Packing List for 6 Months in Europe
It can be quite daunting to determine what all you need to bring when you are setting out for long-term travel. Not too much to weigh your pack down, but not too little that you will be running around trying to find the essentials. Therefore, when planning for your trip it helps to start with a list. We are attempting to provide a blueprint that can serve as a reference to what you may need. There are a lot of questions and concerns about what is important, practical and also stylish; it can become overwhelming. Hopefully if we list everything we use and need then your journey can be seamless and enjoyable.
Our primary goal is to recommend items we use that are affordable, tested and relevant to long-term travel; most, if not all, items we have listed below can be found on Amazon by clicking the link to the desired item.
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BAGS & PACKING GEAR
Your bags are going to take a lot of wear and tear, even on the short trips. It is important that they are durable.
- Ashley’s Main Bag – Ashley wanted to maximize available space by using a larger (40L) bag with an internal frame. The slender body is perfect for filling with packing cubes and there are multiple pockets to tuck things away in. It sits right on the hips and never feels too heavy on her shoulders.
- Kody’s Main Bag – Stuff bags are great and are the option that Kody prefers. His exact bag is no longer made, unfortunately, but, this is the website where he purchased it: https://www.gossamergear.com/.
- Day Bag: High Sierra Backpack – This is really a must-have. When we are out wandering around it is helpful to have a backpack to throw a water bottle in, or in the event we stop at the grocery store. This one can also condense down into a little square which helps when storing.
- 4 Set Packing Cubes – Travel Organizers – These are great. We only have one set between the two of us but another set would be useful. Keeping organized relieves a lot of anxiety for us while traveling. We can throw these in our pack and not have to dig around for certain clothes or accessories, just pulling out the organizer. It also makes unpacking super easy.
- Clinique bags/old cosmetic bags – Ashley has gotten many bags from Clinique and other skincare brands over the years and put her hoarding of them to good use for our trip. She uses these bags to hold all of her non-clothing items and keep them organized.
- Luggage Scale – We do not have the need for a luggage scale because we do not fly, but this is a good tool to have if you plan to fly and want to collect souvenirs.
- TSA Approved Cable Luggage Locks – If you are in hostels often, or stow your luggage in a train station locker, these are smart to have. Better safe than sorry.
Ahh, toiletries and hygiene gear; it is what everyone wants to talk about. 😉 We do find a lot of our essentials in supermarkets while traveling but it is wise to bring along some of your favorites. Bring a few extra plastic bags in the event one of these begins to leak. We have a main toiletry bag that we carry all of this in, keeping our bags organized.
- Electric Tooth Brush (2): Philips Sonicare – This is a good electric tooth brush that we use. It comes in a nice case that helps with packing and has an extra brush tip.
- Corrective lenses
- Contact lenses – We buy all of our contacts through 1-800Contacts.com. They deliver everywhere, even to a combat zone in Iraq!
- Multipurpose Contact Solution – This can be hard to find in some places so we always carry a large bottle.
- Mosquito Repellent – A must-have if venturing to countries that have the various life-threatening bug viruses.
- Sun Screen (Body): Australian Gold 50 SPF – We always go for oil on the body and a cream for the face. We take it slow in the sun, tanning gradually and allowing our skin to adjust to the increased sun exposure.
- Sun Screen (Face): Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 30 – We apply this almost every day to our face. It feels refreshing and is small enough to toss in our day bag. A surefire way to be spotted as a tourist is to have that glaring red skin.
- Body Lotion
- Hair Brush
- Hair Gel
- Beard Trimmer – You probably will not need all the trimmers but having this makes Kody’s grooming life much easier.
- Skin Calming Face Mask – It’s nice to treat yourself and bringing along a face mask has let Ashley indulge in a little self-care every once in a while.
- Clinique Pep-start Eye Cream
- Makeup – Ashley has a simple makeup routine and only brought the basics, which are all linked here: powdered foundation, liquid eyeliner, mascara, and a couple of matte lipsticks. The lipstick is especially nice. It’s Lime Crime matte lipstick which stays on perfectly all day.
- Purell Hand Sanitizer – An essential.
- Allergy Medicine – We were surprised to learn that the allergies Kody has in Oklahoma are also present in Croatia. It can be a challenge to find your choice of allergy medicine when you cannot read the language.
- Hand Soap Sheets – These are great in a pinch. You can use one with water from your water bottle if you’re not near a sink.
