How to pack for Europe? – Backpack vs Suitcase

How to pack for Europe? – Backpack vs Suitcase

Many people are asking me how to pack for Europe? Whether to take a backpack or suitcase for their Europe Travel Itinerary. That really depends on what you want to do. Personally, I go for packing light and backpacking now. Here’s how to pack for Europe? Best tips and tricks!

How to pack for Europe? – Backpack vs Suitcase:

There are some situations where you can manage ok with a suitcase. Especially if you are staying in nice hotels – porters will help you.
Dog in a suitcase!
Image Credit: Austin Kirk on Flickr (Creative Commons)
There are many advantages to traveling with a suitcase. I met a girl this summer from Australia who was traveling with her suitcase, and it really suited her. The advantages of travelling with a suitcase are…

  • Easy to wheel in airports.
  • It can fit a lot in if you like your home comforts – makeup, shoes, clothes.
  • Tends to be suitable if you are not traveling on a budget and want to go to good theatres, pubs, and clubs. A suitcase allows you to have a good selection of things to wear.
  • A suitcase can accommodate a selection of clothing if you will be traveling to contrasting destinations weather-wise e.g. Finland and Portugal.
  • Traveling with a suitcase may suit you if you would rather do a series of accessible city breaks, rather than walking or hiking.

Travelhouse Hard Shell Travel Trolley Luggage Suitcase Trolley Bag Case New (28″, BLACK)

Traveling with a Suitcase – The Problems

Some places I have stayed in were a bit of a way off the main road. In Italy, Portugal, and Croatia I experienced a lot of stairs (outside and inside) which are almost impossible with a suitcase. There are often people who will help you, but it is a pain and a little embarrassing to ask!
I nearly did my knee in carrying my suitcase up a flight of stairs, which I should not have done! But oh, how I was jealous of other people’s backpacks at this point.
There’s also the Coco Pops disaster…
Coco Pops explosion in my suitcase in Bulgaria!
Often, suitcases don’t have as many compartments as backpacks and this can be the result!

Backpack vs Suitcase: Advantages of using a Backpack

  • Comfortable – go for comfort every time!
  • Easy to get up and downstairs in railway stations, airports, and hotels.
  • Better for your back and knees (turning and dragging a case puts pressure on your joints and back).
  • It allows you to explore more remote areas and beautiful scenery where the floor may be uneven.

Key Advice – Pack Light!

The best advice that I can give you is to pack very light. In most of Europe, you will be able to buy whatever you need. I have managed to get toiletries, snacks, and clothing all across Europe (even in the mountains!)
Zip Zap Zooom Large Adventure Travel Rucksack Back Pack Backpack + Cover £49.99
This 65-liter highlander backpack is great for camping in Morocco! This design can actually be ordered with a 45 liter, 55 liters, and 65-liter capacity. If you are backpacking around Europe, you can even get away with a 45-liter backpack if you pack light.
Urban Backpacking!

Four or five changes of clothes, gadgets and basic toiletries will suffice. If you are mainly doing day trips and trekking, you probably just need a pair of jeans and a pair of comfortable walking trousers. Take adapters for your plugs. Everything else you can buy when you are there. Also, the clothes are VERY cheap in Turkey!
Don’t forget, you are the one who packed it, and you will be the one who has to carry it! 😉
How to pack for Europe? What do you say? Suitcase vs Backpack?

Don’t Forget Your Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is so important as it will help you with emergencies and unexpected costs on your trip. Make sure that you declare any pre-existing health conditions so that you are covered for those. Check your cover for accidents and medical care and also lost baggage or getting things stolen. Remember to report as soon as something goes wrong on your trip because some travel insurance companies require you to report something that you want to claim for within 24 hours. Read the fine print carefully when you sign up. I always recommend World Nomads. You can get a free quote here:


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Hi, I'm Amy Trumpeter and I have over 25 years of travel experience. I love seeking out temples, Churches and other religious and historical buildings. I write mainly about Asia, Europe and North Africa. My BA (Religions and Theology) and MA (South Asian Studies) were gained from the University of Manchester. Come and join me on my templeseeking journey around the world!

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