How to prepare for your first backpacking trip to Europe

For the fortunate ones, life is not complete without a backpacking trip to Europe. According to sociologists, this right of passage is assumed to further the cycle of maturation of college students. Some, of course, also suggested that copious amounts of alcohol, heat, and Amsterdam have something to do with it. Irrespective of your intent, you still have to work out what to do to experience student travel to Europe in the best possible way.


search student travel packages
Looking for discounts for the backpacking trip to Europe

1. Search for student travel packages

If you’re looking for amazing but convenient student trips to Europe then some of the best travel deals can be found on specialized travel websites that cater to young people. They can offer you the chance to see the world at a lower price, often with other young adults. Such package deals are often popular with young travelers because they allow one to build their entire itinerary without having to worry about accommodation, airline reservations, or other travel details.

No matter the countries you want to see, there are many ways to plan your backpacking trip to Europe. Many agreements allow you to travel at a very low cost (usually applies to airfares) in exchange for working with locals to help with agriculture or teach young children different skills. Many other packages for student travel to Europe encourage you to visit a number of different countries staying at very low-cost youth hostels and other accommodation when connecting with other students from around the world. This can be a perfect way to get to know foreign cultures and see the differences between people from all over the world as you’re on your student trips to Europe.


best travel bag for backpacking trip to Europe
The right travel bag for a backpacking trip to Europe is vital

2. Find the right travel bag for your backpacking trip to Europe

Of course, the first critical item to go on a backpacking trip to Europe is your backpack. While you don’t need to buy the $10,000 backpack, you should also avoid the $12 one. But how are you going to pick a happy middle ground?

Unless you’re going to a specialized shop that has special weights to select your backpack (e.g. Decathlon), three phone books are the perfect way to pick a bag. Select/borrow/swipe three yellow pages books from family/friends/enemies to visit the local sports goods store. With the books, go to the backpack section of the store and pick up a few different models. Stuff your phone books inside, change your shoes, and go for a stroll. Then head off on a run to test potential future dashes for trains/ferries/toilets and get the salespeople anxious. Such moves will help you choose the ideal backpack easily.

Now, you may have read other publications that suggest highly technical ways to select a backpack. Trust me, until you’ve made a run for the last ferry from Italy to Greece, you don’t know how to choose the best backpack. The three phone book check is a nice solution to this problem.


3. Learn what to pack for your backpacking trip to Europe

Millions of people leave for Europe on a backpacking trip every year. Having done this several times, I can tell you that this is going to be one of the best times in your life. That being said, you’re going to have to take some things with you, but not too many.

Europe is not the other planet so keep in mind that you can buy everything there if you forget about it. The first time people go on a backpacking trip to Europe, they overdo it when it comes to packing. You’re not going to climb Mount Everest, so don’t pack for it!

The first things to pack for student travel to Europe are clothes. Depending on where you’re going, you may need warm weather or cold weather clothing. If it’s dry, you need a few shirts that are immune to wrinkles. You’re going to buy the others out there or wash those you’re taking with you, so don’t pack ten. You’re also going to need a pair of shorts and a bathing suit. If you’re planning to visit museums and churches, you’ll need a pair of long pants or a long skirt to visit most of them.

You should load up on socks because they don’t take a lot of space. You’re going to need some sandals if it’s warm, and a pair of comfortable shoes no matter the weather. Some people prefer hiking boots, but I usually wear cross-trainers. Whatever you do, make sure you get used to your shoes before you leave. You’re going to walk a lot on your backpacking trip to Europe, so blisters from the new shoes can be a killer.

You need a towel, a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and whatever else you require to meet your specific medical needs.

Okay, that’s it. You can buy anything else you need when you actually need it. There is no point in carrying around shampoo all over Europe. Murphy’s laws say it’s going to open up in your pocket!


packing for backpacking trip to europe
Packing for the first backpacking trip to Europe

4. Chant the packing mantras for student travel to Europe

There are a few mantras that every person can sing before packing for student trips to Europe. These songs were originally developed by the little known Oh-My-Back Monks of Southeast Asia. These monks were known to travel halfway to faraway cities, turn around, return home, and then travel all the way to their destinations. Religious scholars have long denied the deep spiritual significance of such journeys. Afterward, they felt humiliated when the monks exposed the back and forth movement during their trips. But anyway, the songs of these monks have become the guiding light of seasoned travelers preparing for a backpacking trip to Europe.

Let’s sing slowly and clearly together:

  • I’m going to pack only that which doesn’t make me look like a Sherpa.
  • Remember, I can pick books, toothpaste, and soap up there.
  • I’m not going to stuff my pack to the point of bursting, because zippers always break or refuse to work.
  • I will learn humility by wearing incredibly wrinkled clothes and shall not bring an iron.
  • I’m taking only one guidebook, not one for each country I might see.
  • I accept that I’ll return home wearing something I haven’t taken and that I’m going to lose or trade a lot of what I’ve packed.

Female travelers end the song with:

  • I’m not going to bring high heels or a bag full of make-up.

Of course, just singing these mantras will not bring you immediate enlightenment for your backpaking trip to Europe. But don’t worry. You can always throw away items or send them back to your parents or friends. It is also not unusual for the ingenious backpackers to send particularly smelly or even toxic clothing to an ex or younger sibling.


backpacking trip to europe travel journal
Keep a travel journal to to better remember your backpacking trip to Europe

5. Discover how to better remember your student trips to Europe

This is the hardest part for most of those who are on a backpacking trip to Europe. You’ll forget those special moments of their trip when they met the hunk from Sweden and spent a fun evening/danced the night away/got arrested in Ios/Ibiza or at the airport. Maybe not immediately, but you will eventually forget about it.

You will also forget or neglect the contact information of the people you meet during your student trips to Europe, despite having carefully written it down on the back of the coaster/napkin/hand in the bar/poetry reading/jail at 3 o’clock in the morning. Surprisingly, the said coaster/napkin/hand often survives the night/day/weekend and is placed in your already full backpack. Of course, their existence often gets overlooked as soon as you pack the Oktoberfest mug/wet towel/toothbrush later. The additional padding at the bottom of your pack is specially designed to deal with the decomposing result. Still, the information you gathered on your backpacking trip to Europe is gone, and so is your future with Sven.

To better remember your student trips to Europe, you must keep a travel journal. Don’t worry, you can still burn it later before your parents get nosey/you get married/you have babies. And you must pick a travel diary that has a water/beer/sweat-resistant case. If you have some extra time on the bus/train in your jail cell, you can record how you got there and the people you met along the way. Trust me, when you, Sven, and your nine children are sitting on the porch, you’re going to enjoy reading your travel diary! Unless you already burned it.


Most young adults feel that they can better refresh their brains and be more prepared for college or a job until they return by taking a summer off and going on a backpacking trip to Europe. The experience of student travel to Europe will open your eyes to differences in people and environments. Student trips to Europe will also allow you to understand how different parts of the world function and how different social and political structures function outside of our own. That’s why a backpacking trip to Europe can be an experience that you will never forget and a valuable life lesson that you can make use of throughout your entire life.


About the author

Mirela Letailleur The Travel Bunny

Mirela Letailleur is a Romanian travel blogger living in the South of France. She writes on The Travel Bunny travel blog about affordable travel in Europe, creator of unique free travel guides, local travel expert. Problem solver. Wannabe coffee guru.

Read more about Mirela Letailleur

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