- Ibuprofen – This is a bit of a lifesaver for those nights when we have too much fun… 😉
- Antiseptic – This becomes helpful in the unfortunate event of a contusion or unwanted bug bite.
- Pepto Bismol Chewable Tablets
- Tiger Balm – A veritable cure-all that works well against the headaches and sore muscles that come along with long-term travel.
- Manicure Set With Nail Clippers and Tweezers
- Collapsible Menstrual Cup
- Emergen-C – We love this stuff and add it to our morning water every few days. They are packed with a lot of vitamins, necessary to keep healthy for exploring.
I (Ashley) wanted to make sure I’m taking good care of my skin while we are traveling, so I stocked up on my Drunk Elephant favorites before we left. I purchased everything in travel size so that it would be easy to pack and bought duplicates of the products I use most.
- Drunk Elephant NightBright Duo – This has been a lifesaver for my skin. The gylcolic night serum and merula facial oil erase all the traveling stress from my face and help manage my occasional acne breakouts.
- Drunk Elephant Rise + Glow Duo – A simple and perfect morning skincare routine with vitamin C serum and vitamin B moisturizer. Just a couple of pumps and I’m good to go! I put this on before my daily sunscreen.
- Drunk Elephant The Littles – This is a perfect travel skin care kit. I purchased one of these and then the additional duo sets in order to have enough for our entire trip. The Littles kit comes with a jelly cleanser, an SPF 30 sunscreen, three day and night serums (all of those listed above), facial oil, multivitamin eye cream, and peptide cream. The bag is great as a carrying case as well.
- Drunk Elephant Baby Juju and Baby Pekee Bar Soap – This set includes one cleansing bar and one exfoliating bar. The travel case keeps the soap from getting dirty.
- Drunk Elephant Lippe Balm – A great lip balm that stays on and moisturizes very well.
- Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Antipollution Sunshine Serum – This is a great antioxidant bronzing cream that gives just the right amount of color and protection to your skin. Awesome for sunny days when you don’t want to bother with makeup.
We like to blend in to our environments and avoid drawing attention to ourselves, merely passing through and observing each place we visit. That can be a challenge if you are wearing typical traveler clothes. Our list includes clothes that will suit a traveler’s need while not causing you to stand out in the crowd.
Men’s Travel Clothing
I had a few additional concerns when packing my clothes: I wanted everything to be as light as possible, wick away sweat and smell, and be durable. I knew from my time hiking the Appalachian Trail that these were important considerations, especially when carrying my pack often; I wanted to keep it around 30 lbs. if possible.
I will generally lean towards anything Merino wool to hit all of these considerations. It is expensive clothing but it generally fits well, drys quickly, and doesn’t hold much odor. Not all of my clothes are Merino wool, I do have some cotton shirts, and none of my pants are wool. However, socks and underwear are definitely wool material. A major benefit to this material is that is seems to retain its shape very well. I can put a wool shirt on one day, roll it up and pack it away, then pull it out a few days later and the collar is tight along with the sleeves.
Below is Kody’s travel clothing list:
- Travel Jacket (Men) – A good outer layer is important. This one serves as that for Kody and also has loads of storage with huge pockets. If you buy this one you will also receive zipper pen, ear plugs, eye mask and a blow up travel pillow.
- Base Layer: Merino Wool Pullover – I use it often as an outer layer in places where it is cooler in the evening. It is not heavy and can be layered well.
- Base Layer: Merino Wool Base Layer – Dressy and practical.
- Base Layer: Omni-Wool Dual-Layer Merino Wool – I like this one for hiking or a breezy day.
- Short Sleeve Dry Fit (3)
- Merino Short Sleeve (3) – These serve as my first layer and take the brunt of the sweat and accumulate the most smell.
- No Sleeve (1) – A cotton short sleeve with our alma mater is nice to have on the beach days, and can be a good conversation starter.
- Long Sleeve Button Down Shirt (2) – I have a white and a gray one as they will match with all of my pants. These are nice because they can be used for a fancy dinner, cruise ship formal night, or roll the sleeves and they become more casual.
- Polo Shirt – I do not have this but think it is a good option.
- Reversible Leather Belt – I like this one because can match with whatever I wear; black or brown.
- Merino Wool Underwear (5) – Having a lot of underwear in your bag is worth it whenever you have limited access to a washing machine. I find five is a good amount for a long travel stint.
