Tag Archives: gapyear

Travel Fashion Girl’s How To: Pack For Europe

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You’ve read about it, dreamt about it and almost everyone you know, knows someone who has done it: Backpacking Europe. It is almost its own culture now!

After working a countless number of extra hours you have finally decided to take the plunge spend the money and backpack through Europe. It took you weeks to plan the perfect itinerary that you edited at least 20 times and now you are moving on to the hardest planning part: the Europe packing list.

I too struggled with this the first time I traveled Europe. I spent 5 months in the incredible continent – hopefully these packing tips will help make the process a bit easier for you.

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Don’t forget, shopping haunts you all over Europe so save some space for new purchases.

Backpacking Europe Checklist:

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2 or 3 Short sleeved tops
1-2 long sleeved tops
2 tank tops (summer)
1 dress – black

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2 or 3 shorts/skirts (any length is fine)
1-2 pairs of light trousers / leggings

1 Swimsuit – bikini is fine
2-3 pairs of Socks (I wear toms and sandals so socks are just preventing bugs)
10 pairs of travel underwear
3 bras – 1 sports dry fit recommended
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1 Rainproof jacket

1 knit or light sweater – I like a button up cardigan as it can dress up and down. You have a rain coat for sporty times!

1 scarf
Sunglasses
Jewelry (nothing too expensive but enough to glam up any outfit)
Shoes (mainly city streets)
Waterproof Thongs/flip flops/sandals (check out iPANEMA sandals)
Flats that can be worn casually/dressy
Comfortable walking/trekking shoes – I prefer Toms as they are lightweight, comfortable and still cute. I don’t typically do a lot of rugged hiking in Europe.
Also note that runners are typically just worn by tourists or those doing vigorous exercise. You will be just fine without them (unless you suffer from body pain).

Additional Travel Gear:

Travel towel
Adapters
Pack of cards (hostel drinking games, cures boredom on long trips)
Music – staple for long journeys
Flashlight/torch
Neck pillow – I use it for all long rides (inflatable to save room)
Sleep liner – silk or microfiber are the most compact.
Travel washing detergent
Small Locks (1-2) – you will need them in hostel dorms
Sink stopper – the flat ones work with all drains
Bobby pins – great for easy travel hair styles and as clothing line pins

Courtesy of Alex at travelfashiongirl.com, one of my favourite sites for the female traveller, check it out for more reviews, tips and packing lists 🙂

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Pre-departure To Do List

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  1.  Check your passport expiry date, and get it renewed if it is due to expire in 3-6 months.
  2. Scan and email (or photocopy) two copies of all important documents, including your passport, bus or rail passes, travel insurance information etc. Leave one copy at home with friends or family and carry one set hidden in your backpack.
  3. Book your transportation – whether you are interrailing, flying or sailing you will need to book your transport in advance as this is when the prices are cheapest and seats often sell out, so get in quickly!
  4. write a rough and eventually final itinerary and register this on ‘Smart Traveller’ a government website, I’m case of emergency like a natural disaster.
  5. Get insured! There are different ranges of cover from basic to comprehensive, for medicalemergencies
  6. 6) Get an International Student Card, or International Drivers Licence (if you plan to hire a car). These allow you to hire cars and get discounts at many attractions and hostels.
  7. Check with your mobile provider about making calls overseas, and consider options like purchasing an international sim to save yourself from the excessive data roaming charges!
  8. Work out what luggage you will be taking, as this may affect the way you travel. Ask yourself questions like “backpack or suitcase?” “Do I want wheels?” Etc.
  9. Do you need any vaccinations for your travel? Common ones include Hepatitis A and B, Rabies and Typhoid.
  10. Invest in the essentials – a peg less washing line, a sleeping sack, and a few SD camera memory cards.

Gap Year Packing Guide

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Gap Year Packing Guide

I may not be a rocket scientist, but as a checkout chick I can pack, and I can pack well. As the weight restrictions for our trip currently sit at 20kg, our travel packs are 70 litres, so this list may vary from person to person. I also suggest investing in some ‘packing cubes’ as it really keeps your pack more organised and makes things more easily accessible, reducing time spent rummaging through your pack! I only compressed a few items, mainly my one bulky jacket, as this tends to wrinkle your clothes.

As ‘flash packers’ who would prefer to look somewhat fashionable rather than donning traditional ‘travel wear’ which highlight us as tourists, after all how many locals wander the streets in waterproof pants and weird hiking sandals?

For all the female readers we also have not skimped on the essential toiletries, and cannot bear to leave the country without at least one GHD hair straightener between us to fight the possible frizzy hair that comes with humidity.

When packing, I find the best method is to pick out all the clothes you want to take and lay them out on your bed, and half it. Culling clothes can be difficult, but think of it as leaving room for some great souvenirs or new clothes you will buy in exotic European capitals!

Most importantly, if you forget something, chances are they will have it in Europe. Trust me, it is really not the end of the world if you forget your moisturiser, any decent drug store or pharmacy will be sure to have some!

