Backpacking is one of the most exciting ways to explore Europe. It’s fun, it’s cheaper and it allows you to discover Europe from a whole different perspective. Great backpacks for Europe
But needless to say it is a very different way of traveling from the traditional vacation.
It needs a bit more planning, and there are a few good tools that are good to know about before you head out on your trip.
We will go through each of these topics more thoroughly, but here is a quick check list of things to know about when backpacking Europe.
Backpacking Europe Budget Tips
Europe is quite an expensive place to travel in, and while backpacking Europe is by far the cheapest option to explore the continent, it can still turn out pretty expensive.
Food, accommodation and transport are the big money suckers, but there are ways to get it all on a budget.
Backpacking Europe Accommodation
If you are a solo traveler, hostels are the cheapest option when backpacking in Europe. As a rule, the more beds in a dorm room, the cheaper.
When you look for a cheap hostel, also check what is included in the price. Sometimes a hostel might look the cheapest, but they might charge for things that other hostels offer for free, like bed linen, washing machine, towel and breakfast.
If you are a family, you might want to look into renting an apartment. Then you pay for the whole apartment, not per bed, and if the place can fill a family of four it might actually be cheaper than a hostel.
If you want completely free accommodation, the budget of budgets, then couchsurfing is the way to go. Just remember that they expect you to hang out with them and be social, people don’t give a place out without expecting something in return.
And there is always camping.
Backpacking Europe Food
The cost of food is something you simply can’t get away from when backpacking Europe, but by cooking your own food you can get away with 1/3 of the costs from eating at cheap fast food joints.
Again, hostels usually have kitchens, and so do apartments, which will save you a lot of money. However, when you’re out and about you don’t really want to go back to the hostel for dinner and then head out again, and since you’re on a trip after all you might want to splurge a little and try the local food.
Fast food places are obviously the cheapest places to get food, but that does not mean they don’t have local food. In Europe, every country has their own “cheap food” which is still traditional and typical for their country. So just because you want to eat cheap, it doesn’t mean you can’t eat local food.
The number one rule is to stay out of the touristy streets when looking for a place to eat. The further away from the main tourist route, the cheaper it usually is.
How To Travel Around Europe
When backpacking Europe the most popular choice of transport is to go by train.
Backpacking Europe Train
Eurail offers passes in different varieties that will provide free train rides or hefty discounts on train journeys all over Europe.
But before you get your pass, do some research to see if it is worth it for you. The passes are not extremely cheap, but if you will be traveling a lot, it might save you a lot of money.
It also depends on where you go. If you plan on traveling through northern Europe (except Sweden) it is definitely worth it. Southern Europe is more doubtful as almost all trains need a booking fee.
Backpacking Europe Bus
Eurolines is another option which offers similar passes to EuRail but with bus. It is definitely something to look into since it’s a cheap option and it sometimes makes it possible to travel to places trains can’t.
Backpacking Europe Fly
If you want to fly there are several budget airlines that fly all across Europe. Ryanair and Wizzair are two great ones, the latter one connecting eastern Europe to each other as well as to the west.
What To Pack Backpacking Europe
If you plan on doing a lot of flying while backpacking Europe, you will save quite a bit of money but bringing carry-on luggage, as many of the budget airlines charge extra fees for checking in your luggage, and in eastern Europe some bus operators also charge extra for larger bags.
Check out our travel packing list for some tips and advice what to bring when you travel with carry-on luggage.
(photo credit: 1)