10 Tips to Help You Backpack Through Europe

In This Article You Will Learn

  • How May You Kickstart Your Trip and Plan Effectively?
  • How Can You Prepare for a Trip regarding Money and Expenses?
  • How Can You Find Cheap Airfare and Accommodation?
  • What Should You Bring on Your Trip?

Get Serious About The Trip and Start Saving

Start thinking about your trip and how realistic you can make it – create your first draft of a budget. Keep in mind airfare alone will set you back anywhere form $650-$1000+ if you’re crossing over the Atlantic. This is a perfect time to start working your ass of plan accordingly. In this article I will show you some key ways to prepare for any trip abroad.

Get Your US Passport

According to the US Department of State, about 36% of Americans hold passports (that are currently valid). When traveling to foreign countries, it is essential to show proven certification of your citizenship. This is vital for when you pass through border security, immigration and customs, and other bureaucratic adventures in your journey. Make sure your passport is updated, and valid. While preparing for my trip to Russia in 2011, I learned my Passport expired two weeks before my visa application deadline!

Getting your US Passport isn’t difficult, you can learn more about it here: How To Get a US Passport


Before you embark on your trip you should make sure you have every legal document correctly in order – your visas especially. In Europe, many countries on Schengen visas – meaning Americans can stay in certain European for up to 90 days before they are required to apply for a residence, worker, or tourism visa.

Define Your Priorities 

Possibly the hardest part is planning or predicting what your trip may look like. One way to make this process easier is to establish a set of priorities – a list of what you wish to get out of the trip, where you wish to go, and keep in mind the timeline you’re running on. Usually backpacking runs on a limited time frame.

Create a Sound Plan and Map Out Your Journey

Log on to Google Maps and start planning now. Figure out the best routes both inside and around the cities. Are there bike trails that may allow for easier (and affordable) transportation? Are there major waterways you have to consider in your local based travels and daily excursions? Perhaps there are underground rails or metro systems that can assist you.

Understand Your Time Frame

To maximize the best backpacking experience, figure out the time frame. How much time will you wish to spend drinking Cheap beer and passing out on Spanish beaches? Or what about dodging tourist traps and traveling through Venice? Keeping your budget in mind, establish the amount of days you want to spend in all these places.

Choosing Your Means of Travel

Often, people have resorted to Eurail passes and lots of walking – as goes for most of Europe. Buses in smaller towns and carpooling can also add some more value to your trip and to help you save time. What is stopping you from taking a trip off the beaten path?

Find Your Crash Spots

Find prices for airfare and your Eurail passes online – and focus your research with tourist attractions and cities in mind. Looking up Couchsurfers to connect with, your AirBnb accomodation, you may be able to craft a list of potential hosts and spots to stay. You can of course book hotels, and save even more money by going to hostels. Hostels aren’t always that bad, as long as you find the right ones that aren’t notorious for bedbugs and gypsies. Check the ratings online – You’ll be OK.

Get Some Plane Tickets

Using Kayak.com, Skyscanner, and a host of other services, you can really narrow down your options for cheap flights overseas. NO matter how cheap you may find it, getting from the US to Europe, or the US to Asia will set you back hundreds of dollars. Check several sites before you buy – some swear by taking early morning flights out, or even flying out on Tuesdays or Wednesday’s can land you cheaper flights. Flexible dates and surrounding airports may make the trip even cheaper.

Google Up ‘Packing lists’

This is a no-brianer, but every trip should start with a check list. By taking only a backpack, you can’t afford to skip out on the basics or the most necessary of items for your trip. Make your backpack as light as possible as you’ll be taking this with you all across the European continent.

TIP! Don’t forget that money clip! Getting used to local currencies can be quite amusing – many funny colored bank notes and pocket change may pose a burden. Have no fear – despite exchange rates and the excessive amounts of bank notes of all sizes you may see, using a magnetic money clip can quickly save you the time and money – literally! Also, it may help with safety as you can keep your credit cards and identification separate from your cash.

Go Abroad

Take all the essential forms of ID – Passport, Credit Cards, Travel Checks, Contact numbers, lists of Hospitals and Embassies in all the cities you go! Make sure you always have a way of contacting someone if you need to. Get a phone card, and an unlocked smart phone.

If possible, you can get a Quadband unlocked 3G capable phone that can be used in just about any country in the world – all you need is a local SIM card and you’re set! Additionally, the 3G will come in handy as a functional internet receiver so you can use GPS, Google Maps, Social media, and whatever you prefer along your journey. Be sure to have a plan of what to do if you lose your cards or get pick-pocketed. Utilize cheap internet cafes for wifi access and get started!

Suggested Reading:

Where Can You Learn More About Going Abroad?

Subscribe, or Contact Trevor at trevorabroad@gmail.com.


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  • Excellent article Trevor. Some very valid points. I would just like to expand on the bit where you mention using a magentic money clip. Although this is a very useful tip for those who are comfortable carrying around big wads of cash around, I usually find that gettinga pre-paid travel card for your trip is much more convenient. You will be able to better keep track of what you spend and is easy to replace should it get lost.

  • I really enjoyed these tips on how to backpack across Europe. Great suggestions!