Europe is a destination that boasts a rich and fascinating history as well as diverse culture, fabulous attractions, and incredible sights. One of the best ways to get to know Europe is by backpacking across it and getting up close and personal with all that this destination has to offer. When you backpack through Europe you will enjoy an unforgettable and exciting experience – and with some prior preparation you can make the most of your trip.
Forward planning: The first thing to do is decide how long you will be going for, as this will enable you to create some sort of itinerary and work out your budget. You will also be able to ensure that you have the necessary paperwork by working out the length of your stay. You also need to decide when you are going to be travelling. Of course summer gives you the better weather, but then it is also the busiest time. Winter is not as busy and is cheaper, but you will find that some attractions and places may be closed. Spend some time working out your travel and accommodations costs based on your itinerary so that you know how much you will be left with to spend each day.
Packing: If ever there were a time to travel light, this would be it! The last thing you want when backpacking through Europe is to be dragging a load of luggage along with you. This is a time where you have to learn to be very selective about what you take, and you should base your packing on the time of year that you go as well as on the destinations to which you plan to travel. Of course, you may not be planning your destinations in advance, but make sure that you take the essentials rather than trying to cram your whole wardrobe into your backpack. Also, make sure that you invest in a very good quality backpack that is comfortable, as you are likely to be putting it through its paces.
Get your documentation: Of course, you will need the usual paperwork and documentation before you go, such as your passport and your plane tickets for the first leg of your trip. However, there are other optional things you may want to invest in such as a Youth Hostel International Card to get you into hotel accommodations in various European destinations, or if you are a student you could get an International Student Identity Card, which could mean some excellent discounts whilst you are travelling. Have a look into what is available based on your needs and circumstances. Also, don't forget your currency – always try and take as little cash as possible and stick with travellers checks, as these can be replaced if they get lost of stolen.
Get a Eurorail pass: This is a pass that you can buy in advance, and since you will be relying heavily on the train system when you get to Europe, the Eurorail pass is an excellent way to save a little money and be prepared. This pass covers seventeen European destinations, and the cost will depend on the length of time that you will be using the pass.
Your backpacking experience around Europe will be one that you remember for many years to come, and by preparing effectively for your trip you will make it an experience that you want to repeat in the future.