What’s In My Backpack?


A friend saw me off at IAD! Me and this backpack for three months 🙂


While planning for this trip, all I could think of was “how am I going to fit 12 pairs of shoes into that backpack?” HAHA. Just kidding. Or am I?

I’m a girl who loves her closet. I like to dress up. I also enjoy workout clothes (hello discounts at Athleta and Lulu!). I must have looked through at least eight different “how to pack a carry-on bag for three months of travel” lists. Some were written by guys. Not all of them were winter-specific. But one thing I did notice was that none of them included workout clothes. That doesn’t fly with me. On top of doing some hikes, being a tourist and walking around, I also plan on getting my sweat on. A good ol’ fashioned run through the Tiergarten requires more than two pairs of snow boots and one pair of ballet flats. So I hope my list is a little different. I plan on washing my clothes every 5-7 days.

(I was also reminded that there are great second hand shops everywhere I’m going and I’ll probably want to buy stuff over there)

The Backpack

The Clothes

The Shoes

The Toiletries

The Electronics

The Backpack

I went with the old model of the Tortuga, which I found on Amazon and had great reviews. They do have a new model out which looks like it’s a little easier to organize, especially the front pocket, and less bulky. The new one is $250 on Tortuga’s website and cannot currently be found on Amazon, while the older model put me out $125. So that’s nice. I’m 5’6.5” and this backpack fits me perfectly. It’s actually really comfortable. back to top

The Clothes

  • 1 pair black pants
  • 1 pair grey athletic pants from Athleta that double as every-day pants
  • 1 pair cuddl-duds (I doubt I’ll wear these under clothes, I plan to sleep in them)
  • 2 sweater dresses
  • 4 sweaters
  • 1 long sleeve athletic shirt
  • 1 short sleeve athletic shirt
  • 1 sports bra
  • in the packing cube:
    • two black camisoles
    • 8 pairs underwear
    • 3 pairs thick socks/ 3 pairs athletic socks
    • 1 pair tights (dressy tights)
    • 1 bra
    • 1 pair gloves
    • 1 scarf
    • 1 microfiber towel (most hostels charge for towels)
  • Not seen (worn to airport or packed at last minute)
    • 1 short sleeve t-shirt (to sleep in and exercise in)
    • 1 pair tights (for my Twinny Twin)
    • 1 pair black jeans
    • 1 sweater
    • 1 bra
    • 1 pair thick socks
    • 1 pair underwear
    • 1 heavy coat
    • 1 Northface beanie
    • 1 scarf
    • 1 pair gloves
    • My favorite black sunglasses

I put the hat and gloves in the pockets of my heavy coat, then put the scarf in the arm of the coat. I went to the airport looking like I was going to the Tundra on a 70* day in DC. Thank goodness it was cold in Vienna! Armenia is supposed to be the coldest place I visit, according to my research. But I grew up in Missouri and lived in Chicago, so… the cold never bothered me anyway. I’m actually excited to be traveling in winter! back to top

The Shoes


  • flip flops (for the shower)
  • Brooks running shoes (I love, love, LOVE my Brooks!)
  • Black flats (thanks, Amazon!)
  • Ugg fleece-lined, water proof snow boots (worn to airport)

The Toiletries

Note – I didn’t do the best job here. I have lots of samples of things after being a Birchbox subscriber for years. I love and miss Birchbox, but I got over-sampled and needed time to use things up. I also am a VIB (Beauty Insider) at Sephora…. So, I threw a couple things in my bag that I can use up on my trip. It’s important to remember that if you’re spending a week in one place (and most of the time, I am), you can easily go through a travel-size product picked up at the local apothecary. So toothpaste, shampoo and lotion I will bum from my sister whilst in Armenia, then purchase along the way.

  • Clinique face wipes (because sometimes I’m lazy about washing my face… or largely because I get water EVERYWHERE)
  • Comb, brush
  • B&B Dry spun finish
  • Rusk hair cream
  • Lush dry shampoo
  • L’occitane makeup removing face oil
    • Would have loved to bring L’occitane “supple skin oil”, was worried about spillage. One of my favorite products, ever (do I say that a lot?)
  • Fresh soy face cleanser
  • Contact solution, extra contacts and contact case
  • Toothbrush (not shown) and floss
  • Razor and three replacement blades
    • I use a men’s razor because they’re less expensive and do a better job
  • Nail Kit from Sephora
  • Tweezers
  • Deodorant
  • Makeup
    • My cannot-live-without Laura Mercier loose mineral powder (SPF 15!)
    • Lip balm
    • Under-eye concealer (it’s been a long year)
    • Three eye shadow pallets (all randoms from Birchbox)
    • Two mascaras + lash curler
    • Black eyeliner + pencil sharpener
    • Eyebrow pencil (don’t judge me)
    • 1 powder brush and 1 eye shadow brush
    • My cannot-live-without Flower Bomb perfume by Viktor and Rolf
    • Q-tips
    • ear plugs

The Electronics, etc


  • Macbook Pro
  • Kindle Paper White (it’s a hard transition from much loved paper books!)
  • Sony Mirrorless Camera (I’m gonna try to figure this photography thing out)
  • iPhone (being used to take these pics)
  • Chargers for all the above
  • International adapter
  • “The Five Minute Journal”… Thanks for the recommendation, Tim Ferris!
  • Another journal… sometimes I need more than 5 minutes 🙂 (also a gift from a client)
  • Sleep mask
  • Travelon anti-theft purse
  • Headphones
  • Two pens and a highlighter (never take me into an Office Depot)
  • Pictured below: YES, THAT’S A JUMPROPE… And yes, I plan on using it frequently
  • Not pictured:
    • External hardrive (as requested by my Twinny Twin)
    • Ironman triathlon sports watch
    • 2 travel-sized locks
    • Tory Burch aviator sunglasses
    • Eyeglasses
    • Mini set of tissues
    • Another sleepmask
    • An electronics friendly cloth
    • Extra ziplock baggies for along the way / replacements
    • Wallet and passport
    • EuRail Pass + documents

I bought a full set of packing cubes but I honestly didn’t find them that useful. So I used the small one for my “unmentionables”, and tried to consolidate everything else into zip lock baggies… I am also unsure how useful this was. I may play around with packing the bag without using zip locks… This is another reason why the newer Tortuga backpack seems appealing: it looks way easier to pack and has an actual organization system in the front pocket.

I do still have room for stuff in this pack and plan on getting rid of the flip flops along the way. My running shoes may meet their death on this trip, and I only paid $17 for those black flats so they can easily be replaced by other, cuter, shoes. Or used up and thrown out for souvenirs from London! back to top

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