Updated: 02/08/2020 | February 8th, 2020
Backpacking Europe is still one of my favorite things to do as a traveler. There isn’t a year I don’t criss-cross the continent.
I’ve been doing it for over close to thirteen years and it never gets old.
During the summer, hostels brim with life, the Mediterranean sparkles, streets brim with people slowly drinking wine, and the late night setting suns leads to long wonderous days. During the winter, winter brings Christmas markets, skiing, fewer crowds, and lower prices! (Note: May and October are really the best months to backpack Europe in my opinion.)
Over the decade I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve written a lot of posts on Europe. I visit Europe multiple times a year, have been all over the continent, and I have even run tours there.
With so much content on the blog, I wanted to create an awesome resource page that will help you plan your backpacking trip to Europe with ease. In this post, you’ll find all my best resources on planning a backpacking or budget trip to Europe, including destination guides, transportation information, and backpacking Europe tips.
Without further ado, here’s everything you could ever want to know about backpacking Europe:
Step 1: Plan Your Backpacking Europe Trip
- How Not to Feel Overwhelmed While Planning – Planning the perfect trip to Europe can be daunting and overwhelming. I’ve been there and I understand, but I can tell you from years of experience that the more you plan your trip, the more anxiety you will face.
- 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 to backpack Europe.
- How to Find a Cheap Flight – Getting to Europe can be half the challenge. Luckily, there are a ton 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 get a cheap flight to Europe and avoid being the person that paid the most for their ticket!
- How to Earn Points for Free Flights and Hotel Stays – Free travel is my favorite kind of travel! This post shows you eight strategies I use to get over a million frequent flier points. These will get you out of your house faster, cheaper, and in comfort!
- How to (Legally) 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 a few different ways to stay (especially because not all of Europe is in the Schengen Zone). 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 (FOREVER) – You should never have to pay any bank fees while you are accessing your money in Europe! Here is my advice on how to avoid bank fees as your backpacking Europe.
- Is Europe Safe to Visit? – After a few high-profile terrorist attacks (as well as various protests), many people think that Europe isn’t safe to visit. Fortunately, that couldn’t be further from the truth!
Step 2: Get Your Gear for Backpacking Europe
- How to Pick the Best Backpack – It’s important to pick a quality backpack for your trip since it’s going to get beaten up as you travel! 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 on your trip? Well, there is no one right answer, but this list will give you a good place to start. It’s what I take on my trips with me (though you’ll need to make some seasonal variations, I’m sure!).
- The Ultimate Packing List for Female Travelers – In this post, Kristin Addis shares her packing insights for women, so that you can travel just about anywhere without spending a fortune on gear.
- How to Buy Good Travel Insurance – Travel insurance is one of the most important things you’ll need for your trip. You wouldn’t have a car without car insurance ora home without home insurance, and you can’t have a trip without travel insurance!
- Smartphones, Tablets, or Laptops: What’s Best for Travelers? – Not sure what tech gear to bring on your next trip? Our resident tech expert Dave Dean will walk you through the pros and cons of each device and help you get the most out of your travel tech.
- Why T-Mobile is the Best Phone Carrier for US Travelers – Looking for a reliable carrier for your next trip? Consider making the switch to T-Mobile.
- The Best Travel Cameras – Wondering what kind of camera you should get for your trip? This post will show you exactly what you need — no matter your budget!
Step 3: How to Get Amazing Accommodation in Europe
- How to Find Cheap Accommodation – If you are looking to stay somewhere besides a hotel or a hostel, this article lists all the types of places where you can rest your head in Europe — from couches to farms and even monasteries!
- How to Find a Good Hostel – This article features my best tips on how to find an affordable, clean, and fun hostel where you can meet a lot of amazing people.
- The Best Hostels in Europe – This is a list of European hostels that I would definitely use again if I have the chance. Hope this helps with your next European backpacking adventure!
- How to Find a Couchsurfing Host – Couchsurfing is a great way to save money (it’s free!), and it offers a peek into local life and a way to meet locals. It’s one of my favorite resources when I travel. Plus, Europe has a ton of hosts! If you want to stand out from the crowd and stay with amazing hosts, follow these seven steps, my tried-and-true Couchsurfing advice.
