I’m sitting in an ergonomic-looking orange chair in the international terminal of SFO, waiting for my flight to London. I’m with my dad, who will be leaving for Malaysia within the hour. It’s nice to have a bit of familiar company before I embark on a solo backpacking trip across six European countries.
In the weeks up to my departure date, I spent a lot of time stressing over what I should and shouldn’t pack. After spending an ungodly amount of time watching YouTube packing videos and buying a dozen products on Amazon, I finally put together a list that should (well, hopefully) make my trip run as smoothly as possible.
There were a two main considerations I needed to take into account when making this list.
- WEIGHT – Since I decided early on to do this trip all out of a backpack, I needed to make sure that I would be able to carry everything I needed for an extended period of time. My main pack weighs approximately 25 pounds, and my day bag weighs about 10 pounds. My day bag may weigh too much, but since I am passionate about photography and decided to bring my DSLR, that’s just a weight I’m going to have to bear.
- ORGANIZATION – My living situation while in Europe will be solely in hostels, so it was important for me to think about living in close quarters with others and what kind of limitations that may entail. I packed all of my clothes in packing cubes that are organized by article of clothing so I will know exactly where everything is and will be able to get what I want without much hassle. I purchased a hanging toiletry bag off that has elastic straps to keep bottles from rolling around and a few zippered slots for more important items. I am keeping all of my electronic chargers in a clear, firm plastic cube that allows me to see what I want from the outside.
- TECHNOLOGY – Since I’m a millennial and I spend a lot of time on my various electronic devices, I wanted to make sure that I’d be able to take all of the pictures on all of my different devices without having to worry about running out of battery. I invested in a portable battery pack that is advertised to charge an iPhone 6 from 0-100% nine times, an extra battery for my DSLR, and a fancy power adapter. I packed several 32GB SD cards in case I run out of storage while out and about, and a 3TB external hard drive to save all of my goodies when I’m done for the day. Is it a bit excessive? Maybe. I’ll let you know.
With that in mind, I put together the following list complete with tiny illustrations I drew in the wee hours of the morning as I struggled to fall asleep due to pre-travel anxiety.
I intend to do a follow-up packing post after the trip to assess what I truly did and did not need, but in the meantime, here’s what I packed!