Travel 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!
 
Oct 27, 2006
1,841
0
30
england

- 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!
- I would think a proper walking backpack from a camping store etc would be best as they will carry more and hold up better IMO

- CUTE walking shoes?? Sneakers and sandals suggestions PLEASE! Or even if you know of some extraordinarily good walking flats..[/B] - I've heard good things about scholl shoes for walking e.g these

http://www.scholl.com/scholl/Pirouette-Metallic-Ballerina-Shoe/F21697/ProductDetail.raction



- 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.
- I personally would take a few pairs of shorts, light tees, waterproof jacket, cardigan e.g. things that are lightweight and that you can roll up easily :smile:


- Important things to bring in general! Share your experiences! Your favourite travel accessories? Best travel purses?
[/B] - I would take solid shampoo and conditioner as it is easier to carry/travel with!
 

Julide

Ahh Money Penny...
O.G.
Aug 23, 2007
18,586
10,913
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! Honestly you need a pack that you can wear for long periods of time and not hurt your back, hips, shoulders etc. Sorry to say find a good pack that fits right. I doubt you'll care what it looks like if your in pain!!!
- CUTE walking shoes?? Sneakers and sandals suggestions PLEASE! Or even if you know of some extraordinarily good walking flats..Shoes I think are different for each person. Just try to find some that you can break in before your trip.
- 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. Jersey material will travel well and accessorize, accessorize accessorize! Try to take a few pieces of clothing but that all work together. Jewelery, scarves and other bits take up little space.
- Important things to bring in general! Share your experiences! Your favourite travel accessories? Best travel purses?
My absolute fav travel accessory is my phone. Also I have very sensitive skin and wear a ton of sunblock so I stocked up on that before I left. But I think it depends on what products you use and if they are available where you are traveling. I always bring a funky huge bag that I can throw anywhere and fits alot.
Your own personal backpacking experiences! Sharing stories on how you stayed stylish would be a bonus.. but I'm interested in hearing about anything!
I backpacked thru Italy, France and Spain for around 3 months wih friends. I say bring as little stuff as possible. I found so many cute things that by the time I got back home I could barely close my pack! The trip was very random and I loved it! Be open to any oportunity! It sounds like you will have a great time!!!

Thanks all!
I hope that this has helped you!!:flowers:
 

digby723

Back to reality
May 2, 2006
5,139
3
NOVA
Please do not take this the wrong way, but, backpacking is not something that you do to look fashionable...a lot of the gear you might potentailly need will be slightly ugly, but, it's the experience and the things you see and do that make it worthwhile.

- What's a stylish, cute yet functional backpack I can use for backpacking?
It depends on how you are getting from place to place. My sister and I backpacked and we took airplanes everywhere. Because of this, we didn't use traditional backpacks, we used regular duffle bags as luggage, a little longer than gym bags. You could always buy an adorable duffle bag if you are planning on taking a train or a plane or renting a car at times to go from place to place, but TBH, it's a pain. After using a duffle, I would much rather have had a big backpack. Lugging around that heavy luggage that only could be carried by hand or over 1 arm hurt, a lot. Backpacks help make it easier to carry all of that weight evenly. The best thing I can suggest is buy a black backpack and...bedazzle it or something lol. And we're not talking a jansport backpack either, but a much bigger one. You will need to carry some type of towel, clothes, shoes, toiletries, etc etc, so you need a lot of space to carry these items, plus everything else you will buy along the way.

- CUTE walking shoes?? Sneakers and sandals suggestions PLEASE! Or even if you know of some extraordinarily good walking flats..
Clarks sandals which some are ugly, but a lot are cute, and plain old black naturlizer's shoes, which make cute flats and are comfortable for long walks are both good ideas. You really will need sneakers, you can't wear sandals all the time, you will need something in case it rains, so I'd look for cute and basic looking nikes, or new balances. Something that you like and that you can match with different outfits.

- Clothes to bring! I would go with cute black, brown, gray, blue, whatever color shorts. And then plan the t-shirts around them. It depends on where you go and what time of the year you are going (May, June, July, August, etc etc) but when I went to Spain in May it was HOT! I would sweat through t-shirts sooo fast! You need shirts that don't need to be ironed, as well as the shorts. keep in mind that if you go for a month, you can't keep a months worth of clothes with you, it's just too much to carry. Bring clothes you won't get sick of using, and clothes that won't take forever to dry if you can only wash them. I'd also plan on bringing a lot of underwear, just in case you can't wash your clothes as often as you anticipated. This happened to us, and having to pay about $8 for 2 pairs of underwear really made me mad! lol

- Important things to bring in general! hand sanitizor, BAND-AIDs (they are CRAZY expensive in Europe...we're talking $15 bucks for a basic box of 15 bandaids from pharmacys. Neosporin, extra hair ties if your hair is long, travel size toilet paper (came in hand for us quite often!! We went through 2 small Charmin rolls of this, and we were gone for about a month), a washcloth and a few 1 gallon zip lock bags to bring small items or wet items into.

