Top 30 tips for backpacking through Europe

1.) Always double or even triple check your dates and months when booking hostels and flights. You don’t want to land from your flight and have no place to stay because you’ve booked for the week after.

2.) On that same note, make up your hostel bed before you go out drinking.

3.) Take the public transportation, Europeans as a whole has been more accustom to rely on their public transportation.

4.) Ask at train stations about the quickest way to get from point to point; you will be surprised sometimes how helpful train attendants can be.

5.) Compare amongst multiple Bureau d’Exchanges for the best currency rates

6.) Get out of the big cities and touristy areas, go explore the countryside and see what it has to offer

7.) DO NOT flush toilets while your train is stopped at a station; many trains flush directly onto the track, not into a holding tank

8.) Avoid gypsies

9.) If you think it’s a scam, it probably is.

10.) Get lost. Don’t make plans and just wander the city and discover the true essence of the culture.

11.) Guide books can be great, but your best bet are the locals and the hotel staff, they know the ins and outs of the city.

12.) Never show or give your passport to any police officer unless they take you to the station.

13.) Make photocopies of your passport and keep it with you at all times. Never hand your real passport to anyone.

14.) Pay Eastern European cops off

15.) Do not assume you can pay by card, always have some cash on you.

16.) Don’t always go with the plan, if you like the city you’re in, feel free to stay longer

17.) Do not store all your credit cards in one spot. Always have 1-2 forms of payment hidden.

18.) Service agents in buses/trains may demand a tip if they help you

19.) Learn to say basic words like yes, no, excuse me, and please in any language that you might need.

20.) On that same note, if you are traveling in Greece or a country that uses a Cyrillic alphabet, it can be very helpful to learn how to pronounce the letters. You do not need to learn the language, but just pronounce what you see. For instance, in Bulgarian, the word “restaurant” is “ресторант”, which although looks different, is pronounced almost exactly the same.

21.) Get a chip & pin credit card if possible. Although few banks in the US offer them, going thru the hassle to acquire one can be very beneficial. The BeNeLux area of Europe is attempting to phase out swipe cards all together, so in these areas, cash may be your only option without a chip & pin card.

22.) DO NOT forget these few simple items: pad-lock, flip-flops, fingernail clippers, ear-plugs, teeny bottle of detergent and small sewing kit

23.) If traveling by bus, determine if you buy the ticket on or off the bus.

24.) Do not trust children, they are either a distraction or going to steal something off you

25.) On that same note, do not let anyone hand you their babies. This is also a distraction used by scammers

26.) Be sure to research local tipping protocol. Some areas it is not needed, some it is expected, and some it could be interpreted as offensive to leave a tip.

27.) Those 2 for 1 drink specials aren’t as generous as they seem.

28.) Avoid touristy areas if you want something to eat, even moving down a couple of streets can save you money.

29.) Enjoy yourself and not take the stress of traveling so seriously.

30.) Backup photos to the cloud or any file sharing program like Dropbox