Nice Thoughts

Packing For Europe

Train tickets have been reserved, hotels have been booked and the all important travel insurance has been renewed. What does this mean? InterRailing 2015 is T-minus 9 days away and with that comes the final all important task we all love to hate- packing. Packing for Europe (and three weeks on the road/tracks) is no mean feat. Here I share some of my essentials and what will be seeing me through this year’s summer adventure.


1. Canyon Extreme 65L Rucksack.

First things first- the backpack itself. Arguably the star of the show on such expeditions it’s going to (very literally) be with you every step of the way so it pays to be comfortable with your choice. I was lucky enough to get this one for my Birthday earlier this year and with lots of storage space, adjustable straps and hardwearing material I’m confident it will be the perfect home to my belongings while we’re away.

2. I used this as my every day bag last year and I’ll do so again this time round. It’s versatile (all about the day to night options), an ideal size for the day time essentials and the cross body strap means it’s secure whilst walking around. This particular one came from Next last year but no longer appears to be in stock. The Cambridge Satchel Company do similar (yet a lot more expensive) versions on their website.

3. You won’t get far without all the important documents and cases like this are ideal for keeping everything together. This came free from InterRail.Eu last year but I know they’re sending out new versions with tickets bought from their site again this year. Top tip- keep a pen inside to fill out the train forms as you go.

4. Pentax Kr Canon Powershot ELPH110 Sunco SJ4000

Our camera collection seems to increase year by year and this Sunco sports camera is our newest addition. We used it in Barcelona to test it out and for what we need (read- gratuitous pool shots) it does the job excellently. I’d definitely recommend it as a Go Pro alternative for those of us with a less extreme sport inclined lifestyle. As far as other technology goes I’ll be taking my phone because Google Maps is solely responsible for most of my navigation but that’s about it. I’m leaving my iPod behind as between us we’ll hopefully be able to download enough music from Google Play to our mobiles before hand to keep us going. Laptops and tablets don’t make the cut and get replaced with good old fashioned books. I can’t wait.

5. Cosy Pullover- H&M

If there’s one thing I learned whilst working at summer camp in America it’s that no matter how sweltering hot it gets in the day it also can feel like winter is really, really coming at night. The same rule applies to Europe and I Iove oversized jumpers like this to pull on while travelling or to keep warmer on trains/outside at night. Also, never underestimate the power of good pair of leggings; even in the summer. Paired with a super long vest top it makes the perfect lounging-for-14-hours-on-a-night-train outfit. Or so I hope.

6. Dry Shampoo

Because no-one wants to be caught up with hair washing when there are better things, like tracking down all the cats of Europe, to do. I normally get the blonde one because hi roots but in honour of sharing we’ve gone for this tropical option to keep all parties happy and nicely scented. We’ll probably share (my) shampoo and most other basic toiletries to minimise on the annoyingly bulky items.

7. Keds

Shoes you can walk for miles in without noticing are SOBEYONDESSENTIAL. Flips flops and sandals seldom cut it for me and inevitably only cut my feet. I’ll be taking one pair (maybe two…) for evening alternatives but these are really the main players. Honestly- trainers of some shape or form are worth it regardless of your/their style. I found these in TKMaxx last year (ultimate bargain) and they’ve served me so well. Like walking on little foot sized pillows.

8. Shorts- H&M

Packing clothes is always the hardest part for me but this year I’m really trying to be as sensible as possible. No really. Shorts are so much better than skirts and dresses for when it comes to day time exploring, especially if like me you’re permanently conscious of the next rogue breeze exposing and scarring those around you at any given moment. I actually got these a few weeks ago and spent a long time alone in a changing room (we’ve all been there) debating whether I’m too old/they’re too short. Maybe and probably but if nothing else they’ve been a great piece of inspiration to keep me going through my spin classes and they are super soft so basically an immediate micro travel blanket. Versatility is key, friends. Anyway, I will be packing a few dresses because I can’t not do that however on the whole assorted plain tops, a selection of shorts and the occasional cosy item will be my inspiration for this trip. Catchy.

9. Hollister Body Mist

Body mist is a perfect compromise when it comes to still smelling nice without carrying around expensive/breakable perfume. It’s also super refreshing so could sneakily double up as a shower on those in between days. Maybe. I have such a sense based memory so I also love associating scents with times- this one already reminds me of last year’s trip. I don’t take many luxuries with me but along with basic makeup and a couple of nail varnishes this will again make the minimal beauty cut. A travel hairdryer and straighteners are also two things I’m personally choosing to house on my back because my hair takes forever to dry alone and I just can’t face three weeks of the same non styled hair in photos. There I said it. Stop judging.

10. Havaianas 

Last year two sets of friends/family went to Brazil and they both bought me Havaianas because they are wonderful people. Along with trainers and sandals, any water friendly flip flops are great for adverse hostel shower scenarios, pebbly beaches and general day wear. I’ve always taken a pair with me on my travels and I’m sure my feet are silently thanking me for it.

11. M&S Notebooks

Train journeys are made for writing. All my blogs from last year started off in a little notebook that I religiously updated en route to our next destination and this year will be no different. Write down as much as you can while you’re there; you’ll be amazed how soon you forget the little yet defining details when you get back.

12/13. Baby wipes and Micro Micellar Water 

Baby wipes need no explanation and yet here goes. They remove, refresh and…erm…really won’t crush under pressure? A must for any backpack. I don’t normally buy into travel sized products but I thought this tiny Micellar Water was not only adorable but actually really useful compared to its full sized counterpart. I use it daily to remove makeup (something that’s non- negotiable no matter where I might be) and figured this would be an acceptable purchase. Did I mention how adorable it is?

And that’s it- a far from definitive but hopefully slightly useful insight into some of the things I’ll be packing for our summer trip. It’s hard to believe this time in two weeks we’ll already be well on our way into our itinerary– I can still hardly believe I won a ticket for another trip in the first place!

So, travel essentials? Tips for train travel? Tell us all about them in the comments below.

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  1. Remember to take a scarf (long light and floaty as opposed to the striped footie-supporter variety) Incredibly useful protection from heat, breezes and mozzies, also to cover up if you’re visiting a church and to use as a sarong when beachside. That’s my Top Tip!! Xxxx

    1. Charli says:

      Excellent advice as always! X

    1. Charli says:

      Thanks Ira!

  2. Good luck with your adventures. An essential piece of equipment used to be The Thomas Cook Railway timetable book. I have a feeling it’s no longer printed but maybe worth checking out as it gives train timetables for most, if not every country in Europe. Other than a sleeping bag! I’d say just go and embrace the experience. Sure you will have a fab time. Look forward to reading about it.

    1. Charli says:

      Thanks Gavin! Great tips. A concise train timetable book sounds wonderful and a lot less time consuming than the hours we’ve spent on a variety of foreign websites trying to find the most up to date schedules. After all these months of planning I can’t wait to get going!

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