Europe is one of the best continents to start a backpacking trip, especially since it’s full of different sites to see and landscapes to go through. But a trip like this will definitely take some preparation. With everything that you’ll need to be squeezed into one bag, you’re going to have to pack light and smart. Take with you the following 24 essentials below in order to be ready and better enjoy your trip through Europe.

ETIAS Travel Tips: 24 Backpacking Essentials for a Trip through Europe

24 Backpacking Essentials for a Trip Across Europe

The Top-Tier Necessities

Planning to go camping, hiking, swimming, trekking, bird watching, kayaking, or all of the above? Here are some items that you absolutely need for the entire trip. 

1. Backpack

You can’t go backpacking without an actual backpack. Forget aesthetic and focus on necessity—choose a backpack big and strong enough to hold  everything but light enough to carry. 

2. Water Bottle

It is important to always stay hydrated. Bring along a water bottle so you’d always have some refreshments on-hand.

Backpacker’s Notes: To keep your body well-hydrated and ready to take adventure head-on, you would need to drink 30 to 50 ounces (1-1.5 liters) of water a day.   

3. Sunblock and Insect Repellents

Keep your skin protected by the elements like the sun’s ultraviolet rays and pesky bugs. Have some sunblock and insect repelling lotion in your bag where you can reach it.

4. Food Containers

Whether you’re packing lunch or wanting to store leftovers from great places you’ve eaten in Europe, it comes in handy to pack travel-sized food containers along for the trip.

5. Reusable Straws and Utensils

Stray away from disposable plastic forks and spoons as well as plastic straws. Bring along your own utensils and reusable straws if you don’t want to use your hands!   

6. Towels

You’re going to get wet one way or another. Always bring along a towel to dry yourself off.

7. Organizers

The last thing you want is to be a messy backpacker. Know where you put everything by segregating important things in small pouches, fanny packs, zip locks, or bundle whatever you can in rubber twist ties and adjustable bungees. 

8. Toiletries 

Have bathroom essentials like your toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, toilet paper, and nail cutter in one designated pouch for convenience’s sake.

Backpacker’s Notes: Bring laundry soap too if you’re planning for a long trip and packing light on clothes.

9. Extra Tote Bags

You’ll never know when you need some extra bags for souvenirs or dirty clothes. Tote bags don’t weigh much, which makes them backpacker-friendly.

10. Power Bank 

When you’re relying on Google Maps to get around, documenting your journey, or using social media as you go, then you might exhaust your phone’s battery. Bring a power bank so it doesn’t die on you in the middle of nowhere.  

Backpacker’s Notes: If you’re planning to go on the trip totally unplugged, then you can leave this behind!

Camping Gear

Every backpacking adventure should include a proper camping experience. Here are some boy scout essentials you shouldn’t forget to pack.

11. Flashlight

When night breaks, you wouldn’t want to not see in the dark. Take a powerful flashlight with you to help you get around in night treks. 

12. Batteries

If you’re packing a flashlight, then you got to have some spare batteries with you. 

13. Swiss Army Knife 

This handy boy scout tool comes with so many good uses. Plus, they act as good self-defense instruments. 

Backpacker’s Notes: Don’t worry, these are allowed on the plane as long as they’re at most 6 cm in length and you have your backpack checked in instead of carry-on. Otherwise, you can buy these when you get to your destination.

14. Lighter

Keep warm in the cold night with a bonfire, which you can set up much faster with a lighter. 

15. Water Purifiers

Water from the wild needs to be properly filtered in order to be drinkable. Water purifiers will do the trick.

Backpacker’s Notes: While river water may look safe, it could be filled with bacteria and parasites. So never forget to use a purifier no matter how thirsty you are!

Right Clothing Options

While packing light is essential for a good backpacking trip, you will need different types of clothes for several kinds of activities. Pack all these clothing options so you’re prepared for anything. 

16. Warm Hat and Jacket

The outdoors can get chilly, so always have a jacket and a toque with you to keep your body temperature normal.

Backpacker’s Notes: Putting on layers can prevent hypothermia, so these clothes are an absolute must-pack.

17. Cotton T-shirts

It is a no-brainer to always pack some t-shirts. Cotton is one of the most breathable fabrics, making them suitable for backpacking. 

18. Breathable Pants

If you’re comfortable with jeans, then go ahead and pack them. If you aren’t, then joggers or yoga pants make great adventure pants. 

19. Tennis Shoes

Tennis shoes are one of the most sturdy and ideal shoes for long treks. They’re breathable and won’t weigh you down like boots.

20. Sandals 

Trekking across rivers or heading to the beach? Then open-toed footwear like sandals is ideal for these activities.

21. Extra Socks and Underwear 

Make it a habit to pack more socks and undergarments than you think you’ll need. It’s better to have extras than fall short on them.

22. Practical Accessories

A cap and sunglasses are a definite must when you plan to stay under the sun for quite some time. Just make sure you take them out when entering hotels and shops.

Spare Travel Items

If you can fit more things into your bag, then try bringing these items that can either keep you entertained in a long commute. 

23. Earbuds

If you’re one of those travelers with a killer playlist, then your earbuds are a definite necessity for your music on-the-go. 

Backpacker’s Notes: For a shared music experience, bring along a portable Bluetooth speaker. 

24. Kindle

Got a million books you wish you could bring with you? Then bring along a kindle with your favorite e-books.

Travelers’ Reminders: How to Prepare for a European Backpacking Adventure

Before heading off to your great trip, you need to take care of things back home. Don’t forget to do the following errands before travelling to Europe. 

  • Clear Your Schedule 

Make sure you don’t have anything important during, before, or soon after your trip. Let everyone know that you’ll be gone for a while so they won’t get worried too much. 

  • Create an Itinerary

If you get lost easily or have certain stops that you want to see while you’re there, then it would be useful to note them down. You can always make some room for side trips along the way. 

  • Secure your Requirements

Don’t get on a plane without everything they need from you. Always check your passport’s status. You may have forgotten if it’s up for renewal.


When it comes to trips this big, it is important to be prepared for anything, especially if you have a taste for adventure and trying new things. You can never really be prepared enough for the unexpected, but having the essentials at least keeps you covered for what you can anticipate.

ALSO READ: Discover Florence Through Its Monuments

If you’re planning your backpacking adventure trip through Europe by the year 2021, then you may also want to prepare yourself for the European Travel Information and Authorization System, or ETIAS for short. This visa waiver is meant for visa-exempt countries like Canada to apply for in order to get into ETIAS countries in Europe, which include Schengen and non-Schengen countries. 

For more information about ETIAS, visit our homepage or send us a message directly. is an independent non-government platform with a team of EU immigration specialists that provides information on ETIAS.