Packing list for Interrail/ Backpacking in Eastern Europe

So at the start of last September, I went interrailing for 16 days, across seven countries with 5 of my friends from university.

When I was researching my trip, one of the things I found really difficult to figure out was what I needed to pack. So I thought I’d share my packing list with you all! Hopefully it helps some of you as you plan and pack for your own trips.

I’m going to split my packing list into three sections – my big backpack (you know what I mean, DofE style), my backpack and my bumbag. I’d give you some bag recommendations based on what I used but my backpack was genuinely twice as old as me. Rather than buying a new bag for the trip I instead borrowed my Dad’s backpack that he used to interrail when he was 18. My bumbag was bought at a random small shop when I was on holiday in Kos earlier on in the summer.

So with that all said, let’s proceed with my packing list!

My big backpack:

  • One swimsuit – I knew we were planning on visiting the baths in Budapest and would probably end up swimming in Lake Bled. I packed a one piece because that’s my preference but some of my friends equally packed bikinis.
  • One raincoat – whatever time of year you travel, you should always anticipate rain in Europe. I’m so glad I packed this as it absolutely poured for pretty much our entire time in Budapest. It was just a lightweight coat that packed up small in my bag.
  • One towel – whilst all our AirBnBs provided towels, we needed to pack our own for the hostels and also for taking out and about with us. I brought a big beach style towel which was fairly chunky but did actually dry me and cover my body which most other towels don’t!
  • 3 pairs of trousers – a pair of sports leggings (which I wore on both the plane journeys, and to sleep in on the overnight train) a pair of cropped patterned trousers and two pairs of patterned trousers that I just wore on days when it was a bit cooler.
  • 4 pairs of shorts – two pairs of denim shorts and two pairs of fabric patterned shorts. The denim shorts were a win because they went with absolutely everything and the patterned shorts were just so comfy.
  • 4 short sleeved tops, 1 vest top, 3 crop tops (also vests) and one off the shoulder top. A mix of tops with and without sleeves suited both the warmer and cooler days. The off the shoulder top was a slightly nicer one which I reserved for wearing a couple of evenings when we went out for a meal/cocktails.
  • A black spotty jumpsuit that again was slightly nicer so only wore a couple times – once on an evening out for a friend’s birthday and one afternoon for a chill bit of exploring.
  • Underwear – I feel like this is probably a given but I packed the number of socks, pants and bras for like half/ two thirds of trip (with plans to wash stuff in the middle.
  • Pyjamas – Again, a given. I bought two pairs of pjs – one pair that had slightly more coverage in case it was cold or I wanted more coverage in the hostels and one smaller pair consisting of shorts and cropped vest top.
  • A zip up hoodie – again this was perfect for evenings and slightly cooler days, as well as days we were travelling.
  • One pair of vans and one pair of flip flops. The vans were pretty much what I wore the all time – they were so comfy and perfect for all the walking we did. The flip flops were handy for taking to Lake Bled with me and wearing around the hostels, but I didn’t really wear them that much.
  • Wash bag – with a bit of makeup, toothbrush and toothpaste, shampoo, body wash, washing tablets, moisturiser, razor, hairbrush and hair products. Just everything you’d expect really.
  • Packing cubes – I packed all my clothes in packing cubes which made it so much easier to sort through my clothing and pack and repack my bag each time. I sorted it into three categories – underwear, tops and bottoms.

My bumbag

Yes, I became one of those tourists! I’d apologise except for the fact that I absolutely loved it! My bumbag was so useful for keeping all my important documents, my money and my phone in since very few of outfits has pockets. I also could take it into museums where you weren’t allowed backpacks. So what I had in my bumbag was:

  • My passport – most of the time I kept it on me, because I felt it was easier and safer that way.
  • My interrail pass – obviously I didn’t need to have this on me when we weren’t travelling but on days we were taking trains it was really useful.
  • My wallet – this took up most of the space in my bumbag, especially when it got chunky with all the random coins I collected. In my wallet, I had my Monzo card (which I adored and worked so well for travelling), another card, just to be safe, my EHIC card, my ID and some Euros (since that was the most common currency we used).
  • A mini first aid kit – with some paracetamol, some plasters, some blister plasters, some tissues and some hand sanitiser.
  • A whole pile of random tickets and receipts that I just stuffed in there.

My backpack

As well as my bumbag, I also had a backpack that was handy for travel days and for day trips out into the cities. I used a Kanken which was the perfect size and super comfy to carry. In it, I had:

  • My reusable water bottle. Since tap water is drinkable in the vast majority of Europe – this saved me from buying and wasting so many plastic water bottles.
  • A mini pencil case and journal – this was useful for making notes, writing stuff down and keeping a journal when I was out and about.
  • A book to read and my Bible – this didn’t consistently live in my backpack but I kept them there on travel days to read.
  • My headphones – obviously for listening to music and an audio book on my phone.
  • A spork – surprisingly useful for eating snacks I bought for lunch – such as yoghurt or tiramisu.
  • Any snacks that I’d bought recently – this varied from fruit to chocolate to sweets to crisps or biscuits. Usually a bottle of pop as well. I must confess this probably took up most of my backpack space.
  • Sometimes my hoodie or my waterproof, dependant on the weather forecast.

So that was everything I packed for my interrailing trip! Give or take a few things! I can’t remember precisely everything I took with me, but using photos from my trip and my somewhat rusty memory, I think I’ve got pretty much everything. Like I mentioned early, we did a couple of loads of washing in the middle of our trip, in our AirBnB in Budapest, which I knew we would do whilst I was packing.

I hope this is helpful for you guys, if you’re planning your own interrailing and wondering what you should be packing!

15 comments

  1. This is super helpful, thanks for sharing! I fancy doing a shorter interrailing trip around Italy at some point so this is something i’ll come back too!

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  2. I think taking a spork is such a great idea! Saves you from using plastic cutlery and is super convenient! Great packing list! It seems like almost everything you bought was very useful so that’s always great to see with interrailing

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  3. This is so helpful! I didn’t take a jacket or Jumper when I went Interrailing and ended up spending €110 on a coat and jumper because it was a public holiday, freezing and only one expensive shop was open 😩😂

    Loved the post x

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  4. This is such a helpful post! I’m useless at packing, I always wildly over do it! This should help me going forward for sure. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Good list! We struggle with packing the right amount – Whether it’s for a weekend, a few days, or a few weeks we always seem to pack too much stuff. To carry passports or leave at accommodation is always an issue too.

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  6. This looks like an amazing way to travel! I wish we had more train travel in the US. Maybe I’ll get the chance to travel Europe this way someday. The list is super helpful and thorough. Thanks!

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