The decision to travel to Europe came rather quickly for me. In fact, it was unexpected. All my friends seem to be doing it, so why not me. I have never been to Europe before but I saw this as a great opportunity to see some of the most famous sites in the world and have an adventure before heading off to a more serious period of my life.
Many people my age have the same idea when it comes to going to Europe and they all call it backpacking. Backpacking? Does that mean that you only need a backpack to go there? I soon found out that it means exactly that. But how was I supposed to fit all of my clothes and necessities in a single backpack? The thing is that… You couldn't.
I first decided to plan out my route. I then needed to prepare all of my documents. I had some of my savings so money wasn't the issue. But when I realized that I needed to change flights, use public transportation in many situations, use a different kind of transportation each time, and in most situations I would need to walk to reach a place that I was going to, I then realized what the idea behind backpacking was.
I immediately started looking online for a good backpack and soon managed to find the best backpack for college, which was both really good for my adventure and could serve equally well as a regular backpack for school or anything else. Needless to say, I didn't regret my decision.
This was a big disappointment for me! Not only was I unable to bring all of my favorite things, but I also couldn't even bring some of the necessities that I really needed. This wasn't the case of packing light; this was the case of packing smart.
But if I was going to go and have the time of my life, some sacrifices needed to be made. I approached this in the most scientific way possible and incorporated various calculations to come up with the best formula. I packed as best as I could and in the end really managed to have the time of my life. Once I got back home I realized that I didn't really need all that stuff that I originally indented to bring. What I brought with me was just enough to help me survive a trip to Europe with only a backpack.
Solid Colored Clothing
If you are into fashion and want to look good on your vacation pictures, then you should pack only solid colored clothing. Why you may ask, the answer is simple. Solid colors go with everything and you don't need to bring your entire wardrobe with you. You can bring only a few items and mix and match for any occasion. When I realized this it helped me decide on what to wear and what to bring really quickly.
This is probably the most important item on the list. If you are planning to do a lot of walking, you should have a comfortable pair of shoes at your disposal. Actually, you don't need to bring two pair of shoes with you, one is completely enough. But make sure that they are all-purpose shoes as you don't really know what kind of weather changes you can run into.
But one thing is for certain, whatever shoes you decide to bring, they have to be really comfortable. You don't want blisters on your feet and you don't want this ruining your vacation. This item will ensure that you will have a comfortable, care-free trip to any place in Europe.
If you own a pair of really good and really expensive sunglasses, better leave them at home for this occasion. You don't want your best pair of sunglasses to get scratched or damaged during the trip. You will be going through all sorts of situations and will need to change flights, change hotels, change transportation, change customs, generally a whole lot of changes. These are the situations where your valuables can get damaged.
Instead of going with your best pair, buy a cheap pair that you will use only then. There is no need for other expensive accessories either. For instance, I have a really nice watch that I like wearing, but I decided to allow it to sit this one out as I didn't want to lose it. So, cheap accessories are your best bet for this kind of a trip.
Make sure that you invest in a good waterproof jacket before you head on to your adventure. What I came to realize was that there will be a lot of occasions where rain may occur instantaneously. So in order to come out dry from that situation, a waterproof jacket was the only answer. It is light to pack and even if you are not wearing it you can stick it into your backpack and get it out the second you need.
Another great piece of advice is to dress in layers. If you run into bad weather or if it gets cold or warm suddenly, you can always add or remove pieces of your clothing. It is the best way to travel and probably the best piece of advice that I could give when it comes to dressing properly on a trip.
When it comes to bringing toiletries, there are some rules that we have to abide. The airline company has strict rules about bringing bottles on board; the amount you bring and the container you are bringing it in. So I had to bring a small amount of everything and needed to bring the essentials. Either way, this was only for starters as I bought everything else in the local shopping stores when I needed them.
One should do that every time when going to a foreign country. You don't need to bring everything, you just need to bring some and buy it when you run out. It can actually be really fun having to find the products you need in different languages and having to decipher it all.
What Did I Miss?
Surprisingly, nothing at all! It actually helped me to realize that we as human beings do not need all that much. Sometimes we buy too many things that we don't even need as we can go buy with only the essentials. Either way, the trip itself was a great experience but it help me also to come to a realization that one can survive only with the necessities without having to rely on too many things.