I recently read an article titled, “Backpacking through Italy sounds so romantic. It isn’t.” When I read that, I laughed to myself because I know firsthand how easy it is to pack romance into my backpack no matter where I travel. I’m here to tell you how you can backpack on any length trip and never repeat an outfit. Just how do you do that? By following my step-by-step ultimate packing list!

When my husband and I were leaving for our three-week honeymoon through Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands, it was me that insisted that we only bring a backpack. Scott said, “are you crazy? It’s our honeymoon. We need to live a little.” Fast-forward to smooth sailing through security, customs, and immigration, plus no lost bags, and he was singing a different tune.

I try to stay away from excess baggage in every part of my life, but especially when it comes to travel. 

Ultimately, the lighter you travel, the more freedom you have. As the Spanish proverb says, “on a long journey, even a straw weighs heavy.”

Whether you’re packing for a week vacation or a multi-month vagabond, you can fit everything you need in a backpack or small bag and still strut in style. This packing list will be easier for those visiting warm locations as itty-bitty bikinis take up far less space than ski pants.

“He who would travel happily must travel light” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Packing is all about picking the absolute essentials that you will wear. The other key packing tip to remember is to pack things that are versatile. For instance, if you have a long black skirt, you can pair that with any color top and it’s a completely different outfit.

Here is what I packed for my three-week honeymoon across Europe:

  • 8 Dresses
  • 5 Tops
  • 3 Sweaters/Sweatshirts
  • 5 Skirts
  • 2 Workout Tanks
  • 2 Sports Bras
  • 1 Pair of Leggings
  • 1 Pair of Workout Shorts
  • 3 Pairs of Shorts
  • 6 Bikinis
  • 1 Hat
  • 2 Pair of Walking Sandals
  • 1 Pair of Sneakers
  • 1 Pair of Wedges (purchased on honeymoon)

-A lightweight backpack: a lightweight backpack is key, especially when traveling abroad. While the U.S. doesn’t weigh your carry-ons, many foreign countries do. With a weight limit of 8kg in most countries, you don’t want to start off with a 5 lb. backpack or suitcase. Ditch the wheels and the rigid backpack and grab something lightweight.

I recommend the Patagonia Cragsmith 35L DuffelIt’s lightweight, portable, and its multiple body straps make it easy to carry. 

Dresses: Dresses are perfect because they take up little room in your bag and can easily go from day to night.

Tops: I went for lightweight, synthetic material or light cottons that could easily roll-up into a ball in my bag. Plus, they were easily machine or sink washable.

Sweaters: The perfect layering essential

Skirts: Dress up any outfit and take up little space!

Workout Clothes: While it’s not imperative that you pack these, it is recommended!

Shorts: Take up little space!

Bikinis: We were cruising the Mediterranean so bikinis were a must! Clearly, you don’t NEED this many bathing suits, but I’m a bathing suit junkie.

Hats: Protect that face!

  • 1 fedora to protect myself from the Mediterranean sun

Shoes: These are by far the most important thing you can pack because they take up the most space and weigh the most.

Ultimately, the memories you create are worth more than any material possession you could ever fit in your bag.

What’s on your ultimate packing list for travel? Comment below!