Backpacking Through Europe: Is It Right For You?

Travelers all over the world flock to Europe as one of the best destinations for seeing interesting cities on a tight budget. Because countries in Europe are so small and interconnected, while still maintaining unique cultural identities, the area is one of the best for seeing what’s out there in the world of traveling. However, backpacking through Europe isn’t for everyone, and you also need to ensure it’s a good time for you to go. Here are several factors to consider as you decide whether to embark on an adventure in Europe.

Flexibility: If you’re the type of person who needs to plan out a day-by-day itinerary, backpacking through Europe might be a huge challenge. You’ll learn more about what you enjoy as you go, and you’ll learn about places that weren’t on your radar at the beginning. Therefore, you’ll usually get the most out of your trip if you’re willing to be flexible and spontaneous. At the same time, though, having a list of the countries you’ll visit and accommodations in each booked at least a week in advance will be helpful for providing some stability.

Financing the Trip: Expect to spend an average of 20 euros per night on accommodations in hostels, plus another 10 to 20 euros per day for food. That doesn’t take into account things like getting drinks, going to museums and traveling between countries. In addition, consider your current financial obligations you’ll need to keep up with as you travel. Ensure you have enough money to cover all these before you head out.

Planning Logistics: You need a valid passport and may also need visas, depending on which countries you visit. If you carry a passport from a country in the EU, travel should be fairly simple. U.S. citizens can also stay in most countries for 30 to 60 days. If your passport is from another country, you may need a Schengen Visa, which covers 25 countries. You also need to get expat health insurance if your regular policy won’t cover you while you’re living abroad.

Traveling With Others: You may love the idea of being on your own for months at a time, or you may be the type who needs a good friend you can rely on while you’re so far away from home. Depending on your preferences, you may need to find someone to travel with you. This person needs to have the same goals for the trip so you know you’ll be able to get along and stick together throughout your travels.

Backpacking through Europe isn’t something you’ll always have the chance to do; eventually, you’ll settle down with a permanent job, family and other long-term responsibilities. If you’re able to travel for several months or even a year, it makes sense to take the opportunity while it’s available. Consider whether the adventure is right for you. If it is, go while you can!