Backpacking across Europe: something lots of people talk about, but few ever actually do. You’ll get to see tons of places you wouldn’t experience otherwise and you’ll meet real people who live in the different cities and towns. It sounds like an incredible adventure and a way to see beautiful places on a budget, but once you start planning, the task becomes a bit more daunting. Before you take the leap and commit to a backpacking trip, learn more about what you’re about to do and consider a few pieces of information.

Make a list and check it

Backpacking across Europe isn’t something you can decide to do on a whim. At least, you can’t suddenly decide you’ll backpack Europe and then do it the following week. While you want to travel light, you need to make sure you have the vital items for your backpacking trip. Make a list of what you need (or use this helpful backpacking Europe packing list). After you make your list, wait a few days, then check it again to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything. Double and triple check while you’re actually packing.

Hiking Shoes

Plan your trip, but be flexible

It’s important to make a general plan of where you’re going and what you’ll be doing, but you should also be flexible. Avoid planning every hour or even each day. Have a general idea of where you’ll be when and where you’ll stay overnight, but realize that these plans might change at a moment’s notice, because of delays or a change of mind you have while on your trip.

Create your budget

It’s possible to backpack Europe on a small budget, but you need to be careful about how you spend your money if you want to stay within that budget. There’s nothing wrong with splurging on where you’ll be staying one night or an incredible restaurant during your trip, just avoid making a habit of it. Realistically plan out how much you’ll need and budget responsibly for your backpacking trip.

Understand new countries and cultures

Once you plan out your trip, do some research on the different countries you’ll be traveling through. Check out any specific cultural differences there may be and attempt to familiarize yourself with common phrases in the native language. You’ll find your trip is much easier if you take time to understand certain differences and do your best to blend in with the local culture.

Female Hiker Overlooking Water

Look for unique experiences

Backpacking Europe alone will be an incredibly unique experience, but it’s also important to look for your own kind of original trip. Maybe you want to see all the typical tourist attractions, but also take time to just wander around a city or town and ask locals what the best places to eat are. You’ll make truly unforgettable memories and get to experience something many other people don’t encounter in their lives.

Be safe

Ultimately, you want to be safe on your backpacking trip. While you should let serendipity take its course, don’t put yourself in any risky situations or completely throw caution to the wind. Always update family and friends on your travel plans and be aware of your surroundings. If you’re in an area or situation where you don’t feel safe, leave! It’s also smart to invest in health and travel insurance in case you get injured or lose your belongings.