Picking our backpacking through Europe routes also reduces potential mishaps throughout your travels. When planning your Europe Itinerary remember that there are a ton of budget airlines in Europe, that can help reduce the cost of traveling Europe.
When I first started traveling around the world, I hated the thought of having an itinerary. I wanted to go whatever direction that the wind took me whenever I felt like it.
I wanted freedom, and in my mind, a backpacking Europe Itinerary constricted that freedom.
However, soon I learned the importance of at least having a rough backpacking through Europe routes planned. This helps you reduce mishaps, book accommodations, and lets your loved ones have a rough idea of where you are heading
A backpacking itinerary allows you to preview your upcoming trip and eliminate as many costs and travel nuisances as possible.
Preparing one should encourage you to book accommodation, tours, or Eurail Passes beforehand, which saves you from extra fees and headaches after discovering the hostel you spent an hour searching for has just filled up.
The process also enables you to research and predetermine exactly which cities you want to visit. (If you’re like me, might be highly influenced by where you eat the best local foods).
Unless you have a month or two to play with I would recommend visiting one to two country (potentially two if you have a structured backpacking Europe itinerary with targeted destinations).
Remember that it is impossible to cover all of Europe in one trip.
Take your time and really soak in the countries you are visiting. You can always plan more trips to Europe, especially since the last few years you can get insanely cheap flights.
Traveling is Tiring – First and foremost, physical well-being is the foundation for any backpacker’s ideal venture.
Unfortunately, however, it’s easy to underestimate how much energy goes into traveling.
Overexerting your body by constantly being on the move without much sleep is a recipe for fatigue and a risk for being bedridden and set back several days.
Have a Budget – assume fellow backpackers are also familiar with that sense of anguish over a strained wallet, and the pressure to keep walking every time you come across a wrap stand.
Traveling Slower Lets, You See More – Extending your stay in one city will also allow you to immerse yourself in the area and become more familiar with what it has to offer.
Even if you can cover the main tourist attractions in one day, try spending some time off the beaten path and with the locals; it might prove to be even more of an enriching experience.
Plus, the slower the travel, the easier travel Europe cheaply becomes because you have less ticket cost, or eating out in train stations or airports.
So it might go without saying always to consider your backpacking Europe budget and set it early on in the planning process.
I personally found it helpful to follow a daily budget that represents the average cost of one day’s hostels, meals, transportation, plus some wiggle room for miscellaneous expenses.
I talk about all these in extreme detail in my free “How to Backpack The World Course.”
Accommodation – The price for you hotels, hostels, or Airbnb every night. I use Hostelworld when looking for cheap hostels to stay.
Airbnb – Another of my favorite options when traveling Europe. Use this an Airbnb promo code and save some money. (Use this link and save $40 off your first stay with Airbnb)
Hostels – I use Hostelworld. It is the king of hostel booking websites. It makes it easy to pick good hostels from almost every country in the world. Not sure what a hostel is like then make sure to check out this post talking about what a hostel is.
Backpack – A must have accessory when backpacking Europe. I live out of a backpack so I have some good insights on picking the best backpack for Europe.
Fees – One of the most overlooked backpacking Europe cost. Don’t forget to take into account the pesky costs of ATM fees, cab rides, exchange rates, etc. that will deplete your backpacking Europe budget over time. Having a Charles Schwab bank account can help you avoid some of these fees.
Plan to Spend More Than Your Budget – Anticipate unplanned spending as well you might need to replace lost or stolen belongings, or “need to” splurge on that overpriced souvenir.
Passport – You can’t visit Europe without a Passport so this is the most important travel document you own. Passports cost $135 and are good for 10 years.
Travel Insurance If you’re new to traveling, you may know about travel insurance. For years I traveled without insurance, but once (after an unfortunate incident) I found myself in the hospital. I quickly realized because of my lack of insurance I had to pay the bills myself.
As you can imagine after that, I immediately broke the habit of traveling without insurance. Travel insurance covers more than just people; it can also cover luggage, and theft and much more.
Traveling without insurance is an added expense, and it is your choice whether you choose to insure yourself or not. My recommendation is don’t end up like me. Always travel with insurance.
I use Roam Right, and we have teamed up together so using this link gets you a free insurance quote.
Now that you have decided to create a Europe itinerary, it’s time for logistics.
