A little Advice for Traveling Europe, this Summer!
When the summer hits, I usually get a mailbox filled with emails that are asking me for advice for traveling Europe. I find every year more and more young people are getting the itch to backpack Europe. It’s mostly questions about Europe only because it’s the easiest/safest destination to start the backpacking experience. I did it. But once Europe is under your belt it soon turns into Asia, South America and even Australia. So today I turn my travel advice engines on to answer a few emails.
So for all you individuals who are traveling Europe this summer this is what I recommend.
1. Where to stay
I would only stay in Hostels within Europe. Try to avoid hotels, only because they are actually less safe. Kinda a funny, but it’s so true. And they are usually way over priced. Stay in a hostel, it is the perfect way to meet fellow backpackers/friends. It’s complete safe and you will receive great advice in what to see and do during your stay in that city or town. Hostels offer so much: Pools, laundry, breakfast/lunch, lockers, local (sometimes free) tours, patios, Internet, and landline phones. The best way to go about staying in hostels and picking the right ones would be booking ahead of time. Yet, not too far ahead. You want to leave yourself a bit of space. What I mean by that is if you meet and becomes friends with a bunch of people in one hostel and decide to travel with them to a location. You can just jump and go for it, knowing you haven’t made solid plans yet. So only book your hostels a week or even days before you reach that next destination.
What I would do is book a hostel at the destination before your next destination. Book online.
Below are the best websites to book online.
Be sure to check the ratings of the hostel, there can be crappy ones, as we all know. Hostels range from $25 – $40 a night. Be sure to stay in that range in order to ensure cleanliness. Also look at the location of the hostel. Ones to close to a train station are usually not that great, so double check. Get a hostel that is located near all the major attractions. Also getting a dorm room, are usually fun, but stay within a range of a dorm room with not too many beds. What I mean, is stay to a dorm room with only 4 – 8 beds, nothing more. Only because it will be too crowed, loud, and the cause of stealing can increase. Usually no one steals, only because everyone is in the same vote – BACKPACKING. Yet, there can be creepy individuals. But do stay in a dorm room not a single room, it’s more fun and you will meet so many interesting people from around the world.
2. What to see
Once you get to your destination it’s pretty easy to figure out what the city’s highlights are. Europe is a place where tourists will always surround you. Therefore, you will see tourist-visiting centers everywhere. Plus staying in a hostel is the perfect place to ask questions in what to see. The people that work there can give you a map and just circle the major highlights for you. There you go, you have a plan for the next few days.
Although there are a few things you might want to peek at before you arrive to that destination. Check out the city’s transportation system; be sure to know what they offer. (It will help) Such a buses, subway, taxis….
The best piece of information I can tell you is, purchase a travel book. The best one is Lonely Planet. That book will literally tell you everything you need to know. From the best hostels to stay at and their prices to prices of museums. I would for sure purchase the Europe version of that book! It will also tell you what you what to see in that city and also what day trips you should check out (smaller town or villages).
3. Tours for Europe
I would recommend never doing a set / paid tour for Europe. Europe is the easiest place to backpack. I can see a tour for Asia, but it would be a huge waste of money to do a tour for Europe. Trust me, don’t consider it. Winging it in Europe is the best option. Yes, it may sound crazy and little scary at first if you are a new backpacker, but truthfully backpacking Europe is a “piece of cake”. Every person you will meet during your time abroad in Europe, they will tell you the same thing. The best thing to do is plan a route of what cities you want to see, how long you plan to stay in each city, and create a budget. I would recommend staying on one city for a max time of 2-3 days. Nothing more. To save money and time, take night trains to your next destination. But be sure that train ride is longer than 5-6 hours. Or else you won’t have much sleep. Oh, also if you do consider traveling Europe by winging it, consider the http://www.eurail.com/home to get your train pass. There are many different passes, but get one that you are sure to use the most of. They can range from $400 – $2000. Depending how many countries you are visiting and how long you are backpacking for. But the train system in Europe is the best transportation option. It’s the cheapest and also a great way to see the countries. Plus at least 80% of the people on these trains are backpackers, so you will meet tones of them.
Now, I want to go back to Europe and do the whole backpacking thing again!