Last Update: 5/25/23 | May 25, 2023
European backpacking is still one of my favorite things to do as a traveler. There hasn't been a single year that I haven't crossed continents (except 2020 when no one has crossed Europe).
During summer, hostels bustle with life, the Mediterranean glistens, streets fill with people slowly drinking wine and enjoying the day, and late-night sunsets lead to long, stunning days. Winter brings Christmas markets, skiing, less crowds and lower prices! And Spring and Autumn bring about the right mix of people, temperatures, and prices that make these two of my favorite seasons to travel in Europe.
Since starting this website in 2008, I have been writing Lots post in Europe. I visit Europe several times a year, have visited the entire continent, lived there several times, and even run tours there.
With so much content on the blog, I wanted to create a resource page that will help you easily plan your European backpacking trip. That way you don't miss a thing! In this post, you'll find all of my best resources for planning a backpacking or budget-friendly trip to Europe, including destination guides, transportation tips, accommodation information, ways to meet people, and more!
So, without further ado, here's everything you wanted to know about European backpacking:
Step 1: Plan Your European Backpacking Trip
How Not to Feel Overwhelmed When Planning – Planning the perfect trip to Europe can be daunting and overwhelming. I've been there and I get it, but I can tell you from years of experience that the more you plan your trip, the more anxiety you'll have.
How to Save for Your Trip – Is money stopping you from taking the trip of your dreams? Here are 22 easy ways to cut down on your daily expenses so you can save money on backpacking to Europe.
How to Find Cheap Flights – Getting to Europe can be half the challenge. Luckily, there are plenty of flight deals to the continent now if you know when and how to look for them. This article will show you how to always find cheap flights to Europe.
How to Earn Points for Free Flights and Hotel Stays – Free travel is my favorite type of travel! This post shows you eight strategies I used to earn over a million frequent flier points. It will get you out of the house faster, cheaper and more convenient!
How to (Officially) Stay in Europe For More Than 90 Days – Every year, thousands of travelers wonder how they can stay in Europe for more than 90 days, which is the limit in the Schengen Zone. The good news is that there are several different ways to stay. In this post, I share what you can do to stay legally beyond 90 days and on the continent in general.
How to Avoid Paying ATM Fees – You don't have to pay any bank fees when you access your money in Europe! Here's my advice on how to avoid bank fees as part of your European backpacking trip.
Is Europe Safe to Visit? – Here's how to make sure you stay safe when traveling across continents.
Step 2: Get Your Gear for European Backpacking
How to Choose the Best Backpack – It is very important to choose a quality backpack for your trip because it will break easily while you are out and about! This guide to choosing the right travel backpack will help you determine the best pack for your trip.
What to Pack for Your Trip – What should you pack for your trip? Well, there isn't one right answer, but this list will give you a good place to start. That's what I take with me on my travels (although you'll have to make some seasonal variations, I'm sure!).
The Ultimate Packing List for Female Travelers – In this post, Kristin Addis shares her insights on packing for women, so you can travel anywhere without spending a fortune on gear.
How to Buy Good Travel Insurance – Travel insurance is one of the most important things you need for your trip. You can't own a car without auto insurance or a house without home insurance, and you can't travel without travel insurance!
Best Travel Camera – Want to know what type of camera you should get for your trip? This post will show you exactly what you need — whatever your budget!
Step 3: How to Get Amazing Accommodations in Europe
How to Find Cheap Accommodations – If you're looking to stay somewhere other than a hotel or hostel, this article lists all kinds of places where you can take a break in Europe – from couches to farms and even monasteries!
How to Find a Good Hostel – This article features my top tips on how to find affordable, clean, and fun hostels where you can meet lots of amazing people.
Best Hostels in Europe – This is a list of European hostels that I will definitely use again if the opportunity arises. Hope this helps on your next European backpacking adventure!
How to Become a Housekeeper – This is a how-to guide to housesitting, a great opportunity that allows you to live in a free rental location in exchange for watching over someone's home.
For more budget accommodation suggestions, check out my hostel hub page. It has all my favorite hostels in all of Europe!
And for places to live in each city, visit my list of the best neighborhoods in Europe!
Step 4: Travel around Europe on the cheap
7 Cheap Ways to Travel to Europe – Traveling around Europe can still be considered quite expensive. Here are seven ways for backpackers to Europe without breaking the bank.
The Ultimate Guide to Saving Money with a Eurail Pass – Everyone who travels to Europe wonders whether they will save money buying train tickets or if it is cheaper to buy tickets on the fly. This detailed post outlines everything you need to know to buy train tickets!
Step 5: Save Money When Backpacking Europe
Ways to Save Money on Food – When traveling to Europe, food is often the main expense. Here are some tips for saving money on food so you can still afford the occasional good meal.
How to Use the Sharing Economy to Save Money – The advent of the sharing economy has made European backpacking a lot easier and cheaper. This post lists all of my favorite ride-sharing websites, sharing local meeting houses so you can get off the tourist trail and experience everyday life with the locals!
61 Tips to Make You the Smartest Traveler – These 61 travel tips will help you become an expert traveler traveling Europe cheaper, better, longer and smarter!
14 Major Travel Scams to Avoid – Losing money to preventable travel scams sucks. Learn what scams to watch out for in Europe and save yourself the potential headache!
Step 6: Find Out What to See and Do in Europe
What do you do while backpacking Europe? LOTS! Here are all my comprehensive budget travel guides for destinations across Europe with tips and advice on things to do and see, how to save money, and typical costs for each of them. You'll find country-specific tips as well as a number of cities listed as well.
I have over 100 guides to places in Europe! Everything you need to know about where you're going can be found in this article!
In addition to the country guides above, I've created lots of awesome itineraries for cities across Europe. You can find my best Europe itineraries here!
This huge list of resources will help you plan your trip to Europe with an easy-to-follow, step-by-step pattern so you don't get lost, overspend, or stress about your upcoming dream trip. Europe is one of my favorite regions in the world (which is why I spend so much time there). There is so much variety in food, culture and language, and so much history. I love this continent and hope you use these tips to plan your ultimate European backpacking adventure!
Get Your In-Depth Budget Guide to Europe!
My detailed 200+ page guidebook is made for budget travelers like you! It cuts through the fluff found in other guides and gets straight to the practical information you need for traveling while in Europe. It has suggested itineraries, budgets, ways to save money, on and off the beaten track things to see and do, non-touristy restaurants, markets, bars, safety tips, and more! Click here to learn more and get your copy today.
Book Your Trip to Europe: Logistics Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner to find cheap flights. They are my favorite search engine because they search websites and airlines around the world so you always know there's no stone left unturned!
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld because they have the largest inventory and the best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, go for it Booking.com because they consistently return the cheapest rates for guest houses and budget hotels.
For suggestions on where to stay during your trip, here are my favorite hostels in Europe!
Don't Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you from illness, injury, theft and cancellation. It's comprehensive protection in case something goes wrong. I never travel without it as I've had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
Looking for the Best Company to Save Money?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to work with when you're on the move. I list everything I use to save money while I'm on the road. They'll save you money on the go, too.
Want More Information about Europe?
Be sure to check out our robust destination guide to Europe for even more planning tips!