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Travel is a desire that beats within the hearts of all of us. The yearning to see another land, to explore a new place, to encounter its people. Travel is good for the heart. It takes us outside of ourselves and forces us to broaden our limited views. Our perspective grows when we discover that there are countless people around this planet living lives—some just like us, and others completely different.
It is humbling to see this, and know that ours is not the only way there is to live.
Many people have a strong desire to visit Europe, especially Americans. For most of us, it is the home of our ancestry. We have read so much about it in the history books, we feel compelled to see it for ourselves.
And we should. Europe is old. The architecture is striking and oftentimes like nothing we have ever seen anywhere else in the world. The churches are breathtaking, and oh so numerous. It is a veritable walk through an art history book, exploring Europe. Evidence of humanity’s great triumphs in art, architecture, and civilization is present all around us. Go and see for yourself.
1. Have a Plan, But Be Prepared To Change That Plan
Backpacking through Europe is an exciting venture, but it requires flexibility, especially when doing it on a budget. It’s a great idea to make a loose itinerary of where you want to travel, and for how long, etc., but playing it by ear can often land you with excellent deals. It also gives you the freedom to pursue any once-in-a-lifetime adventure that comes along.
2. Lay Out Everything You Think You’ll Need, Then Only Pack Half
The worst mistake you can make when backpacking through Europe is packing too much. Part of the appeal of a backpacking trip is the mobility and flexibility you have on your trip. Packing too much will weigh you down, both physically and spiritually. You don’t want to be slowed down by your aching back. Pack light, and let the fun begin!
3. Forget Souvenirs
Forget purchasing tacky souvenirs from the tourist shops. Not only will these overpriced items cut deeply into your budget, but they take up precious space in your travel backpack. Although I think the best souvenirs are memories, you can buy or keep small mementos, such as ticket stubs, from special moments of your trip.
4. Opt For Eastern Europe
If you want to see Europe on a budget, Eastern Europe is your most inexpensive option. Many people choose to see the “big” sights of Western Europe, but these countries can be pricey. Eastern European countries, such as Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic, are incredible places with tons of history and natural and architectural beauty. Make your trip more unique by including some of these countries.
5. Stay in Hostels
Speaking of hostels, if you’re backpacking through Europe on a budget, you’ll need to stay in them. Hostels are awesome! You get to meet plenty of amazing people, and your basic needs are provided for you: bed, shower, and often, free breakfast. Nothing compares to the hostel experience.
6. Bring About 7 Outfits
It can be tough to know what to pack for several weeks or months in Europe. The best method is to pack many neutral items (tops & bottoms) that can be combined in various ways. Black, grey, and tan work best for these kinds of versatile outfits, and you can add a pop of color with a scarf or something if you get bored. As a bonus, these muted tones will help keep you from standing out as a tourist. Pack enough items to provide you with 7 different outfits.
7. Pack Laundry Detergent
Since you aren’t packing that many items of clothing, you will need to wash them every week or so. Heading to a Laundromat is too costly. Make sure you pack a small tube of travel laundry soap/detergent. This enables you to wash your clothes by hand in the sink of your hostel. You can then hang them over the edge of your bunk bed while they dry. Voila!
8. Eat Street Food
Street food is the most delicious food on earth, and also can save you money. In Prague, grab a sausage. In Rome, grab a slice of amazing pizza. In Paris, grab a baguette. You can save so much money by not sitting down at a restaurant for a meal. This is the number one drain of funds for most travelers.
9. Try Bus Travel
Although less comfortable, and often a longer journey, bus travel can save you Euros. You will need to do your research, however, as bus schedules are harder to find and understand, and sometimes train travel can be comparable, in certain areas. The moral of the story is, be open to alternate modes of transportation if they will save you money!
10. Use Hostel Booking Apps
When planning your next destination, use a smart phone app to book your hostel. It saves time and is super easy to use. You can research hostel options right for your phone, to find the cheapest and best option for your stay. I recommend Hostel World or Hostelbookers.
To read all 50 Tips please view the book on Amazon that is available for free with Amazon Prime. In the book you will find all 50 Things to Know and other resources.