Traveling across Europe isn’t just one of those romanticized experiences you can notice in American movies and TV shows that have always been attracting young people who take a gap year to find their true selves. Going to Europe is a formative experience that’s going to change you and turn you into a completely new person – it doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, how old you are, and where you’re from, after backpacking across Europe, you’ll be someone entirely new. However, making all that happen won’t be easy, and you have to keep in mind that not all backpacking trips across Europe are the same. Only if you take your time to plan this project and keep an open mind every step of the way will you be able to enjoy this occasion to the fullest. That’s why getting ready on time is crucial if you want to make the most of your time in Europe, and if you’re thinking about doing the same in the future as well, here are a few things that could help you take your backpacking adventure through Europe to a whole new level.
Plan your schedule
Most people think that figuring out where they’re going, how long they’ll be staying there, and what they’ll be doing is quite enough when planning something as elaborate as a journey across an entire continent. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth, especially if you want to explore Europe as much as possible and have a blast while doing that. That’s precisely the reason why you need to think about your schedule on time and plan every step of your way in as many details as possible, primarily because of two things: this will help you know where you’ll be at all times, and it will also give you a chance to react swiftly in case something goes wrong.
Planning your itinerary sounds like the hardest thing in the world, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you think about your trip to Europe for a while and define precisely what you’d like to see, do, and experience, you shouldn’t have a problem making it all work and fit into your schedule. You just have to be careful and try not to add too many things to your do-to list because that will make your trip feel like a rush, and you won’t be able to enjoy it at all.
Do your research
One of the things people across the world don’t know about Europe is that it’s bigger, richer, and more layered than they can imagine. Whether we’re talking about the history of this continent, its various regions and cultures, or the number of activities you can try doing while you’re there, you need to keep in mind that Europe has so many things to offer to backpackers, regardless of their age and experience. That’s why doing your research and narrowing things down is a must, and you should start doing those things right now if you want to make it all work before you leave your home and start your backpacking adventure.
First, think about the places you’d like to visit. Being so huge and full of locations that are worthy of your time and energy, Europe will give you everything you need, and even more. That’s why you need to make a choice and make sure that you do it wisely. Most people stick to popular tourist locations like Rome, London, Paris, Barcelona, and Berlin, so that’s one way to go. Alternatively, you can choose smaller cities like Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Venice, or the surprisingly exciting Lisbon because these will give you tons of fun and joy. The best thing about backpacking through Europe is the fact that you can use various modes of transportation, including trains, buses, and planes, and that means that you’ll be able to go wherever you want quite easily, so whichever option you go for, you won’t have a problem visiting all your preferred destinations.
Pack your stuff
Unlike traveling by plane or car, backpacking means that you’re taking your backpack with you at all times, and that’s not as simple and easy as it seems. The biggest problem with this approach is the trouble of physically carrying it everywhere you go, and that might end up being rather hard, especially if you’re on the road for weeks and weeks. The other issue is even more challenging and it has to do with the fact that you can’t pack as many clothes and accessories as you’d like to, so you have to be smart when packing your backpack.
Begin this process by choosing some of the most versatile pieces of clothing you have – pants, shorts, shirts, hoodies, and jeans that can be worn in lots of different scenarios and combined with other pieces you may have with you. Depending on the season, you might need a jacket, so make sure you pick a warm one that isn’t too heavy or puffy because you’ll probably be wearing it all day long. Also, think about buying some new compact lightweight clothes that will give you the support you need and keep you dry and warm every single day. Finally, when looking at accommodations and deciding where you’ll be spending your nights, don’t forget to opt for places that have a washer and a drier, or at least a self-service laundry nearby because that will help your clothes stay fresh and clean, which is always better than walking abound feeling dirty.
Keep in touch
Going to a different continent is a huge adventure, regardless of your age and experience, but while you’re living your best life in Europe, keep in mind that your family back home is probably thinking about you quite a lot. That’s why keeping in touch with them is a must, but there’s more benefit of this idea – if you choose to explore Europe with the convenience of a SIM card instead of relying on random Wi-Fi connections you can find here and there, you’ll always know where you are and where you need to go next.
Even though most parts of Europe are very tourist-oriented and there’s no way you can get lots, this isn’t always the case, which is why you need a SIM card to get around. Having proper internet access by your side at all times enables you to access Google Maps or other apps that will help you find your way around Europe, as well as your accommodation, transportation, and food apps you might be using every day. That’s why making this investment makes a lot of sense, so stick to the most reliable offer and enjoy your stress-free backpacking adventure.
Think about your money
This is another huge issue when planning your backpacking adventure – even though Europe isn’t the most expensive place in the world, it’s not the cheapest either. Therefore, you can end up spending quite a lot of money if you stay there for a couple of weeks or a month or two. Depending on your destinations, itinerary, preferred transportation modes, and accommodation, you could spend thousands of dollars, especially if you stick to high-end places in Western Europe.
This is why you need to come up with a financial plan that will prevent you from wasting too much money and not having a chance to get back home on time. You can either go to places that are a bit more cost-effective, like the central and eastern parts of the continent or stick to several budget-friendly hacks that will help you have your cake and eat it too. For instance, you can sleep in hostels instead of hotels, cook your food instead of eating in restaurants, use public transportation instead of taxis, and buy your museum fees in bulk instead of buying them one by one. These things might not sound like a lot at first, but they’ll save you a lot, dollar by dollar, and make your trip to Europe more enjoyable than you could’ve imagined.
Eat local food
If you’re not from Europe, you can’t even imagine all the things you’ll be able to eat while backpacking across this amazing continent. And it doesn’t matter what you’re into and whether you’re a vegan or vegetarian – the food offered in Europe is so huge that you’ll instantly find a few things you’ll want to eat again and again! However, if you want to take your culinary experiences to the next level, there’s just one rule to follow – wherever you go, stick to local cuisine.
What this means is that you should only eat pizza and pasta if you’re in Italy and drink French wine if you’re in France. Eating pizzas in Spain, Poland, or Norway makes no sense at all, and instead of doing that, you should stick to local food – whether it’s paella, seafood, or fish and chips – you can eat only in those parts of Europe. Regional specialties, locally sourced ingredients, and centuries of cooking experience will help you enjoy every corner of Europe you go to, one bite at a time, so don’t be afraid to look for local flavors, street food vendors, and markets where you can find some of the best tastes in your life.
Backpacking through Europe is an adventure of a lifetime and something we should do if we get a chance. With these useful tips, you won’t have a problem turning your dreams into reality, so start checking these things out and making plans today!