6 Essential Tips for Backpacking Through Europe
For most backpackers, the ultimate dream trip is a tour across Europe. But obviously, such a journey cannot be taken lightly.
It requires a solid amount of planning and careful packing to be successful and rewarding. Here are the six essential things to keep in mind if you’re going to attempt such a voyage.
Travel in season
The winters can be brutal across much of Europe, and your exciting trip can turn utterly miserable in less than a week.
You’ll also want to think about whether you wish to be out there during the height of tourist season. When school gets out and families are packing up for vacation, serious solo travelers typically regard that period as the worst time to wander.
Instead, try planning to roam when autumn arrives. There will still be plenty of pleasant weather conditions for your travel as well as beautiful scenery when the leaves turn and begin to fall.
As long as you plan and pack for the weather, you should be in great shape for your trip.
Get in good physical condition
You’ll be walking a lot — probably more than you expect. You’ll also be lugging around a heavy backpack. That isn’t something you can do easily without a little physical training.
At least two months before you head to Europe, hit the gym. Work on strengthening your core and back muscles, and ramp up your cardio resistance.
You might also consider doing a shorter backpacking trip closer to home before leaving to make sure you can handle the physical demands. A backpacking trip in the wild would make the perfect practice run to see how well you can handle walking for hours at a time and sleeping outdoors when there’s nowhere else to stay.
Take a guide
There may be areas of your trip where you could use a guide to help you navigate the more remote areas. You could book an expert ahead of time through sites like Tripadvisor, or simply ask the locals when you get there.
However, you’ll want to be careful about doing this. It’s easy to get cheated out of your money if you aren’t careful about whom you pay to guide you around.
Book accommodations ahead of time
You won’t always know where you’re going to be when it’s time to sleep, but if you can plan ahead, try to arrange for accommodations in advance. It can be very costly to have to pay for a hotel on the very night you want to stay there, so reserving ahead should save you money.
Booking ahead of time will also help you get more out of the backpacking experience. You can save a room at quaint hostels or cute countryside bed and breakfasts. This is also part of the European experience, and you can miss out on it if you don’t plan ahead.
Though you’ll be walking a great deal of the trip, there will occasions on which you’ll take public transportation. The best option is to take the train as often as possible.
It’s the most cost-effective form of transportation, and it still allows you to see much of the countryside. You’ll also want to ride a double-decker bus at least once, just for the experience.
Enjoy the journey
Above all, don’t forget to enjoy the experience. Spend time planning before you leave, but once you’re there, don’t obsess about covering all the bases and just enjoy yourself.
When something goes wrong, try not to let it bother you. Jump into problem-solving mode, and don’t allow stress get the better of you. This will be one of the most enjoyable trips you ever take as long as you prepare ahead of time and relax once you get there.