So, you’re thinking of taking a backpacking trip across Europe?
Great, you have really exciting 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 comes from being on the road without a care in the world is particularly thrilling and appealing. To make that dream a reality, there are some things you need to do and beware of whilst 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 really.
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 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 an amazing 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 important 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 occasionally mingle with groups that you feel comfortable with. If you’re feeling lost, they can often straighten you. In fact, 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.
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