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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Backpacking in Europe; What you should know before you go.

Going on a trip is always fun and exciting; backpacking through Europe isn't an exception, it's a great adventure. You will see many different places and meet plenty of fellow backpackers. As with most trips, careful planning and some research of the areas you are going to visit is a must.

If you decide to backpack your way through Europe, you need to decide whether to do this by train, flight or a mix of both. You need to decide where to go, and roughly how long to stay. Make a list of must-do things and places to see. It's important to realize that Europe is a large continent, and that every country is different.

Before you go, look at a map of Europe and decide on a possible route. Your destinations might decide your way of travel. For example, if you are staying on mainland Europe, the train might be the best choice, but if you want to visit Ireland or the UK, you might consider flying or taking the ferry. There is a great rail pass called the Interail for European citizen, and Eurail for non-Europeans which make train journeys cheaper and a lot easier.

Once your route is decided upon, it's a good idea to read about the countries that you plan to visit. Most countries have some level of English, but as it wouldn't be their native language, it is important to understand that you might not be able to make yourself understood at all times. However, in most guide books there are small dictionaries with simple phrases to use.

A good chapter in the guide books describes dangers and annoyances. Here you can read about places to avoid, and what lever of crime an area has. It's important to know that every place might have its bad spots, and it would be wise to avoid these. If you follow the tourist trail and don't go off the beaten track, you should have no worries though.

A good thing to do is to check out what various accommodations there are on offer in different countries. Some would have hostels, motels and hotels, whereas other countries only have hotels. In the latter cases you are likely to be offered a bed in someone's home for a fee. Make sure that you don't go alone with someone, but join up with other solo travelers.

When it comes to money, most EU countries use the Euro, but there are still those that don't so it is important to know what currency you need in order to pay for yourself. In most places, a debit or a credit card is widely accepted. Don't let them walk off with it though, as they could potentially copy your card and collect your details.

Before you go, you should write down emergency numbers and phone numbers to your embassy in the various countries. That way you know where to call if something were to happen.

Apart from that, keep an open mind and you will meet lots of friendly people who will help you find your way around.

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  1. The weather in Europe is pretty out of control too nowadays. Super cold in winter & hot in summer. So pack accordingly!

  2. That is true! But isn't that worldwide? Global warming and all that. And some countries are getting wetter, at least it feels like it in Ireland.