The historical charm and varied landscapes of Europe make it a perennially popular tourist destination. While there are many ways to see the countries that make up this region, one of the most popular remains backpacking. Traveling in this way provides the opportunity to experience first-hand the charms of the European continent with little money, making it a particularly popular option among young travelers. If you’re considering a European backpacking adventure, keep in mind these simple tricks of the trade.
- Plan a Rough Route – Most backpackers like, up to a certain point, to keep their travel itinerary open so they can move through Europe as they see fit. While this is fine, you should spend a bit of time planning a rough route for your adventure. If you intend to use a EuroRail pass as you travel, for example, you can save large amounts of money by reducing the number of countries for which your pass is valid, eliminating those you have no intent of visiting.
- Prepare for the Unexpected – Backpacking is an adventure, and as with any adventure you can run into some serious and unexpected trouble. Instead of allowing your go-with-the-flow attitude to leave you unprepared, spend some time protecting yourself prior to leaving. Some simple things you can do include photocopying the fronts and backs of all the credit cards and identification documents you intend to take with you. Store these copies in a separate location, and also consider leaving another copy at home with a friend you could contact easily in an emergency. Additionally, acquire a health plan for international travel before your trip, as this coverage allows you to seek out medical attention if you happened to get sick or injured overseas.
- Pack a Varied Wardrobe – Don’t assume a summer backpacking trip will be filled with balmy weather or a winter one with constant chill. Instead, take along a few out-of-season garments you can wear should the weather be different from what you expect. Also consider dressing restrictions you may encounter. If you intend to visit Italy and want to stop by Vatican City, for example, your short-shorts won’t cut it as you will not be allowed entry into St. Peter’s Basilica in anything above the knee.
- Take a Tour Book – Toting a heavy book may seem undesirable; however, the wealth of information provided by a quality tour book makes it well worth the room in your bag. Select a tour book that offers listings of hostels and restaurants, allowing you to better select accommodations and dining options within your budget. Look for the most up-to-date book you can find to ensure the information is as accurate as possible. If you plan to visit several different countries, you may find more success with a book that covers the entire European continent instead of selecting one for each country individually.
If you seek flexibility and affordability, backpacking is the ideal option. By engaging in this laid-back and casual mode of travel, you can largely allow yourself to chart your own course, tailoring your European adventure to suit your needs and making your time exploring this continent all you dreamed it would be. With just a few preparatory steps, you can ensure that your backpacking adventure goes off without a hitch.