Your own personal backpacking experiences! My sister and I stayed in hostels, and we stayed with anywhere from 2-6 other girls being in the rooms with us. People would come back at 4 am and wake us up, get up at 5 or 6 and turn lights on and wake everyone up, there would be bars outside that people would scream all night too...so, if you do hostels, be prepared for it not to be perfect. But, locations were great, always next to subways and in pretty good neighborhoods. I'd also bring a large memory card for your camera...I took over 1500 photos in a month! (we went to 5 cities).

This is all the advice I can think of...like I said, backpacking is not easy, I went with my sister and there were plenty of times we fought and got into arguments, and things were not perfect. But, we had a great time and it was something that we will remember forever!
 

cakegirl

O.G.
Jan 3, 2008
2,784
46
I am traveling in Europe right now. I have traveled a lot and haven't perfected my packing, but get a little better every time.
I would focus on a few items of clothing for traveling.
I see a lot of jeans here, especially at night. I would also bring a few light dresses that could be easily washed. Bring a cute jacket that can be thrown over tops in chillier places and a scarf or 2. Honestly my feet have blisters everywhere right now. I would recommend one stylish pair of sneakers, some comfy ballet flats, and and comfy pair of sandals. I see much more flat shoes than heels here. Wear them before you go and make sure you can walk in them all day.
Think about clothes that could be easily washed in your room-darker colors are better. A cute black top, jeans and some cute flats , with a jacket if necessary, will take most of the places you need to go.
As far as the backpack, style should definitely follow function. You need something durable-and it is not fashionable if your backpack breaks and all of your possessions fall out.
For a purse I would bring something that closes on top, has interior pockets to keep your things organized and that you don't have to worry about to much.
Look to a simple casual style. And don't overpack-wherever you are going, there is always an H&M, Zara, or Topshop to pick up a few inexpensive items you may need.

My big advice for traveling would be to allow yourself enough time in each place-dont try to rush from city to city to see as many as you can. And enjoy the trip!
 
Nov 15, 2007
284
2
I backpacked through France and Italy for a month two years ago and had also previously been to Spain and France a few years before. I have tons of advice for you!!!

What's a stylish, cute yet functional backpack I can use for backpacking?
Since you won't actually be carrying your backpack with you through the city while you are sightseeing, I would recomend getting a regualar "backpacking backpack." Eagle Creek makes a great one for women in neutral colors and it's around $180-200. For actually touring in the cities, I would bring a medium sized nylon tote, such as Longchamp Le Pilage or something similar. Every third woman you see in Europe is carrying one!!

- CUTE walking shoes?? Sneakers and sandals suggestions PLEASE!
I only brought two pairs of shoes with me: a pair of cute mesh Merrel sneakers (similar style to DKNY or Stella McCartney) and leather sandals...I believe they were Clarks. They weren't old ladyish...I was able to find them in a cute gladiator style....and they were sooo comfortable.

Clothes to bring:
The one thing I can tell you to not bring to wear outside of your hotel room is shorts. From my experiences, Europeans do not wear shorts in the city. I would bring clothes that can be mixed and matched and layered. Even though it's summer, Paris weather can be unpredictable and cool/rainy. If you go to Italy, it will be VERY hot. I would bring skirts and tops in neutral colors that can be mixed and matched and a few lightweight scarves to change the look of the outfits. They are small and dont' take up much room. I would also bring a few dresses and one pair of black pants in jersey or other fabric that travels well. I would bring no more than 5 pairs of undies. You can wash them in the sink at night and hang them to dry. Otherwise, they take up too much room. Once you decide all of the clothes you think you need, bring a little mroe than half of those. Also, bring a light sweater and skirt/dress that covers your knees...many places of worship require your shoulders and knees to be covered before entering.

I would pick up a few classic pieces/shoes/scarves at the end of summer sales in neutral colors so they are ready to go for your trip! Ann Taylor Loft and Banana Republic make a lot of clothes that travel well!

Important things to bring in general!
I would go to CO Bigelow...they make this product, I can't remember the name...but you can use it wash your hair, body, face, shave, wash clothes/lingere in the sink, and it has several other uses. I was sick of smelling it by the end of the trip, but it saved so much room! Also, a lot of hotels won't give you enough washcloths, if any at all. I would get a couple cheap ones from Target and cut them into fours and just throw them away as you go along. Another tip would be to either commit to black or brown clothes to limit the amount of matching accessories you have to bring. I personally would wear a lot of black and white with bold colors here and there. Also, only commit to gold or silver jewelry and don't bring too much. Only bring about half the makeup you think you will need.

