Who hasn’t fallen prey of either totally over-packing and not wearing half of what they brought or, at the other end of the spectrum, feeling way too utilitarian and backpacker-ish for a fancy little city break? I have definitely done both. As a seasoned backpacker, I tend to fall in the latter category most of the time, but I do like to feel stylish when I’m city-hopping in trendy capitals. Do you think it’s possible to look sort of trendy-ish yet comfortable AND pack in a carry-on luggage? I like to think so! I’ve done a fair bit of city-hopping these past years (and there’s more ahead, stay tuned!), and this is my tried-and-tested packing list of the moment. I’m a pretty neutral-shade type of gal, and in this specific case, it makes sense to pack that way, because everything will fit together. Hurray for keeping it simple! Get packing!
NB. All brands featured here are either fair trade, vegan, ethical or all of the above, because it’s important 💚
My 2018 Female packing list for Europe
The Best Carry on Backpack
First thing first, picking the best backpack can be a daunting task if you don’t know where to start. When I started full-time travel back in 2014, I bought an Osprey backpack and it has literally seen hell and back and is still in great working order. The only reason I have this brand new 40L Osprey Fairview is because I wanted to downsize to a carry on that also has a good padding for a laptop. This bag is great! It’s lightweight, the main compartment unzips completely so there is no rummaging to the bottom involved, it’s lightweight and super comfortable.
TRIED AND TESTED FLAT SHOES
I know it’s tempting to pack your shiny new shoes for their first big adventure, but in this case, it’s best to stick to what you already have and know will sustain you through long days of walking. My go-to of the moment are bright blue sneakers by Will’s Vegan Shoes and black cap hi-top trainers by Ethletic, two ethical and vegan shoe brands I absolutely adore. Whatever you decide on, make sure they are well worn in and won’t cause blisters. And pack two pairs, because even the comfiest of shoes get uncomfortable if you wear them every single day.
I’ve said this a few times, but I live half of my life in yoga clothes. When styled properly, I think they can be super stylish too! Not only that, they are lightweight and take no room in a suitcase and they dry very quickly. This Fall, I’ll be carrying this Yoiqi jumpsuit and these super soft and stretchy pants from Real Yoga Gear. Obviously, those double up as yoga clothes too! Lol.
STRETCHY SKINNY JEANS
I do like jeans a lot and I missed them so much when I was travelling through South East Asia for 2 years. Jeans in my book don’t get dirty and can be worn many many times before being washed. Skinny jeans are my go-to and I always carry a pair or two of these with me. Whatever the jeans, there must be a ton of stretch! These are really just yoga pants in disguise!
Cozy and stylish jumper
I love soft cozy layers and this Recolution overlap sweatshirt is the best! It’s soft and warm and cozy and perfect to wear both on the plane and out and about sightseeing.
Neutral cotton tees
I always pack a few neutral-colored cotton t-shirts and right now I am loving Organic Basics as well as Plant Faced (for a little something more quirky and a good conversation starter!). I guess traveling with basics is the theme here, and all you really need is a couple of fashion accessories to jazz things up!
Quick drying natural fiber underwear
I stopped wearing underwire bras long ago and ain’t going back. There are several sports bras that are still flattering, and I love everything that comes from Vyayama. I also have one of their modal long sleeve shirt and it adds a very sexy little layer over a bralette or crop for an evening out.
A few accessories to jazz things up!
I always carry a couple of jewelry items with me and never feel plain! My industrial steel rings from Ashkal Jewelry and my mega-cool 100% vegan watch from Votch are really all I need to go from plain to stylish.
A lightweight jacket that packs small
Ah, the logistics of travelling with only a carry-on when you don’t know what the weather will be like. This all vegan puffer jacket by Finisterre solves any issue by converting into a tiny travel pillow, turning it into a total travel essential. Weighing in at only 400g, it is windproof, water-resistant and most importantly warm. Hallelujah!
SUNGLASSES TO CONCEAL YOUR TIRED EYES
I know you’re not going to a beach holiday, but trust me when I say pack a pair of sunnies and thank me later when you look at your photos and are pretty grateful that you can’t see your tired eyes from last night’s cheap wine bender.
A TRAVEL YOGA MAT
Don’t let last night’s excess or the fact that you are outside of your usual routine take you away from your mat! I try not to. I’m still searching for the perfect travel yoga mat, but currently, I travel with this Manduka travel mat and, despite the fact I can’t say I love it, it has the advantage of being really light! Let me know if you have any recommendation?
AN OVERSIZED SCARF
Another essential that will double up as a blanket in cold planes and will be your best friend when comes the time to get creative with your Insta-shots, an oversized scarf is also the perfect cozy accessory to jazz up any basics.
WHAT ARE YOUR TRAVEL ESSENTIALS?
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