Europe is a dream destination for almost all of us. We have all fantasized about exploring the cobblestone streets, riding the trains, basking in the sun under the Eiffel Tower, witnessing London’s skyline from the London Eye, splurging on a water taxi in Venice, island hopping in Greece, feast our eyes to the views of magnificent castles, the glistening Swiss Alps, the exotic flavors and so much more.
There are so many experiences to soak up in Europe that one lifetime is not enough to take it all in. Solo backpacking to this beautiful continent is something that you must do at least once. Being able to explore, wander around, and do whatever you please whenever you please. With solo travel, you must know what you’re getting yourself into. You only have yourself to rely on, which can seem scary, but it is also invigorating.
If you’re looking for a sign to pack your bags and go for a solo trip to Europe, this is it!
But before that, here’s an illustrated guide to help you out for the solo adventures that await you in Europe.
1. Initial Planning
While traveling to Europe, some people think that they’ll just wing it and see what happens. It can work in your favor, but generally, it doesn’t. If you don’t plan your trip properly, you are going to waste a lot of time on trivial stuff that you could have easily get done within the planning process, and you end up spending a lot more money or missing a lot of great things. We are not asking you to plan every second of your trip, but a little homework pays off.
Also, if you plan your trip well in advance, you are more likely to save money on the trip. Making reservations and buying tickets far in advance can help you save some bucks as fares tend to rise as the departure date nears. Accommodation like hotels, apartment rentals, hostels is comparatively cheaper when booked early, and you’ll have more options.
Choose the time of the year you want to travel and pick your travel dates accordingly. Do some basic research of concrete events on those dates and make plans accordingly.
2. Budgeting and finances
Now is the time to finally acknowledge the most important question- how much does it cost to travel through Europe? Not all of us have the luxury to travel across Europe without worrying about our finances, and if you don’t plan your financial situation properly, you may end up burning a pretty massive hole in your pocket. The main day to day costs associated with traveling anywhere in this world includes food, accommodation, public transportation, sightseeing, and a few other incidental costs.
The most frugal way to save money is hostel hopping or apartment rentals. You can easily drop your expenses by 20%-25% if you closely inspect your budget and make a conscious effort to keep your costs down.
3. Travel gear and packing
Packing for a backpacking trip can be really confusing, especially when you’re trying to keep it light. Try to only pack basic items that you absolutely need in a small travel size luggage bag. Pack your essential clothing items, travel toiletries, important accessories, necessary travel electronics, and other items that you think you would need.
Accommodation is one of the biggest expenses while traveling. But you can actually save a lot of money on accommodation by doing proper research. Europe has an abundance of hostels spread across the continent which have beds available for solo backpackers at very affordable prices.
You can also check out apartment rentals if you’re traveling in groups because they are comparatively cleaner, you get the luxury of getting your own kitchen, you have some privacy, and gives you an authentic experience at a much more convenient price than most hotels. Also, Couchsurfing has gained a lot of popularity in recent years as a way of experiencing. It allows you to save money on accommodation and make acquaintances with the locals.
One of the many advantages of choosing Europe to be your solo backpacking destination is that it has a great transportation network which makes zipping from city to city and country to country incredibly easy. You have a lot of options to choose from that suit your travel style and budget. However, traveling by trains is the best way to get around Europe as it is the quintessential way to experience the continent.
Remember to check the train schedules and plan your day accordingly. Europe also offers multiple budget airlines, and you can easily find flights at extremely cheap rates. Another budget-friendly method of traveling in Europe is via long-distance coach service, but it’s also the slowest. Decide according to your travel plans what mode of transportation suits you best.
6. Additional tips
Traveling solo across countries, let alone continents, can be quite overwhelming. Here are a few things you must keep in mind.
- Avoid tourist scams and pickpockets as there’s an abundant chance of either of these happening. Try not becoming one of those tourists who get ripped off while traveling through Europe.
- A lot of people avoid going to the popular tourist attractions because they think it is a way too touristy thing to do. Do not miss out on them! They are popular for a reason, and you must definitely visit them.
- Take walking tours whenever and wherever you can. Europe is best experienced on foot. You will discover some hidden gems in little nooks and crannies on the streets that you otherwise wouldn’t even know exist.
- Always carry a water bottle, a little snack, some basic medicines, a power bank and cable, tissues, and face wipes with yourself. These things come in handy when you’re exploring.
- Some cultures are very particular about the practice of certain courtesies. It’s crucial to understand the norms and courtesies of the place you are visiting, and respecting their culture.
- While most place you go, there are always going to be people who speak English. But it’s better if you learn some key phrases in the local language, like ‘please’, ‘thank you’, ‘excuse me’, etc. at the bare minimum.
- There are tonnes of amazing festivals and holidays in Europe, especially during the summer months. Research about European holidays and festivals and try to participate in them as they are a fun way to experience the culture of a new place.