Get the right gear for backpacking EuropeGet a side-loader backpack that fits with help from a local shop and some advance reading. What goes in it? Read up on what you need for backpacking Europe:
- Backpack buying tips
- Best travel shoes, boots and flip flops (and socks!)
- Best money belts
- Europe guidebooks and phrasebooks
- Camping gear -- backpacking cookware!
- Travel journal tools
Learn how and how much to pack, too.
Set a Europe backpacking budgetPick your travel budget number after you buy your gear, as it's a one-time expenditure. Budget by the day, allowing a figure for fun and souvenirs per day -- you can always pool those bucks for one hotel splurge or night out. $40 is realistic, $25 is doable in Eastern Europe, and London is minimum $55. Understand the money and exchange rate before you go, prepare to eat cheap but well with street food, and write down what you spend in a travel journal or you will run out of money. Look for free things to do in Europe to stretch the euros, too.
Set a destination in EuropeChoose Eastern Europe (Sofia, Budapest) for dirt cheap excitement. London is spendy and friendly. Rome is cheapish, crime-challenged and huge fun. Paris is relaxed and affordable. Laid-back Amsterdam is totally packed. Brussels rocks cheap. Germany can be staid or mind-blowing. You can always choose an event, like a hot summer music festival, or a place you want to see, like the Louvre, and plan your trip around it. Go to 17 countries on one rail pass if you can't decide.
Get cheap transportation to and around EuropeTo get there, choose a student airfare finder for the best deal -- student travel agencies offer the best student airfares. Check ticket prices against an aggregator to be sure and watch for student airfare sales.
Use rail passes or cheap European airlines to move around Europe (boats, cars and buses, too). To get around in-country, understand local transportation before you go. Subways are generally very cheap and efficient. Taking taxis seems intimidating until you know the taxi rules.