What to Pack for a Three Month Backpacking Trip

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The best packing advice I ever received is this: Pack as if you are going for 10 days. Why? Because it is much easier to pack for a 10-day trip than a long-term international trip. You can do laundry every week or so. When you think about it that way, it makes packing much more manageable. Here’s the full list of items I packed for my first long-term trip to Europe (three months in 2016). You can check out the places I visited on the backpacking Europe itinerary.

Tips for Packing Light

  • All clothing items should match. Neutral colors are best.
  • Roll (don’t fold) your clothes and use packing cubes.
  • Pack a comfortable pair of shoes in addition to tennis shoes (Converses, TOMS, AllBirds, Rothys, etc.). They are a bit more fashionable than tennis shoes for when your feet have had enough of those cute sandals!
  • Avoid packing cosmetic jewelry. A simple pair of earrings and a watch will suffice.
  • Use refillable mini bottles for toiletries. You can restock at local grocery/convenience stores throughout your trip.
  • Remember, you can mail items home and/or purchase clothes during your trip. So avoid packing a heavy jacket if you don’t need it until your last month.
  • There is no shortage of laundry mats in Europe. Pack less and do laundry more.

A Minimalist Packing List for Europe

Backpack and bags




  • 1 North Face Women’s Fastpack Wind Jacket
  • 1 lightweight green jacket
  • 2 short rompers (one black and one black/white)**Ended up mailing one home. 
  • 1 long romper (black/white)
  • 2 dresses (one black and one black/white stripes)
  • 2 pants (one black jeans and one blue jeans)
  • 4 short sleeve tops (one pink cotton, one grey cotton, one teal cotton and one black silk)**Ended up mailing the teal shirt home and buying a blue cotton t-shirt.
  • 1 grey tank top
  • 1 grey cotton long sleeve top
  • 8 pairs of underwear
  • 2 sports bras
  • 2 real bras (black and nude)
  • 3 pairs of socks
  • 1 pair of black Nike shorts
  • 1 pair of black Nike pants
  • 1 black bandeau
  • 1 black cardigan
  • 1 black/white scarf
  • 1 black pajama romper
  • 1 swimsuit
  • 1 black floppy hat **Ended up mailing home.



Here are a few more travel planning resources:

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12 Comments Add yours

  1. Not sure yet but I know I will spend plenty of time in the Alps (:

  2. Did you fit all that in your 46L? I was thinking of bringing my 46L as well

    1. Yes, I sure did! Most of the time I carried the Longchamp bag (versus putting it in my backpack). But it all fits… Packing cubes helped a ton! Where are you heading to?

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