Staying stylish while backpacking

lisforlaura

Member
Dec 26, 2008
7
0
Hello all!

I'm what some people would consider high maintenance - I think it's important to maintain appearances and looked pulled together all the time. I never wear sweats to class. I never wear sneakers. I refused to wear a backpack to class and had lopsided shoulders with a tote bag until I found a lovely vintage Frye leather backpack. It can be tiring, but overall when I make the effort .. I simply feel better. I do hope some of you can empathize with me!

So next summer, the boyfriend and I plan on doing some backpacking around Europe for a month to two monthes. We're thinking about the usual places like Denmark, Greece, Paris, etc.

The boyfriend has told me I will have to succumb to a heavy duty (aka heinous) backpack and wear good walking sneakers. I refuse to believe this! It has occurred to me that while I should go for function over fashion, I will fight for fashion as far as I can.

Here are my questions:
- What's a stylish, cute yet functional backpack I can use for backpacking? I was thinking about the Stella McCartney for LeSportSac line.. but everything is sold out now!
- CUTE walking shoes?? Sneakers and sandals suggestions PLEASE! Or even if you know of some extraordinarily good walking flats..
- Clothes to bring! I can't lug my entire wardrobe there.. and while we can only somewhat predict next summer's trends, it would be nice to get a head start on the few clothes to mix and match. I will probably post about clothes again, closer to the date.
- Important things to bring in general! Share your experiences! Your favourite travel accessories? Best travel purses?

Your own personal backpacking experiences! Sharing stories on how you stayed stylish would be a bonus.. but I'm interested in hearing about anything!

Thanks all!
 

lisforlaura

Member
Dec 26, 2008
7
0
Oops! I realised this may be more appropriate in the Travel section, so I reposted there! Feel free to delete this one - I would do it myself but I don't know how!
 
Aug 17, 2008
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1,325
If you are truly backpacking for 2 months (this means NO other luggage than what is on your back), you are going to need a fairly large backpack. I have no idea how large the one you suggested is, but my instinct would be that it is neither large enough nor sturdy enough to withstand 2 months' intense use. Whatever shoes you wear, they need to be comfy for day after day of walking and not going to fall apart. You may even end up buying a new pair of shoes in Europe if the ones you bring don't work out. I really don't think you'll be needing a purse, your backpack will be your purse. If you are staying in hostels you will have no place to leave your belongings during the day, they will have to be with you. It's also best not to bring anything valuable since security is not good in these places. You should wear a money belt pouch that slips inside your waistband for your cash, credit cards, traveler's checks, and passport to deter pickpockets, you may even have to sleep with it on if you are staying in a traditional hostel where you just get a bunk in a large room full of other backpackers.

I don't want to scare you off, b/c this could be a great vacation where you get to see much of Europe on a shoestring budget. But you have to understand that no part of it will be luxurious, it can be grueling, and you won't be able to spend a lot of time on your appearance. Much of it will just feel like you are struggling to survive while trying to have a good time, this is not a relaxing kind of vacation. Even formal tours of Europe, where you at least stay in regular hotels and everything is organized for you, are very grueling, and backpacking on your own will be even more so. You should think about if this is the type of vacation you enjoy, it certainly is not for everyone.
 

GhstDreamer

Lady Philosophy
Authenticator
O.G.
May 13, 2008
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Near carnage alley
I don't do these kinds of vacations but my brother really loves them and backpacked twice through Europe (also some of eastern europe). He found that going backpacking through France on a shoestring budget isn't necessarily the best way to experience the country. However, he was very positive about Germany, Austria (both his favourites) and Czech Republic. He didn't find it grueling at all but he went in with backpacking experience through a few third world countries. Most of the places he visited in each city were the poorer areas which he rather experience. He had a very sturdy large backpack (you need to research on a good brand), essential clothes that are lightweight (matching is the least of your worries), a couple pairs of good walking shoes (no flip flops or cute sandals). He only stayed in hostels - he told me the hostels in Paris are disgusting but the ones in Germany are much better, even though he did have his jacket stolen from him at one of the hostels. Besides his backpack, he only needed a wallet. He has different backpacks - so the one he used for Europe is different than through the Amazon thing that he did. You're basically lugging that backpack around everywhere.