Share your experiences!
When I went two years ago, there were a lot of days we would leave our hotel at 8 or 9 AM and not return until it was dark out. I would def be prepared while walking aroudn the city...bring extra sunscreen, a scarf, and umbrella. Maybe even some extra deodorant if it's really hot out. A few days, while we were in Sorrento and Capri, we also brought our suits in our bigs in case there was an opportunity to hit th ebeach for a little bit. This is where a good sized tote while come in hand and I believe make you blend more easily.

Also, since I am American, I didn't wear any lables or slogans that would easily ID me as such...but I will also mention, that I never had a problem with anyone. I can't say enough nice things about the French and the Italians. I found every single person I encountered in those countires to be friendly, helpful, and accomodating. Also, traveling in countries where you don't speak the language can be frustrating, but it never helps to be rude when things don't go as planned. I found as long as I made the effort to speak a few words of the native language and showed respect for the culture in the countries I visited, everything went smoothly. Another tip would be to ask locals what to do and where to go...I discovered so many unusal foods/places/culture I wouldn't have if I had just stuck to Frommer's advice. Also, in Italy, sometimes at dinner I would just tell the waiter to bring out his favorite dish/dessert and had a fantastic meal everytime!!!

I would also take a few memory cards for your camera. I took 2100 pictures in a month!!
 

lisforlaura

Member
Dec 26, 2008
7
0
What's a stylish, cute yet functional backpack I can use for backpacking?
Since you won't actually be carrying your backpack with you through the city while you are sightseeing, I would recomend getting a regualar "backpacking backpack." Eagle Creek makes a great one for women in neutral colors and it's around $180-200. For actually touring in the cities, I would bring a medium sized nylon tote, such as Longchamp Le Pilage or something similar. Every third woman you see in Europe is carrying one!!
I guess I don't know enough about backpacking yet. Why won't I be carrying my backpack while sightseeing...? Do all hostels offer lockers or something?

Forgive my ignorance!
 

redney

Lovin' Life!
O.G.
Apr 21, 2006
13,962
4,741
I backpacked years ago through Europe and agree with the other posters' points regarding getting a large trekking backpack, limiting your clothes to a few pieces that you can mix & match, bringing small, lightweight accessories like a few scarves and NOT wearing shorts as they are not fashionable in Europe at all. :nogood: Comfortable shoes are a MUST; otherwise you will have a miserable time sightseeing.

IDEAS:

--Bring a few skirts and skorts (I highly recommend Nike Dri-Fit golf skorts - VERY comfortable, easy to wash & dry, and give you the comfort/coverage of shorts and look of a skirt.) Buy some in basic neutrals - black, navy, khaki. 1-2 longer skirts are also a must especially if you plan to visit churches - some require leg coverage.

--Bring a basic dress or 2 made of easy-care fabric that will fold into a small shape and resist wrinkles. Those accessories will come in handy to change your look. Travelsmith has some good options http://www.travelsmith.com/jump.jsp?itemType=CATEGORY&itemID=250&path=1,2,250

--Look for tops that are also easy wash and wrinkle resistant. You might want to look at Travelsmith or Columbia. Not sure if there are super-stylish options though...

--Shoes. I've heard good things about the DKNY Active shoe line (here are options on Endless.com: http://www.endless.com/s/ref=topnav...=&node=242169011&keywords=dkny+active&x=0&y=0). There are a few cute styles made by Aerosoles too: http://www.endless.com/s/ref=topnav...er=&node=242169011&keywords=aerosoles&x=0&y=0. I like the Aerosole wedges on that page.

--Bring a good quality pashmina wrap. It folds up very small yet is very warm for trains and nights.

--For toiletries such as shaving cream and toothpaste, etc. you can pick it up along the way so you don't need to bring huge containers or quantities with you.

Also, look into a travel converter and universal plug set (usually found at Radio Shack or Best Buy) if you take any electric appliances with you (hair dryer, phone charger, camera charger, etc), and make sure your appliances are dual voltage (110V-240V) so you don't fry them on Europe's 240V system.

Have fun! :tup:
 
Oct 27, 2006
1,841
0
30
england
I am really confused as to why people in this thread are saying shorts are not fashionable in Europe? I live in Europe and have just been on holiday in Europe and many people were wearing shorts and they are fashionable, just as long as they arent knee long cut off combats or something! Denim shorts are really fashionable in Europe atm especially in London. HTH
 

redney

Lovin' Life!
O.G.
Apr 21, 2006
13,962
4,741
I mean the short with pleats that make the wearer's midsection pouf out - seems like they are popular with tourists, in my experience.
 

pyrexia

rosed.
O.G.
Sep 10, 2006
4,770
11
in an orange box
Bring a small bottle of moisturizer... slap some on your feet every night before you sleep and every morning before you step out, and it minimizes a lot of blisters etc you might get from walking too much and too long.
 

katusha

O.G.
Feb 13, 2007
222
0
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.
 

