Travel
Travel Tips: Backpacking Europe
By Ryan J. Beard
Jul 19, 2012 - 11:11:13 PM

BEVERLY HILLS—While traveling the United States entails renting a car or RV and departing on a road trip over our nations great highways seeing some of the most beautiful and open landscapes in the world, traveling in Europe entails jumping trains, cheap hostels, and beautiful historic cities.  Europe’s cities are what make it great and unique.  History lies on every corner, and under every cobblestone street.  Unlike the United States, the cities  in Europe are all in relatively close proximity making traveling simple and easy.  Trains are frequent, and extremely cheap flights are available.  Backpacking Europe has become a popular vacation.  It can easily be done with a little planning and preparation.  Here are a few tips to consider before planning your trip.

 

Where to fly into/out of:  Ultimately the price of the flight may determine where you fly into or out of Europe, however I would recommend flying in and out of Munich or Frankfurt.  The central location of Germany will make it easy for you to reach your next destination and you’ll never be too far when the time comes to fly back home.

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EuRail:  I highly recommend purchasing a EuRail train pass when backpacking Europe.  The EuRail is either 10 or 15 days of travel within two months.  There are several different passes and depending on your trip one may be better that another.  They offer a one country pass that is good in one country of your choice, a regional pass good in two countries, a select pass where you can choose up to five countries, and a global pass good in 23 of the 27 European Union Countries.  While up front the pass may seem expensive, in the end it will save you money.  Train tickets in Europe can range from under 50 euros to over 200 euros, and most likely you will use up the value of the EuRail pass within a few train rides.  Additionally, the EuRail pass makes traveling convenient.  Excluding a few countries where you need seat reservations, the Eurail simply requires showing up to the train filling out your pass, and hopefully finding a place to sit (some countries allow you to stand or sit in the aisles on crowded trains).

 

Lodging:  The easiest, cheapest and most convenient part of traveling Europe is the abundance of hostels.  Despite their negative reputation in the United States, the majority of hostels are clean, safe, and friendly.  


They are frequently located near the train stations within the heart of the city, just minutes away from popular tourist destinations.  Hostels make traveling Europe very affordable ranging from 10 to 40 euros a night.  Additionally, hostels are great place to meet fellow travelers and share stories or exchange travel advice.

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Equipment:  Pack as light as you can, skip anything unnecessary, and try to avoid bringing anything of great value.  Occasionally you will have a long walk to your hostel, or subway ride.  A light lode will make for easier commutes.  When choosing a backpack get one that opens from the bottom, sides and top.  This will make for easy access to everything in your pack as well as prevent mixing of dirty and clean laundry.  Pack an additional backpack for day trips.  Pac Safe offers great backpacks and other luggage that are theft safe.  In crowded trains pick pocketers will steal, and you wont notice until an hour later when you find there is a hole in the bottom of your purse or backpack and your camera is missing.  Pac Safe bags have a mesh wire lining that prevents theft.

 

Oktoberfest: Oktoberfest is a 16 day festival that runs from late September to the first weekend of October.  If you are planning on visiting Oktoberfest make sure you book your accommodations well in advance.  Within Munich the hotels and hostels will be completely booked by the time the festival starts. As soon as you finalize your plans and purchase you plane ticket to Europe book Oktoberfest if you plan on going.

 

I hope I have provided some valuable tips for traveling Europe.  If you’re contemplating taking the trip, go for it!  Europe’s cities are romantic, beautiful, inspiring, and historic. They will leave you with memories to last a lifetime. If you have any comments or questions please email Ryan.Beard@canyon-news.com.



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