How to pack your backpack for a trip through Europe

Backpacking through Europe, the ultimate packing list

Are you planning a backpacking trip but feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of fitting your life into a backpack? Well, we have created the ultimate list for you! Embarking on a backpacking adventure through the enchanting landscapes of Europe is like stepping into a world of endless possibilities, especially for world nomads. The thrill of exploring vibrant cities, ancient ruins, and picturesque countryside makes anyone’s heart race with excitement.

Whether you’re a seasoned globetrotter or a first-time backpacker, this guide is designed to be your trusty companion, ensuring you don’t succumb to the temptation of overpacking or forgetting any essential item on your journey. From the essentials to the must-haves, we’ve meticulously curated a comprehensive list that covers all bases, making sure you’re equipped for any adventure that comes your way.

While passports, tickets, and toiletries are all undoubtedly crucial, one item towers above the rest in terms of importance: travel insurance. A good one, like Heymondoā€™s, is the safety net that grants you peace of mind, ensuring unforeseen circumstances don’t cast a shadow on your backpacking dream. Read on!

Backpacking through Europe

What do I need for a backpacking trip through Europe?

When setting off on a backpacking adventure through Europe, it’s essential to pack smart and prioritize the items that will make your journey smooth and enjoyable. This section will guide you through the must-have essentials, practical gear, and valuable tips to ensure you’re fully prepared for the adventure of a lifetime.

Packing cubes

Packing cubes are a game-changer when it comes to organizing your backpack. These lightweight and compact zippered bags help you categorize and compress your clothing, accessories, and other essentials. They not only save space but also make it easier to locate items quickly, keeping your backpack neat and efficient throughout your journey.

Universal adaptor plug

Europe has various electrical outlets, therefore a universal adapter plug is a lifesaver for keeping your devices charged. It allows you to connect your electronics to various power outlets without compatibility issues. Whether you need to charge your phone, camera, or laptop, a universal adapter plug ensures that you stay powered up no matter where you are.

Power bank

Having a reliable power bank is essential when you’re constantly on the go. It keeps your devices charged when you can’t access a power outlet, making it indispensable during long bus rides, train journeys, or while exploring remote areas. A power bank provides peace of mind, allowing you to stay connected throughout your European adventure.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is a non-negotiable item on any backpacking checklist. It safeguards against unexpected medical emergencies, trip cancellations, lost luggage, and other unforeseen events that disrupt your travel plans. It provides financial protection and invaluable support when needed, ensuring you can enjoy your journey with peace of mind.

International SIM card

Staying connected while backpacking through Europe is essential for navigation, communication, and accessing vital information. An international SIM card allows you to make local calls, send messages, and access the internet at affordable rates, avoiding hefty roaming charges. It lets you stay in touch with loved ones, research destinations, and utilize helpful travel apps, making your journey smoother and more convenient.

Microfibre towel

A microfiber towel is a lightweight and quick-drying alternative to traditional bulky towels. It occupies minimal space in your backpack and is perfect for hostel stays, beach visits, or impromptu hikes. Its absorbent and fast-drying properties make it an excellent companion for staying fresh and dry while on the move.

Rain jacket

Europe’s weather can be unpredictable, and a compact and waterproof rain jacket is necessary. It protects you from unexpected showers and makes you comfortable during wet weather explorations.

Reusable water bottle

Staying hydrated is vital during your backpacking adventure, and a reusable water bottle is a sustainable and practical choice. Europe has numerous public water fountains where you can refill your bottle, saving money and reducing plastic waste.

Travel locks

Protecting your belongings is crucial while traveling. Travel locks provide extra security for your backpack, ensuring your valuables are safe during transit or when stored in hostel lockers. Choose TSA-approved and combination-based locks, as they are more convenient than key-based options.

Flip flops

A pair of lightweight, comfortable flip-flops are essential for hostel showers, beach trips, and casual strolls. They are easy to pack and provide a barrier between your feet and potentially unclean surfaces.

