Everyone wants to live the dream of getting “On the Road,” Kerouac style. We dream of hitting the asphalt and running hard into the sunset, not caring where we end up or where we're going.
Well, we might be a long way separate from the Beat Generation, but that doesn't mean we can't reproduce an authentic traveling experience in Europe.
Here are a few examples of how to travel in style and for free and three hidden travel essentials that can save you money and time.
The most obvious way to travel for free is to hitchhike. There are many great advantages to hitching, including the potential to meet new friends, hear and share exciting stories, and, of course, cover a great many miles for absolutely nothing!
Of course, there are pitfalls. There's always a risk that you might meet some unsavory characters, and you're putting your safety at risk by entering into their car and going on a journey with them.
But hitchhiking is a lot more common than many may think, particularly in Eastern Europe. So, what are you waiting for? Get out to Europe and experience the true meaning of being on the road!
There is a slightly different, 21st-century option to traditional hitchhiking, and that comes in the form of carpooling, using sites such as Liftshare and BlaBlaCar.
These platforms allow you to arrange a lift in advance with, what should be, trusted members of the wider community!
A similar concept is that of Couchsurfing, which works in the same way, only in that instead of sharing a lift, a host will give you accommodation for the night.
Another great but very tricky way to travel for free is to get sponsorship or payment as a travel writer or blogger.
This can be done by writing to various magazines or companies and pitching your idea and why you are qualified to do the job.
No matter how you travel, there are some absolute essentials that every adventure must begin with.
There are the obvious ones, like your passport or your pants and socks, but here are a couple of hidden essentials you may not always remember.
1. EHIC – the European Health Insurance Card covers you for medical injury anywhere in Europe, so it's a vital thing to carry on you at all times, just in case one of your daily adventures goes all wrong. Your EHIC card, (also known as an EU health card or formerly an E111 card) may need renewal before you leave, so make sure you visit an EHIC renewal site.
2. Cash Passport – instead of taking all your money in cash or risking huge charges on your debit card while using it abroad, get a cash passport. They're usually free, and the charge to withdraw money abroad or use it in stores is minimal.
3. Microfiber towel – an odd one, but a godsend. These beauties pack into a tiny bag and dry super-fast. A traveling must-have!