It’s summer three years ago, and I’m boarding a plane to Stockholm, Sweden. I have my trusty backpack on my back, though it’s been in storage for the two years prior as I try to be a “real adult,” whatever that means. This summer I’m forgoing my practical side, which tells me that I should be moving back to New York City to get a job. All because one of my best friends rang me up a few months ago asking if I wanted to join him on the Europe backpacking trip of a lifetime. How could I say no? So it’s with a bit of trepidation, but lots of excitement, now that I board my plane. Am I ready for the ultimate 2 month Europe backpacking trip? Well, it’s too late now, because off we go!
These two months changed my life completely. After tasting what traveling full time felt like, it was hard for me to go back to ‘life as usual.’ I ultimately decided that I wanted to make travel my full time, but these two months would have gone down in history even if I had decided never to travel again. If you’re looking to plan a trip to Europe, whether you’re going on summer break, or you recently graduated and want to go on an adventure, this guide is for you.
Planning The Ultimate 2 Month Europe Backpacking Trip
When I was planning my 2 month Europe backpacking trip, it was probably the first time I started to use travel blogs as a method of travel planning. I was used to reading travel guide books, one of my favorites for Europe being Rick Steves’ Europe Through The Back Door. Then I realized that I could just Google ‘what to pack for 2 months in Europe,’ and article upon article (not to mention videos) would pop up giving me the information I wanted. The thing is, no matter how many sample itineraries or packing lists I read, I always wanted to read more. To see if someone else was doing something smarter. So here I am, adding my voice to the choir. I hope this is helpful for someone out there!
What To Pack For 2 Months Backpacking Europe
I am definitely not one to talk, being an over packer myself, but less is more when you’re backpacking Europe. Even I realized that I had brought a lot of unnecessary items along with me that I barely used over the 2 months. As it was only 2 months, and not a longer journey, it felt pointless to discard these objects, so I was forced to carry them around all summer.
Europe, as I need hardly tell you, is a highly developed part of the world. Especially if you’re sticking to Western Europe, as I did, you can find literally anything you might need. Depending on the strength of your home currency, though, some things do make sense to bring with you from the start. Here is a sample packing list for your 2 months backpacking in Europe:
Sample Packing List For a 2 Month Europe Backpacking Trip
2 Tank Tops (Substitute with a Long Sleeved Top & Sweater if traveling during Fall/Winter)
1 Over Shirt/Button Up for chillier weather
2 Dresses (Substitute with dressier clothing of your choice if you don’t wear dresses)
1 Pair of Leggings/Sweatpants (For staying comfortable on flights or long train/bus journeys)
2 Pairs of Shorts (Substitute with Pants/more Leggings for Fall/Winter)
2 Skirts (Substitute with the Bottom of your Choice if you don’t wear skirts)
Enough undergarments for 7 days. This includes underwear, bras, sports bras, socks, etc.
A pair of Pajamas/Clothing to sleep in
Optional: A rain coat. I ended up buying one in Brussels because, News Flash, summer in Europe is not always warm and sunny! (especially in early summer)
1 Pair of Walking Sandals. I have been using Saltwater Sandals for the longest time, and they still look almost as good as new.
1 Pair of Flip Flops (Substitute with a pair of comfortable Walking Boots in Fall/Winter)
Optional: Sneakers for any athletic activities/more comfortable sightseeing in cooler climates.
Travel Size Shampoo & Conditioner – Or buy gotoobs and fill them with your favorite shampoo & conditioner from home.
Soap – Either a liquid soap like Dr. Bronner’s (that can also be used for washing laundry) or a solid soap (like the ones from Lush that you can buy a travel tin for)
Toothbrush & Travel Size Toothpaste. I use a reusable toothbrush that comes with extra brushes. Also think about bringing along a tongue scraper, cuz no one likes bad breath.
Razor & Blades, if you shave. I use a Preserve Razor and bring along replacement blades. Try using Coconut Oil or Aloe Vera as a shaving cream.
Cleansing Oil/Face Wash to clean your face. I make my own cleansing oil that doubles as a moisturizer.
As mentioned before, Coconut Oil has a billion and one hidden uses, not just as a shave oil. Use it to remove makeup, moisturize the skin, or as a quick hair mask to save your hair from the salty ocean.
Optional: Any makeup that you use and brushes. I bring a few simple items: IT Cosmetics CC Cream works perfectly as a moisturizer, foundation and SPF in one. A face powder, so my makeup doesn’t immediately disappear in the heat. A makeup palette that includes some eyeshadows, bronzer, and blush all in one. A brow pencil because otherwise mine are nonexistent. Mascara, because see brow pencil. And some concealer for my acne-prone skin.
Contraception. You don’t want to be bringing home any other souvenirs than the ones you buy in a shop, amiright?
Technology & Miscellaneous
A smart phone & charger. Preferably one that is unlocked, so you can use a different SIM card for wherever you travel to.
Plug Adaptor for European outlets.
You may only need a phone, but you could also opt to bring: A Camera and/or Action Camera to capture everything you see. A Kindle instead of lugging around books. A small computer/tablet if you don’t want to rely just on your smart phone/the hostel computers.
Headphones to listen to music and audiobooks on long journeys.
An umbrella if you’re planning on traveling a lot in the North of Europe.
A journal to write about your adventures.
Optional: A small purse/tote bag to carry around on daily sightseeing.
A water bottle to take advantage of all the refilling stations around Europe.
How Much Money Will Your Europe Backpacking Trip Cost?
The short answer? It depends. I sincerely wish I had kept accurate records of each and every thing I spent during those 2 months (I tried), but I inevitably lost track. What I did discover, after some digging around in my bank accounts afterwards, is that I spent roughly $5,182.35 on my 2 month Europe backpacking trip. That comes out to about $94/day. WOW. Where did that money go? So, clearly I didn’t listen to those travel gurus who preach traveling around Europe on $30/day. But, all in all, I didn’t do too terribly bad either. Especially because I have little to no self control over money, if I’m honest! What can you do to keep your budget at or below mine? Here are some tips:
Money Saving Tips For Your Europe Backpacking Trip
Put the word out there that you’ll be traveling in Europe, to see if someone knows someone you could stay with. We stayed with a local in almost every single place we visited, which seriously cut back on our accommodation expenses!
Picnics in Europe are seriously the best. Hop into a grocery store or food market, pick up some picnic accoutrements, and plop your butt down in the nearest green space to enjoy your meal with a view!
Reduce the amount you’ll spend on activities by finding free walking tours, or even doing a DIY walking tour. There are plenty to be found on the internet. No need to pay for a guide.
Check to see if your destination has a tourist pass. These passes combine popular sights and even transit for a set number of days. Really take care to add up what you would spend out of pocket compared to what the pass could save you, though. Sometimes it’s worth it, and sometimes it’s just a tourist trap.
Take local transit instead of taxis. If that feels really intimidating, try downloading an app like citymaps2go or maps.me that offer directions offline if you save the map while you have wifi. You can even use Google Maps offline in this way.
Ready To Go?
Are you ready to go on the ultimate Europe backpacking trip? Up next? Check out my itinerary for 2 months backpacking Europe, and what to do, where to stay, and what to eat in every destination we went to!
Eva is an anxious traveler, who has learned to boldly confront her fears and travel anyways. Her mission with Eva Explores is to show women around the world how to travel despite their fears! Growing up in New York, Eva was bitten by both the travel bug and the acting bug, which led her to live most of her early 20s in NYC. In 2015, she left her life in NYC to become a full-time nomad. Now, Eva works as a content creator as she travels around the world by herself, searching for the best cup of coffee in the world.