Are you feeling tired of the quarantine and looking forward to being able to travel again? If you haven’t tried it yet, why not plan a backpacking trip across Europe? With some European countries already starting to open their borders to tourists, now is as a good a time as any to make plans for a backpacking trip.
You could always do the typical tourist thing and pick one destination on the map, book a flight and a hotel room, and enjoy the sights, but where’s the fun in that? There’s no age limit when it comes to backpacking, and it gives you a sense of freedom and open-mindedness that staying in a posh hotel never could.
So bring your sense of adventure, and let’s plan your backpacking trip together!
The Planning Stage
Firstly, pick the European country that you would like to visit the most. This is the first place you can work around from. This won’t necessarily be your first destination because we suggest that the first place you visit is the one with the cheapest airfare. You’ve hit the jackpot if your first destination of choice also happens to be the one with the cheapest airfare. From your original destination, you can take trains, bikes, or planes to visit other European destinations.
Secondly, consider how much time you are planning on traveling. This would dictate how many countries you could fit into your trip. Ideally, you’d want to be able to travel for a month or longer to appreciate the adventure of backpacking. Still, if you can only take a couple weeks’ worth of vacation, you can fit in two to three countries in your itinerary.
Finally, don’t over-research. Sometimes it can be tempting to do thorough research of all the places that you are visiting. Once you’ve mapped out your destination countries and booked your airfare, stop the research. Part of the thrill of backpacking is venturing into the unknown and not having any concrete plans. Embrace that way of thinking, and you’ll be ready for the execution stage.
The Execution Stage
One of the daunting things about going backpacking (and one that stops most people in their tracks) is the idea of figuring out what to bring. A large suitcase is easy enough to fill, but how do you know you have the right gear with you if you’re going backpacking? Here are some essentials:
- Backpack – You’re going to need one. Things you need to look out for when choosing the right bag includes the material, the construction, and the size. Go for ones with a lot of padding and a lot of compartments.
- Clothes and Toiletries – Keep it to a minimum. A few shirts, some underwear and socks, a couple of pairs of jeans and shorts, and a pair of sneakers and flip-flops should serve you well. Don’t forget your toothpaste, toothbrush, and sunblock.
- Medical Kit – You never know what kind of emergency you’ll encounter, and it never hurts to be prepared. Pack a small first aid kit to make sure you’re ready for minor aches and pains.
Another thing you should do at this stage is to seek affordable accommodation on the first leg of your trip. There should be plenty in the area, especially if it’s a country that’s used to having a lot of backpackers. As for the rest of your trip, you can continue to find hostels or try couchsurfing for a real taste of adventure.
The Adventure Stage
So you’ve finally reached your destination. What do you do now? Wing it. If you’re staying at a hostel, you’re there with fellow backpackers. Talk to them. Make friends and see what they’re up to. They might have some inside info on places for cheap eats, parties to go to, and sights to see. But most of all, if you make friends with them now, you might gain companions for the rest of your backpacking trip. Be flexible and see where the open road will take you.