Traveling through Europe is a heady dream for many. The thought of scenery, the languages and the people strike thoughts of wonder and envy. So why not do it? “Because I don’t have thousands of dollars”, you may be thinking to yourself as you read this. Fair enough; most people today don’t have a disposable income that allows for traipsing around Europe, traveling like a rock star.
The good news is that you don’t need thousands of dollars to see Europe. By backpacking across the country, you’ll see sites that the average tourist will miss, meet people that others never will and experience the country from an entirely different point-of-view. Here’s what you’ll need to start your trip:
– Backpack: a proper backpack will cost about $85 or more. Remember, you’re going to need more than a grade-school child’s bag. You’ll need room to both pack and carry all of your belongings in a comfortable, easy manner.
– Passport: a passport will cost about $110 and can be applied for at your local post office.
– Travel Books: decide on which countries you’ll be exploring and get a few guide-books to help you plan your trip. The Dummies series of books has a book on almost every country and are invaluable resources. If you’ve got an e Reader, download several; it’ll save you from adding extra weight to your pack.
– Accessories: you’ll need toiletry containers, utensils, a flashlight, a towel, an umbrella and a first-aid kit at a minimum. Look online for great tips on packing for your trip. You can expect to pay between $50 and $150 for these essentials in total.
– Plane Ticket: depending on when you travel, the price of your ticket may vary. Expect to pay between $500 and $900 on a round-trip ticket. If you’re lucky, you know someone who will be willing to turn in their frequent flyer miles for your trip!
As you can see, your pre-trip costs will probably be the most expensive of all. With a bit of creativity, you can keep these costs to a minimum. Backpackers typically spend between $500 and $2000 before they ever leave home. Once you get to Europe, there are several ways that backpacking will save you money:
Most backpackers choose to stay in hostels rather than in hotels. Hostels can run as cheaply as $30 per night to as much as $100 a night, depending on the type of amenities you desire. You can also check out many online sites that offer listings of host families, willing to take in wayward travelers for a night or two at no cost; look at Places2Stay, Stay4Free and Global Free Loaders for free accommodation options.
Many options exist for those looking to travel across Europe on a budget. Bus passes are often your cheapest option or, if traveling in a group, splitting the cost of renting a car may be even more cost-effective. If, however, you are traveling alone, look for discounts on train passes, bus passes and even a backpacking bus tour. The latter will take you to places of Europe you may not see otherwise.
3. Discount Cards
No matter your age, there are a variety of discount cards available for backpackers. You can receive discounts on accommodations, dining, car rentals and more. Europe is a very backpacking friendly country; finding discounts is not difficult if you know where to look. Check out backpackeurope.com [http://www.backpackeurope.com/tips/save/index.html] for some great links to discount cards for those traveling through Europe.
Backpacking is a great way to save money, no matter where you want to travel, but particularly when traveling through Europe. If you’ve got an idea in your head that you’d like to backpack across Europe, start saving now! Do your research, decide how much money you will need both prior to and during your trip, and set a savings goal. You’ll be hiking your way across Europe before you know it!
Sheila Barnett writes on personal finance and travel budgeting for financialcalculator.org, a site with helpful tools and financial calculators for investments, loans, net worth and even includes a retirement calculator online.