Not many experiences are as exciting as a backpacking trip through Europe.
Nevertheless, it’s important to be prepared before starting your trip, although getting ready may seem daunting. Below we share some tips that will make it easier for you to enjoy any travel.
What about a hostel?
As the grown man you are, you may think hostels are no place for you. But that’s not true, hostels aren’t just for youngsters. Older travellers book rooms in hostels more a more due to the rise in hotel prices and, at the moment they arrive at the hostel, they come across private rooms and bathrooms, clean beds and no-reservation-needed accommodation in hostels all around the world.
By definition, hostels aren’t more than a bunch of uncomfortable trenches used as dorms. However, hostels are much more popular nowadays. So, the trendiest hostels have broadened the hostel definition to include private suites, fabulous meals, fashionable decoration, swimming pools and even clean-up service. Check out Famous Hostels association’s list of the best hostels of Europe.
Travel by train
Travelling by train is still the best choice and you’ll get to see the diversity of Europe’s landscapes. Plus, if you take advantage on Europe’s Famous Hostels’ discounts, you’ll save a lot of money. The Interrail Global Pass or its counterpart, the Eurail Pass, allow you to travel to almost any country. Therefore, check your travel budget and the time you have and, then, choose a corner of the continent to start your journey. Afterwards, you should consider taking a budget plane to anywhere else to repeat this unforgettable experience.
Be aware that you can buy anything you want once you arrive at your destination. So, if you think you need an extra T-shirt, you can buy one at a local market and it’ll be cheaper than the one you would have bought back in your hometown.
Shoes are a delicate matter, especially for the ladies, since one extra pair can add up to one kilo to your backpack. In our opinion, you’ll only need a great pair of everyday shoes, walking boots or trainers, a pair of flip flops and a pair of classy shoes to hang out. If you fancy the latest fashion trends, throw away a pair of shoes and buy another one instead of adding one extra pair to your pack.
Remember: No one’s going to judge your style while you travel and, probably, you won’t meet the same people more than two days. Therefore, don’t worry about wearing the same clothes several days in a row or about having a little stain on your clothes. No one will care!
Do your research
Despite a backpacking trip should be something spontaneous, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your research before travelling. Taking a look at travel guides not only will give you ideas on how to organize your trip, but also, it’ll leave you waiting anxiously for the moment to start travelling.
Keep your money close
You should only carry the essential cash, credit cards and valuables. For example, instead of carrying around the latest generation smartphone, try using a more basic, cheaper and functional phone that will catch much less attention from thieves.
Don’t be lazy and walk!
Don’t let the comfort of a cab ride dazzle you. There are milestone fares and you’ll have to tip the driver. Besides, taxi drivers will sometimes take you through the “scenic route” to boost the price or they will simply overcharge you. If you want to go somewhere that’s too far to go by foot, then take the public transport line that can take you there. Buses and trains are cheap and, usually, reliable.
Eat and enjoy the city as locals do
Go were locals go, eat what locals eat and, on Friday nights, do what locals do. Make a list of the free interesting things to do at your destination, such as going to parks and gardens or going window-shopping. Take advantage on free tours, but remember that you are supposed to tip de guide, and search for tourist attractions that offer discounts on certain days, especially museums and theatres, or student discounts.
Speak the local language
Speak the local language, even though you might be concerned about being criticised by native speakers for butchering their language. By the way, the opposite is more likely to happen. People usually appreciates foreigner efforts to embrace their language and culture (despite how badly your accent sounds).
In the end, what matters is making your trip worth the trouble. Take more photos than it’d be necessary, break out your comfort zone, visit cities you’ve never been to, try foods you’ve never tried before and meet people from cultures you know nothing about. Don’t hesitate in talking with local storeowners, your hostel manager or other travellers. You’d be surprised if you knew how many people you can meet during your trip. In fact, you should talk to other travellers, since they’ll give you the best travel advices.
Be flexible and have a nice time!
During your trip, you’ll face troubles sometimes, so learn from the pain and keep going on. It’s highly probable that you’ll encounter a couple of roadblocks, your flight gets delayed, you find a great tourist attraction shut down or that the hostel you wanted to stay at is fully booked. However, that doesn’t mean that you won’t have the perfect trip.