Cramming your whole wardrobe into a 50L backpack can be a challenge.Alice Mainwood for Varsity

If you are a chronic over-packer and fighting to shove your whole life into a 50L backpack is your personal hell, then fear not. Whether you are eating your way down Italy or drinking your way around Eastern Europe, you surprisingly do not need to have every single one of your belongings at your disposal. That tattered t-shirt you haven’t worn since you were 14 does not need to be fished out from the bottom of your wardrobe solely for the comfort of knowing you have “options”.

Simple yet versatile pieces are every backpacker’s best friend, and the luxury of your Instagram story seeing you in a different daily outfit has to be forfeited for your embrace of hostel life and crowded train journeys. That does not mean you must go full-on, intrepid-hiker-climbing-Mount-Everest mode, but packing does require some careful consideration.

When you are travelling, a piece of clothing is not just that piece of clothing. No, this is not some philosophical revelation that you come to after spending a bit too long in the “cafés” of Amsterdam, but a testament to the multiple purposes your clothes can serve.

“Don’t be afraid to unleash your inner Brandy Melville girl”

A patterned bikini becomes your staple crop top to help you survive those sweaty club nights. An uninspiring beach blanket comes to life when doubled as a boho wrap skirt over a swimsuit during the trek to and from your hostel. A linen, button-down shirt lets you simultaneously achieve the Scandi girl aesthetic and prevent your poor shoulders from becoming even more “lobsterified” in the sun.

Sharing clothing is incredibly economical.Alice Mainwood with permission for Varsity

Bulky items are a no-no. I apologise to all my Justin Timberlake fans out there, but you’ll have to leave your favourite denim ensembles at home. One-pieces such as dresses effectively economise space, but your best bet is rotating a few bottoms and matching them with a range of barely-there tops so compact that they can be used to stuff the corners of your backpack. This mixing and matching is taken to a whole new level when the contents of your friends’ backpacks are up for grabs. Sharing clothing is incredibly economical, but please never flaunt one of their items you know you look better in; it’s an ego thing. And before you’re about to pass out in a Berlin club toilet, courteously remove your borrowed jacket.

“Leave the smallest increment of space in your backpack for the unavoidable holiday shopping”

Don’t be afraid to unleash your inner Brandy Melville girl, as the beauty of basic items that pair with everything should override your individuality complex. A simple pair of jeans or a skirt will not get boring if paired with more unique pieces. However, unless you want to be panic-washing your last top in the hostel sink or frantically looking up instructions for a foreign washing machine, incorporate darker coloured clothing (a more unlikely victim of inevitable stains) onto your packing list.


Mountain View

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Finally, leave the smallest increment of space in your backpack for the unavoidable holiday shopping. There is no greater pleasure in life than someone asking you where an item is from, and you can reply, in a blasé tone: “Oh, I bought it when I was in Paris.” It is for this interaction alone that the sacrifice whilst packing is made worthwhile.

When it comes to preparing your interrailing wardrobe for the summer adventures ahead, then versatility, simplicity, and comfort should be your guiding principles. So, happy travels!