2012 Pre-Europe Trip Preparations

So almost 2 years ago (September 17, 2012 to be exact) I went backpacking in Europe for 7 weeks and it was incredible.  I still can't believe I did that.  Just up and left.  Bye world, I'm backpacking Europe for 7 weeks.  PEACE OUT.  I quit my job, rented my room out and off I went with my dear friend Brandon.  Didn't even have an itinerary planned. We literally made it up as we went. We decided this all just a few weeks before we left.  What the heck was I thinking?  We just kinda had a YOLO attitude and went with it.  And it was totally amazing and worth it.  I look back and smile with a sense of satisfaction that I actually did that.  That took some guts and I'm glad I went through with it.

The pic below is the countdown I made with the map being rough idea of where we planned  to go.
Because I had to save my pennies I rented out my room while I was gone, which was great, but also meant that I had to pack up EVERYTHING in my room (except furniture) and move it down to our basement.  I used these vacuum seal bags to condense some of my clothes.  It definitely helped, but not as much as I had anticipated.  
It was overwhelming trying to plan last minute for a 7 week trip to Europe and pack up all of my belongings while working full time to the very end.
This is the backpack I took with me to fit everything.  So small!  But when you're shuffling from place to place to place in old cities with small rooms and cobblestone streets you want to be able to get around quickly and easily and not be burdened down with tons of luggage.  Plus backpacking makes you look a little more legit.

Here are some pictures of what I packed. I'm not going to make a full on packing list, because you can google that sort of thing if you'd like, but I just wanted to provide a general idea of what I brought with me.  Obviously, almost everything was in mini form.  I left a lot of things home, knowing that if I really needed it I could buy it there.  

A few things I do feel worth mentioning to bring are: 
- Mini locks - to keep your luggage and purse safe at all time (in hostels, walking around busy cities etc)
- Zip lock bags - you'd be surprised how often these come in handy on the road
- Converter - for your electronic devices.  There never seem to be enough outlets in Europe, so if you can find one that splits into two so you can charge two devices at once that would be even better.
- Medicine - bring a small assortment.  You never know what can happen and you don't want to be wandering around a foreign city looking for medicine in a foreign language while in pain.
- Purell - use often to prevent catching something 

 I brought mini shampoos and face washes. Each individually wrapped in a plastic bag and then put in a sturdier bag all together.I found that I don't care for the push top lids because if my bag got bumped it would push open the lid and the liquid would come out.  Screw on caps were the best.
A little bit of jewelry of course.  None of these items were too expensive, so if they were lost it would not be a big deal.  I definitely recommend stringing your necklaces through a straw to keep them from getting tangled up.
Shoes.  Oh shoes.  They are so important.  I ended up throwing away the flats on the right and the Tom looking shoes in the middle part way through the trip because they weren't sturdy enough and they were cheap enough that it wasn't much of a loss.  Plus it made room for other things.  The black Target boots on the right ended up being extremely comfortable to walk in and kept my feet totally dry even in the wettest conditions.  The salt water flats in the middle were nice because they are water-proof, cute and stay securely on your feet (although I didn't break them in and got blisters on the bottom of my feet the first few days I wore them).  The turqoise blue sandals I wore at the beach and in hostel showers.  Absolutely a necessity.  Also great to slip on if I needed to get out of bed and leave the room.  Because hostel floors aren't exactly the cleanest of places.
A few standard tank tops and pajama shirts and pants.
Some basic, comfortable shirts to wear during the day.  It's hard to pick only a handful of shirts that will become your wardrobe for the next 2 months.
More tops.
Hair tools and a dress. I ended up leaving the curling iron behind.  Not worth the space it would take up.
  Pants and a few random hair items and bandaids.
 These are the contents of my purse for the flight over and actually the majority of the trip there.
Haley hung out with me the day I left and went with my to my tragic hair appointment - what a good friend.
My friend Ken drove me to the airport and took this last picture of me before my big adventure!
Eeeee!!!  The anticipation!!
I really like British Airways and had a pleasant flight, but am convinced airplane food is toxic, even if it tastes edible.
I had a layover in London and even though I never left the airport I was ridiculously happy just being in England.  Maybe it's because of study abroad or because of my ancestors, but seeing the Union Jack, the pound symbol, the Boots and Tesco stores and hearing the accents brought a sense of happiness that spread throughout my whole body.  I love the British, their sense of humor and their beautiful country.  
Next stop, Prague!

1 Response to 2012 Pre-Europe Trip Preparations

September 15, 2014 at 2:53 PM

OMG!! I loved this post!! You seriously write the BEST posts EVER! So detailed and with lots of pictures!! If Blogger was more user friendly, I feel like I'd spend the time making posts like you do!! Dang, can't believe that was two years ago! You need to come with me on my next Europe trip. xo

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