Getting Off to a Flying Start
If you're backpacking Europe is a great destination, especially for
first-time solo travelers.
Imagine this: you've just landed, exhausted, at
Heathrow (or Charles de Gaulle or Barajas or Cointrin). After a cramped overnight flight all you have is a dog-eared guidebook you've almost
next? Where do you go - the first guest house on the list? You're desperate for a bed and shower after all. Do you take a taxi or the bus? Where was the bus station, anyway?
it be great to have everything ready before you land - at least for
the first night?
Backpacking Europe travel checklist
If your dream is to backpack through Europe, a bit of preparation will save you a lot of hassle once you get there.
Your first stop should be this handy travel checklist: it suggests some of the things you should start thinking about well
before you go. And a few more things:
get stressed about finances by underbudgeting. Some travel advice on money
will help you correctly estimate how much you need to take.
Image View from Circus Hostel, Berlin
Nevado via Flickr CC
the best prices and have the most fun by choosing your
season wisely. High summer in Paris or late
autumn in central or northern Europe can be pretty dismal so choose the
time to visit carefully.
risk getting turned away at a border: make
sure your papers are in order. Have you got an international
visa if you're going to a country that requires one? What
travel vaccinations if you're coming from a country with
yellow fever or cholera? And
forget to photocopy all your papers in case you lose them.
- Don't run out of time by underestimating Europe's size.
It's filled with
small diverse countries so you'll be able to get around quickly if you
plan properly. BUT - it takes time to travel in Europe so don't try to
pack in too much or you'll end up not seeing a thing.
look like a hunchback on the road - you've seen those
first-timers who travel weighed down by everything but the kitchen sink. My travel
for women will show you how to pack like a pro and take just what you
everyone speaks English - so you might want to check out how to learn a
language, even if you just learn a few
words or phrases. Or why not pick up a phrasebook or one of those handy
in like a native by learning
as much as you can about the cultural
of the countries you'll visit. Each country is different and unique. Take your time - Latvia and Lithuania may be neighbors, but they're as different as the US and Mexico.
Your backpacking Europe trip: Day 1
To make the most of backpacking around Europe for the first time, get things ready for that first day on the ground.
These backpacking tips
will help get you over the early jitters:
your first night
in a hostel or hotel (or remember the couchsurfing or housesitting
options I mentioned?) There are plenty of woman-friendly
across the continent. You'll enjoy the comfort and safety of
knowing where you're headed when you land.
- If you don't have a room, go straight to the tourist office when
arrive. They usually have room listings, as well as plenty of other useful information. If it's closed... that's
when your trusty guidebook comes in handy. Make sure you've marked
out a few lodgings just in case (now you see why it's important to book that
- Get a city
- tourist offices often give or
sell these, so no need to spend money buying one ahead of time,
especially since your guidebook will probably have at least a basic one.
- Get a subway
or bus map,
which will usually be available at large stations. Find out about
special deals and passes for tourists - the tourist office should be able to tell you about this as well. You'll probably be using a lot
public transport, after all!
Traveling in Europe
Whatever you're looking for - culture, history, music, fun, romance,
food - a backpacking
will provide it. Your problem will always
be too much to
see rather than the other way around.
What exactly is Europe, anyway?
Europe at night
woodley wonderworks via Flickr CC
The core of Europe is made up of the 27 countries
of the European Union: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus,
Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary,
Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands,
Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the
United Kingdom (which includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern
Ireland). Switzerland, Norway and Iceland are the only countries in the
region NOT members of the European Union - but that doesn't mean
they're not great European destinations!
Depending on your definition, backpacking Europe could stretch all the way to Russia
in the East, Turkey in the Southeast, and North Africa to the South.
European countries are incredibly
different from one another, certain things will still be familiar
enough - whether it's traffic lights, fast-food chains or consumer
products. You'll never be too far from something you know - if you need
Backpacking Europe means you'll always have a wealth of choices. It's one of the most diverse places in the world to travel, whether you're a seasoned backpacker or
just starting out on your first dream trip.
Still dreaming about that first big trip?
What's stopping you from DOING it?
If you are nervous about setting out on your own, if you find yourself making all sorts of excuses, if there are a million reasons why right now is not a good time...
Then you really need the Art of Solo Travel ! This book is made for you. Whatever is holding you back, The Art of Solo Travel takes the obstacles away, relieves your fears and insecurities, and gets you on the road!
Find out more