Beginner’s Guide to Backpacking
Are you a total beginner to the world of backpacking? Check out our guide for loads of great tips to help you prepare for the experience of a lifetime!
One of the greatest things you can do with your life is to see the world, and backpacking is one of the best ways to do it. 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 helping and being part of those incredible travel moments, 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. Ask yourself: what kind of adventure are you after? Is it a solo or group adventure? What can you absolutely not miss seeing? Here’s some tips for creating your itinerary:
- Determine how long you’ll be travelling
- Make a list of destinations you want to visit
- Open Google Maps, use social media, and create a plan
We recommend at least 2-3 days in each destination. The point of travelling is to relax and see the 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?
If you still find yourself overwhelmed with choice, no worries. Check out our Reiseziele page for inspiration on great places to see!
2. Planning – How Will You Travel?
Once you arrive in Europe, you have to think about how to get around. Luckily, Europe is one of the best connected travel destinations in the world, so you’ll have lots of options for various budgets.
Have you ever heard of ‘Interrailing‘? It basically describes 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 locations with presentation of your Interrail/Eurail pass at check-in!
Have more questions about this deal and Interrail/Eurail? Then click Hier to check out our Beginner’s Guide to Interrail/Eurail.
3. Planning – Where Will You Stay?
You’ve probably heard of, or seen, the infamous, ‘Hostel’ film. While we get asked about it all the time, we promise hostels are nothing like that! In general, hostels are more like social, boutique hotels where you can meet lots of great people. And while they used to have a reputation for only accommodating broke students, hostels have evolved in recent years. Nowadays, guests range from students, to young couples, families, and seniors. Travel doesn’t discriminate, and neither do hostels!
Europe’s Famous Hostels is a network of hostels with over 25 years experience. Our locations offer something special, so you can expect the following perks at many of locations:
- Private rooms, dorms, penthouse suites
- Free activities & meals
- Swimming pools, hot tubs, saunas*
- In house & rooftop bars
- Discounts on local activities
And all of our partner hostels offer clean and safe facilities.
*Not all locations offer these facilities, so check each hostel before expecting one!
This is where even experienced of travellers can use some help. The first thing you need to decide is what kind of luggage you want. While it might seem like a good idea to travel with a suitcase, we highly recommend purchasing a travel backpack. If you’re not sure where to start, 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
- Make a list of all the things you’ll need, from clothes to toiletries.
- Lay out all your items and choose from there. Pick versatile things to lighten your load.
- Roll your items to save space when packing, and wear your heaviest items on board
- Before even going to the airport, make sure all your items for carry on are easily accessible to make the security screening process less stressful.
The hardest things to decide on are usually footwear and coats/jackets. All we can say is that whatever you pack, ensure you are going to want to walk in them for days on end. Regardless of when you travel, we do recommend bringing a pair of flip flops so you can walk around your room and bathroom facilities comfortably.
The less you have to carry around, the easier travelling will be! Keep in mind that many hostels offer laundry facilities, so you can wash your clothes while you’re on the road.
4. Inform Yourself & Prepare for Takeoff!
One of the best tips we can offer in a beginners guide to backpacking is to do your research. Will you be able to withdraw from your bank while abroad? Will you need a special phone plan? What about a Visa or vaccine records?
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 copies of your passport on hand. It’s never a bad thing to be prepared for the worst, but we’re pretty confident you’ll have a great adventure.
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. While this won’t necessarily protect you from a potential robbing situation, it could at least save you a few bucks!
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 – we encourage you to be open to new connections. You never know who you might meet!
6. Walk or Cycle around
This is one of our greenest tips in our beginner’s guide to backpacking. 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! For example, cities like Paris, London, and Berlin are huge and are best seen with a bike. Try renting a bike or e-scooter instead – your hostel might even have something!
7. Enjoy As the Locals Do
One of the best things you can do to make your adventure as authentic as possible is to do as the locals do. Avoid the tourist traps and check out the spots that make it a home for the people who live there. Not only will this give you a special insight to the city, it will also be a huge cash saver for you. After all, do you really think locals pay 5€ for a beer? Hardly! If you want to know where to go, ask the receptionists at your hostel for insider tips.
8. Speak the Local Language
While this certainly isn’t necessary, locals will notice and appreciate if you at least try! There are certain words like, ‘hello’, ‘please, and ‘thank you’ you can easily learn, and we’re sure it will help you have a more enjoyable experience. However, it’s likely most of your destinations will have lots of people who speak English, so you won’t be totally lost if you don’t pick up any of the local languages.
9. Be flexible and have fun!
No trip ever went off without a hitch, so don’t panic when it happens to you. Whether it’s a delayed train, bad weather, or a smashed phone screen, try and see the silver lining in the situation. At least you smashed your phone in Europe and not at the same club you’ve been frequenting every weekend for years, right? You want this to be a trip to remember, so take it all in stride and enjoy every minute. If we didn’t mention this, we’d feel like this would be a pretty dishonest beginner’s guide to backpacking.
Beginner’s Guide to Backpacking
We hope you’ve enjoyed our Beginner’s Guide to Backpacking, and it’s helped you plan your adventure. The most important thing on any adventure is to enjoy every minute and to be open to new experiences. While we all want the perfect trip to unfold, things can go wrong, but learning to flow with it can lead you to even greater adventures!
If you’re looking for more information to help you plan, click Hier. Our blog ranges from city guides, to food guides, travel tips, and more, all in an effort to inspire your next getaway. For all the latest news at Famous Hostels, follow us or subscribe on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Youtube.