HOW TO BACKPACK EUROPE: MY STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE
Europe in the summer can be a nightmare. It’s the most popular time to visit the continent. There are tourists EVERYWHERE! Yet, despite that, it’s still one of my favorite times of the year to visit (May and October are really the best, though). During the summer, the hostels brim with life, the heat makes those beaches pop, and the sparkle of the Mediterranean in the mid-day July sun is like a diamond. Throw in some festivals and you have the recipe for one of the busiest tourist seasons out there.
So, with this season soon upon us, I wanted to create an awesome resource page that will help you plan your trip. I visit Europe multiple times a year, have been all over the continent, and now even run tours through the area. I’ve written countless articles about the region and so have a lot of resources on the website about it, that I wanted to create a page where all my best stuff on planning a backpacking or budget trip to Europe could be found in one place.
Step 1: How to Plan Your Trip
- How Not to Feel Overwhelmed While Planning – Planning the perfect trip to Europe can be daunting and overwhelming. I’ve been there and I understand, but I can tell you from years of experience that the more you plan your trip, the more anxiety you will face.
- How to Save for Your Trip – Is money stopping you from taking the trip of your dreams? Here are 22 easy ways to cut down on your daily expenses so you can save money to travel to Europe.
- Ultimate Packing List for Female Travelers – In this post, Kristin Addis shares her packing insights for women, so that you can travel just about anywhere without spending a fortune on gear.
- How to Find a Cheap Flight – Getting to Europe can be half the challenge. Luckily, there are a ton of flight deals to the continent now if you know when and how to look for them. This article will show you how to always get a cheap flight to Europe and avoid being the person that paid the most for their ticket!
- How to Find Cheap Flights as a Non-American – North Americans gets a lot of cheap flight deals to Europe — but we aren’t the only ones. Here’s how to fly to Europe on a budget from anywhere in the world.
- How to Earn Points for Free Flights and Hotel Stays – Free travel is my favorite kind of travel! This post shows you eight strategies I use to get over a million frequent flier points. These will get you out of your house faster, cheaper, and in comfort!
- How to (Legally) Stay in Europe for More Than 90 Days – Every year, thousands of travelers wonder how they can stay in Europe for more than 90 days, which is the limit in the Schengen Zone. The good news is that there are a few different ways to stay (especially because not all of Europe is in the Schengen Zone). In this post, I share what you can do to stay legally beyond 90 days and on the continent in general.
- How to Avoid Paying ATM Fees (FOREVER) – You should never have to pay any bank fees while you are accessing your money in Europe! Here is my advice on how to avoid bank fees as you backpack across the continent.
Step 2: Get Your Gear
- How to Pick the Best Backpack – It’s important to pick a quality backpack for your trip since it’s going to get beaten up as you travel! This guide to choosing the right travel backpack will help you determine the best pack for your trip.
- What to Pack for Your Trip – What should you pack on your trip? Well, there is no one right answer, but this list will give you a good place to start. It’s what I take on my trips with me (though you’ll need to make some seasonal variations, I’m sure!).
- How to Buy Good Travel Insurance – Travel insurance is one of the most important things you’ll need for your trip. You wouldn’t have a car without car insurance ora home without home insurance, and you can’t have a trip without travel insurance!
- Smartphones, Tablets, or Laptops: What’s Best for Travelers? – Not sure what tech gear to bring on your next trip? Our resident tech expert Dave Dean will walk you through the pros and cons of each device and help you get the most out of your travel tech.
- Everything You Need to Know About Using Smartphones When You Travel – Learn how to use your smart phone with this in-depth guide to unlocked phones, SIM cards, roaming planes, and alternatives for when you travel overseas.
- Why T-Mobile is the Best Phone Carrier for US Travelers – Looking for a reliable carrier for your next trip? Consider making the switch to T-Mobile.
Step 3: How to Get Amazing Accommodation
- My Favorite Hostels, Part 1 – This is a list of European hostels that I would definitely use again if I have the chance. Hope this helps with your next European backpacking adventure!
- My Favorite Hostels, Part 2 – Another list of my favorite hostels in Europe!
- My Favorite Hostels, Part 3 – And one more!
- How to Find a Good Hostel – This article features my best tips on how to find a affordable, clean, and fun hostel where you can meet a lot of amazing people.
- Cheap Alternative Accommodation – If you are looking to stay somewhere besides a hotel or a hostel, this article lists all the types of places where you can rest your head in Europe — from couches to farms and even monasteries!
- How to Find a Couchsurfing Host – Couchsurfing is a great way to save money (it’s free!), and it offers a peek into local life and a way to meet locals. It’s one of my favorite resources when I travel. Plus, Europe has a ton of hosts! If you want to stand out from the crowd and stay with amazing hosts, follow these seven steps, my tried-and-true Couchsurfing advice.
- How to Become a House Sitter – This is a how-to guide to house-sitting, a wonderful opportunity that allows you to stay in a location rent free in exchange for watching someone’s house.
Step 4: Get Around Europe
- 7 Cheap Ways to Travel Across Europe – Even with the falling euro, traveling around Europe can still be fairly expensive. Here are seven ways to crisscross the continent without breaking the bank.
- Are Train Passes Worth It? – Everyone traveling to Europe wonders if they will save money by buying a rail pass or if it’s cheaper to buy tickets as they go. This detailed post will give you the pros and cons of buying a rail pass!
- Would You Contiki? – Is a Contiki tour cheaper than solo backpacking? Are the tours worth doing? Find out more about the costs of solo vs group travel and whether a Contiki tour is right for you.
- Sailing Around Croatia with Busabout – Busabout is a hugely popular tour company with backpackers. They are especially famous for their Croatia sailing trips. Here’s a review of my experience I took with them.
Step 5: Save Money on the Road
- How to Save Money on Food – While traveling, food often becomes a major expense. Here are some tips for saving money on food so you still can afford a nice meal out every now and then.
- How to Use the Sharing Economy to Save Money – The rise of the sharing economy has made traveling across Europe so much easier and cheaper. This post lists all my favorite ridesharing, housesharing, and local meeting websites so you can get off the tourist trail and experience day-to-day life with locals!
- 61 Tips to Make You the Savviest Traveler – These 61 travel tips will help you become an expert traveler who gets around Europe cheaper, better, longer, and smarter!
- My 18 Current Favorite Restaurants in Europe – After exploring Europe quite a bit last year and gorging on food, these are my new favorite 18 restaurants around the continent. They are definitely places you don’t want to miss the next time you travel Europe.
- How I spent $100 in 5 days in Stockholm – Here’s how I did Stockholm on an ultra-tight budget so you can use my tips and tricks throughout the continent.
- How I spent 10 days in London for $700 USD – Here’s a detailed post about how I managed to travel around London for less than $70 a day. The methods I used will help you throughout the continent.
Step 6: Things to Do and See
Here are all my comprehensive budget travel guides for Europe, with tips and advice on things to do and see, ways to save money, and typical costs for each of these destinations. You’ll find country specific tips as well as a host of cities listed as well. I have over 100 guides to Europe!
***This massive resource list will help you plan your trip to Europe in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step pattern so you won’t get lost, overspend, or stress out about your upcoming dream trip. Europe is one of my favorite regions of the world (which is why I spend so much time there). There’s so much variety in food, culture, language, as well as so much history. I love the continent and hope you use these tips to plan your ultimate travel adventure in Europe!