one-bagging for two months

my personal in-depth one-bag packing list for 2 spring months solo in cities across europe

my one bag went from 46l -> 32l over the course of learning my travel style throughout the trip
started out at max capacity (46l). i could have fit everything into this smaller bag (30l) by the end. can’t quite get it all into my kanken daypack though (18l)

general info

trip time: late march — late may (temps were mid-30F — low-80F)

reflection of things i packed

favorite things i brought

  • 20,000mAh portable charger: useful for long days and train rides since i only brought my phone as camera, entertainment, and map
  • quick dry undergarments: allowed me to wash my stuff in the sink/shower and dry overnight
  • small eu adapter with multi ports : i could charge 3 things at once from one outlet. very lightweight too
  • phone tether: hooked my phone to a belt, jacket, or purse loop. helped deter pickpocketing and useful if i dropped my phone
  • travel credit card: necessary for no international transaction fees. also paid for my flight using the signup bonus
  • 2-in-1 lightning and micro-usb: just useful
  • pocket-sized windbreaker jacket: fit inside a small purse
  • first-aid kit: was nice just to have on me knowing i had a few things to get me through a pinch. band aids came thru as tape too
  • base layers: warmth without much bulk
  • money belt: i never needed to worry about my passport being stolen since it was under my clothing

things I wish I brought

  • pre-converted cash: didn’t order from the bank before i left and had to go with bad conversion rates abroad
  • smaller quick dry microfiber: brought a quick dry towel but it ended up being so long that it touched the floor on some hostel showers
  • small iphone stand: to use as a purse-sized stand for pics and also to facetime and watch videos while eating
  • small scissors: i usually cut my bangs every 2 weeks so i ended up buying one of these along the way. it was also useful to cut off tags on new items i bought and cut loose threads off clothing
  • packable down jacket: ended up buying one along the way and no other jacket takes up less space to warmth ratio

things i didn’t need to bring

i brought these things then ended up sending them home

  • camera + tripod: if i were traveling with someone or going somewhere less urban, i would bring it. but i didn’t feel that setting up a tripod with a dslr was inconspicuous enough without someone there to watch it, even in the early hours of the morning
  • face wipes: thought i might be too tired at the end of the day for makeup but i’m so stuck on the routine that i never skipped washing my face
  • shower cap: i figured out how to shower without getting my hair wet
  • covid tests: they were available to purchase pretty cheap
  • notepad: i just wrote on my phone. just a few pages and pen suffice
  • sleep sack: hostels i was at seemed pretty clean and it took up too much space. i had one with synthetic fabric one and it made a lot of noise
  • rain pants: it was only drizzly during spring where i went
  • portable ssd: every hostel i stayed in had decent enough wifi that i could sync my photos over the cloud every night
  • tablet, external cords, and pencil: i was used to always doing everything on laptop since typing is so much nicer. made a compromise to an ipad. turns out i can do everything on phone
  • flats: i never ended up going to fancy places so only wore hiking shoes
  • sandals: these work in mild california weather but spring was too cold
  • various shirts and shorts: switched some out for outfit swaps or due to weather changes (see section “clothing i shed over the trip”)

things i’m glad i didn’t bring

  • insulated water bottle: it’s heavy and i just bought and reused plastic water bottles
  • laptop: never needed it. any photos i took with my camera i could transfer over bluetooth and wasn’t planning to edit raws
  • umbrella: never rained long enough to where i couldn’t wait it out a little indoors

things I’m shopping for now

  • faster drying, wide leg, high-waisted pants with pockets: changing in the dark in the morning into skinny stuff was a pain. changing into wet pants in the morning if they didn’t dry fast enough was a bigger pain. not having pockets was the biggest pain.
  • jackets and sweaters with inner pockets: inner pockets enabled me to shove all my valuables in and zip them up so i wouldn’t worry about getting stuff stolen when walking through crowds
  • pocket sized packable jacket: useful when going minimal for the day

bag reflections

i tested out three backpacks (peak design 45l, osprey far point 40l, and the kyte 46l) while getting ready for the trip, taking a weekend trip in each of them. the kyte’s comfortable hip belt won since i knew i might be walking around a lot with my backpack and wanted to use it in future scenarios.

