Specifically, here is what I packed for travel in Switzerland, Italy, and Turkey!
Things to know: I knew I would have to pack for multiple climates and activities. Trail running in Swiss mountains is a very different wardrobe than sight seeing in Istanbul and going out for drinks in Italy! Also, my trip dates were September 28-November 3, so I knew I would have some late summer/early fall weather. But above all, everything I packed I had to make sure that I could wear them in at least 2 of the following 3 contexts: hiking/exercising, sight-seeing, fancy things.
However, there are definitely things I learned from this last trip. Hopefully, you can use my packing list (and things I learned) as a good starting base for YOUR awesome trip! As always, depending on where you will be and what you will be doing, some of these items aren’t necessary. If you’re going to Milan in December, it’s going to be very chilly and winter coat season. If you’re in Rome in the summertime, prepare for some sweltering heat! For general tips and even more ideas on what you might need, check out Pack Hacker!
Without further ado, here’s my list:
Note: If there’s one thing you should splurge on for your trip, it is to buy this bag. I CANNOT SAY ENOUGH GOOD THINGS. One, the minimalist aesthetic is awesome, and you definitely blend in a lot more instead of sticking out like a tourist and a backpacking pack. Two, the craftsmanship is impeccable. The compartments, pockets, zippers, pouches… all designed beautifully and it’s so darn functional. Three, this pack holds A LOT. A surprising amount! Just incredible. Best part, this pack can fit UNDERNEATH the seat on airplanes, so you won’t need to pay those extra fees for carryons or checked bags.
Note: While I love (seriously, LOVE) my daily bag from Minaal, I would probably try my best to only use one backpack next time. It was just really annoying to tote 2 backpacks everywhere. Instead, I would have gotten the Matador DL16 Backpack…
Note: I did not have this, but my friend had one and it was amazing… you can pack it up into a little ball to stuff into your bigger pack, but also use it every day as an awesome day pack. Would 100% buy one for myself for my next trip.
Note: I do not have one of these, but here is another option besides the Matador BackPack that is more stylish. You also see these backpacks EVERYWHERE across Europe. I would still probably get the Matador, but heyo, I’m not as stylish :)
Here are photos of my friend with the Minaal Carry-On 2.0 Pack (left) and the Matador DL16 Backpack (right)
2-4 Basic Tank Tops / Crops
1 athletic top that can double as casual, and doesn’t get smelly
1 casual tank - usually to wear sightseeing
Note: I packed 2 tanks and 3 crop tops (1 of which was a little dressier) … which was totally overkill. I probably only wore 3 of the 5 tops). Next time, especially if my trip was longer and I needed to downsize, I would only bring 2 tanks (max).
2 Basic T-Shirts
Wool is amazing for travel - they don’t smell, so you don’t have to wash them all the time. Plus they’re easy to wash and quick to dry. Two huge downsides: it’s very expensive AND all the shirts for women are really NOT cute. This one is the thing that was the least tacky one I found and could afford haha. I hear Outlier and Duckworth Wool have good designs, but they’re a lot more pricey.
1 Basic White Tee
1 Nicer Blouse — Italians/Europeans dress up. If you want to fit in, don’t look like a slouch!
Note: I actually didn’t end up packing a nicer blouse, but it would have been nice to have (instead of my ridiculous number of crop tops lol). If I had to downsize my luggage, I’d skip this.
Note: I brought ONE dress to wear if I went out to bars or a fancier restaurant. It would have been nice to have a long sundress/skirt for day sightseeing on hot days, but I didn’t have one at the time and didn’t feel like buying a new one for the trip. If I had to downsize, I would just bring one dress, longer length, that I could try to dress up or down.
2 Pairs of Skinny Jeans
1 Pair Jean Shorts
Note: I probably wouldn’t bring these again actually. I only wore them a handful of times, and felt pretty self conscious both times. Europeans don’t really wear short jean shorts, so I stuck out like a sore thumb! So instead of bringing these jean shorts, I’d probably opt for a light skirt or dress (at least knee length) next time.
1 Down Jacket
I brought my trusty ole Patagonia Down Jacket. Puffy down jackets are actually pretty popular in Europe.
1 Rain Jacket
Note: Make sure whatever you end up bringing is a light and breathable material!
1 Heavier Jacket
Note: I brought my leather jacket because I wanted to be able to dress up a little. I don’t think I would bring it again - it’s fairly heavy and takes up a lot of space, and I didn’t wear it that often. Instead, I’d probably opt for a bomber jacket or something more lightweight.
