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6 Common Sense Tips for a Successful European Trip

The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany

The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany (photo: David Lee)

So, you're thinking of taking a backpacking trip across Europe?

Great, you have exhilarating days ahead. It's not always easy to follow your dream and explore multiple countries on foot with nothing but your backpack.

The joys and freedom that come from being on the road without a care in the world are particularly thrilling and appealing. 

To make that dream a reality, there are some things you need to do and beware of while on the road.

1. Always Make Sure of Your Safety

Safety is key. Most people are generally kind and would probably like to help you.

So, during your trip, you'll often find that you'll need to hitch a ride, meet new people, and make new friends. 

That's all fine. But, there are a few unscrupulous elements who just want to rob you of your belongings.

While I'm not saying you should be paranoid, looking over your shoulder all the time, you'll probably sense it when someone is following you.

If you notice that, get to the nearest police station or dash into a shop and ask the clerk or receptionist how to contact the police.

2. Pack an Emergency Supply Kit

During your trip, you might have to stay in a hostel or somewhere crowded.

Make sure to always carry an emergency kit of sorts, nothing fancy.

Maybe just an antifungal cream, some bandage, and methylated spirit, in case you unintentionally cut or bruise yourself. 

If you don't have access to a methylated spirit, just about any spirit will do.

3. Know the Layout and Read the Maps

Get an updated map. Thanks to Google maps, that's easy these days. But you also need to have physical maps for when there's no 3G connection outside that small village in France.

If you feel like you're lost or going around in circles, chances are you probably are.

Ask the locals, preferably the police, for directions on where to go and how to get back on track.

4. Travel Light

Europe is a fantastic continent, and you'll mostly find everything you need on the road. There's no need to carry excess luggage.

If you want to travel fast and far, take only the most essential things.

You'd be surprised how little you need to travel internationally, whether for a few weeks, or even months.

5. Find Groups

Chances are that you'll find people who share similar backpacking interests on the road and become fast friends with them. That's okay. There's comfort in numbers.

Even if your intention is a solo backpacking trip, be sure to mingle with groups that you feel comfortable with occasionally. If you're feeling lost, they can often straighten you.

I feel it's always better to approach a fellow backpacker for advice on directions than some of the locals.

6. Arrive in Cities During the Day

The best time to arrive in cities is during the day. This will improve your chances of settling in, finding everything you should, and, most importantly, having a place to stay.

To save some cost, you should probably look for late holiday deals online as soon as you can find an internet café or a wireless network.

That's it. Follow these common-sense tips, and you'll have a fantastic backpacking trip.


This post was brought to you by Owners Direct.

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Lovely In Dirt

Wednesday 23rd of October 2013

I found out the hard way how great your advice is. Having backpacked Europe a couple of times I have made many of those mistakes.

Learning who to trust is actually really difficult. There are plenty of pickpockets and people with ill intentions, but if you are too guarded then you might miss out on pretty spectacular experiences and friendships. I met some wonderful people by stepping out and taking a chance. I'd say that if you can find people to do activities with in groups, there is safety in numbers.

If I could do it all over again, I'd pack a medical kit with things like Tylenol and cold medicine. I assumed that items like that would be available in Europe, but unless you're in an English speaking country, it's really hard to read the generic labels of their medicines.

Happy trails!


Tuesday 22nd of October 2013

great tips... you forgot... have fun!!!


Monday 21st of October 2013

Great tips. And I would recomend to everyone to visit Sebia and EXIT Festival..

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