The Beginner’s Guide to Backpacking!
Are you dreaming of a backpacking trip through Europe but feel intimidated by the process? We want to help you achieve your travel dreams! We at Europe’s Famous Hostels are all about genuine backpacking experiences, so here’s our beginner’s guide to backpacking!
1. Planning – Where will you go?
The first thing you need to do is decide where you want to go! Europe has millions of destinations, but it’s impossible to see all of them. Here’s some tips for creating your itinerary:
- Determine how long you’ll be travelling for
- Make a list of destinations you want to visit
- Open Google Maps & create a plan
We recommend at least 2-3 days in each destination. The point of travelling is to relax and see things you’ve always dreamed of. Because let’s be honest: if it’s your dream to see the Colosseum but you don’t have enough time to go INSIDE, then did you really satisfy your dream?
Still overwhelmed with choice? Check out our destinations page!
2. Planning – How will you go?
Have you ever heard of Interrailing? It basically describe travelling around Europe by train, which is one of the easiest and greenest ways to get around!
Europe’s Famous Hostels has partnered up with Interrail/Eurail to help you see Europe, and save! You get a 10% discount at all Famous Hostels with presentation of your Interrail/Eurail pass at check-in!
Have more questions about this deal and Interrail/Eurail? Check out our Beginner’s Guide to Interrail/Eurail.
Check out our posts here to answer all your questions!
3. Planning – Where will you stay?
Travel & accommodation will be the biggest expenses on our travels. But hostels make them MUCH cheaper! This is a pretty good tip in our beginner’s guide to backpacking.
You’ve probably heard of, or seen, the infamous, ‘Hostel’ film. We promise it’s nothing like that! Hostels are more like social, boutique hotels. And they’re for everyone, despite the idea they’re only for broke students! Don’t believe us? We’ve even written a post debunking all these misconceptions.
While all of our locations offer something special, you can expect the following perks at many of partners:
- Private rooms & dorms
- Free activities & meals
- Swimming pools, hot tubs, saunas*
- In house bars & rooftop bars
- Discounts on local activities
And all of our partner hostels offer safety & clean facilities.
*Not all of them offer these facilities, so check each hostel before expecting one!
This is where even the most experienced of travellers always seem to mess up. First thing you need to decide is what kind of luggage you want. Check our post on the best travel backpacks! Here’s our best tips to help you determine what you need:
- Research weather patterns & activities you want to do in your destinations
- Lay out all your items and choose from there. Pick versatile things to lighten your load!
- Be open to buying things on your travels. Europe is full of fun vintage markets with unique items.
The less you have to lug around, the easier travelling will be! And remember, our hostels offer laundry facilities, so you can do laundry!
Shoes will be the hardest part. Honestly. Whatever you pack, just make sure you’re going to want to walk in them for days on end!
Still not sure what to pack? We have a post for that!
4. Inform Yourself & Prepare for Takeoff!
Do you need to switch your currency? Will your phone work? Will you need a Visa?
To avoid any stress on your trip, make sure to inform yourself on your destinations. We recommend saving screenshots of your booking confirmations, and having scans of your passport on hand. You won’t have to rely on wifi to find your booking number, and a scan can help in the unlikely situation you lose your passport!
5. Protect your Money
In most places, you can easily access your bank account via an ATM without paying crazy transaction fees. Check with your bank to see if they have any partners in your destination as they usually offer better exchange rates.
If you’re keen on carrying your cash, the only tip we can give is to distribute it throughout your luggage. But this won’t necessarily protect you from a potential robbing situation.
6. Don’t be shy!
One of the best parts of your travels will be the people you’ll meet along the way. While not everyone will be your cup of tea (and vice versa!), it’s pretty hard to go on a backpacking adventure through Europe and NOT make friends. Whether you’re travelling solo or with a friend – be open to new friendships. You never know who you might meet!
6. Walk or Cycle around
European cities are designed with the pedestrian and cyclist in mind! You can easily walk around most cities without exhausting yourself. But this doesn’t apply everywhere! Cities like Paris, London, and Berlin are huge. Try renting a bike or e-scooter instead! Your hostel might even have something! A handy tip in our beginner’s guide to backpacking.
7. Enjoy the city as locals do
Do as the locals do! After all, they manage to live there without spending loads of cash! Ask other travellers and staff for local tips on things to do. It’ll be cheaper than the main tourist sites.
8. Speak the local language
Even if you only manage to learn a few words in French, German, or Czech, it’ll still be nice to drop your knowledge in front of the locals! While they’ll (mostly) understand you won’t be capable of a full on conversation, the effort will be appreciated nonetheless!
9. Be flexible and have fun!
No trip ever went off without a hitch, so don’t panic when it happens to you. Try and see the silver lining in the situation, and have fun! We want this to be a trip to remember! I mean, what’s a beginner’s guide to backpacking without honesty?!
And that’s our Beginner’s Guide to Backpacking!