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What I’m Packing for Europe

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Two and a half months is a long time. Even in college, I don’t think I was ever away from home that long. Throw in the fact that I won’t have anything to my name save for my backpack, and all the anxiety starts to creep in. I guess the point of this trip was to push me outside my comfort zone. Mission accomplished.

All of that being said, I have been craving a more minimal lifestyle of late, and it really doesn’t get more minimal than this. I’ve already started to prepare myself for the fact that by week three, I will probably be so sick of the same clothes; but then I think of where I’ll be – and how this experience means so much more – that I just don’t care.

I did a lot of research on what to pack, and found this blog post particularly helpful. She was right about one thing: the shoes are the biggest pain in the arse. Neutral colors, mix-and-match and washing machines are what’s going to get me through. Speaking of, it’s important to note that everything I am packing is able to be washed in the machine!

Given that we are going to be experiencing some changes in weather, I needed to think in terms of layers, comfort and versatility.

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Tops

The tank top is my new best friend. Those and casual tees, which I plan to wear with jeans, shorts or a skirt during the day. Eddie Bauer was invaluable when it came to sleeveless shirts. That store is like a traveler’s one-stop-shop! I also found this wrap sweater there, which I know will come in handy. Lastly, I’ll be bringing two long-sleeve shirts, a yoga tank and this one-shoulder top from Old Navy that can dress up jeans for any occasion.

Bottoms

Three pairs each of jeans, shorts and skirts and that’s it. The skirts that I have are soft and flowy, perfect for sight-seeing in warm temperatures. I will also have yoga pants and running shorts when doing something a bit more active.

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Dresses/Going Out Outfits

This is where things got tricky. When I think about previous trips I’ve taken, they were all week-long vacations in which going out required a different outfit each night. That obviously couldn’t be the case in this situation. I’m taking six dresses and one top to dress up jeans as mentioned above. Because the items I already owned were all “dry clean only,” I needed to find clothing that could be washed, so a friend recommended I check out Athleta, Target and Old Navy. I found just what I needed at all three!

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Shoes

Sounds like a lot, but I ended up squeezing in four pairs of shoes: three pairs of sandals and a pair of Sperry’s. Breckelle’s gladiator sandals are cheap and so comfortable, with a rubber sole that will be perfect for walking. I am also taking my tennis shoes for exercise, and will wear those as much as I can in transition from place to place.

Swimwear

Luckily, I like the color black. I have a pair of black bathing suit bottoms, which I will combine with either a black strapless bikini top or this top when surfing. I’m then taking one cover up I bought at Target years ago, since there are spans of time we will be straight-up relaxing on the beach.

Food

I’m trying not to overthink things as far as packing healthy food. During trips past, I’d carry with me a snack bag that would make Mary Poppins proud, but I’m really wanting to let go and experience the food around me. To start, I am planning on taking some bars (rxbars, Exo and Nettie’s Naturally) and travel packets of nut butter, then picking up items along the way.

Other Items/Miscellaneous

In addition to clothing, there are so many travel accessories I had to think about. If we were staying in hostels, we would probably have needed more, but thankfully our Airbnbs will be equipped with the essentials. I’m crossing my fingers there will be a hair dryer wherever we go!

*I did some research on whether to take my digital SLR and decided against it. There were mixed reviews, but the cons outweighed the pros for me.