- Pants (4) – Khaki slacks, Joggers, Athletic Jeans, Chino Pants – I want clothes that are multipurpose. These all work well with most of my shirts. The pants can be rolled at the bottom to give an even more casual look.
- Sweatpants – I enjoy having these for lazy evenings.
- Shorts (3) – Three pairs should do fine; one pair for working out.
- Swimming Shorts – I like swimming trunks with pockets; I am always annoyed when I buy trunks that I later discover do not have any.
- Daily Socks (3): Merino Wool All Season Socks
- Sport Socks (2): Ultralight Athletic Running Socks
- Cold Weather Socks: Merino Wool Socks – Tall socks that really keep the warmth in and wick the sweat away.
- Daily Shoes: Two pairs similar to these – Canvas Slip-On (one pair black and another gray to easily match with all my clothing) and a pair of running shoes: New Balance Running Shoe.
- Ray-Ban Sunglasses – I love these; they are high quality and perfect for those many sunny travel days.
Women’s Travel Clothing
Ashley didn’t purchase new clothing for our trip, but utilized what she already had to create a capsule wardrobe. The basic tenet of a capsule wardrobe is to choose clothes that are in a similar color scheme so that they all match and you can mix them freely. That way, you don’t end up traveling with a shirt that only looks good with one pair of pants and won’t get used often – the space in your backpack is too valuable!
Below is Ashley’s travel clothing list:
- Travel Jacket (Women) – So many pockets and works wonderfully as a rain jacket. I left the water bottle, blanket, and inflatable foot rest that came with the jacket at home.
- Ray-Ban Sunglasses – Good shades are essential.
- Sundresses (2) – I chose two dresses that I thought would be good for a nice dinner or a day at the beach.
- Nudie Jeans Raw Denim Jeans – I opted to invest in a pair of raw denim after reading about how comfortable they are and how easy it is to care for them. They are without a doubt my most comfortable jeans. There’s no need to wash them all the time like regular jeans because they hold their shape well. You can stick them in the freezer if they start to smell at all, which is perfect for low maintenance travel, and they can be washed easily in the bathtub. They are the only denim jeans I brought, so I was able to save space in my backpack.
- Black Jeans (1) – Black jeans, a leather jacket, and sunglasses will help you blend in no matter which European country you’re in.
- Black Leggings (1) – I brought one pair of leggings for days when I was feeling lazy, like our long travel times in the car, and for working out in.
- Denim Shorts (1)
- Sperry Women’s Leather Loafer – These are my “nicer” shoes. I didn’t bother packing heels at all for the trip, but these loafers are comfortable and look better than my sneakers with my dressier outfits. I got them in tan.
- Sperry Women’s Sneaker – My everyday shoes. Sperry sneakers are so comfortable for walking around in!
- Sperry Women’s Slip-on Sneaker – I brought a pair of black slip-ons as well so that I could rotate my daily shoes and not wear them out as quickly.
- State Traditions Oklahoma Hat – Wearing a baseball cap will definitely make you stand out as an American, but it’s great to have for beach days. I chose this hat to represent my home state of Oklahoma, but the brand makes similar hats for every state.
- Swimsuits, one bikini and a one-piece
- Plain V-Neck T-Shirts (3), in black, white, and grey
- Dress Shirts (3) – I chose some blouses and a chambray button-up that could be used for dressier activities or for layering.
- Crop Tops/Tank Tops (5)
- Long-Sleeved T-Shirts (2)
- Cardigan (1)
- Hooded Sweatshirt (1) – Another opportunity to represent your home state, if you feel so inclined.
- Skirts (2), one short and one long
- Underwear (7) and Bras (2)
- Absorbent Period Underwear – Great to use along with a menstrual cup to avoid having to carry supplies everywhere you go.
- Socks (4)
The electronics you bring will be very important, especially if you intend to blog along the way, watch your favorite streaming service and stay connected. We only bring one computer and also use our iPad and phones to work online and keep in touch. It is a pain to lug around so it is better to go without a computer if possible.
Below are the electronics we recommend bringing:
- Travel Adapter – Before bringing any electronics to places outside the US you will want this. It is an absolute must. This one works excellent! It is compact and has all the required settings for the UK, Europe and elsewhere.
- Kody’s Phone: Motorola Moto G6 – The Moto G6 is our primary phone that is connected to Sprint’s International plan. It has worked well as a basic smart phone but not as versatile as Ashley’s iPhone X. However, this is a great budget phone (around $200 new) that can do everything the other smart phones are capable of; it just requires a bit more patience.
