeks in Europe. *Sidenote, it was a lot easier than I anticipated.
I knew right away I was not going to be able to use my standard size backpack…like there was just no way. I did some research on the interwebs and decided a travel backpack would be the best option. With three weeks till the trip, I didn’t want to buy both of us new travel backpacks because one, they are expensive and two, I didn’t have enough time to research and test out different bags before we committed to one. We didn’t have that type of time, so what happened next was a literal gift from God. I stumbled upon rentluggage.com and saw that they rented out travel backpacks and their rates started at $34, which was waaay better than buying a brand new one for $250! I reached out to them and they luckily had two bags available for us to use and sent them right away. The team at Rent Luggage were super helpful and really easy to work with. Cameron and I both received the Osprey Backpacks, mine was the Porter 46 liter and Cameron received the Porter 65 liter. I was so excited when the bags came in the mail. They have so much extra room than a normal sized backpack and I loved how it zipped all the way open instead of zipping halfway like a normal backpack. Rent Luggage saved our vacation from going downhill fast and made the task of packing everything for two weeks into a backpack so easy! If you have limited funds, don’t want to buy an expensive backpack or just don’t even know where to start looking, I highly suggest using Rentluggage.com. They have 50+ items that you’re able to rent to help make any trip you have 100x easier!
Below I’ll show what I packed for our 12 day trip into my Osprey Porter 46L and give a few tips that I learned along the way.
The first thing you need to know and be ok with when packing a small bag for a long trip is that you’re going to rewear items. It’s inevitable, just get over it..but seriously. (this is what I had to tell myself numerous times;)). You don’t have the luxury to bring a new pair of jeans or dresses for every day.
The two biggest tips I have for when packing light is to only choose pieces that ALL go together and choose a color palette to stick to when packing for the trip. When pulling outfits together I tried to focus on picking pieces that I could create multiple outfits from. I didn’t bring anything that could only be worn one way, but made sure there were a least 2-3 ways to style each piece. All the items below besides the one dress could be worn with my jeans and then in the second image I show how some of the tops can be worn again with my one skirt that I packed.
As I mentioned earlier, sticking to a color palette is a great way to minimalize what you pack. When all the clothes compliment each other and are in the same color palette it makes it super easy to mix and match pieces to create new looks everyday.
What To Pack In A Backpack For Two Weeks In Europe
1 pair of jeans
1 midi skirt
1 pair of yoga pants
1 pair of lightweight “nicer” shoes (only wore these twice)
1 pair of sneakers (wear your heaviest shoes on the plane!!)
6 tops (pack a variety–short sleeve, long sleeve and button ups)
shampoo/conditioner + body wash
3 berets + hair accessories
small backpack to carry camera in
European outlet converters
external iPhone charger
camera + extra batteries
flip flops for hostel and airbnb (snuck these into Cameron’s bag)
plane outfit: zip up teddy coat + sweatpants
I was super proud of myself for only having 10 items to pack in my backpack, but was slightly nervous how the bulkier items would fit. I had a few people on Instagram tell me about compression travel bags and so I ordered a few 3 days before the trip and they were lifesavers!! Thank goodness for Amazon Prime!
Three bags came in the package and I used the largest one for my clothes, the medium one for Cameron’s clothes and then the small bag for my hats and accessories! I was shocked that I was able to fit my clothes into the compression bag. It really did compress the clothes and help save a little space in my backpack.
Packing the actual backpack was super easy since I already packed 90% of my items in the compression bags. I placed my Sam Edelman Mules into the very bottom of the backpack and then put in the clothing compression bag. There was also the perfect amount of space left at the top to place my camera bag! The zipper pockets on both sides on the bag were also super helpful and I used those to hold my pajamas, underwear and bras for the trip.
After securing my camera and clothing bag, I placed my bag of hair accessories on top and realized this is the easiest packing job I’ve ever had to do. I was so worried about not being able to fit everything into a backpack, but surprisingly it’s simpler to pack when you realize you’re limited in what you can bring.
I still had to find room for my makeup, toiletries and a few extra items which all ended up going in the front zipper pockets without a challenge.
I’m always down to take on a new challenge and I can now officially say I traveled to Europe for 12 days with only a backpack and I have rentluggage.com to thank for it! Not only was traveling to Europe easier wih only a backpack, but traveling within France was a breeze because we didn’t have to drag our suitcases around everywhere we went. We were able to pick up our bags, put them on our backs and go out to explore.
A few of our airbnbs were on the 5th or 7th floor with no elevator and I can’t even imagine having to lug a suitcase up all the flights of stairs. It honestly still wasn’t super fun having to carry extra weight up the stairs, but it was 100x easier having it on our back versus dragging it behind us. I’m not saying I will bring a backpack for all of our trips now because I really do enjoy being able to roll my luggage vs. carrying it, but for trips where you are constanly on the move and traveling to multiple cities within a country, I HIGHLY suggest bringing a backpack instead on rolling luggage.
I hope I’ve answered what to pack in a backpack for two weeks in Europe. I challenge you for your next trip to only pack a backpack and enjoy the experience of carrying everything on just your back. If I can do it, so you can you. 🙂
TRAVEL ITEMS I USED
MY EUROPE TRAVEL CLOTHING
what to pack in a backpack for two weeks in Europe