Eye mask and earplugs

Quality sleep is essential during your backpacking journey, especially in shared accommodations or noisy environments. An eye mask blocks unwanted light, while earplugs minimize noise disruptions, ensuring you can rest peacefully and wake up refreshed for your next adventure.

Travel first aid kit

A compact travel first aid kit is a smart addition to your backpack. It should include essentials like adhesive bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, blister patches, and personal medications. It gives you peace of mind and equips you to handle minor injuries or illnesses while on the go.

Pocket knife

A multi-purpose pocket knife comes in handy in various situations. From cutting food and opening packages to outdoor activities and emergencies, a pocket knife is a versatile tool that can be invaluable during your backpacking trip.

Good quality and quantity of socks for backpackingĀ 

Comfortable and breathable socks are a must when you’re constantly on your feet. Invest in good-quality socks that provide cushioning, moisture-wicking, and arch support. Packing an ample quantity of socks is essential to ensure you always have a fresh pair available while exploring Europe.

Europe backpacking trip

Small flashlight

A small, portable flashlight is a practical item to have on hand. It helps you navigate dimly lit areas, read maps in the dark, and find items within your backpack at night. Go for a compact, lightweight flashlight that can easily fit in your pocket or attach to your backpack.

Money belt

Keeping your valuables safe and secure is paramount while traveling. A money belt is a discreet and secure way to store your passport, credit card, cash, and other important documents. Worn under your clothing, it provides an extra layer of protection against pickpockets and theft, giving you peace of mind while exploring bustling European cities.


An e-reader is a fantastic addition to your backpack for bookworms and avid readers. It allows you to carry many books in a single device, saving precious space and weight. Whether relaxing in a park or enduring a long bus ride, an e-reader provides entertainment and escapism at your fingertips.

Ziploc bags

Ziploc bags are versatile and practical for various purposes during your backpacking trip. They can organize and separate items, store snacks, protect electronics from water damage, keep toiletries leak-free, and even serve as makeshift waterproofing for documents or important items.

Day pack

Besides your main luggage rack, having a smaller day pack is essential for day trips, hikes, or exploring cities. A day pack allows you to carry essentials like water, snacks, a camera, a jacket, and other items without weighing you down. Don’t forget to go for a pack that is lightweight, durable, and has comfortable straps for all-day wear.

Backpacking in Europe

How to pack for 2 weeks backpacking in Europe

Packing your hand luggage for a two-week adventure in Europe may seem daunting. Nevertheless, by following a few key principles and envisioning your pack as three distinct zones, you’ll be able to pack all your essentials while leaving behind unnecessary items efficiently.

Bottom of the backpack

The bottom of your backpack is best suited for lightweight items such as your sleeping bag. Placing your sleeping bag at the bottom not only provides structure to the base of the bag but also serves as a solid foundation for other items to be packed on top. This arrangement ensures that the weight is distributed evenly and prevents the bag from becoming top-heavy or unbalanced.

Against your backpack

When packing your backpack, it’s advisable to position your heaviest items closest to your back. This includes items like your laptop, camera, or any dense gear. Placing heavier objects against your back helps maintain balance and stability, preventing unnecessary strain on your shoulders and back. Additionally, it improves your overall posture and makes carrying the backpack more comfortable during travel.

Top of the backpack

The top of your backpack or the area down the front is ideal for packing medium-weight or bulkier items. This section suits items you may need to access more frequently or quickly, such as extra clothing layers for varying weather conditions, your water treatment system, or your first-aid kit. By placing these items near the top, you can easily retrieve them without having to dig through the entire contents of your backpack.

When packing your backpack for a trip, it’s crucial to maintain proper weight distribution to avoid discomfort and maintain balance while on the move. The objective is to achieve a balanced pack, avoiding a top-heavy or bottom-heavy load.

