ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Backpacking across Europe: What I Learned from It?

Updated on May 22, 2014

Backpacking across a diverse continent like Europe always induced excitement in me and when it happened, it was all like floating through a dream. Trudging through the rugged lanes of Alps to gliding myself with the flow of Thames, the journey was more enthralling than I expected.

Backpacking across Europe was not only an unforgettable experience but a learning curve too. Being a novice backpacker at that stage, (I still feel that way!); I confronted many difficulties during my sojourn across the continent. Those difficult situations helped me a lot in learning things about backpacking which I could not have found in the travel guides. Here are few of those experiences which I would like to share with all of you:

Pack Lightly
Pack Lightly

Pack Lightly

The whole adventure was not as easy as my time in the flight was that i booked through compareandfly.com. While you are backpacking, few things are worse than having a backpack loaded with bricks! Pick essentials and resist the temptation of loading your backpack with electronic gadgets. Laptop and your cell phone will do the favour on most occasions.

In addition to this, stuffing your backpack with tons of clothes is a thing which I would strongly disapprove. While I was on trip with my friend last time, my bags were loaded with layers of clothing whereas my friend’s backpack was not. Still, she managed the whole trip quite comfortably in those limited options. Hence, make it a rule to pack only essentials.

If you still feel uncertain about the packing thing, take help from online blogs about packing-related advice or watch the video below.

Choose the Right Backpack

A good backpack always turns out to be a good investment. Do not worry about spending few extra bucks for a good backpack, as it will serve you quite well. Look for those backpacks that have a strong internal frame coupled with well-padded shoulder straps. Do not rush towards the biggest backpack as it can cause persistent shoulder pain if you have to walk quite a bit while travelling around the continent. I went for backpack that had a smaller day pack which I could easily unattach when feeling discomfort. If such backpacks are available at shops around you, I will definitely recommend them.

Inside Your Backpack
Inside Your Backpack

Keep a Track of Things Going inside Your Backpack

One of the most important things which I grabbed from my last backpacking stint was never ever pack cotton clothing. As cotton absorbs all the sweat, it will make your life miserable once you hit higher altitudes as wet clothing will make you shiver like nothing else. Instead, choose synthetic clothing and woollens too are worth-packing as Europe is largely cold. Along with this, keeping a raincoat is always handy to keep the rain blues at bay!

However, the most important element is selecting the right footwear! Yes, it is true, how many of us forget keeping a good pair of footwear while packing the bags. As a backpacker, you will have to travel a lot by foot. Therefore, keep at least three pair of comfortable lightweight shoes that do not create havoc on your feet while walking. Stocking pairs of wool and cotton socks will be a wise idea too.

Remain Secured

For our last backpacking trip, we used our I-phones as GPS mapping devices while wandering around the unfamiliar streets of Europe. They greatly helped us in locating the places and telling about our whereabouts. You should also consider having a GPS device with you while backpacking.

In addition to this, secure a money belt and keep most of your valuables in it. However, if you insist on keeping them in your backpack, make sure it is zipped perfectly and the locks are well-locked.

Keep Your Budget on Track
Keep Your Budget on Track

Maintain Frugality

You are a backpacker, therefore you would not want to blow away good amount of bucks each time you are dining or sightseeing. Frame a budget and stick to it. If you want to taste the local cuisines, street food is always an economical and delicious option. Whereas for sightseeing, walking tours are extremely good options.

Maintaining a budget does not, however, imply that you have to cut down on the fun quotient. Enjoy every moment but track down your expenses too.

Plan Minimum

You must be wondering, “How could she say that? Planning is the topmost thing!” I mean to say that do your homework but it is not necessary to stick to your itinerary. I know having a plan induces peace but what if things go against your plans. Then, you will not be left with any choice.

The best way to enjoy backpacking is to travel spontaneously. Just hop down on the location, grab a map and start exploring the riches of the place. But do not equate travelling instinctively to keeping your wits at bay while wandering around the city. Remain confident and sensible all through your travelling adventure.

Make Friends and more Friends

I still recall that the fondest memories of my last backpacking stint were shaped more by the interactions with locals and fellow travellers which my friend and I had on our way. Sights and attractions without any doubt are important, but more important is to behave sensibly and in a friendly manner with locals. They will not only help you in guiding through the travel lanes but some of them might even divulge information about secret attractions or places where you can get huge bargains on shopping.

Additionally, you grow as an individual when you interact with people of different faiths and temperament. Learning about the similarities and differences in their and your culture will be an experience to remember.

Take Rest
Take Rest

Have Optimum Rest

It is futile to wake up early in the morning so that you can map down as many places as you can. It will ultimately lead to exhaustion and your energy-levels drooping to minimum. The better approach is to have enough rest and travel fewer places. Remember, you are backpacking across Europe not to chart down maximum countries possible but for your own leisure and excitement.

Limit Photography
Limit Photography

Limit Photography

This is one thing many of us usually have hard time restricting. (I am myself a freak photographer, to tell you the truth!) There is nothing wrong in documenting the essence of your trip in photos but a trip is not about showing others the riches of your trip but relishing the experiences. Sometimes, we tend to go overboard while shooting pictures and try to take out as many photos as we can without enjoying the beauty of the place ourselves. Remember, some things are better enjoyed without a camera!

Do Your Own Laundry
Do Your Own Laundry

Do Your Own Laundry

All you need is a bungee cord and soap bars. While in my last backpacking trip, my friend and I used to wash clothes in the hostel sinks and then would hang them in an impromptu rope made out of bungee cord. It would normally take around a whole day for our clothes to totally dry out. This greatly reduced our laundry costs and allowed us to pack fewer clothes (even though I still had loads of clothes!). So, two birds with a single stone!

Take the Off Beaten Route

The traditional landmarks of Europe are definitely alluring but even more fascinating are the undiscovered treasures. Nobody is forcing you to oblige yourself to the conventional track. If you are adventurous, then I strongly recommend the hidden secrets of the continent. You would have seen London Eye many times; however, discovering the Wimbledon Village will totally blow you away. Let the child in you come to forefront and let it discover the secret alleys of Europe.

Go Off the Beaten Track
Go Off the Beaten Track

Travel for Your Interests not for Others’

Many times this happens that you travel the favourite places of your friend and your family to track down the photographs of those places. Leave this habit and travel according to your interests. You need not visit a famous museum just to please your dear ones. If that place is uninteresting to you, skip it and discover some other places instead.

Ask for Help When Needed
Ask for Help When Needed

Ask for Help When Needed

Do not feel afraid to ask for help in case you face difficulties or you have lost the track. Many of us carry a vain pride of being the most knowledgeable person who can never get lost. Put aside this pride and ask for assistance. People are far more generous and helpful than you imagine them to be. But, make sure you are asking the right person. Asking a group of rowdy-looking people for help in a remote corner is an unwise step.

Backpacking across Europe was an eye-opening and enlightening experience for me. Hopefully my tips will help you in having an even more enthralling backpacking experience across Europe.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      greeneyedblondie 

      4 years ago

      Amazing! Can't wait to go that someday.

    • profile image

      Niya 

      4 years ago

      Aweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeessssssssssssssooooommmmmmmmmmeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee hubbbbbbbbbbbbbb!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! One of the best hubs I have read on this site.

    • ameliam.michelle1 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ameliam Michelle 

      5 years ago from London, England

      :)

      Thanx once again.

    • profile image

      kaelly 

      5 years ago

      Once again i am commenting on your hub, just could not escape the temptation of going through you hubs, this one is also a gem. loved it baby

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)