10 Tips for Backpacking Europe

Hoisting your pack and setting out on an amazing journey through Europe, are you? Wait just a tick. Before you go off to see the wonders of the continent, are you sure you are prepared for backpacking Europe? Whether you are a seasoned backpacker or just beginning your journey, there are some things you need to know for getting around Europe without ever hitting a snag. Here are 10 tips for backpacking around Europe that you do not want to leave home without:

1. Initial Planning

Know when you are going, where you are going, how much the trip will cost (an estimation, at least), how much money you have saved up, and overall cost of transportation. Also, be aware of any visa regulations. You do not want to wind up in a country that requires a visa and not have one.

2. Pack Essentials

According to the initial planning, you will then know what clothing to bring, how much money to gather, and what kind of backpack to bring. In that sense, pack only what is going to be used and necessary. That means functional clothing, hygienic items, some snacks, a camera if needed, a travel wallet, and your essential documentation.

3. Camp or Hostel?

Camping is cheaper, because you can pitch a tent pretty much anywhere outside (be sure to check city or suburb regulations first to make sure). However, not everyone is comfortable with camping or is good at it. That is why hostels, preferably one with a shared kitchen, can fulfill your needs for shelter and food without straining the bank account.

4. Public Transportation

In general, avoid taxis, because they are known to be expensive. Scamming is also ubiquitous. Take the train or a budget airline if you need to move from one country to the next fast. Train tickets are usually very budget friendly.

In general, avoid taxis, because they are known to be expensive. Scamming is also ubiquitous. Take the train or a budget airline if you need to move from one country to the next fast. Train tickets are usually very budget friendly.

5. Festival Time

Though this will increase the cost of accommodations initially, if you travel through countries when big celebrations occur, you get a taste of culture, as well as a chance to sample some culinary delicacies only available during that time of the year. Also, many cultural celebrations are not something you need to pay to see.

festival time in europe

6. Freebies

Every city will have its freebies. Be on the lookout for free city walking tours in major tourist zones, visit free museums in capital cities (London, for example, has multiple free institutions), and other free entertainment that pops up from time-to-time. Generally, green spaces and common squares are going to have live shows for free and other events. Keep your eyes open.

7. Get Outdoorsy

Some of the best sights you will find in Europe are off the beaten track. Though visiting capital city after city may be fun for a while, do not underestimate the wide open spaces and beautiful nature surrounding you. Plus, hiking is much more affordable.

8. Budgeting

This cannot be mentioned enough. Budgeting is so essential in Europe, because every country has its steals and its items that will cause sticker shock. Be thrifty, know what to buy and where, and try to reduce your spending as much as possible. That means no splurging on alcohol, restaurant meals, and other luxuries that you can certainly live without.

9. Research Tourist Scams

While Europe is beautiful, there are general safety concerns you need to be aware of. Be sure to stay up to date on travel advisories. Also, you are going to want to put a rubberband around your wallet if you carry it in your pocket. This makes it harder for pickpockets to slip it out. Other general advice includes:

  • Research tourist scams that could be happening in the city or region you are visiting,
  • Beware of crowded areas (train, subway platform, and places where tourists gather),
  • Make sure your purse or satchel has multiple zippers to dissuade snatchers and pickpockets,
  • Stay alert – scammers and pickpockets work in teams, so if something feels like a distraction, it probably is
  • Beware of ATM/credit card/debit card fraud. Use cash whenever possible and keep your cards for emergency.

10. Group Travel

Traveling solo is great, but Europe is better traversed with friends who can help you with splitting costs. Plus, there is strength in numbers!

Have you made your backpacking through Europe checklist? Hopefully, these tips will have given you some insight on how to effectively plan for getting around the continent. Whether you plan on camping or hosteling it, budget, think ahead, and know where you are going at all times. Most of all, have fun, and never stop seeking out adventure, because it will be all around you.

Happy Travels!

Charlie Alf is the Founder of Backpackhack.com