When backpacking around Europe (or any part of the world) here are a couple of tips that I found useful:
1. Lay out everything you need for your trip and then reduce by about half!! One of the first mistakes that many travellers make is taking too much on their trip. It’s important to remember that you are there to enjoy your vacation and see incredible parts of the world and not to lug heavy luggage around strange streets. As well its important to realize that as you travel you will inevitably purchase souvenirs that you will need room in your bags for.
2. Get a camping towel! Believe me the first time I traveled through europe i took an ordinary beach towel and by the end of the trip i couldn’t stand the sight of it! It didn’t matter how many times it was washed it just never seemed the same… But luckily you can buy camping towels (that are very similar to a sham wow) that are anti-bacterial, dry very fast and absorb lots of water. The second time I travelled Europe this was best improvement in packing I made!
3. Take advantage of accommodation deals on websites such as Expedia or Travelocity. If you are the type of personality that can travel around and book your accommodations with short notice (I know some people like to know far in advance they have a place to stay every night) you can really save a lot of money on hotels. The later you book generally the better deal you receive.
4. Be sure to take advantage of the social offerings that hostels can offer. Hostels offer a unique experience you can’t get in any hotel. They offer you the chance to meet people from all over the world that are travelling just like you. And believe me this is a unique chance to form relationships with people you would not otherwise get the chance. Even if they are only friends for a few days they may be some of the best memories of your life.
5. Once in Europe a great way to travel is with a Eurail Pass. These passes can really save you a lot of cash once abroad. As well the trains are an incredible way to travel around most places in Europe. Essentially how these passes work is that you pre-pay for your tickets before you leave had a significant discount. It takes a little research to determine what pass is right for you but from my experience it is always a good buy!
6. A secondary way to travel is to look into discount airliners over in Europe such as Ryan Air or Easy Jet. Because these airlines (and there are others) don’t serve all places in europe I find that they are a great way to supplement a Eurail Pass for transportation. Often you can find flights for as low as $50, and depending how you plan your trip there a great way to get from one remote location to another and save valuable time that other forms of transportation take.
7. One important thing you should do before leaving on a vacation (especially on an lengthy stay) is to register with your embassy as to what countries you will be in. The reasons for this aren’t the happiest to think about but they are incase of disasters or other problems that could leave you stranded in a country. This way the embassy knows you are there and will be able to account for you. Once again not the happiest item to think about, but a good idea to do when travelling abroad, and keep in mind that the odds of something unfortunate happening to you are incredibly slim but its best to be prepared.