Before we left for this trip, we spent quite a bit of time researching what we would need with us, other than clothes and toiletries that are necessary on a daily basis. Seeing as it was both of our first times backpacking, as well as being on the road for such a long period of time, we wanted to make sure we had everything we needed to be comfortable. While there are many things (especially clothes) that we brought that could have been left at home, there are of other items that become absolute lifesavers and that we recommend everyone packs before leaving for a similar trip!
1.Packing cubes and vaccum seal bags
When backpacking, and especially when you’re an overpacker like me (Bianca), packing cubes will make your life so much easier! Not only do they allow you to save space and bring more with you, but they keep everything much more organized. We used packing cubes to separate all of our clothes in categories and it prevented us from ever having to unpack everything. We would only take out exactly what we needed for the day and the rest could stay nicely packed in the cubes. It saves so much time when you’re changing locations every 2-3 days! Another awesome item my brother gifted us before we left was vaccum seal bags. We still use those to this day are our portable hampers. They keep the smell and grossness from infecting the rest of your clean clothes.
Get our packing cubes here
While most airbnbs and hotels will give you a shower towel, you will almost never get a separate beach towel. This is where bringing our own full body microfiber towels was incredibly useful. We used them every time we went to the beach! They dry super fast and roll up into a bag the size of your hand, which makes them even more practical when backpacking! They are also antibacterial so they don’t get stinky and gross if you don’t wash them every couple days.
Get our microfiber towels here
Right before we left, we ordered a 30L drybag from amazon, and it became our best friend for the entire trip. It is big enough to fit everything we needed for a day out and was super comfortable to carry. It is also completely waterproof so you never have to worry about your belongings getting wet if it starts raining or if you are on a beach or a boat. We even swam with it in Santorini when we were trying to get to a cliff jumping spot and we didn’t want to leave our things behind.
Could not find our exact bag, but you can get a similar one here
4.Waterproof covers for the backpacks
While we got lucky enough to almost never get stuck having to walk in the rain with our big backpacks, we were still very happy to have bought waterproof covers for our backpacks just in case. The worst thing would be to get to your hotel or Airbnb with all of your belongings soaked, so we suggest getting one just in case. The one time we got stuck in the rain was during our afternoon in Germany on the way to Greece, and the rain covers allowed us to properly explore and enjoy the city regardless of the weather conditions.
Get our backpack covers here
5.Good walking shoes
I feel like this point is more relevant for girls because we love cute shoes that match our outfits, but trust me it’s not worth the pain! Even when you think you’re just going out for dinner, Europe has a talent for turning a 10 minute walk to the restaurant into an endless adventure through cobblestone streets with infinite charm. Although it may not feel like a big deal at first, it will catch up to you after several weeks. For the first half of our Europe trip, my feet were covered in blisters because other than my running shoes, I did not have any good walking sandals. Luckily we had a one-day layover in Germany and I was able to buy very affordable Birkenstocks. That reminds me, if you’re in Germany, please buy Birkenstocks! I am almost positive I never wore any of my other shoes after that.
Right now the fanny packs are trendy again and that’s awesome because they are SO practical! Especially on travel days or when you’re walking through busy European cities known for pickpocketing, the fanny pack will be your best friend!
7.Multiple outlet travel adapter
One of the things that surprised us in Europe is how few power outlets older apartments have in the bedrooms. When you’re renting a room in a home and you only have access to one power outlet, it becomes difficult to balance charging the phones, the laptop, the tablet, the ebook reader, the camera and the gopro… This is where a multiple outlet travel adaptor becomes SUPER handy. We bought one before we left that had 4 usb ports and 2 regular plug outlets so it allowed us to charge 6 different electronic devices at once if we needed to. The fact that we forgot it in a wall in spain within the first 2 weeks of our trip is a different story, but regardless, we loved that gadget and recommend everyone brings one with them.
Get a great travel adapter here
I think this one is pretty obvious.
We hope this was super helpful and if you have other cool travel accessory ideas, let us know in the comments!
Lots of Love,
Ben and Bianca