Backpack 101

So, here’s the lowdown on how to make the most of what space you have in your backpack.

When most people take a trip, one tends to over-pack and not think about organization and efficiency. A month in Europe requires mix-and-matching clothes. Khaki pants, light weight clothes, and earth tones help in limiting the weight of your backpack by packing less. The first testings of your pack may not seem so heavy, but after walking for days and miles with it on, every pound makes a difference (mine weighed 20 lbs).

A huge spacesaver assistant for your pack can be easily found at many stores including Wal-Mart for less than $20 (http://www.walmart.com/ip/Space-Bag-4-Large-Plus-2-Travel-Bags/11085274). The airtight vacuum bags proved to be the best decision on my trip. The bags push out all the air, storing the clothes to remain fresh smelling and hardly taking up any room at all.

The other essentials you’ll need to take are travel sized toiletries and laundry detergent. Obviously you’ll need your passport and copies of your passport in a separate location. The maps for the rails and a pair of flip-flops for the hostel showers. Also, plan to take a large bag of some kind of hardy food to snack on. I took trail mix and a big bag of Frosted Mini Wheats (which lasted me the whole trip). Not only do these curb the hunger when you don’t want to splurge on expensive train food, but they cut the overall cost on food for the whole trip.

Remember that your bag needs to be fitted properly and be comfortable, along with a strong pair of shoes. No need to purchase hiking boots if you don’t like them, I remained comfortable in a pair of sturdy Skechers. And lastly, no travel is complete without a camera.

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