Europe Hotels Articles

August 28, 2010

Backpacking in Europe: What you should know before you go

Backpacking in Europe is a popular way to travel. Many young people do so, especially during the summer months. Here is some information that you should know before you go.

Many museums in Europe are free one day of the week, perhaps on Mondays or Fridays. If they’re not free and you have a university student card, you can often get a student discount by showing that at the entrance.

Many restaurants in Europe have special lunch menus. This means that you get a set meal, but it comes at a very good price. Consider this if you want to have a tasty restaurant meal. University cafeterias often have excellent meals available at amazing prices. If you’re near a university, I strongly recommend that you check out the university cafeteria. Another option is to buy food from supermarkets. You can often get bread and cheese at very reasonable prices.

It’s a very good idea to have a budget and note how much you spend on a daily basis. Include entertainment and souvenirs and see how much you spend. If you’re under budget, you may want to consider staying in a fancy hotel for one night or having an expensive meal. Likewise, if you’re overbudget, you may wish to spend extra time in a cheaper part of Europe such as Bulgaria. If you love wine, be aware that countries such as Bulgaria have excellent and very affordable wines!

If you’re fond of beer, consider going on a free brewery tour. Many breweries provide short tours followed by free drinks for you to sample. If you’re in Copenhagen, both Tuborg and Carlsberg have popular and free tours.

Be familiar with exchange rates before you go. Also, be aware that exchange rates can and do fluctuate, so make sure that you know what the current exchange rate is. When exchanging money, banks often charge commission fees, but they may provide a more favourable exchange rate than a money exchange office that doesn’t charge a commission fee. For this reason, it’s wise to compare buying and selling rates carefully.

Consider buying a Eurail pass. It allows you to see many countries at a very reasonable price. There are excellent deals for students, but in many cases, you must buy the pass outside of Europe because certain passes are for non-Europeans. For this reason, check carefully before leaving for Europe. If you plan on travelling a lot, this is probably a great option. Many trains run at night, so you might also want to take a night train as a way to save on accommodation.

Youth hostels offer an inexpensive form of accommodation, but they’re often very busy during the summer months. For this reason, it’s a good idea to make reservations in advance. Otherwise, you may not have a place. Another tip regarding accommodation is to look for a place that’s not downtown. Downtown accommodation tends to be expensive, so if you find a place further from the downtown area, it’ll probably be much cheaper.

Before backpacking in Europe, be familiar with exchange rates and consider getting a Eurail pass. Write down how much you spend so that you stay within your budget. If you like museums, try visiting on the day of the week that they are free and show your student card to get a discount. To save on meals, visit university cafeterias because the selection is usually excellent and the prices tend to be very reasonable.

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