The Beginner’s Guide: Backpacking Europe

June 21, 2019

Hi lovelies! Welcome to the first post of my new segment called "The Beginner’s Guide"! In this particular post I will share how to plan for a European backpacking trip, and in later posts I will share how to prep for, pack, and explore Europe on a budget! I'm going to be taking you guys on the journey with me for our 3 week backpacking adventure around Europe, which is happening in October of this year (EEK!). We are challenging ourselves to do all of this on a budget, a $50 a day budget! Now I get it, ya'll think it just so happens to be impossible to travel on $50 a day especially in Europe, but this is just why we want to see if it is possible! So through this segment you will get a glimpse of how we are planning for that, utilizing the best flight search websites, staying in Air BNB's rather than hotels, (because they have been known to be 50% LESS than the hotels in major cities! I know right?!) and learning/relying on other fellow travel bloggers experiences! 

Carry on vs. Checked

This is probably the most asked question in the travel world, "I don't want to carry around a luggage my whole trip so what do I bring for travelling Europe?" 

The short answer is, depending on how many outfits/shoes you want to bring will determine whether or not you bring a small carry on luggage or a medium/large checked bag. 

Will you be OK wearing the same 5 shirts, 2-3 pants, and a dress or two? Can you wear the same shoes with all outfits? Can you mix up your outfit combos? Are you cool with washing your clothing in another country, because lord knows we spill and get dirty? This is what will get you to the "I brought 3 weeks of clothing in one carry on and a large tote!" goal.  

Carry on

Having the right carry on is crucial to overseas adventures! For travel within the United States, you can take a 22-inch tall carry-on bag, but when you are outside of the United States, generally you will be restricted to a 21-inch carry-on. I'll show you some of my favorite overseas carry on bags + totes down below. This is what is going to be with you at all times so you'll want to make sure it's durable, comfortable, and if desired, stylish! I have my eye on the perfect suitcase that can be placed above the airplane seats from Calpak and this multipurpose LV dupe carry on bag from Amazon to go under your seat, and this LV dupe Mini Palm Springs Bag from Amazon that can be doubled as your everyday camera bag too! 

I honestly think anyone can get away with traveling overseas in just a carry on as long as you stick to a checklist. When I would travel with my family to Europe as a kid, I would pack my whole wardrobe into the largest checked luggage we had, only to see that I hardly wore but maybe a handful of the stuff I brought! This was mainly because I would think I needed options (which you do to an extent!) but ended up wearing the items I absolutely loved and wore constantly at home. PLUS I shopped overseas and ended up wearing the new clothing instead of my "everyday" outfits.

Checked Bag

If you have decided to bring checked luggage then you already have it set in your mind you're not going or leaving with empty hands. And that's OK! Some people either want to bring as many options of clothing as possible because of many factors. Perhaps you don't know what the cultural dress code is, or don't want to stand out as a tourist, maybe you don't know what kind of makeup is acceptable. Or you simply want your own choices. 

I know some people who couldn't fathom the idea of 3 weeks living out of a carry on, so if you are planning on bringing a checked bag, the best way to keep organized and everything neat is to use compression packs, and packing blocks!

Packing Hacks

Using compression packs and packing blocks will help you tremendously. What I love about compression packs is the ease of it and the benefit it provides! Using compression packs all you do is place the clothing in the bag, and flatten it out to deflate the air! The packing cubes help keep you organized by having the ability to know exactly where everything is! By doing this you can reduce your luggage weight, pack more, and keep everything neat! 

If you're deciding to bring a carry on luggage or even a checked bag I'd say your best option is to keep it at the hotel and to bring a tote with as your "personal item" and/or backpack that you can store inside your luggage so that when your exploring the cities you can put all of your necessities in it and go about your day!

Come back next week for a full post on "What To Pack In Your Carry On Personal Bag!" :) 
XOXO Ashley


  1. Great post! I finally checked out the links. We are planning on washing clothes abroad too! I found this on amazon:

  2. OMG those are brilliant!!! I was just going to bring tide pods but this is so much smarter!!