1 Sweater — For fall, spring and summer only.
I have this sweater from Lorna Jane and I LOVED IT. Equally functional trail running in Switzerland as it was sightseeing in Italy.
6 Pairs of Socks — For late fall, winter and early spring only.
Note: I highly recommend getting merino wool socks. They’re more expensive, but they’re a whole lot less smelly after a full day of walking/hiking!
7 Pairs of Underwear
Note: Packing a week’s worth is convenient so you can wash it out easily. I highly recommend Uniqlo’s Airism Collection of underwear. They are great for traveling!
3-4 Bras (1-2 normal, 2 sports bras)
Sports bras: Had one from Lorna Jane (Second skin bralette, no longer offered online!) and one from Athleta, both of which I could wear under normal clothes as well
Bras: I brought 1 very light bra and 1 bralette (both from Victoria’s Secret)
Note: If I had to downsize my luggage, I’d opt for the Lorna Jane bra and 1 bralette
1 Pair Black Leggings — For more active days hiking!
1 Pair Running Shorts
Note: This is optional. I brought these from Reebok and mostly used them for quick workouts and for sleeping. Would skip if I had to downsize my luggage!
1 Swimsuit — You never know when a beach or hot tub will be there!
Note: Jolyn Swimsuits are forever my favorite. Perfect for workouts AND beach lounging and pool swimming.
Examples of my outfits out in the wild!
1 Pair of Walking Shoes — VERY important. You will literally walk everywhere in Italy. I made sure that my shoes could also double as running shoes, in case I wanted to do a morning jog, as well as casual shoes for day activities.
1 Pair of Trail Running Shoes
Note: Yeah, most of you probably won’t have this hah! But I knew I was going to be trail running in Switzerland for the first week, so I brought my old shoes and then donated them once I got to Italy.
1 Pair of Flat Boots — Perfect for cold weather, rainy weather, and dressing up at night.
Note: I would recommend something that look like this or this. However, beware of packing boots that are too big/heavy! Mine were pretty cheap/light and squishable. You need to be able to fit them into your pack in case you decide to wear your other shoes! If you’re really trying to pack light, these are definitely optional.
1 Pair of Flip-Flops
Note: I brought these, but I didn’t actually end up wearing them at all because it was too late in the year for beach things.
Shampoo and Conditioner (travel size)
Facial wipes (with makeup remover in it, from Sprouts)
Toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss
Dry shampoo spray
Contact lens & solution
Makeup (basics of eyeliner, mascara, lipstick)
Mosquito spray (I didn’t pack this, but I wish I had!)
Hair ties/bobby pins
Tylenol / Advil
Motion sickness meds
Hydrocortisone cream (there are mosquitoes!)
Any prescription meds you might need!
Chargers (phone and laptop)
Power adaptors (I love these ones from Sea to Summit)
External rechargeable battery
Luggage Lock (important if you’re staying in hostels)
Flexible water bottle (SO handy, and compact/squishable)
Booty Bands (for some extra resistance in your at-home workouts!)
Soap/Tide to Go Packets to wash your clothes in the sink
Rubber Clothesline (to hang dry your clothes)
Snacks (Nut butter packs, roasted almonds, bars, instant oatmeal packets) — super helpful in saving money on breakfast or just having things handy as a snack when you’re out and about!
Journal & pens
Books (my friend had a Kindle, which is much more space friendly!)
Passport pouch — seems to be better for dudes who can hide them in their pants, but could be useful! I generally kept my passport locked at home, while keeping photocopies in my wallet.
Purse — I brought one similar to this one, but would bring a smaller one next time.
Well, there you have it! This was my packing list for my 5-week trip! It’s definitely not perfect, and I’m sure y’all could figure out better travel hacks, but it was a great learning lesson for what I personally like to have on extended travel trips. Also, a lot of the stuff on here can get pretty pricey, so I definitely tried to buy things one at a time, or only if I absolutely couldn’t find a substitute. The nice thing is, they’re all pretty high quality, so I expect to use the gear for many more years!
Oh, and if I was going for longer, I would probably cut down the wardrobe even more (i.e. take out 1-2 of everything) and buy more quality wool shirts. Next time :)
P.S. Once my friend finishes his 8 month trip and writes up a post on HIS stuff, I’ll link it here. He is way more legit than me!