Packing your life into a backpack

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Airline weight limits will soon become the bane of your existance. Now it is pretty hard to squish your entire wardrobe into a backpack but the below tips should help you out!

Shoes-
Now girls please think before you pack. High heels really are a want not a need when backpacking. Everywhere you go Spain, Germany, Finland, Turkey- locals and tourists rock flat shoes when they hit the town and you should follow suit. I took one pair of black high heels with me and never wore them.

I could not bear to ditch the beautiful stems but they were too heavy to send home so they made the trip around Europe with me and never made it onto my feet. If you really can’t leave home without them- take one pair. They should be comfortable (because of all the mischief you will get up to you will probably need to be able to run in them) nude or black so they go with any outfit.

Gladiator flats are the way to go as they are dressy enough for a dinner or a club but look very chic during the day. You need a pair of runners for all the sightseeing you will be doing and a pair of thongs (flip flops) for lazing about and if you are a hygiene freak to be worn in the shower.

Hair straightener-
Yes, take it. My travelling amigo has wildly curly hair and was somehow talked out of taking her GHD. Instead she took a miniature hair straightener that took over an hour to get her hair looking half decent. Everywhere we went she borrowed hair straighteners from dorm mates including a very metro guy who got ready with us to go out. The fact of the matter is- take it. If you can’t live without it at home, you need to take it with you.

Singlets-
A great way to keep your luggage levels down is to take singlets which can be worn during the day with shorts but then dressed up at night with jeans or a high waisted skirt. Flattering singlets in black, white and one colour are the way to go so you can mix and match with your bottoms.

Sleeved shirts-
Even in Europe there are places where you won’t feel comfortable showing too much skin in a singlet and shorts so it is good to have the option. You will visit churches and places of cultural significance and it is respectful to cover up.

Jewellery-
Accessories are the best friend of the glampacker- statement necklaces can completely change your outfit and take up next to nothing of space in your bag! You want a number of bright and bold pieces so to the untrained eye you seem to be wearing a different outfit each night.

Make up-
Now you will be lazing about in the sun a lot so you won’t need too much. As per my above tip though if you can’t live without it, take it. You only really need foundation, bronzer, eye liner, mascara and blush. You will be going for a natural look most of the time. Waterproof mascara is a good idea because those Barcelona pool parties get pretty wet!

Toiletries-
Razors, shampoo, conditioner, moisturiser, body wash and you will be good to go! Good tip for bikini lines is to use conditioner on the area if you don’t take shaving cream with you. It can help avoid those nasty razor bumps as you probably won’t be popping into a beautician for a wax.

Random essentials you must take include:
-Travel pillow
-Water bottle with a hook
-Day backpack/bag
-Sewing kit
-First aid kit
-Ear plugs
-Eye mask
-Small going out bag
-Adapters

I find a great way to make sure you have all the clothing you need is by making a list from top to toe, from hat to shoes.

Now don’t forget chargers and adapters for all of your electronics and remember you can buy anything you need over there (and for cheap) so do not stress!

Backpack or wheelie bag?

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Now choosing the right bag is vital as you will be lugging this thing around for months. It becomes your home and without a good quality bag, a normal travel day can turn pretty horrid fast. You will be lugging this thing up stairs, throwing it in luggage compartments not to mention it carries everything you need to survive while abroad.

A backpack with wheels is definately my ideal option. This way you have the best of both worlds- you can wheel it everywhere you please but once the rain starts coming down or you have to lug it through a pebbly path you can throw it on your back. This is definately the option for girls who love to shop- if you are going to be buying plenty of clothes and souvenirs your bag is going to get heavier and heavier so you will need those wheels by the end of your trip. I only used my bag as a backpack once while walking through a muddy path to our campsite at Oktoberfest but it was nice to know the option was there for me. Ah the joys of modern backpacking- backpacks with wheels!

A wheelie bag is definately a good option for those who may be staying in nicer hotels instead of hostels. I met plenty of female travellers who were using normal wheelie travel bags but I still think the option of the backpack is the way to go.

For those who travel light, get a backpack. The backpackers who actually had backpacks seemed to move a lot damn faster than my friend and I but really it depends on your luggage weight.

Now that’s another thing you need to think about- the capacity of the backpack. I took a 70 litre Katmandu backpack with wheels for a 4 month trip and really regret not downsizing to the 50 litre. When you buy a larger bag you find a way to fill it up but if you buy a smaller bag you will be stricter about what you take. Remember you are lugging this about- up stairs, down stairs, through airports, bus terminals, hostel stairwells and through narrow pebbled streets. You don’t need everything from your wardrobe back home.

Question everything you are taking, now do you really need that pair of red stiletto high heels? Yes, they could look so cute while you sashay around the beautiful streets of Paris and sip on espressos but seriously leave them at home.

The greasy haired backpacker is dead.

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Okay ladies, you will be happy to know the image of the greasy-haired, smelly backpacker who sleeps on a park bench is dead.

Yeah, there are still some of these out there but if you decide to take the plunge and live out of a backpack for months just know you don’t have to turn into something resembling a homeless person.

Modern-day backpacking has changed and now you can see the world on a budget without giving up all luxury.

This is a guide for gals who want to backpack around Europe and would like to know what to expect from a girl who has lived off less than 25 euro a day.

You are about to depart on the most amazing trip of your life and it’s nice to have an idea of what is coming your way!