With packing, I find there is no happy medium. It’s either “Shit I can’t believe I forgot that” or “Why did I bring that”, there’s no middle ground. When I was packing for my Alps road trip, I knew I needed to be strict.
Planning outfits was the easiest way to figure out how much clothing I really needed to bring. Call it what you will (cough – A-type – cough). I know okay. I LOVE planning. Deal with it. I brought the least amount of clothing without feeling dirty, plus I knew most items would be under a coat anyway, so wear something three times in a row was acceptable.
At the same time, if you are a self-labelled ”over-packer” then don’t fret. I am not going to judge you for bringing an extra dress. Just do (and bring) what makes you happy.
What to pack for an Alps road trip
It doesn’t sound like a lot, but bulky sweaters will add to the weight of your bag. Bring what’s comfortable to you with the style that suits you. My travel personality it borderline neat freak, which is very different that my everyday life. I say challenge yourself. I once read about a woman who travelled in a 12L handbag for three weeks. (That is honestly the craziest thing I have ever heard.) One day I hope to challenge myself to do something similar.
- 1 airport outfit. I like to put aside an outfit just for the airport and plane ride.
- 2 pairs of pants (jeans, tights, sweats, i.e., whatever you like)
- 2 t-shirts or layering shirts
- 4 sweaters
- 4 pairs of socks
- Undergarments – you know the drill
- Swimsuit – You never know what hotel or hostel might have a pool.
- Coat – It is winter after all
- Hat, scarf and mitts
- Walking shoes/ boots
- Cheap flip-flops for hostel showers
- Medication – everything you need for the number of days you’re travelling
- Makeup – I like just the basics, but bring what makes you feel fabulous
- Contacts/ glasses if applicable
- Tiny bottles of shampoo, conditioner and body wash
- Hair products if applicable including hairbrush and ties.
- Toothbrush and paste
- Feminine Hygiene products.
- Makeup remover
- Microfibre towel – Seriously these are the best.
- Lock – for hostel locker and your bag lock. DOUBLE DUTY!
I am a photographer and writer, which means I take many electronics. Take what you need, omit what you don’t.
- Camera – I have the Canon 60D with a Tamron 24-70mm lens – My absolute favourite lens in the history of lenses!!
- Extra batteries and memory cards
- iPhone and charger
- iPod and charger
- iPad or laptop and charger
- Power bank – this one is my favourite and lasts a long time.
- Power adapter – I grabbed this one right before my trip, and it worked great!
Alps road trip essentials
Unfamiliar roads and a foreign language can put you in a pickle on an Alps road trip. Make sure to bring the important things to make travelling as smooth as the autobahn.
- GPS – make sure yours has the right maps, if not rent one from the car rental company.
- Roadmap – for extra security and excellent travel souvenir
- Road toll change/ sticker – You need a road toll sticker for driving on the Autobahn in Austria. This is crucial. Pull off at a highway gas station.
- Getting gas – SUPER IMPORTANT TRICK (that we learned the hard way) Gas at a highway gas station is about 20 cents more expensive that those in cities. We saved a bunch of money by waiting until we got into the city to fuel up.
- Food – hit a grocery store for some on the road snacks.
- Lonely Planet Western Europe guidebook – for all the stops along the way.
This all packs up into some packing cubes (these are my go-to) and goes into my fantastic MEC travel backpack and camera bag. With the keys in hand, I am ready for a road trip through the Alps of Central Europe.
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