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Monday, July 6, 2015

What to pack for Europe: student edition

It's been a whirlwind week since getting back from my two-week backpacking trip in Europe, and I feel so much more refreshed back at the Harvard Shop management offices. 

Continuing on my Summer Travel feature, here's a quick post about some tips and tricks I picked up before, during, and even after my time living off of a single backpack. It was rough (ask anyone--I'm definitely one whose closet is too big for her own good) having to work with just the few pieces of clothing that could fit in to my backpack, but I learned so much about living simply & minimalistically, prioritizing traveling easily over over-packing. 

(Pictured above: J.Crew Paris! Had to restrain myself, seeing as my backpack limited what I would bring back home...)

tip 1/ Buy a quick-dry towel: Seriously, this thing saved my life. I was spending only 1 or 2 days in each big city that I hit on my trip, so I was pretty much always on the move. These towels soak up well and dry in about 10 minutes tops--it's like magic!

tip 2/ Monochromes & neutrals are your best friend: The number of pants and shirts and sweaters and other apparel that you want to bring with you is up to you (and up to your backpack's capacity), but keep the color scheme basic, and make sure every piece can match with every other piece. You don't want to have to wear your favorite green shirt with purple jeans, if you know what I mean...

tip 3/ Umbrellas are always a good idea: You never know what's going to happen with the weather. Especially in Europe, the weather conditions are volatile, and it's important to stay on the safe side--don't let the weather stop your day! I brought my compact, foldable Harvard umbrella, which saved my life in London, Paris, and Copenhagen!

tip 4/ Debit cards are the preferred form of currency: Exchange rates can be disappointingly sad, but instead of bringing with you thousands of dollars/euros (seriously, pick-pocketing is real), it's so much safer and easier to bring a debit card so you can make regular withdrawals from the ATM machines scattered across Europe.

tip 5/ The summer sun can be brutal: Okay, so I was never a fan of hats growing up. However, since coming to college, I started wearing this Harvard fitted H hat, especially on rainy/snowy days to keep the precipitation from my eyes. This new Harvard Est. 1636 hat has been a game changer since, and kept me protected during my long, often brutally sunny days exploring Europe.