Christine

Back in 5 minutes..
O.G.
Sep 15, 2006
2,919
4
This is a good post! And I will add that I never backpacked through Europe, although I've traveled there about 10x (not much!) I would like to add that after the first trip, where I fretted significantly about *what to wear*, I found that it didn't matter one way or the other. A tourist is a tourist is a tourist, backpack or not. Shorts or skirts, dark shoes vs. white tennis shoes, fanny packs or not. The Europeans know tourists, especially after one opens their mouth. So get some comfy clothing and a backpack (regardless of what it looks like) and have a good time! You can definitely plan for local outings with the recommendations posted previously.

I am of European background. I will relate a story. I was dressed in a windbreaker, jeans, and some comfy shoes. We were at the train station in Brussels. I had *multiple* people come talk to me in the local language. I normally answered in english. Even though I looked like one of them, well I sold myself out after opening my mouth. The locals normally laughed and spoke in english to me after that.

No one cares what you wear. The most important part of your trip is the experience. Have a fabulous time and don't worry so much about the "cute" part. You will thank your back later. :smile::biggrin:


Please do not take this the wrong way, but, backpacking is not something that you do to look fashionable...a lot of the gear you might potentailly need will be slightly ugly, but, it's the experience and the things you see and do that make it worthwhile.

- What's a stylish, cute yet functional backpack I can use for backpacking?
It depends on how you are getting from place to place. My sister and I backpacked and we took airplanes everywhere. Because of this, we didn't use traditional backpacks, we used regular duffle bags as luggage, a little longer than gym bags. You could always buy an adorable duffle bag if you are planning on taking a train or a plane or renting a car at times to go from place to place, but TBH, it's a pain. After using a duffle, I would much rather have had a big backpack. Lugging around that heavy luggage that only could be carried by hand or over 1 arm hurt, a lot. Backpacks help make it easier to carry all of that weight evenly. The best thing I can suggest is buy a black backpack and...bedazzle it or something lol. And we're not talking a jansport backpack either, but a much bigger one. You will need to carry some type of towel, clothes, shoes, toiletries, etc etc, so you need a lot of space to carry these items, plus everything else you will buy along the way.

- CUTE walking shoes?? Sneakers and sandals suggestions PLEASE! Or even if you know of some extraordinarily good walking flats..
Clarks sandals which some are ugly, but a lot are cute, and plain old black naturlizer's shoes, which make cute flats and are comfortable for long walks are both good ideas. You really will need sneakers, you can't wear sandals all the time, you will need something in case it rains, so I'd look for cute and basic looking nikes, or new balances. Something that you like and that you can match with different outfits.

- Clothes to bring! I would go with cute black, brown, gray, blue, whatever color shorts. And then plan the t-shirts around them. It depends on where you go and what time of the year you are going (May, June, July, August, etc etc) but when I went to Spain in May it was HOT! I would sweat through t-shirts sooo fast! You need shirts that don't need to be ironed, as well as the shorts. keep in mind that if you go for a month, you can't keep a months worth of clothes with you, it's just too much to carry. Bring clothes you won't get sick of using, and clothes that won't take forever to dry if you can only wash them. I'd also plan on bringing a lot of underwear, just in case you can't wash your clothes as often as you anticipated. This happened to us, and having to pay about $8 for 2 pairs of underwear really made me mad! lol

- Important things to bring in general! hand sanitizor, BAND-AIDs (they are CRAZY expensive in Europe...we're talking $15 bucks for a basic box of 15 bandaids from pharmacys. Neosporin, extra hair ties if your hair is long, travel size toilet paper (came in hand for us quite often!! We went through 2 small Charmin rolls of this, and we were gone for about a month), a washcloth and a few 1 gallon zip lock bags to bring small items or wet items into.

Your own personal backpacking experiences! My sister and I stayed in hostels, and we stayed with anywhere from 2-6 other girls being in the rooms with us. People would come back at 4 am and wake us up, get up at 5 or 6 and turn lights on and wake everyone up, there would be bars outside that people would scream all night too...so, if you do hostels, be prepared for it not to be perfect. But, locations were great, always next to subways and in pretty good neighborhoods. I'd also bring a large memory card for your camera...I took over 1500 photos in a month! (we went to 5 cities).

This is all the advice I can think of...like I said, backpacking is not easy, I went with my sister and there were plenty of times we fought and got into arguments, and things were not perfect. But, we had a great time and it was something that we will remember forever!