- How to Become a House Sitter – This is a how-to guide to house-sitting, a wonderful opportunity that allows you to stay in a location rent free in exchange for watching someone’s house.
Step 4: Get Around Europe on the Cheap
- 7 Cheap Ways to Travel Across Europe – Even with the falling euro, traveling around Europe can still be fairly expensive. Here are seven ways to backpack Europe without breaking the bank.
- Are Eurail Passes Worth It? – Everyone traveling to Europe wonders if they will save money by buying a rail pass or if it’s cheaper to buy tickets as they go. This detailed post will give you the pros and cons of buying a rail pass!
- Would You Contiki? – Is a Contiki tour cheaper than backpacking Europe solo? Are the tours worth doing? Find out more about the costs of solo vs group travel and whether a Contiki tour is right for you.
- Sailing Around Croatia with Busabout – Busabout is a hugely popular tour company for those backpacking Europe. They are especially famous for their Croatia sailing trips. Here’s a review of my experience I took with them.
Step 5: Save Money While Backpacking Europe
- How to Save Money on Food – While traveling Europe, food often becomes a major expense. Here are some tips for saving money on food so you still can afford a nice meal out every now and then.
- How to Use the Sharing Economy to Save Money – The rise of the sharing economy has made backpacking Europe so much easier and cheaper. This post lists all my favorite ridesharing, house sharing local meeting websites so you can get off the tourist trail and experience day-to-day life with locals!
- 61 Tips to Make You the Savviest Traveler – These 61 travel tips will help you become an expert traveler who gets around Europe cheaper, better, longer, and smarter!
- My 18 Current Favorite Restaurants in Europe – After exploring Europe quite a bit last year and gorging on food, these are my new favorite 18 restaurants around the continent. They are definitely places you don’t want to miss the next time you travel Europe.
- How I spent $100 in 5 days in Stockholm – Here’s how I did Stockholm on an ultra-tight budget so you can use my tips and tricks throughout the continent.
- How I spent 10 days in London for $700 USD – Here’s a detailed post about how I managed to travel around London for less than $70 a day. The methods I used will help you throughout the continent.
- 14 Major Travel Scams to Avoid – Losing money to a preventable travel scam sucks. Learn what scams to look out for in Europe and save yourself a 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 around Europe with tips and advice on things to do and see, ways to save money, and typical costs for each of them. You’ll find country specific tips as well as a host of cities listed as well.
I have over 100 guides to places in Europe! Everything you ever need to know about where you are going can be found in these articles!
In addition to the free city and country guides above, here are some insightful travel itineraries to help you make the most out of your trip to some of Europe’s most popular cities:
- How to Spend 4 Days in Amsterdam
- How to Spend 5 Days in Paris
- How to Spend 7 Days in London
- How to Spend 5 Days in Barcelona
- How to Spend 4 Days in Prague
This massive resource list will help you plan your trip to Europe in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step pattern so you won’t get lost, overspend, or stress out about your upcoming dream trip. Europe is one of my favorite regions of the world (which is why I spend so much time there). There’s so much variety in food, culture, language, as well as so much history. I love the continent and hope you use these tips to plan your ultimate backpacking adventure in Europe!
Want All My Money-Saving Tips? Get My Guide to Europe
I wrote five guidebooks to Europe that you can use to take your trip planning to the next level and keep my tips with you on the road:
- Nomadic Matt’s Guide to Backpacking Europe
- Nomadic Matt’s Guide to Amsterdam
- Nomadic Matt’s Guide to Iceland
- Nomadic Matt’s Guide to Paris
Get Your In-Depth Budget Guide to Europe!
My detailed 200+ page guidebook is made for budget travelers like you! It cuts out the fluff found in other guides and gets straight to the practical information you need to travel while in Europe. It has suggested itineraries, budgets, ways to save money, on and off the beaten path things to see and do, non-touristy restaurants, markets, bars, safety tips, and much more! Click here to learn more and get your copy today.
Book Your Trip to Europe: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner or Momondo to find a cheap flight. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned. Start with Skyscanner first though because they have the biggest reach!
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap 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 against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip 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:
- Safety Wing (for everyone below 70)
- Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
- Medjet (for additional repatriation coverage)
Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m on the road. They will save you money when you travel too.
Want More Information on Europe?
Be sure to visit our robust destination guide to Europe for even more planning tips!