My 6-step guide to planning a trip in 2023

Last updated: 5/25/23 | May 25, 2023

Backpacking in Europe is still one of my favorite things to do as a traveler. There isn’t a year I don’t cross the continent (except in 2020 when no one crosses Europe).

During the summer the inns come alive, the Mediterranean sparkles, the streets fill with people slowly drinking wine and enjoying the day, and the late night sun makes for wonderfully long days. Winter brings Christmas markets, skiing, fewer crowds, and lower prices! Spring and fall bring just the right mix of people, temperatures, and prices that make these two of my favorite seasons for traveling to Europe.

Since I started this site in 2008, I have written a lot From posts on europe. I visit Europe several times a year, have been all over the continent, lived there on multiple occasions, and even toured there.

With so much content on the blog, I wanted to create a resource page that would help you plan your backpacking trip to Europe with ease. This way you don’t miss anything! In this post, you’ll find 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 need to know about backpacking in Europe:

Step 1: Plan your backpacking trip in Europe

Someone 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 stressful. You’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’ll face.

How to save for your trip – Is money stopping you from taking your dream trip? Here are 22 easy ways to reduce your daily expenses so you can save money for backpacking in Europe.

How To Find A Cheap Flight Getting to Europe can be half the challenge. Fortunately, there are plenty 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 DO I EARN POINTS FOR FREE FLIGHTS AND HOTEL STAYS – Free travel is my favorite type of travel! This post shows you eight strategies I use to get over a million frequent flyer points. These will get you out of your home faster, cheaper, and more convenient!

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 area. The good news is that there are several different ways to survive. In this post, I am sharing what you can do to stay legal after 90 days and on the continent in general.

How to avoid paying ATM fees – You’ll never have to pay any bank fees while accessing your money in Europe! Here is my advice on how to avoid bank fees like your backpacking in Europe.

Is Europe safe to visit? Here’s how to ensure you stay safe while traveling across the continent.

Step 2: Get your gear for backpacking in Europe

A group of hiking equipment in an empty field

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST BACKPACK – It is important to choose a quality backpack for your trip because it will take a beating during your travels! This guide to choosing the right travel bag will help you decide the best pack for your trip.

What to pack for your trip – What should you pack on your trip? Well, there is no single right answer, but this list will give you a good place to start. This is what I do on my travels with me (although you’ll need to make some seasonal variation, I’m sure!).

The Ultimate Packing List for Female Travelers – In this post, Kristen Addis shares her packing insights for women, so you can travel almost anywhere without spending a fortune on equipment.

How To Buy Good Travel Insurance Travel insurance is one of the most important things you will need for your trip. You won’t have a car without car insurance or a house without home insurance, and you can’t take a trip without travel insurance!

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 Three: How to get a great stay in Europe

Set of bunk beds in the bedroom of a hostel

How to Find Cheap Accommodation – If you’re looking to stay somewhere besides a hotel or hostel, this article lists all kinds of places you can rest your head in Europe – from couches to farmhouses and even monasteries!

How To Find A Good Hostel – This article shows the best tips on how to find a neat, clean and affordable hostel where you can meet a lot of cool people.

Best Hostels in Europe – This is a list of European hostels that I would definitely use again if I had the chance. Hope this helps you on your next European backpacking adventure!

How to Become a House Sitting This is a how-to guide to house sitting, a great opportunity that allows you to stay on a rent free site in exchange for watching someone’s house.

For more budget lodging suggestions, check out my hostel hub page. All of my favorite hostels in all of Europe!

And to find out where to stay in each city, visit our list of the Best Neighborhoods in Europe!

Step 4: Get around Europe on the cheap

A man in a gray t-shirt is walking around

7 Cheap Ways to Travel Through Europe Traveling around Europe can be somewhat expensive. Here are seven ways to get Europe on its back without breaking the bank.

The Ultimate Guide to Saving Money with Eurail Passes Every person traveling to Europe wonders if they will save money by buying a train ticket or if it will be cheaper to buy tickets while traveling. This detailed post explains everything you need to know to buy a rail pass!

Step 5: Save money while backpacking in Europe

Bunch of colored euro bills

How To Save Money On Food – While traveling to Europe, food often becomes a major expense. Here are some tips for saving money on food so that you can still buy yourself a delicious meal now and then.

How to Use the Sharing Economy to Save Money – The rise of the sharing economy has made traveling to Europe much easier and cheaper. This post lists all of our favorite local meeting locations, and home engagements, so you can get off the tourist track and experience everyday life with the locals!

61 Tips to Make You the Smarter Traveler These 61 travel tips will help you become an expert traveler getting around Europe cheaper, better, longer and smarter!

14 Major Travel Scams to Avoid It sucks losing money on a preventable travel scam. Find out what scams to look out for in Europe and save yourself a potential headache!

Step Six: Find out what to see and do in Europe

Travel map for planning a trip to Europe

What do you do while traveling in Europe? a lot! Below are all of my comprehensive budget travel guides for destinations across Europe with tips and advice on things to do and see, ways to save money, and typical costs for each. You’ll find country-specific advice with a range of cities also included.

I have over 100 guides to places in Europe! Everything you need to know about where you are going can be found in these articles!

In addition to the country guides above, I’ve created plenty of great itineraries for cities all over Europe. You can find my best itineraries to Europe here!


This extensive list of resources will help you plan your trip to Europe in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step manner so you don’t waste, overspend, or stress over your next dream trip. Europe is one of my favorite parts of the world (which is why I spend so much time there). There is a lot of diversity in food, culture and language, as well as a lot of history. I love the continent and hope you use these tips to plan your ultimate backpacking adventure in Europe!

Get our in-depth budget guide for Europe!

My 200+ page detailed guide 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 for travel while in Europe. She suggested itineraries, budgets, ways to save money, on and off the beaten track things to see and do, non-touristy restaurants, markets, bars, safety tips, and so much more! Click here to learn more and get your copy today.

Book your flight to Europe: logistics 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 all over the world so you will always know that no stone is left unturned!

Reserve your accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld because they have the largest inventory and the best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use as they constantly show the cheapest rates for cheap guesthouses and hotels.

For suggestions on where to stay during your trip, here are our favorite hostels in Europe!

Don’t forget travel insurance
Travel insurance will protect you from illness, injury, theft and cancellation. It is 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:

Are you looking for the best companies to save money with?
Check out my resources page for the best companies to use when traveling. I list everything I use to save money when I’m on the road. They’ll save you money when you travel, too.

Do you want more information about Europe?
Be sure to check out our robust Europe destination guide for more planning tips!

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