Hassle-free Backpacking In Europe
Thinking about going backpacking in Europe alone, with your sweetie, or a buddy? Instead of just grabbing your backpack and hopping on the first plane out to a random European country, it’s worth your while to plan a little bit ahead and figure out what you need in order to have a successful, hassle-free, and exciting European backpacking trip.
Pick a Destination
Some people choose to go into Europe blindly without a plan or destination in mind, but it’s best if you have an idea of where you’d like to go backpacking. Some stick to Western Europe, some to Eastern Europe, some traverse the entire continent on a rail pass, and others explore one or two countries more intimately. Your destination(s) will also determine your budget, gear, and other factors.
Make sure to plan an overall budget for your backpacking trip. Your budget will include your flight, your gear (all the stuff you need to buy before you go), and your “living expenses” by the day, which will include food, accommodations, and activities. Around USD is fairly realistic, but this will vary from country to country and even city to city. Do some research to find out how much it will cost you in the countries/cities you wish to visit. Find out the exchange rate as well, and keep a journal of your expenses.
Get your Gear
Think you can go backpacking in Europe with nothing but the shirt on your back? Think again. There are a few fundamental elements you’ll need to take with you on your backpacking trip. First and foremost, a durable, high-quality, side-loader backpack that fits you is a must. You’ll also need several travel shoes (you’ll be doing a lot of walking), a money belt (with your money), all your necessary travel documents, a European guidebook and phrasebook, a journal, a camera, a water bottle, camping gear (if applicable), and more (neck pillow, basic clothing, a few toiletries).
Accommodations & Transportation
Hostels are the accommodations of choice for backpackers in Europe. Try to make arrangements (at least some) ahead of time. This way you’ll be able to find the best deals and you’ll have a spot reserved for you.
Look for cheap flights to Europe (search online or go through your travel agent)—student travel agencies and student airfare finders are great places to start. Get a rail pass when you’re in Europe, especially if your backpacking adventure takes you through several countries. Subways make a great option, too.
Although much of Europe speaks English as a second (or third or fourth or fifth) language, it’s helpful for you to learn a few key phrases in the languages of the countries you’ll be visiting.