Have fun and good luck! If you need anymore info pm me and I'll try to get in touch with my brother what other things you might need.
 

manana

O.G.
Oct 4, 2007
68
0
New balance tennis shoes are cute and a small Longchamp backpack would be cute...if you dont have the huge one on (can store it while sightseeing)

Honestly I agree, this is a grueling way to travel...I would trade seeing Europe for a few weeks on the beach. I wish you the best if you go.
 

manana

O.G.
Oct 4, 2007
68
0
Also bring a pashmina...you will need it often. It will be fun, lots of fun, just takes getting used to not having the creature comforts of home!
 

bobolo

O.G.
May 13, 2009
542
56
A couple of cute bathsuits for the beaches and some american apprael pieces
that are functional and stylishes .
Have fun
And a pashimina is a awesome idea it can double up as a blanket on the plane .
 

missmollypolly

College bad addict
Dec 29, 2005
210
0
DC/Moco and Boston
If you're truly the type of girl who won't wear sneakers and always thinks about fashion first, perhaps a two month backpacking trip isn't the right type of vacation for you?
 

katusha

O.G.
Feb 13, 2007
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43
Texas
does it truly have to be a back pack? I am going to europe in a few weeks and bringing a duffle bag - it's still soft enought to fit into storage and it has wheels on the bottom. I will mostly be staying in hostels, but i found some that have private bathrooms (just a little more expensive per night, but totally worth it)
Also, i am still looking for shoes, but so far i am thinking of getting Puma's in black. they do not look like tennis shoes and i can just pretend it's my "sporty" style.
Also, my plan is to just bring bunch of fashionable/form fitting tshirs and light sweaters (i am going in September, so it will be cold) and change them with jeans.
for night, i am bringing heels that are super comfortable (i can walk at least 2 miles in them) and nicer sweaters that can be pared up with the same jeans.

I think it's easier to travel in the summer - you can just bring little dresses and flat shoes (i have a pair of flipflops i can wear whole day) and change into them once you store the luggage at the destination. so for most of the day you look really cute, and only look "sporty/comfortable" while you travel.
 

cakegirl

O.G.
Jan 3, 2008
2,784
46
Unless you are going to be taking cabs everywhere-bring a backpack not duffel-even a rolling one! The streets are often cobblestone or tile and very hard to roll a suit case on.
I had this experience yesterday and I am taking cabs and staying in nice hotels. My hotel is located on a pedestrian street, so I had the cab let me out a block over. I got the street numbers mixed up and had to walk 12 blocks dragging my suitcase over the uneven sidewalk. It took forever because it would barely roll.
 
May 18, 2008
9,119
7
LA
-What's a stylish, cute yet functional backpack I can use for backpacking?
Gucci, Juicy Couture, etc. a lot of companties make backpacks the who functional part is the problem. If all else fails: northface
- CUTE walking shoes?? I got a really cute pair of coach tennis shoes on sale at bloomies that are really comfortable to walk in, I walked alover in NY in them. If all else fails: converse.
- Clothes to bring! Probibly not dresses. Jeans, plain tops, maybe some juicy sweat suits. It depends on what you want to wear, and what you're used to. Also, what the weather will be like, etc.
Hope this helped a little :smile:
 

lisforlaura

Member
Dec 26, 2008
7
0
does it truly have to be a back pack? I am going to europe in a few weeks and bringing a duffle bag - it's still soft enought to fit into storage and it has wheels on the bottom. I will mostly be staying in hostels, but i found some that have private bathrooms (just a little more expensive per night, but totally worth it)
Also, i am still looking for shoes, but so far i am thinking of getting Puma's in black. they do not look like tennis shoes and i can just pretend it's my "sporty" style.
Also, my plan is to just bring bunch of fashionable/form fitting tshirs and light sweaters (i am going in September, so it will be cold) and change them with jeans.
for night, i am bringing heels that are super comfortable (i can walk at least 2 miles in them) and nicer sweaters that can be pared up with the same jeans.

I think it's easier to travel in the summer - you can just bring little dresses and flat shoes (i have a pair of flipflops i can wear whole day) and change into them once you store the luggage at the destination. so for most of the day you look really cute, and only look "sporty/comfortable" while you travel.
I'm a little new to the backpacking thing so I had no idea you could store your backpack somewhere. Would you be storing that in the hostels or somewhere else?

Also, if it's okay I'd like to message you when my trip rolls around to find out how your luggage/footwear/anything worked for you. Thanks!
 

MissLianne

PhD in shopping
O.G.
Dec 27, 2008
1,005
18
^^^
OP you sound like me. I know quite a few ppl who've backpacked through Europe. Love Europe but not my thing.

There's no way I would stay in a hostel and tote one of those huge things on my back. I need clothing and shoe choices! LOL. My friend went to Europe recently (backpacking) and literally brought 6 articles of clothing... Jeans, 2 tshirts, tights, tank top, dress and sweater. I woulddd diee!

I'm not trying to discourage you but you sound a lot like me .... And I wouldn't last a day!
 

lila12

O.G.
Sep 9, 2008
72
3
Don't let people talk you out of this - it's the opportunity of a lifetime, and speaking from experience, you will have a great time!

Candidly, I tend to bring things I want to get rid of, and replace them with new finds, or throw them away at the end of the trip so I don't have to haul them back. Of course you can't do that with your pack or shoes! And I would definitely make sure you are comfortable :smile: