If you’re feeling stuck in a rut with limited vacation time and a bucket list a mile long, I’ve got news for you. It doesn’t have to be that way.
There are countless ways to travel and live abroad — from working holiday visas to teaching English online. For many, freelancing is the ultimate goal, as it gives you total location independence. However, one of the most difficult things about becoming a freelancer is finding work. Luckily, there are digital freelance agencies out there who will make that a little easier for you.
I personally use Upwork to find editing, proofreading, and copywriting gigs. I’ll admit, some months are better than others, but in general, this makes it possible for me to finance long-term travel around the world and only withdraw minimal savings. I worked as a teacher for five years and lived frugally, so I have money stashed away to spend as well.
There are so many cheap destinations around the world to live or travel in that are perfect for the digital nomad. It’s quite possible to live or in many parts of the world off of an average of $30 a day, or $900 a month. In some parts, especially Southeast Asia, you can live on even half of that!
So, how much do I work? On average, I work about 10 hours per week from anywhere in the world I want. I no longer seek new clients, as this is definitely a big time investment. Since I love my current clients and my workload is really manageable, I haven’t felt the need to scale up, especially since this blog still takes a lot of time.
One day, my goal is to be able to monetize this travel blog, but this keeps me covered in the meantime. I also have savings which supplement my earnings, so in the event I don’t cover all my costs through freelancing, I have a cushion.
One of the hardest parts of solo traveling is eating dinner by myself. Breakfast and lunch are easy. I can pretend I’m a high-powered businesswoman in a crop top and sandals (is that not what people wear to work these days?) stopping for a power lunch. I can punch away at my phone and fool the world that I’m answering emails, texting with friends, that I’m eating alone because I’m busy and on the move – not because I’m, y’know, actually alone.
But that ruse all falls apart at dinner. When I busy myself on my phone while waiting for my meal, I vividly imagine people’s mental lives. Poor girl, she got stood up. Doesn’t she have anyone to eat with? Why doesn’t she eat her shame in private like a normal person?
I’m sold on the virtues of packing light, having done a five-month trip spanning three distinct seasons. I started off in Southern France, Spain, and Morocco in the summer, made my way through the Balkans in the fall, and ended in snowy Denmark. I did that all in a carry-on, and I’ve since adapted that original Europe packing list for shorter trips. So if you’re wondering what to pack for two weeks in Europe, I’ve got you covered, no matter the time of year.
From this, I’ve mastered the art of packing a carry on — from everything from a months-long backpacking adventure to a short jaunt through Europe. As a result, this packing list for 2 weeks in Europe can be your guide to packing light, no matter what the season, or even for longer trips. Just do laundry every 1-2 weeks as you would at home, and you’re golden.
I’ve created two separate clothing packing lists for Europe, one for spring/summer/fall and the other for winter. Spring and fall aren’t too harsh in Europe, so you can mostly bring the same things as you’d bring for summer, just with a few more layers. Winter, however, can be downright brutal, so I’m coming at you with some tips that helped me out even when I was north of the Arctic Circle (and nope, I’m not joking!). Don’t worry even if you’re packing for Europe the first time – this list is comprehensive and tested and filled with only products I actually use, not just ones I’ve heard about or stolen from other packing lists.
Packing List for 2 Weeks in Europe
Backpack and Related Gear
When I total it up, I’ve spent at least a year of my life backpacking across Europe, which is kind of insane to think about. As a result, these products have been tested time and time again, and I’ve eliminated anything that I’ve given up on the road (which is a lot). For the record, I’ve paid for every single item on this list out of pocket – not one thing on this packing list here is sponsored (and even if it were, you could expect my honest opinions, anyway). The only exception is that when I asked to become a Tortuga affiliate, they sent me the newest version of their bag to test out (I had previously purchased their original version out of pocket and loved it), so that I could be sure I’d still recommend it to my readers.
Travel backpack: While you certainly can travel with a suitcase, I prefer traveling around Europe with a carry-on sized backpack. When it came time to begin my travels, I chose a Tortuga 45L Backpack because they’re compact, carry-on friendly, and don’t scream “backpacker” as loudly as other bags. I used their original version for 2.5 years before Tortuga recently gifted me their newest version to trial, and I love it even more than the original (which my boyfriend now happily uses – in fact, he was even more excited than I was when I upgraded my Tortuga and he got my old one).
Why do I recommend Tortuga so much? Here’s why: this bag is 45L and has got three main compartments: one for a laptop and other flat objects, one giant rectangular compartment perfect for packing cubes stuffed with clothing, and one smaller compartment with pockets for passports, pens, odds and ends, etc. that I stash all my extras in – plus one small outer zipper pocket for anything you want quick access to. It also has a water bottle holder on the outside as well as buckles so that you can strap something like a yoga mat to the outside. Plus, it’s quite comfortable to wear, with a padded hip belt and comfort-molding shoulder straps complete with a chest strap so that you can distribute weight perfectly across your body in the event that you need to wear your backpack for longer than usual. Check out more specs and details here.
Does it pass budget airline requirements? I’ve literally taken it on 50+ budget airline flights at this point and never once been asked to check it in. I do tend to fly with priority boarding so that I can also bring my travel daypack as my personal item, but that only adds a few dollars onto my budget airline ticket, whereas adding checked luggage usually more than doubles my ticket cost.
Toiletry case: I absolutely love love love myeBags Pack-it-Flat Toiletry Kitwhich works kind of like magic – you won’t be able to believe how little space it takes up, yet how much it can fit. It’s kind of like the Mary Poppins bag… just when you think nothing else can come out it, there’s more. It has a ton of separators that help keep my toiletries organized when I travel. Although it’s flat and compact, it fits virtually all my toiletries, which as a bit of a card-carrying girly-girl I have a lot of! An absolute must-have for your sanity when on a two week trip through Europe.
Packing cubes: I keep everything sorted and tidy with my eBags Packing Cubes. No, this post isn’t sponsored by eBags, I just think they make amazing, affordable travel gear! I use my large packing cube for bottoms and dresses, my medium packing cube for tops, and my small packing cube for socks and undies.
Small, cute travel backpack: Finally, I use a smaller backpack for all my day-to-day needs. I’m absolutely obsessed with my CitySafe backpack – it’s adorable, trendy, but also super secure. It’s slash-proof and has zippers that interlock and fasten, adding multiple levels of security a thief would need to go through in order to successfully pickpocket you. And I can’t stress enough how cute it is! Check it out here (and disregard that Amazon calls it a men’s backpack for some reason – it’s definitely girly-girl approved).
Essential Clothing to Pack for Europe (Spring, Summer, Fall)
Wondering what to pack for Europe for two weeks? Here’s all the things you should cram in your travel backpack (with cubes, naturally) – with girly girl travelers who love shoes and dresses and not checking luggage in mind.
This sounds like a lot — it is! But it all managed to fit into two packing cubes (I actually didn’t even need to use the third one, as I kept all my underwear, socks, and sleepwear in pockets that come with my backpack).
Depending on how much you pack and how attached you are to your clothes, it’s always an option to send some of your belongings or souvenirs you bought on the road. You can use an international shipping service like Shiply to compare rates and send home items cheaply.
Packing List for 2 Weeks in Europe in Winter
Packing for winter in a carry-on isn’t that hard — just think smart, wear your heaviest clothes on the plane, and think about layering as much as you can. This will work for even super cold weather, but not for something extreme like a ski holiday.
1 medium-warm jacket, like a UNIQLO Ultra Light Down (great for layering under your other jacket in case of extreme cold) or this knockoff ultralight down jacket
Smart Toiletries & Hygiene Supplies
1 Diva Cup (for people with periods): better for the Earth, better for your luggage — the Diva cup is reusable, hygienic, and actually way more convenient than tampons or pads as they need to be changed less frequently. They’re really comfortable once you get used to them and carry a lower risk of TSS or leaking.
1 pack of GoToobs: These reusable, easy-squeeze bottles are great for filling with your need-to-have toiletries that are hard to source on the road.
1 folding toothbrush: I love this so much because those stupid clip-on toothbrush protectors always get lost or broken in my bag!
1 bar Lush solid shampoo with a metal carrying case: I love the Seanik shampoo bar, as it breathes life into my easily greasy, thin hair!