- Phone Case: Moto G6 Case
- Ashley’s iPhone X: This phone serves as our primary camera, taking quality pictures and video.
- Laptop – We have the 2018 version and really like this computer. It is not an expensive one which provides peace of mind knowing if it is damaged we will not be out much money. It does everything we need.
- Apple iPad Air 2, 16 GB – We use this most evenings to watch our favorite shows, and it doubles as a working device. We have found it to be helpful to buy a case/keyboard combo: Keyboard Case for iPad
- Kindle Paperwhite – We love to read and find it very convenient and lightweight to pack our Kindle. It is also easy to load new books on via Amazon.
- Headlamp Flashlight – A good accessory to have. Do not bother with a handheld flashlight if you have this one. It has great reviews and works well.
- External Battery – We do not use this but do know there is some concern about being in an area and unable to charge your devices. We have it on good authority that this external battery works well and can come in handy in a crunch.
- Wired Earbuds – Just as I sat down to write this I realized I lost a pair of earbuds, so maybe a couple sets. I like the kind that wrap around your ear the best as they hold on my ear while running much better than those without wraps.
- Audio Splitter Cable – This is nice to have on the long trips where each person can plug in their wired headphones.
- USB Flash Drive – This has come in handy for us since we work from our computers, and often need to backup some of our documents. It is smart to have one of these as a backup because you cannot be certain WiFi will be present at every location.
- Extra cables – It is not absolutely necessary to have extras but we can always find use for more cables. It may be wise to carry an extra cell phone charger too.
- Leuchtturm1917 Medium Size Hardcover A5 Notebook with Dotted Pages – This notebook is awesome. The pages are numbered and there’s a blank table of contents at the front, so you can customize it any way you want. We prefer the dotted style because it gives you structure without boxing you in. They also have line, grid, and blank page styles. This brand is extremely popular among people who like to Bullet Journal.
- Portable Photo Printer – This thing is amazing for our journal. It prints out small pictures that are peel and stick so they easily adhere to the journal. If you intend to keep a travel journal this can be huge asset.
- Printer Paper – The paper is stored in old chewing gum cases so they are not damaged when traveling around.
- Hard Pencil Case
- Brush Pens for page titles: Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen 2-Pack and Kuretake Fude Brush Pens in Various Colors. Ashley took a brush lettering class prior to our trip and it’s made our journal titles look so artistic and unique!
- Pens for Writing and Sketching: Micron Pens
- Colored Pencils – These dual-ended colored pencils are perfect for journaling or sketching and don’t take up much room in our pencil case.
- Money Belt – We tried a few of these, returning one that did not hold enough. This one is RFID protected, rides close to the body, and have a few compartments that allow to easily sort your valuables. It is best used for holding documents as we wear it under our pants and do not want it bulging out.
- Ear Plugs – Some AirBnb’s or hostels can be quite loud at night. Especially if you are in Spain where it is common for friends and family to stay up late enjoying each other’s company. These will help.
- Sleep Mask – Kody uses this often and brings it everywhere.
- Compressible Travel Pillow – A lot of the places we stay do not have enough pillows, or they are so worn down that it helps to have one of these to ensure quality rest.
- Personal Microfiber Towel – This one dries quickly and has a little button that makes it easy to hang out to dry. A good hiking towel as well.
- Passport Protector – Sometimes you may want to keep your country of citizenship on the down-low in long lines. This is a way to do it. However, you normally have to remove it from the protector when handing it to border control officers.
- Travel Spork – This one is great because it breaks down and is very durable. We have used it for many years, even taking it on the Appalachian Trail.
- Swiss Army Knife – This thing is so useful. It has a file, tweezers, tooth pick and small scissors that can double as nail clippers and travel scissors. We bring this everywhere.
- Resistance Bands – For exercise this is all we use. It is important for us to maintain our physical health and routine so we are able to tackle the daily grind of traveling.
- Water Shoes – Depending where you are traveling you may want these. Many of the European beaches are a bit rocky.
- Extra plastic bags – You will find a use for them.
Additional Supplies to Buy in Europe
- Shopping Cart Trolley – We bought this and it really helps with groceries. It can also double as an additional bag to put some of your heavier things in.
- Grocery bags – It is better to get a heavy duty bag so you’re not constantly replacing it. Most grocery stores will charge a fee to use their plastic bags so we try to bring our own.