When I tell people that I’m planning to travel around Europe for several months with a smallish backpack that I’m hoping to keep under ten kilos, they usually laugh. Then once they realise that I’m serious, look at me pityingly. It’s made me wonder if it actually is possible for me, especially going through countries with a range of different climates and activities. It’s still several months before we go anywhere, but I thought I’d put together a little list to keep everyone’s minds at ease (including mine). When I did Project 333 for the first time earlier this year I thought that I could probably fit everything into a carry-on sized suitcase – so what better mentality to take towards a several month trip?
A recap of the rules in case you’re not familiar:
- 33 items for 3 months, including shoes, jewellery and accessories.
- Not including: jewellery that’s pretty much permanently attached to you (like wedding rings or a watch); pajamas and home/loungewear; sportswear.
This is going to have to take me through the first 3 month leg of our Europe trip (and hopefully beyond), which will be along southern Europe from late winter to late spring.
- Super comfy walking/hiking shoes – for hiking or when your feet hurt too much to care about fashion or looking like a tourist.
- Everyday shoes – comfy enough walk around in all day in the city
- Pretty shoes – still comfortable, but also pretty enough to go to a nice restaurant or bar in.
- Thongs – for dodgy hostel showers, walking around dodgy hostels, and when the weather gets nice and warm.
- Jeans – apparently a no-no for travel for various reasons, but I haven’t yet regretted taking my jeans on any holiday as I usually live in them. I like
jeggingsstretchy jeans that still have a zipper and pockets and are not tights-as-pants thankyouverymuch; they’re more lightweight than standard denim, dry faster, can be rolled up in hot weather or layered over tights for extra warmth in cold weather.
- Pants which are not jeans – and also not the zip-off shorts-pants, because those are never pretty.
- Long or mid-length skirt – comfortable in warm weather, but also covers your knees – good for visiting religious sites or places where you just don’t want to show too much skin. Can be dressed up or down.
- Shorts – for the warmer weather.
- 9 – 11. 3x short sleeved tees/tanks – regular everyday tops.
- 12 – 13. 2x casual long sleeved tees – for layering when it’s cold, or just on their own.
- 14. Pretty top – something that teams up with jeans/pants/skirt/shorts/pretty shoes in a way that makes you feel pretty and looks acceptable in a nice bar.
- Summery dress – for really warm weather.
- 16 – 17. 2x casual dresses – the kind that are cool enough to wear in warm weather, but can be worn with layers in cool weather.
- Nice dress – for special occasions where the pretty top combo doesn’t cut it.
- 19 – 20. 2x light sweaters – for layering.
- Wool cardigan – for colder weather
- Fleece zipup – for weather so cold that you don’t care what you look like, or layering under…
- Light, shower-resistant jacket – I’m hoping to get a stylish trench to cover this one. Wear with the fleece layer for super cold weather, or without when it’s not.
- Warm scarf – for cold weather.
- Light scarf – a proper pashmina if you can afford one (I can’t) otherwise a light and colourful scarf that can double as a blanket, head/shoulder covering, bag, rope, emergency towel etc.
- Earrings – I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t going to buy another pair at some point throughout the trip, but I’ll be starting it at least with just my trusty pearl studs.
- Necklace – apparently a statement necklace is a travel essential, but I like my long beaded necklace that goes with everything.
- Belt – one that goes with everything.
- Hat – will probably start out with a beanie, for the cold weather.
- Sunglasses – hoping I don’t lose them!
- Everyday bag – since my everyday bag has to carry a few kilos of camera gear, I have to go a bit utilitarian – must be comfortable to carry around all day, easy to protect from pickpockets without looking like a dork, and hold a camera safely.
- Nice bag – still has to carry my camera gear, but nice enough to not look completely out of place in say, a theater or nice restaurant.
- Clutch – for the rare occasions that I feel safer leaving my camera in the hotel/hostel room (my travel document wallet doubles as a clutch, otherwise I wouldn’t bother).
Add in some underwear, socks, PJ’s, tights for layering in cold weather (hosiery doesn’t count right?) and some quick-dry sports clothes and swimwear and I think I’ll be good for the first 3 months of the trip. This works pretty well for me as a blueprint for most travel – swapping out bits and pieces for more consistent or extreme weather – and I know from experience that it all fits fine into a carry-on sized luggage and weighs less than 10kg. Sure I’ll have to do a lot of washing but for the style of travelling we’ll be doing a backpack is ideal, and I can’t physically carry a huge weight in addition to my camera. I’m not quite at Zenhabits ultra-light packing but hey, I think for a girl who has some interest in fashion I’m not doing too bad.
I don’t think I’ll be sticking to this too strictly as Europe does present some excellent shopping opportunities, but as a starting point 33 items works very well with backpacking travel!
Do think I’m missing any travel fashion essentials here?