Backpacking: How to Plan Your First Trip! w/ Vagabrothers
How to Backpack in Europe on a Budget
A European backpacking trip is one of the most exciting things that a person can do for a vacation. However, being in a new place and venturing into uncharted territories can be scary. Combine this with a limited budget, and it seems almost impossible to do. Luckily, backpacking in Europe isn't so hard if you plan correctly, save money while you're there, and take advantage of the free things that Europe has to offer.
Planning Your Trip
Plan your trip to affordable countries.Different countries and cities across Europe cost varying amounts of money to stay in. Traditionally, staying in Eastern Europe is cheaper than staying in countries in Western Europe. Some of the most affordable cities to vacation in Europe include Sofia in Bulgaria, Kraków in Poland, and Bucharest in Romania. The average price to stay in these cities for a weeknight is less than .
Purchase tickets during the vacation offseason.Purchasing your tickets from mid-November to April is the cheapest time to get them. Avoid planning your trip in mid-June to August because this is the busiest time of the year and tickets can often climb to over ,000.
- Purchasing tickets during the end of December is similar in cost to buying tickets during the peak of vacation season.
Determine your travel route.One of the easiest and most affordable ways to backpack from city to city is to use Europe's advanced rail system.Choose cities in order and go across the continent to visit places you want to experience. You can plot out your trip and purchase tickets in advance, or you can get a discount by buying tickets on each country's individual rail website.
- A train from Berlin to Munich costs around 190 EUR.
- A high-speed train from Bordeaux to Paris costs approximately 95 EUR.
- France's rail website is .
- Austria's rail website is .
- Romania's rail website is .
- As an alternative to rail, you can use ride sharing apps.
Research the cost for your backpacking route.Typical expenses include room and board, food, transportation, airfare, and the cost of admission to events and activities. Before you commit to backpacking, make sure that you write down a detailed list of where you want to go. Do research on the current prices and get an estimate for how much everything should cost.
Pack enough clothes for your trip.In addition to your regular clothes, make sure that you pack extra socks and underwear for your travels. You may not be able to stop and wash your clothes, so choose ones that are good for several different occasions.
- Purchase fast-drying underwear just in case you need to hand wash them.
Pack toiletries and first-aid items.Pack essential items like shampoo, soap, toothpaste, a toothbrush, and razors. In addition to your toiletries, you'll want to pack aspirin, prescription medicine, band-aids, and motion sickness tablets.
- Other non-essential toiletries include makeup, baby wipes, and foot cream.
- If you are using one backpack, make sure it has a lock or anti-theft device to protect you from pickpockets.
Stay at hostels.Hostels are a cheap alternative to motels or hotels while you travel around Europe. Typically staying in a hostel costs somewhere around 18-40 EUR per night. When you book your trip, search for hostels in the area and see how much it costs for a night of lodging. It's important to look up hostels in each of the locations that you're visiting so that you know what to expect when you arrive.
- Hostels in places like London, Paris, and Amsterdam cost anywhere from 20-50 EUR per night.
- Hostels in cities like Dublin, Berlin, and Budapest cost anywhere from 17-30 EUR per night.
Purchase ingredients to cook food rather than eating out.Eating out at restaurants can become a massive expense when you travel. You can avoid this by purchasing ingredients at local grocery stores, farmers markets, or greengrocers. Make sure that you have a place to cook your food.
- Many hostels come with communal kitchen areas where you can cook.
Eat food from street vendors.There are a variety of different vendors that will serve food on the street across Europe. Doner kebabs are popular in Europe and are cheap and delicious.
- Look for vendors that look clean and sanitary, since some countries do not have the same health and safety standards you may be used to.
Walk or use public transit.Instead of grabbing a cab, you should try to walk as much as you can through Europe. If you're staying in a city, this is easier to do than if you are in rural areas of the country. If your destination is too far away to walk to, consider using public rail or bus because it's cheaper than paying for a ride.
- If you are using the train often, consider getting a rail pass for the location you are currently in.
Take advantage of age-related discounts.Many historical sites and museums in Europe have expanded opportunities for people who are students or seniors. In addition to the sights, Rail Europe also provides a senior and a youth discount that could save you money in traveling expenses. Research the things that you're paying for and see if you can take advantage of an age discount.
- The Louvre in France is also free to students under the age of 26.
Finding Free Things to Do
Visit free museums.There are a variety of different museums across Europe that have no fee to enter. For example, in England, you can visit the Natural History Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum for free. Other museums across Europe will charge a fee to enter but will often have a day in the week when there is no charge for admission. Research the different museums you want to visit and find their free admission day.
- For example, The Louvre offers free entry on the first Sunday of the month.
- The Musee du Petit Palais in France is free to enter.
Go on distillery or winery tours.Many countries across Europe have a strong history of creating delicious libations. Some of these distillery or winery tours are free of charge. Find the local distilleries and wineries around where you are staying and inquire about a free tour or tasting.
- Haacht brewery in Belgium offers a free distillery tour and a free tasting.
- There are a variety of free wine tours offered in France.
Visit a free garden.There are gardens across Europe that are free to enter. If you want to see the unique flowers that each country has to offer, consider planning a visit to one of these gardens. The biggest gardens across Europe include Hungary’s Margaret Island, Bloemenmarkt in Amsterdam, and Glasgow Botanic Gardens.
Visit free historical sites.Europe is rich with a diverse and exciting history. Much of the architecture and artifacts from the past are still standing today in protected historical sites. Many of these sites are free to enter. Look online or ask locals to find their locations.
- Free historical sites include the La Seu Cathedral in Barcelona, Filopappou Hill in Athens, and the Astronomical Clock in Prague.
Take in the scenery of the country you're staying in.Instead of doing things that cost money, you can sit back and enjoy the beauty of Europe. You can appreciate the ancient architecture, the fashion, or their unique and interesting customs. Don't feel pressured to see everything that you planned on seeing if you have a limited budget.
Video: BACKPACKING Packing Guide | Europe & Southeast Asia
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