packing list (with explanations)

clothing

  • 1x midlayer synthetic sweater: usually worn, the fabric aired out easily when i walked around a lot — useful for drying between wears
  • 1x pocket-sized rain jacket: fit in purse
  • 1x windbreaker: was originally supposed to be my rain jacket but the dwr coating wore off so i used it as a mid-layer
  • 1x packable puffer: for colder weather
  • 2x thin shirts: i brought more shirts but thinner for a larger variety of clothing for pics hehe
  • 1x thin sleep shirt: i like to have a dedicated sleep shirt
  • 1 long-sleeve shirt: it was actually a bodysuit that could be worn for a bit of an elevated look
  • 3x tank tops (could work under a shirt or as a shirt — added a few more outfits for not a lot of space)
  • 1x sleep joggers: also went over jeans when it was super cold
  • 1x pants: acquired these along the way
  • 2x base layer pants: 1 thicker, 1 thinner
  • 4x travel underwear: usually washed every 1–3 days and could
  • 3x socks: ^ same
  • 2x travel bralettes: ^ same
  • 1x hiking shoes: walked around 10 miles a day in these and never felt tired! not great for pics but i would just crop them out
  • 1x hat sun protection is a must!
  • 1x sunglasses: i liked to avoid eye contact while walking by wearing sunglasses and a mask
  • 1x shower shoes: had to share a lot of common spaces

toiletries

i potted some of my liquids in 1.7oz gotubes but in the future would use smaller tubes like muji

  • tweezers + nailclipper
  • face wash
  • lotion (i don’t get dry skin so would opt for nivea small tubs of cream for face in the future)
  • sunscreen
  • tretinoin (skincare cream)
  • shampoo (body wash) + conditioner (shave cream)
  • retainers + retainer cleaner tabs
  • toothbrush + toothpaste + floss
  • comb + brush
  • hairclip + hairbands
  • mini medicated eye drops
  • disposable razor
  • shower cap
  • overnight mini hair roller
  • pads
  • brow pen + eyeliner
  • half eyelashes + glue

tech

  • earrings (learned the backs can be used to swap sim cards)
  • 20,000mAh portable charger
  • mini portable charger
  • 2-in-1 micro-usb lightning cord
  • phone charging cable
  • watch charging cable
  • bluetooth earbuds (for short google maps direction walks around)
  • wired earphones (for long train rides)
  • iphone tripod

extras

  • padlock
  • lockable wire
  • pocket tote bag
  • travel clothesline
  • gum
  • 1 sharpie + 2 pens
  • safety scissors
  • hand sanitizer
  • first-aid kit: of ibuprofen, benadryl, band aids, anti-diarrheal, and neosporin
  • hand sanitizer + masks + antigen tests
  • passport
  • 2x copies of passport
  • copy of traveler’s insurance, driver’s license, medical insurance
  • physical copies of phone numbers and addresses of embassies
  • paper contact numbers of emergency contacts

on-person

  • purse: small plastic water bottle, sunglasses, wallet, packable jacket, earbuds, mini portable charger, charging cable
  • 20l packable backpack: for when i carried around a larger jacket, iphone tripod, and everything in purse
  • money belt: passport, copies of important docs, extra sim card

clothing i shed over the trip

either i sent home or someone from home brought temporarily

  • rain pants (not rainy enough)
  • flats (never used since i walked so much)
  • sandals (too cold)
  • 2x thin dresses (temporary)
  • 1x base layer (too thick)
  • jeans (hard to get in and out of)
  • shorts (too cold)
  • pants (bought and sent home)
  • 2x shirt (exchange for new look)
  • 1x tank top (lost)
  • windbreaker (didn’t need)
  • hat (didn’t need)

overall

i learned a lot about what does and doesn’t work for me when traveling. while i hope to be even more minimal in the future, i feel like i had a good set of supplies and clothing to feel comfortable and have different simple looks each day. if i had to travel in cities again, i would probably bring less toiletries and clothing and go thrifting to be able to buy some local style and skincare instead.

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Kendall Nakai 🌸

👩🏻‍💻 kendallnakai.com | writing the random things i would write in google docs but **aesthetic**