Packing is always difficult, how many different clothes do you need, which kinds of shoes, which gadgets are worth the money, do I REALLY need this thing or that thing. When I went on InterRail, I did 6 weeks in total in Europe. Now that I’m back, I thought it might be good to share what I took with me and my successes and failures in the packing department!
Rucksack: I bought a new Osprey Farpoint 40, which cost around £90 especially for InterRail. For six weeks, 40L may not have been enough for some people, but it suited me very well. Consider 60L if you’re not great at packing light but do not exceed 80L as it will be too heavy to carry with you.
The Farpoint 40 is a fantastic rucksack, it is well built and has very comfortable straps including a waist strap and adjustable chest strap. It has three pockets: a large, suitcase opening pocket (inside which is a mesh pocket which I mostly used for dirty clothes), a smaller cushioned “electronics” pocket and a small waterproof pocket for phones and other valuables. There are two mesh water bottle pockets on the outside of the bag too.
What I packed:
2 crop tops
2 pairs shorts
2 pairs light trousers
10 pairs pants
4 pairs socks
1 pair pyjama bottoms
– I brought a reasonable amount of clothing and used nearly all of it.
– I had enough underwear (I don’t wear bras much in hot countries, so three were adequate).
– I had enough outfits to look nice while not packing too much and I could dress suitably for churches (the long trousers and scarf were helpful here) as well as for colder weather.
– The raincoat was very useful when it rained, definitely worth bringing, though it mostly served as a bag rain cover and I got wet.
– It was colder slightly more often than I’d imagined so I think a second hoodie would have been welcome.
– Unless you are a person who routinely wears crop tops (which I am not), maybe give the crop tops a miss, I found I didn’t wear them all that much.
– When choosing which clothes to bring, bring ones you actually like – one of the vests I brought was coral, which is a colour I don’t like, so I barely wore it.
– Also bring clothes which fit comfortably – I brought a dress which takes a while to do up and I never wore it as it is uncomfortable.
– I brought a money belt but didn’t wear it. It sounded like a good idea but was surprisingly impractical.
– The biggest mistake was bringing the small heels instead of my walking boots at the last minute. When it comes to footwear and travel, ALWAYS prioritise comfort over aesthetics! I went out in the heels once, ruined my toes and threw them into the bottom of my bag. Lesson learned.
– Shampoo (2in1)
– Shower Gel
– Razor + spare blades
– Make up (blusher +brush, mascara, eyeliner, lipsticks, lip gloss, concealer, eyebrow pencil)
– Nail scissors and file
– Make up remover wipes
– Hairspray, styling product and comb
– Electric travel toothbrush and spare batteries
– Allergy pills
– Sanitary towels
– 2 microfibre towels
– I brought enough shampoo, shower gel and suncream to last me nearly the whole trip.
– It was a good call bringing spare razor and toothbrush heads as they are expensive.
– I am so glad I have my electric travel toothbrush, I can’t deal with manual ones.
– Moisturiser doubles as after sun for the inevitable sun burn.
– The microfibre towels packed so light and dried so fast it was amazing. Buy them now!
– While the make up ensured I looked mighty fine on nights out in Europe, cheap make up + sweat = looking more gross than not wearing make up. So not necessary to bring InterRailling.
– I did not use the hair products. Unless you are someone who cannot live without styling your hair, just don’t bother while traveling.
(see the trend of practicality emerging)
– Amazon Tablet
– Smart phone
– Kindle unlimited free trial
– Spotify Premium
– DSLR Camera
– 16GB and 64GB memory cards
– Micro USB storage media adapter
– Memory stick
– On ear headphones
– In ear headphones
– Bluetooth speaker
– Plug adaptors
– Portable charger
– The tablet was a win as it was both light and cheap and great for reading books on with Kindle.
– I love my camera and having the extra memory cards meant I could take photos of everything without worrying about storage space.
– I liked to have both sets of headphones so I could swap between them on the long train journeys.
– Spotify premium was the best! It was great to be able to create a playlist with my friends and download it to listen to on long train journeys and play offline on my bluetooth speaker.
– Get a portable charger – they are the best for when you inevitably run out of battery on a train where there aren’t any plugs!
– Unless you will die without being able to play music with your mates, a bluetooth speaker isn’t strictly necessary – it just become something else to worry about losing.
– I didn’t realise that the amazon tablet is weird about files and won’t let you transfer files to and from USB sticks, so it was pointless bringing it (it was intended to store photos if I filled both memory cards, which I did not).
– Check that the books you want to read are on kindle unlimited before you get it. You can get lonely planet guides on here, but I downloaded them and never read them!
– Neck pillow
– Small sleeping bag
– Sandwich bags
– Thermos water bottle
– Universal sink plug
– Travel washing line
– Duct tape
– Travel Journal and pen
– Important documents in a folder
– The neck pillow and earplugs made it 100% possible to sleep on the trains – this is a must!
– The sandwich bags were useful for many things, namely making illegal lunch packs from the hostel breakfasts.
– My water bottle keeps water cool for hours as it has a double wall – this is perfect in hot countries, otherwise your water gets too hot to drink, very quickly.
– The travel washing line was used multiple times and saved paying for the dryer.
– The padlocks were less useful than expected but still good to have in hostels where the locker weren’t key card operated.
– The travel journal was of course great for documenting our journey, but also had spaces for travel details, where I wrote all out train times, accommodation details and addresses for postcards.
– Ray was my cutie travel buddy who was such a good call to bring along and photograph. He was also a conversation starter at the poi retreat.
– I didn’t wear the different jewelry much, so I possibly could have brought less and had fewer valuables to worry about.
– I only used the universal sink plug once (it is intended to stopper sinks without plugs for hand washing clothes), this was mostly due to there being washing machines in most places.
– The pen I brought was a fountain pen and it exploded halfway round so I had to complete my interrail diary on my phone and copy it up later – might stick to biro next time!
I hope this shows my thinking when packing and some of the problems that can arise from careless packing. Check out the links for product recommendations. When in doubt, pack light and pack practical!