My netbook. Before I realized I could use my iPhone abroad, this thing was invaluable. I would never dare to drag my laptop around Europe – for both size and safety – but this one is a bit easier to do.
All my outfits, rolled. First off, look at the weather. Next, plan all your outfits and roll them up (mine wouldn’t stay rolled for the photo, but whatever) and stuff them in the bottom.
Collapsible water bottle. Even though I’ve only seen one functioning water fountain in all of Europe (Dublin Airport), every once and a while you can find a reliable tap and fill ‘er up. Then, you don’t need to lug around a big plastic bottle once you finish.
Notebook + whatever I’m reading for class. I can’t even tell you how much homework I get done while traveling. Plus the notebook is great if we need to quick jot something down.
Flip flops. Never trust hostel showers. Just don’t.
Cards. Bored in the airport? Solved. Get the waterproof ones so you can play games on a soggy bar table.
Kleenix. I am somehow still sick. Always be prepared.
Sunglasses. No matter where you’re going, bring these. Even cold little Poland got really bright occasionally.
Towel. A cheap beach towel is perfect for traveling. Tuck it at the very bottom of your bag and it also makes a great cushion for valuables.
Plastic Ziploc. For wet clothes, smuggling food, other extraneous uses.
Toiletries. My mom had my number – she thought to buy an awesome waterproof bag and get all the bitsy containers. Fill everything in advance and just keep it in your backpack.
Camera. Get the smallest bag you can. So many of my friends brought huge camera bags and it’s impossible to tuck them in anywhere. This one pops in the top of Henry and I’m good to go.