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Top Tips for Starting Your European Backpacking Tour in London

Updated on May 18, 2016

For many, a backpacking tour around Europe is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, an opportunity to sample the continent’s unique history and culture whilst seeing some of world’s most famous landmarks and attractions.

If you’re planning a tour of your own, perhaps as a much-needed break before settling down, or even as the start of a bigger round-the-world-jaunt, it’s likely that you’re following in the footsteps of countless travellers before you who all pick London as their starting point thanks to the English capital’s easy links to the rest of the UK and mainland Europe.

If that’s the case, here’s just a few of our top tips for starting your backpacking tour in London, designed to help your journey go smoothly, your budget last longer, and your experience all the more enjoyable.

Consider taking your backpacking tour off-season

With the summer months slowly approaching, its not surprising that you’re thinking of heading out on your travels some time soon. There’s just one problem with that; so is everybody else. Throughout the summer, London and other major cities in Europe are flooded with tourists, meaning there’ll be crowds at every turn, long-lines, and trains crammed to the full.

By starting your backpacking tour after the summer ends, you still get the last vestiges of warm weather whilst avoiding most of the busiest of crowds. It’s also worth noting that travel and accommodation costs are at their lowest during the post-summer months too, meaning bigger savings for those of you travelling on a budget.

Avoid travelling at peak hours

Even when you’re travelling out of season, higher costs and bigger crowds can still be an issue if you head out of your hotel during peak, rush-hour times. As one of the busiest cities in Europe, thousands make their way across London every morning and evening on their commute to and from work, again leading to overcrowding on the London Underground, packed city streets, and yes, inflated travel fares.

Relax into your morning and head out after the commuters have done your thing to avoid the worst of London’s notorious rush-hour.

Take the coach for lowest travel fares throughout the UK and into Europe

Coach companies like National Express and the low-budget Mega Bus service frequently run from London Victoria to major cities across England, Scotland, and mainland Europe.

The downside here, is that these trips do often take longer than train, but on the plus side, they’re often a lot cheaper, and allow you far more time to take in the views than you’d have if you were shooting past everything on a high-speed train.

Pick hotels outside of Central London for the best accommodation prices

Though it’s tempting on any backpacking trip to go straight to the nearest hostel, if you’re planning on starting your backpacking tour feeling well-rested and ready to go, you can still enjoy quality hotel accommodation without paying typical London prices by staying outside of the city.

The further away you go, the better the hotel deal you’re likely to find, all whilst benefiting from having Central London no more than a short commute away, not to mention the whole of Europe at your fingertips.

Need a good example? Take the Amsterdam Hotel next to Earls Court Station, where luxury accommodation meets affordable pricing to make sure your trip around Europe really gets off to a great start. To find out more, visit


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