An itinerary is essentially a series of destinations plotted on a timeline (with an obnoxiously looming budget).
Therefore the first, and personally the most exciting step is to research and nominate the destination cities.
As I mentioned before, this list would be tailored to you and the kinds of experiences you are seeking.
For example, if you are eager to see some world-renowned city lights, you might make stops in Paris and London.
aIf you are looking to enjoy scenic views and go swimming in natural bodies of water, you might want to stop along some beautiful Croatian towns.
Make sure to conduct thorough research to find out what various European cities have to offer.
Once you’ve drafted a list of destinations, the next step is to fill in the gaps: how you will be getting to each city.
There are lots of modes of transportation including buses, trains, planes. You can also use ridesharing, biking, and even hitchhiking, if you know the risk.
There are a lot of cheap ways to travel Europe. Of course, if you want limited planning and to just enjoy Europe you could always take a tour on G Adventures or Intrepid.
Depending on your time frame, you may have to narrow down your list of destinations remember to consider spending at least 3 days in each city to embrace it! I would also suggest leaving room for last-minute changes and giving yourself an extra day or two for flexibility.
Even if you somehow manage to avoid any planning or traveling setbacks, you might fall in love with best area to stay in Rome and use an extra day relaxing in front of the Trevi fountain or catching the sunset at the Colosseum.
Trust me when I say to avoid stacking back-to-back activities or booking consecutive overnight buses.
Despite that exhaustion will make it difficult to enjoy outings, you would also be at a higher risk for missing a flight or bus with a tight schedule.
Unexpected mishaps occur too often when traveling so for comfort it’s crucial to account for possible delays in your backpacking Europe itinerary.
Another piece of advice is to avoid planning your itinerary at the last minute! Especially if you’re traveling during peak season.
It’s likely that hostels or popular tours will reach capacity early on. Flights also become more expensive as they approach the departure date.
You are now ready to compose your backpacking Europe itinerary!
If you have Europe backpacking itinerary for 4 weeks then I would recommend visiting no more than 1 country or 2 countries max.
This will let you start to get a good feel for the country and the lay of the land. As week as explore the various towns within each of them.
This time frame should allow for about 8-10 cities while backpacking through Europe.
The longer you have to travel, the more flexibility you have with your backpacking through Europe routes. One of my favorite Backpacking Europe travel tips is to travel slow.
A Backpacking Europe route for 4 weeks would look something like below.
France – 2 weeks
Paris – A 5 days in Paris including (Including day trips from Paris)
French Rivera – 4 days
Nice – 3 Days Then train to Milan.
(Make sure to check out my post on crafting the perfect Paris itinerary)
Italy – 2 Weeks
Milan – 3 Days
Venice – 3 Days (Or Cinque Terra or other hills cities in Italy)
Florence – 4 Days
Rome – 4 Days
If you have a Europe Itinerary for 3 weeks to travel Europe, it is practical to see 1 country or 2 neighboring countries. I wouldn’t try to visit more than 6 cities in 3 weeks.
Remember when crafting our backpacking Europe itinerary we don’t want to over extend yourself.
I once talked to a lady who was telling me that she had a friend with Europe Itinerary for 3 weeks. In that time her friend saw 7 countries!!
The lady told me how much her friend regretted it, saying “Yeah, I saw a lot of nice airports and train stations.”
Make the most of your time and do not rush around keep this is mind when planning your backpacking routes through Europe.
With 2 weeks to travel, I would suggest deciding on 1 country and targeting about 4 -5 cities. (Anything more than 5 cities means moving every couple of days)
The less time you have to travel the fewer places you should go. Especially with only a Europe Itinerary of 2 weeks or 10 days.
I would encourage you to plan out a detailed itinerary to optimize the time you have. Consider staying in one country and spending time in about 3 of your most coveted cities.
A good sample backpacking Europe route for 10 days is heading somewhere like Athens and then the Greek Islands. For other backpacking Europe itinerary routes check out this post.
This whole planning process may not be as simple as it sounds. It takes a lot of research and creativity to produce a well-crafted itinerary.
Remember to think through little details such as affordability of transportation tickets or the distance from your hostel to the train station.
And just as a rule of thumb: the shorter period you have to travel, the more thorough your backpacking Europe itinerary should be.
Once this planning process is out of the way, you can go back to fantasizing about your upcoming Euro Trip- this time without any stress or nagging voice in the back of your head!