1 dry shampoo: For days when showering is just too hard
1 pack hair ties: For days when getting out dry shampoo is just too hard
1 small hairbrush: The folding hairbrushes always break for me, so I go for a small, sturdy mini hairbush
1 pair Tweezers: Because god forbid I go more than a few days without plucking those random chin hairs that love to pop up overnight.
1 Neutrogena solid sunscreen: Who doesn’t love a good solid for liquid swap? Great to keep in your bag without worrying about sunscreen explosions
1 razor and pack of favorite razor heads: It can be hard to find my favorite brand abroad sometimes, so I always bring them with me
1 anti-friction stick: Because if you got thick thighs like I do, this is a godsend against fighting the devil that is chub rub. Vaseline also works in a pinch.
All your makeup and can’t-live-without toiletries (moisturizer, face wash, etc) — make sure they are travel-sized (less than 100 milliliters/3.3 ounces). If not, put them in a GoToob in a size suitable for a two week trip to Europe.
Travel Medicines & First Aid
1 bottle Pepto Bismol tablets / bismuth salicylate (pill form): Because the last thing you want when you’re having an upset stomach is to try to find a pharmacy that speaks your language
1 bottle Imodium: For real D-Day intestinal emergency days. I try not to take this unless it’s a massive emergency (i.e. I have to travel that day and don’t have a day to dedicate to shitting my brains out).
1 pack Pedialyte rehydration packs: Theoretically it’s for babies with diarrhea; I use it for hangover emergencies, because I’m an adult.
1 bottle Aleve: I can never find Aleve outside of the US and I find that it works better than other painkillers for me personally.
1 pack earplugs: The best in class, able to withstand even a 12 person dorm
1 set mini padlocks: For securing your valuables in hostels or your daypack on public transit. If you’re prone to losing things, choose ones with a combination instead
1 of your favorite journals: I love Moleskine notebooks, personally, like the hipster wannabe I am.
1reusable water bottle: Make the planet suck less – use less plastic! The water in Europe is drinkable basically everywhere with few exceptions, so save money and plastic and use a reusable bottle.
A few reusable shopping bags: Great for separating nasty clothes from tolerable ones, or for shoving random things that won’t fit in your backpack or suitcase at the last minute when checkout is rapidly approaching
A large microfiber travel towel: Believe me, get the big one, unless you love running from a shared bathroom to your room with your ass hanging out. Great for impromptu beach days, too!
Electronics & Camera Equipment
Laptop, if necessary: I bring my Macbook Air everywhere but other people may prefer a tablet or an inexpensive netbook. I work on the road so a user-friendly, lightweight laptop is a must.
Kindle Paperwhite: Depending on where you travel, English-language bookstores can be few and far between. I love the Kindle Paperwhite because the screen is glare-free, making it easy to read even in direct sunlight.
Travel camera: I use a Sony A6000 because it’s lightweight for a professional caliber camera, inexpensive, and a HUGE step up from a smartphone. You may want to replace this or add a GoPro too, especially good for adventure activities like volcano boarding and diving (just check to see if you also need an underwater house for your GoPro if you dive, as many of the newer models are only good to 10m — not nearly enough for divers)
Portable charger: As an electronics-addict, I’m always running out of juice. Bring a portable charger to save yourself many headaches! Anker is a reliable brand and what I personally use.
Adaptor, if necessary: If you are coming from the US or Canada, you will need an adaptor for your electronics. Also, keep in mind that if you are visiting both the UK and continental Europe that they use different plugs (and even within, there are exceptions: for example, Malta uses UK plugs!). Bring auniversal adaptor that you can use on your Europe travels and beyond.
Disclaimer:This post contains affiliate links. That means that if you purchase something using one of these links, I will receive a small commission at no added cost to you.
No items were sent to me for this Europe packing list for two weeks; all are products I’ve purchased independently or something as close to it as possible as I could find.
The sole exception is the Tortuga Setout Backpack – I bought the original version with my own money, and when I asked to become an affiliate of their program, they sent me the new one to try out and ensure that I still like it and can recommend it, as the one I carried was discontinued. .
Want more ideas on what essentials to bring on your trip to Europe? Check out this guide to travel gear and resources from Europe Up Close