Glampacking: The Fashionable Girl's Guide to Backpacking Europe
The three items on nearly every backpacker's list: fleece, poncho, Bandanna. Which just happen to be three things that would cause you to destroy every photo from your trip. So throw out the old packing list and learn what rules to break and what items you absolutely do need to take with this more fashion-friendly guide to backpacking Europe.
Rule #1: Remember Where You're Going
European cities and South American jungles are obviously two very different trips, so keep in mind where you're going and what you are likely doing before you pack. If you're sticking to a route of museums, dinners, and sights you aren't going to need (and certainly won't want) to look like you've just hiked the Swiss Alps. Allow yourself some leniency and pack clothes in which you will not be embarrassed to be photographed.
Rule #2: Triple Your Underpants
Whoever said to pack only three pairs of underwear was obviously a dude and a dude packing some pretty large drawers (and ones they were apparently comfortable wearing for weeks on end.) Luckily for ladies - your underoos hardly take up any space. So break the three pairs rule - pack ten. Many hostels have laundry facilities so you won't be turning them inside out halfway through the second week.
Rule #3: Switch out Synonyms
You can easily translate fleece, poncho, bandanna into cute sweater, umbrella, and wearable haircut. Layerable clothing is always best, so pick a color scheme (preferably one that hides multiple wears well) and stick to it. A teensy umbrella will keep you covered in London, but maybe not during the European winter, so consider your locale and climate before ditching the poncho entirely. And as a blow-dryer, flat-iron, and array of styling products are absolutely out - skip the high-maintenance cut. Instead, pack elastics and master the art of the sleek ponytail. As for cosmetics, make them do double duty: a sunscreen/foundation combo, wallet sized all-in-one makeup compact, lip gloss and mascara should be sufficient war paint for any trip.
Rule #4: Save Room for Insensible Shoes
Yes, you absolutely need comfortable walking shoes but even chic urban kicks are not going to cut it for a real night out. Allow yourself one pair of heels, preferably something high, strappy, and that have been claimed (on more than one occasion) to be more comfortable than they look. Use them to dress up jeans for dinner in Alsace, drinks on the Danube, or dancing in Barcelona while your pack is stashed safely in a locker.
Rule 5: Bring Your Girlfriends, Your Favorite Pair of Jeans, and one Show-Stopping Accessory
Your girlfriends, besides being an obvious source of fun, can also be a way to expand your limited wardrobe. Swap sundresses in Nice and your flea-market finds from Berlin in Brussels. Wear your favorite pair of jeans on the plane and consider it your uniform for the trip. Dark denim is the easiest to dress up or down as well as camouflage any stain mishaps. And if you plan on traveling through one of the world's more fashionable cities pack one really fabulous (but ultimately replaceable) accessory that will make you feel like a superstar on day three or thirty-nine.