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My 6 Step Guide to Planning a Trip in 2023

Last Updated: 5/25/23 | May 25th, 2023

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 (except 2020 when no one was crossing Europe).

During the summer, hostels burst with life, the Mediterranean sparkles, streets fill with people slowly drinking wine and enjoy the day, and the late night setting sun leads to long wonderous days. Winter brings Christmas markets, skiing, fewer crowds, and lower prices! And Spring and Fall bring the right mix of people, temperatures, and prices that make these two my favorite seasons to travel Europe.

Since starting this website in 2008, I’ve written a lot of posts on Europe. I visit Europe multiple times a year, have been all over the continent, lived there on multiple occasions, and even run tours there.

With so much content on the blog, I wanted to create a resource page that will help you plan your backpacking trip to Europe with ease. That way you don’t miss anything! In this post, you’ll find all my best resources on planning a backpacking or budget trip to Europe, including destination guides, transportation tips, accommodation information, ways to meet people, and so much more!

So, without further ado, here’s everything you could ever want to know about backpacking Europe:

Step 1: Plan Your Backpacking Europe Trip

A person planning a Backpacking Trip to Europe with a map
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.

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. 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 – 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? – Here is how to ensure you stay safe while traveling across the continent.

Step 2: Get Your Gear for Backpacking Europe

A bunch of hiking gear in an empty field
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 or a home without home insurance, and you can’t have a trip without travel insurance!

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

A set of bunk beds in a hostel dorm room
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 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.

For more budget accommodation suggestion, check out my hostel hub page. It has all my favorite hostels around Europe!

And to find out where to stay in each city, visit my list of the best neighborhoods in Europe!

Step 4: Get Around Europe on the Cheap

A man in a grey shirt hitchhiking
7 Cheap Ways to Travel Across Europe – Traveling around Europe can still be fairly expensive. Here are seven ways to backpack Europe without breaking the bank.

The Ultimate Guide to Saving Money with Eurail Passes – 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 outlines everything you need to know buying a rail pass!

Step 5: Save Money While Backpacking Europe

a bunch of colorful Euro bills
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!

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

a travel map for planning a trip to 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 country guides above, I’ve created tons of cool itineraries for cities all around Europe. You can find my best Europe itineraries here!


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, and 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!


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 to find a cheap flight. They are my favorite search engine because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned!

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:

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!

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