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Things To Remember When Backpacking In The EU

Peschichi, Italy

Peschichi, Italy (photo: David Lee)

Although the idea of living out of a backpack for a few months might seem daunting to some, for many it's the beginning of an exciting adventure.

Backpacking around Europe whether you’re going at it alone or with friends will be a great experience. Europe has so much to offer from vibrant cities to quaint little villages.

Before you leave for your backpacking trip, there will be things you need to plan for like a valid passport, an up-to-date EHIC, which you could get from and photocopies of relevant documents.

Packing: Less is More

The key to packing is to pack as lightly as you can as you'll be carrying that weight around with you for the duration of your trip.

If you adopt a less is more attitude and only pack the essentials (hint: fewer clothes), you'll save your back a lot of stress.

You'll also save money with airlines for not paying extra for overweight luggage or checked bags.

And keep your items safe by padlocking your backpack in whatever way possible.

If you keep a lock on you won't be totally reliant on working storage lockers in hostels, and you'll have an extra measure of protection for trains, buses, and ferries.

Events In Europe

In Europe, there's always some festival, party or event that is happening.

Even if you don’t plan your trip around a particular festival, such as the running of the bulls in Spain, once you arrive in a country you'll easily be able to find out if any local events are happening.

If you do want to plan your trip around popular events, like being in Ireland on St Patrick’s Day, you'll want to plan in advance as the best accommodation is often booked weeks or months in advance.


When it comes to backpacking, traveling and finding places to stay will be the biggest expenses.

If you're planning a short trip, you can book your preferred places online before you leave. Although you may not want to organize everything before you leave home, having a bit of a plan, especially in the beginning, will ensure your trip runs smoothly.

Hostels are the default choice for most backpackers the majority of the time.

Couchsurfing has also grown in popularity since the mid-2000s, but it can be hard to find a place to stay in the most popular cities.

Hostels are budget-friendly, and many feature kitchens, where you can cook your meals to help you further stretch your travel funds.

Use the Trains

If you some sense of where you'll be backpacking, like Northern Europe, then you can easily get a pre-purchased train pass from a company like Eurail.

If you book your passes before you go, it'll allow you to travel to certain countries for a set amount of time which will keep costs down.

If you can make your longest journeys overnight, you'll be able to sleep on the train and will save money on accommodations for some nights too.

Embrace The Local Life

On your trip to Europe, you'll experience some of the world’s greatest cuisines so make sure you savor them.

As you're backpacking, you'll be on a budget, but that shouldn’t stop you as there are many traditional local dishes you can purchase cheaply. Once in a while, don’t forget to splurge now and then.

When you splurge, it may be in the form of eating at a fancy restaurant in Italy or staying in a boutique hotel room for one night.

As well as trying all the locals’ cuisine, why not try and pick up a few phrases.

Most locals will happily teach you a few words, and it's a terrific way to break the ice.


This story was brought to you in partnership with EHIC Applications UK.

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Monday 28th of March 2016

My American friend is a world-traveler and knows the ins and outs of European traveling, which was boosted when she lived in Paris last summer and took numerous weekend trips. She wrote a post about what to pack for weekend trips:

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