Frequently Asked Questions for Backpacking Europe
Are you planning to backpack in Europe soon? Check out this list of frequently asked questions to find answers for common quandaries:
Is backpacking Europe for me?
Whether you carry a satchel, a rolling bag, a duffle or the traditional backpack, traveling around Europe can be the adventure of a lifetime and a trip that can influence the rest of your life. Many intrepid travelers consider the tour of Europe as a quintessential rite of passage, however others need convincing that the experience will be worth the cost, time and effort – and that they’ll be able to handle the culture shock. Is backpacking Europe for you? Take the Quiz!
Where should I start my trip?
Consider beginning and ending your trip in a major destination and airport hub. You’ll find a bigger selection of flights (and thus lower prices) flying into cities like London, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome or Frankfurt. You can also fly into one city, and out of a different one.
Do most people in Europe speak English?
Many Europeans speak English, especially in the larger cities – and especially young people. Still, you’ll get a better reception if you make an effort (however small) to learn a few words of the local language.
What kind of money do I need, and where do I get it?
Most countries in Europe use the Euro as their currency. Notable exceptions and their currencies include the United Kingdom (the pound), Denmark (the krone), Switzerland (the franc) and the Czech Republic (the koruna). No matter what type of currency you need, you can withdraw it easily from ATMs, which are located all over Europe. Credit cards are readily accepted, and you can also exchange cold hard cash. Be sure to ask your bank about credit and debit card fees before you leave home (they are usually 3%).
Should I take a tour or travel independently?
Both methods of travel have their advantages. Tours are great for travelers who want to see a lot in a short amount of time, and have a bit more money to spend. Independent travel is more adventurous and can be done on a smaller budget – and you can go exactly where you want to go.
What are hostels like?
Hostels can vary greatly in quality, convenience (of location), and the type of people you will meet. Some hostels attract young party-friendly crowds, while others appeal to a diverse age range. Many hostels offer private rooms as well as dorms, plus common kitchen areas, bathrooms and lounges. Check out your hostel in advance online, look at pictures and read guest reviews.
Do I need reservations at hostels?
Reservations are not required, but they can be a good idea – especially in high season, at popular hostels, and if you want a particular sleeping arrangement (like a private room). Bakpak Dave is always here to help you book hostels directly with no
Should I buy a train pass?
That depends on where you are going, for how long, and how much traveling you plan on doing. Learn more with our special section: Rail Passes 101.
I’ve never really traveled anywhere like this before. Will I be safe?
Everyone has to start sometime! Use common sense and stay aware of your surroundings, just like you would in any unfamiliar place. Travel with others when possible, so that they can watch your bags – and your back.
I’m not really sure what I will really enjoy - how do I figure out what I want to do and where I want to go?
We’ve written a special guide just for travelers like you: the Bakpak Europe GO Kit. This 90-page guide features six self-discovery quizzes, plus a route planning guide, easy budgeting worksheet, packing checklist and more.
Where can I find out more about backpacking in Europe?
Read our handy Backpacking Europe Planning & Essentials Guide to find out everything you need to know, from tours and transportation to accommodation, budgeting and things to do.