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Backpacking In Europe
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Some individuals decide to enter into Europe blindly without a strategy or destination in mind, thats fine if you have an idea of where you ‘d like to go backpacking. Some adhere to Western Europe, some to Eastern Europe, some traverse the entire continent on a rail pass, and others check out one or two nations more thoroughly.
Get your Gear
Think you can go backpacking in Europe with absolutely nothing but the t-shirt on your back? There are a few basic elements you’ll need to take with you on your backpacking journey.
Dressing for comfort and for fashion is vital in Europe. Home to fashion capitals of the world like Paris and Rome you need to be looking your best on the road while simultaneously being ready for adventure at a moment’s notice.
Mix and match outfit combinations are the best way forward as well as packing light. Wherever you are in Europe you will never be too far from a shopping mall where you can top up with anything you may need. There’s no need to pack for every eventuality…just most!
Guys and girls listen up, shirts are a great shout for backpacking in Europe. By packing shirts you give yourself the option of having a formal outfit or a more relaxed look. If you are heading to Europe with adventure in mind then be sure to buy loose fitting, quick dry shirts that you can wash and hang out to dry overnight ready for tomorrow’s explorations.
Packing a couple of t-shirts in your backpack is essential. Contrary to popular belief the weather in Europe is pleasant and warm the majority of the time and is certainly considered ’t-shirt weather’. Easy to wash and taking up little space in your bag t-shirts are a backpacking Europe essential.
Bringing one pair of jeans with you when travelling is highly advised. Like with the shirts, you can dress jeans up or down depending on the occasion. What’s more, they are durable and warm which is perfect for steady day hikes or city-bound adventures in the winter months.
Europe is a hiker’s paradise and as such a pair of hiking trousers are certainly an essential item. Purchasing a pair of hiking trousers that zip off into shorts is worth thinking about; the more versatile your travel wardrobe the better.
Socks and Underwear
Generally, five days worth of socks and underwear will see you right during your travels. Many travellers only wear flip-flops while on the road, if you’re part of that gang then just two pairs of socks will be enough!
We said the weather in Europe is generally good, we meant it, but the nights can get chilly. Chuck a jumper or sweater in your backpack for those cooler evenings.
It may well be that you have no intention of venturing near the water during your backpacking trip to Europe. Regardless, packing your swimming gear is always a good idea. You never know when you might find a secluded waterfall or be invited to a rooftop pool party.
Like we mentioned, if you are happy in your flip-flops then stick to what you know. However, a pair of hiking boots would be a good idea, especially for long days wandering around ancient cities. Trainers provide a more fashionable look if hiking boots are too bulky for your taste.
2) Toiletries and Other Essentials
Toothpaste and Brush
Face Cleansing Products
Painkillers (Paracetamol and Ibuprofen)
Vitamins (for an immune system boost on the road)
Basic First Aid Kit
Other Essentials to consider;
Electronics – Camera, Laptop, Smartphone and Tablet
Universal Adaptor Plug
Clear, resealable plastic bags.
3) Travel Documents
Passport and Photocopies
Wherever you travel bringing your passport is the most important item you will ever carry with you. Your passport is your golden ticket. Make a few photocopies in case you lose your passport or need to provide ID when hiring a car for example.
Do not leave home without travel insurance. This, next to your passport, is the most important item on your backpacking Europe packing list. You just never know what might happen and it is always good to know that you are covered for every eventuality.
Although traveller’s cheques have become a thing of the past bringing ample cash with you may help you save money by eliminating the need to use foreign ATMs and racking up huge bank charges. While travelling in Europe carry Euros rather than US dollars as your baseline currency.
Per Day Budget plan
Make sure to prepare an overall spending plan for your backpacking journey. Around $40 USD per day is fairly realistic, but this will differ from country to country and even city to city.
Accommodations & Transportation
Hostels are the accommodation option for most backpackers in Europe. However Airbnb is becoming very popular. There nothing like living on the fly, making it up as you go. And I’m not going to say it’s bad or good. But I will say that in my experience a little bit of booking ahead made the journey smoother.
Search for low-cost flights to Europe (search online or go through your travel representative)– student travel agencies and student airline tickets finders are excellent places to start. Get a rail pass when you’re in Europe, especially if your backpacking experience takes you through a number of countries. Trains make an excellent choice, too.
Much of Europe speaks English as a 2nd (or Third or 4th or fifth) language, it’s helpful for you to discover a couple of crucial expressions in the languages of the countries you’ll be going to.
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What Does Backpacking Europe Cost?
It is fair to say that Europe is one of the more expensive continents to backpack around. That said, you can experience Europe on a shoestring budget and still have the time of your life. Putting pre-trip expenses aside, you can travel Europe for around $30 a day. If you can, allocate a little more. Say $50 a day, especially in western European nations like France, the UK and Germany would see you live a little more comfortably.
Before you even leave home there are expenses to take into consideration. Flights from home to Europe can be super cheap. Search for flights using price comparison sites to get yourself the best deal.
If you chose to inter-rail around Europe then you must buy your train tickets in advance. Multi-stop tickets start from as little as $50.
As we mentioned earlier travel insurance is a backpacking Europe essential item and you can get covered for as little as $1 a day, there really are no excuses!
Trip Daily Expenses
Your daily travel budget should make allowances for food, accommodation, transport, and entrance to attractions. Many travellers set themselves a drinking budget too. You can save money on accommodation by staying in hostels. Hostels in Europe have really upped their game in the past few years and many are now a destination in their own right.
You can save yourself money on food by cooking your own food. Many hostels now offer their guests use of the kitchen. Stock up on pasta and rice and buy yourself fresh vegetables at each stop, this is the perfect way to stay healthy and under budget while exploring Europe.