Gap Semester

What I’m Packing for 4 Months Across Europe

My 4.5 month Febmester adventure officially kicks off in less than 24 hours – this time tomorrow I’ll be en route to Italy! – and I’ve been obsessing over what to pack. My goal is to fit everything I need into my 40L Osprey backpack (and leave the 15L daypack free for anything I pick up on the road).

pre-packing chaos
pre-packing chaos


While there are plenty of useful packing lists out there for backpackers going on extended, multi-season trips, my problem is a bit more complicated. Not only do I have to juggle the heat of Italy in August and the chill of Paris in December, I also will be doing everything from working at a Romanian summer camp to shoveling horse poo in the French Alps in November.


Needless to say, it’s been challenging working out what I will need for different climates and activities. However, hopefully I’ve gotten about as darn near close to perfect as it’s gonna get! Without further ado, and for your viewing pleasure: my packing list.





tops {+ a bonus skirt}
  • t-shirts x3 for sweaty days on various farms/camps etc. – easily parted with to make room
  • short sleeved shirts x2 one black, one gray – can be dressed up or down
  • long sleeved shirt x1 burgundy, not too casual but still comfy
  • tank tops x2 one gray athletic and one pink cotton
  • black cami x1 for layering
  • crop top x1 good quick-drying summery option
  • sweaters x2 one 3/4th sleeved and striped, one plain green – perfect for layering when it’s cold

Also pictured: black skirt x1



  • athletic shorts x2 I’ll be pretty active most days – 1 pair also doubles as PJ’s
  • nicer shorts x2 1 black + highwaisted, 1 more casual purple
  • compression shorts x1 
  • black leggings x1 so versatile! good separate or as a base layer
  • cargo pants x1 not the most fashionable, but good for cold, wet days outside
  • jeans x1 {not pictured} dark wash, high waisted



  • scarves x2 good for layering, warmth, that chic European look
  • beanie x1
  • rain jacket x1
  • FlipBelt x1 best thing ever for holding passport, money, phone, etc.
  • headband x1 warm and covers the ears!
  • gloves x1
  • plaid flannel x1 good for warmth + staying stylish!
  • fleece x1 cozy layer
  • down jacket x1 light and packable yet warm
  • turkish towel x1 I LOVE THIS. lightweight towel, scarf, blanket, shawl…



a hodgepodge of items
  • toiletries shampoo, conditioner, lotion, Dr. Bronner’s castille soap, leave-in conditioner, essential oil spray, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, chapstick, sink laundry detergent, dry shampoo, face wash, Neosporin, deodorant
  • comb
  • razor
  • mini scissors
  • nail clippers
  • nail file
  • travel size tissues
  • allergy medicine
  • retainer
  • retainer cleaning tablets
  • silk sleep sack when it’s chilly out or those hostel bed look a bit unsavory…
  • water bottle
  • chewing gum
  • coin purses for juggling various currencies
  • travel alarm clock
  • makeup eyeshadow, blush, eyeliner, mascara, concealer, brushes, eyelash curler, lipstains
  • hair doodads headbands, hairties, bobby pins, clips – gotta tame the mane
  • mini first aid kit
  • jewelry 2 necklaces, 2 pairs of earrings, 1 bracelet
  • book + mini dictionaries
  • sunglasses
  • sporknife surprisingly useful
  • assortment of tea I’ve heard most places will give you free hot water, so…
  • deck of cards
  • black moleskin journal I always, ALWAYS write in my journal daily when traveling
  • flashlight
  • safety pins
  • lock


Shoes {not pictured}:

  • nike sneakers 
  • paddock boots double whammy – cute and functional
  • black sandals for walking, will probably donate when it gets colder
  • flip-flops


Essentials {not pictured}:

  • socks 2 pairs footie, 2 pairs tall wool, 4 pairs athletic
  • underwear x8
  • sports bra x3 1 compression, 2 Handful – hands-down best all-around bra out there
  • bra x1
  • LBD {Little Black Dress} – can’t believe I forgot to get a picture!
  • zinc lozenges to beat the sniffles
  • phone + charger
  • iPad + charger
  • wallet w/ various currencies
  • Eurail pass
  •  ISIC {International Student Identity Card} – gets me discounts + free stuff, and health insurance



Phew! Now that the planning and organizing are essentially done, I can really begin to enjoy myself. 🙂





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