Clothing

1x pair of thongs/flipflops (which can also double as shoes to wear in the shower to avoid fungal infections)
3x socks
1x warm socks
1x walking shoes (for me these are vans or converses)
1x jeans
1x black jeans
4x tops
3x basics (for me this was one black t-shirt, one white singlet, and one white long sleeved top)
1x trackies
1x warm jacket
1x good quality fleece (I chose merino wool as it is super lightweight and super warm!)
2x shorts
1x leggings
8x undies (only 2 of these should be fancy undies ladies!)
1x high heels (I prefer wedges as they are easier to navigate the cobblestone streets of Europe)
1x black skirt (goes with everything, really handy to dress up an outfit)
3x bras
1x bra buddy (converts bra straps, very handy)
2x going out dresses
2x day dress (these can be dressed up and double as night wear)
1x sandals
1x pair of boots
2x knits
1x bikini
1x comfy jumper for travelling
1x weather resistant jacket (this could be a water proof parka or something similar)
1x scarf
1x black tights
1x light jacket (I brought a cardigan)

Toiletries
Keep in mind that many items may be unnecessary as they can be purchased on arrival!
Hand sanitizer
Cotton Buds
Facial wipes
Hairbrush
Nail clippers
Tweezers
Lip balm
Pawpaw ointment
Shaver
Moisturiser
Foundation
Concealer
Mascara
Eyeliner
Travel sized shampoo and conditioner (you can purchase larger ones when you arrive)
Toothbrush
Sanitary pads (just a few for emergencies as they are readily available in Europe)
Deodorant (travel sized)
Toothpaste (travel sized)
Perfume
A microfibre towel, these are extremely light and are often referred to as travel towels.
Hair straightener (can also be used to curl hair)
Sunblock (SPF 30+)
Miscellaneous

Cutlery (I prefer just a spork)​​​
Ear Plugs​​​​
Small Bottles
Travel Clothesline
Money Belt
Travel umbrella
Ziploc Bags
Safety Pins/String
Sewing kit
Tissues
Toilet seat covers
Sleeping sack (invest in a good quality YHA silk sac that has room for a pillow to also be covered)
Salt & Pepper
Mini Playing Cards
Adaptor plugs
Chargers (iPhone, iPad, camera etc)
Eye Mask (the ‘Hibermate’ is my personal favourite as it includes earplugs and reduces noise)
Whistle
Travel neck pillow (mine is inflatable to save space)
Small locks for backpack
Water purifying tablets
Sunglasses
Superglue
Locks
Mirror

First Aid Kit

Any specific medications (ie migraine relief tablets)
Band aids or plasters
Blistex (for treatment of blisters)
Any prescriptions
Anti dioreahha tablets
Basic course of antibiotics
Throat lozenges
‘No jet lag’ tablets (homeopathic)
Ibuprofen (Panadol)
Antiseptic lotion
Antihistamines
Ginger tablets for travel sickness
Stingose (relief from itchy insect bites)

The Important Stuff
Camera
My Ipad Mini (perfect for Skype!)
Phone
Wallet with both cash and credit/debit card
International student card
Any chargers for electronics
Passport
Any visas
Medication
Air/train tickets

Make sure to scan or make two sets of copies of all of the above, as well as your brith certificate, with one left at home with a trusted friend or family member and one carried with you.

This list is available under my ‘Gap Year Packing List’ page.

19/12/12

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For the next year or so, this blog will be home to all the tales of my European gap year. I am undertaking this adventure in typical Australian teenager fashion, by backpacking around exotic european destinations with friends, in hope of moments of serendipity, hilarity and happiness.
It is really a celebration of the fact we have survived one of the most mentally strenuous years of our lives, throwing off all the pressure from the year before as we are ignited with a sense of wanderlust. Essentially, we escape our lives here to get lost somewhere overseas in the hope of finding ourselves, our true selves.

After an anxious few weeks of waiting, I finally received my final year 12 results early this morning. For those who are not blessed with Australian heritage students who have completed year 12 across the country receive a score out of 99.95, which can be used to gain entry to tertiary education. These assigned numerals ensure us access into the courses of our choice at university or TAFE, and essentially play a significantly greater role than any numeral should in deciding the path of an individual’s life. Personally, I do not believe that each person’s score reflects their true potential in the future, as people can miss out on their desired course by 0.05! Regardless of this, I was pleasantly surprised with my ATAR, being just one point off a perfect score! As such, I have been glowing all day, satisfied that when I return from my gap year trip in 2014 my score will allow me access into any course that happens to take my fancy 🙂

Also contributing to my elated feelings is the fact that months after having booked my flight to Europe, myself and my travel buddy, Vanessa, officially booked our trip with ‘Busabout’. We will be tackling the North and South loops around Europe on this ‘hop-on-hop-off’ coach service, before exploring the UK, and hopefully visiting family and friends along the way .

I will endeavour to share our escapades on the other side of the world by journaling them here for my loved ones, as well as anyone else interested in reading in hope you can share in my moments of serendipity, as well as the low lights of my adventures. For now I am happily enjoying this vorfreude*, that comes with dreaming about the trip of a life time.

*Vorfreude (noun) – The joyful, intense anticipation that comes from imagining future pleasures.

Gap Yeah! xx

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