To prevent any issues, pack heavier items close to your center of gravity, the middle of your back. This strategic placement ensures that the weight is evenly distributed and keeps you balanced while walking or hiking. By packing light and positioning the weight closer to your body’s natural balance point, you’ll find that the load feels more natural and easier to carry.

Packing list for your Backpacking trip

How to prepare a backpack for Europe

Preparing your backpack for an epic backpacking adventure through Europe is an exciting and essential step towards a successful journey. It is crucial to note that properly organizing and packing your backpack can make all the difference in terms of comfort, convenience, and ease of travel. Here are some tips:

Wash your clothes

Remember you can wash your clothes during the trip. There are many public laundry rooms available to all travelers. This way you can take the absolutely essential.Ā 

Wear your clothes more than once when backpackingĀ 

Maximizing the use of your clothing items is key to traveling light. Consider wearing your clothes more than once before washing them, especially if they are still clean and odor-free. This reduces the number of items you need to pack and saves time and effort spent on laundry during your travels.

Minimize your toiletry bag when backpackingĀ 

Toiletries can take up significant space and weight in your backpack. Minimize your toiletry bag by packing travel-sized items or transferring them into smaller containers. As you pack, consider if you truly need certain products or can find alternatives at your destinations. Additionally, you can coordinate with your travel companions to share common toiletries to reduce the load further.

Compression packing cubes

Utilizing compression packing cubes can revolutionize your backpacking experience. These cubes are designed to compress your clothing and other items, allowing you to fit more into your backpack while keeping everything organized. They help save space, prevent items from shifting, and make it easier to locate specific items without unpacking everything.

Don’t pack for the what if

It’s tempting to pack for every possible scenario, but it’s important to resist the urge to pack for hypothetical situations. Instead, focus on packing for the realities of your trip. Think of the weather, the activities you’ll be engaging in, and the duration of your journey.Ā 

Ditch bulky clothing when backpackingĀ 

Bulky clothing takes up precious space in your backpack. When packing, go for lightweight and versatile clothing items that can be layered for different weather conditions. Choose those that are breathable, wrinkle-resistant, quick-drying fabrics, and easy to mix and match. Just don’t bring everything!

Pack only 3 pairs of shoes that are light and can be compressed

Shoes can quickly consume space and add weight to your backpack. Aim to pack no more than three pairs of shoes, including the ones you wear during your journey. Select lightweight, comfortable, and versatile shoes to suit different activities.

Invest in a good backpack for backpacking through Europe

Your backpack is your travel companion, so investing in a quality backpack is essential. Look for a backpack that is durable, comfortable to wear, and properly fits your body. We highly recommend those with multiple compartments, padded straps, and a supportive hip belt.Ā 

Purchase a good backpack

Don’t forget your travel insurance for your backpacking adventureĀ 

As you backpack Europe or anywhere else, having travel insurance is not just a luxury but an absolute necessity. Your health and well-being should always be a top priority, so we highly recommend our comprehensive travel coverage to safeguard you throughout your journey. Our insurance goes beyond just protecting your luggage; it also covers crucial aspects such as medical expenses, giving you peace of mind and a safety net in unforeseen circumstances.

Accidents and medical emergencies can happen unexpectedly, and without travel insurance, the financial consequences could be overwhelming. Our insurance coverage includes a wide range of essential benefits, such as medical assistance provided by experienced professionals, access to medical teams and specialists, necessary tests, hospitalization, treatments, and vital medical supplies. You can rest assured that in the event of a medical event, our insurance has you covered.

To ensure easy access to assistance, we have developed the Heymondo Assistance App, which is available 24/7. In the face of a medical emergency, you can quickly contact our app and receive prompt support and guidance from our dedicated team of doctors. This invaluable resource ensures you don’t have to worry about any challenges. Remember, your safety and peace of mind should never be compromised. Don’t embark on your backpacking adventure without travel insuranceā€”it is an indispensable tool that protects you from the unexpected and ensures you can fully immerse yourself in the joys and wonders of your European journey.

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