The backpack has been purchased. The Eurail Pass is in the mail. The itinerary is coming along with the help of several guidebooks and friendly suggestions.
A backpacking trip through Europe is almost like a right of passage for travelers, young and old.
It is hard to find a traveler who hasn’t strapped all of their belongings to their back for a summer in Europe.
The geography of Europe allows backpackers to move from country to country in a short amount of time.
In order to have a successful European backpacking experience, you won’t want to leave home or your backpack without these essentials:
Sleep Kit—If you are planning on backpacking through Europe this summer, chances are you are trying to be somewhat budget conscious by staying in hostels and budget hotels. While your expectations may be high for comfortable nights of sleeping, you will most likely need a sleep kit. Pack a facemask to block out light and earplugs to turn off noisy hostel bunkmates who you will want to throw your backpack at when they riffle through their plastic bags at 7AM.
Locked Luggage and Money Keepers—The pickpockets are out in full force in Europe in summertime, just waiting to find some unsuspecting backpacker with their summer savings out in the open. Even for your luggage, invest in locks to keep out thieves at hotels and hostels. During the day, carry around valuables in a money belt or secure bag. You’re not in Kansas anymore.
Travel Journals—Even if you don’t fancy yourself a writer, you will want to remember all that you saw and those rich conversations with strangers. A simple Moleskin hardback notebook fits easily into a purse or pocket. Throw in a pen or pencil and you can record your European backpacking adventure to share with the grandkids down the road.
Language Apps—Backpacking through Europe involves traveling through countries that speak dozens upon dozens of languages. One minute you may be hearing nothing but Bonjour and the next an overly exaggerated Ciao. Language applications on your smartphone or tablet can eliminate a great deal of chaos while traveling through Europe. Knowing common greetings and phrases is key, even if you are of the mindset everyone and their Italian mamma will know English. Don’t be that backpacker.
A Deck of Cards and a Wine/Bottle Opener—You are probably going to be spending countless hours on trains and buses and sitting in hostel common rooms. Bring a deck of cards for those times of solitude and for those times to socialize with new friends. It is amazing the bonds that can form over teaching new card games. The second half of a European backpacking trip involves keeping expenses down by buying booze at the grocery store. A wine and bottle opener will come in handy more times than your mom may want to know.
Get your summer backpacking trip started with cheap tickets on flights to Amsterdam.