The following packing list for Transylvania was submitted by Anna. See all packing list posts here.
Recently, I got the chance to go to Transylvania for the second time. Transylvania is a beautifully captivating place and the funny thing is that most people don’t even realize that it’s a real place. Most think that it’s a place that only exists in storybooks and know it as the home of Dracula.
Well, it’s a very real place located in the central region of Romania and it is filled with rich history and beautiful architecture. I only was there for a long weekend near the beginning of spring, but wish I could’ve stayed longer! Everything about it was so enchanting. The castles, fortresses, and even lush forests. It was a stunning region of the country.
Like I mentioned I was only there for three days, my friend and I traveled there together, and we both used backpacks around 25-30L to comply with budget airline rules. I packed in an older (probably 11 years old) North Face ‘Recon’ Backpack, which I believe is 29L. My friend and I flew through Wizz Air which is pretty stringent about luggage. They only let you take a free personal sized item and this bag fit their size requirements.
>>Find the perfect female travel backpack here.
There was nothing that I did that really required any sort of specialized gear. I would definitely recommend bringing a sturdy pair of shoes, mostly because the castles/fortresses required walking up/down different types of terrain: gravel, rocks, grass, etc. But, if anything, I was disappointed that I made the last minute decision to leave my hat and gloves at home! The weather was a lot colder than I was anticipating; I was being a wishful thinker and hoping the weather would be more “spring” than “winter”…and not realistically thinking that Brasov (where we stayed) is completely situated with mountains all around!
From this packing list you can see that I brought almost exclusively neutral colors. If that’s not your thing, bring what clothes suit you.
1 short sleeved shirt - I chose a loose fitting t-shirt that layered well.
1 long sleeved shirt - A boatneck black and white striped top was perfect for me, it also layered.
1 longer flannel plaid shirt - This was my shirt for travel days. It’s a favorite of mine; comfortable and cozy but doesn’t look sloppy!
2 tank tops - I brought one in black and another in white. They don’t take up much space and they’re great for layering for warmth…or if you just have an extra long torso (like me).
>>Read about why layering is so important when choosing travel clothing.
2 pairs of leggings - I’m a big believer in wearing leggings as pants, and a bigger believer in investing in quality leggings that aren’t see through. I wore one pair of older leggings for travel days, the other was for a sightseeing day. You can also dress them up or down depending on your planned activities.
1 pair of jeans - I chose a pair of black jeans because they went with my neutral color palate, blue denim would work just fine.
1 coat - I brought a light weight puffy coat, it’s warm but also packable so it fit perfectly.
1 jacket – Either denim or leather jacket would work just fine. I chose a denim jacket for no specific reason. Either would work well as a layer under a coat, just depends on what works well with the rest of what you’re bringing.
1 sweater – I chose to bring a chunky sweater because of warmth and I also had space for it.
1 pair of pajamas - This doesn’t need to be explained. Everyone needs pajamas when traveling. Bring your favorite pair.
1 scarf - I brought a simple black scarf for warmth and churches. I wore it everyday while in Transylvania. Surprisingly I didn’t end up going into any churches this trip; but, if you were planning on it, you would need a scarf as the Romanians follow the Eastern Orthodox Church (and you need to cover your head for that).
Bras, underwear, and socks - 2 bras, a few pairs of underwear, and a pair of socks will do. I brought a thicker pair of socks to wear with boots.
>>Check out our guide to travel socks.
Hat and Gloves - I decided to not pack mine and regretted it.
Depending on the season you travel, your shoe selection could vary. Since I traveled in a transitional season, winter-spring, I brought boots. If you were traveling during summer I’d recommend some sandals.
1 pair of black boots – I wore these on the plane as well as on the day that I went and toured the castles/fortresses that Transylvania has to offer.
1 pair of tennis shoes - I brought a pair of white slip-ons.
1 pair of shower shoes – Because everybody knows that hostel showers can be questionable! (You could probably get away with only packing 2 pairs of shoes tennis shoes or boots along with shower shoes if you wanted to.)
>>Read the first timer’s guide to staying at hostels.
Shampoo and conditioner - I used a Lush shampoo bar. I brought a leave-in conditioner for no reason other than the fact that it was already in a container less than 3oz/100ml.
Makeup – I brought my makeup but its a personal choice. I know people who don’t like to bother with makeup when they travel. I just happen to enjoy make up.
Coconut Oil - I know this sounds weird, but its a great makeup remover. I also used it to wash my face. I put some in a small 2oz mason jar and called it good.
Hair ties - Bring whatever you need to manage your hair. For me this meant hair ties.
Activated Charcoal tablets - Thankfully I didn’t have to use these. But, I brought this in the rare case of food poisoning. In my experience it shortens the food poisoning!
>>See what HPL thinks should be in your travel medical kit.
Moisturizer - Bring your favorite. Transylvania was very dry!
Razor, washcloth, hairbrush, shower gel, toothbrush and toothpaste
I normally travel with a quick-dry travel towel, but for this trip I didn’t bring one because the accommodation provided towels.
Electronics and Paperwork
iPhone – Such a handy gadget! I used this for the smart phone capabilities, and also had it loaded with podcasts and it served as my camera for this trip. If I was gone longer than a few days I would most definitely bring a “real camera.”
1 Charger - Romania uses the standard European outlets.
Travel documents - Along with bringing my passport, for me this also meant bringing my work permit so I could get back into the Schengen zone with no problems. US citizens don’t need a visa while traveling to Romania!
Safety - While in Romania I felt very safe. The railway station felt like it had some seedy characters hanging around but nothing to make me feel worried or uneasy about my personal safety. Although I was traveling with a friend, I would have still felt comfortable traveling here alone and even walking around in the evening.
Money - Romanian currency is the Leu. Like many Eastern European countries, making cash transactions instead of using a credit/debit card is extremely common. Banks were easy to find, so just make sure you have ample cash. Fun fact: The bank notes are made out of plastic!
Must-dos – I would say that the free walking tour of Brasov was extremely valuable! I love free walking tours for a couple reasons: they’re free (which is good for any budget), and I feel that they help you get your bearings and get to know the city better than if you were just wandering aimlessly!
Secondly, my friend and I ended up hiring a driver (through our hostel) for the day to take us to visit 2 castles (Peles and Bran) and 1 fortress (Rasnov). This ended up being about $20 each and was so worth it! There was no way we could see all 3 places in one day if we had used public transport/tried to get around on our own since these three places are not in the same vicinity.
Also, if you are a coffee lover I would highly recommend Hof Cafe, located smack dab in the city center of Brasov. The coffee and atmosphere were both wonderful!
About the author: After a solo backpacking trip around Europe in 2013 I fell in love with Central/Eastern Europe. I currently teach English at a primary school in Budapest, Hungary and have acquired a Hungarian cat along the way. While living in Hungary I has a goal to visit all seven countries that border Hungary. I have a poorly updated blog Hungary for Adventure but keep my Instagram up to date.
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