I love budget travel. I ride the cheapest airlines, sleep in 12-bed rooms, and use the hostel kitchen to cook half my meals. Some people might look at it as giving a lot of things up, compared to how they typically travel. And it’s true, I sacrifice a lot of comforts and sleep to do things this way.
At the same time, though, I think taking cost-cutting measures is rewarding. One of my favorite ways time and money is to travel minimally, packing only what I really need to get by.
For our 10-day trip to Amsterdam, Hamburg, and Berlin, my boyfriend and I flew with WOW, a super cheap airline that doesn’t offer a free carry on or a checked bag at all.
Of course, for a trip that long, especially in November we needed at least one piece of luggage. We opted to keep things cheap and simple by sharing this hiking backpack between the two of us.
Here is a complete list of everything I brought along, including everything I was wearing and what was in my free hand item, a pretty average size leather purse. My boyfriend brought a laptop bag (without a laptop inside) as a hand item and filled the remaining space in the backpack with clothes.
**Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning that, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.**
Carry on (including what I was wearing):
- 1 QT liquids bag: Soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, toothpaste, BB cream
- Deodorant, makeup (mascara, lipstick, eyeshadow, eyeliner, BB cream), toothbrush, ear swabs, chapstick
- Bestek universal travel adapter (power strip)
- Cell phone charger
- GoPro, GoPro charger, mounts
- SIM card tool
- Water bottle
- Laundry detergent, dryer sheets
- Prescriptions, ibuprofen
- Socks (3 pairs)
- Tights (2)
- Underwear (4)
- Plain black Leggings (1)
- Skirts (2)
- Black dress
- Shirts (3)
- Sports bra, bra
- Winter hat
- All of Ethan’s clothes 😂
- A book
- Journal, pen
- DSLR camera
- Phone with “phone wallet” for cards and cash
And that’s really everything!
Sharing a majority of the bathroom products and our chargers saved a lot of room. But I would say the real secret was reducing the number of clothing items we brought. We saved a lot of space by doing laundry during our trip. Both of us ended up pretty sick of wearing the same few outfits but we felt it was worth the sacrifice not to be burdened by big, heavy bags wherever we went. I would recommend traveling this way to anyone. It’s shockingly stress-free and keeps you super mobile so your stuff never holds you back.