Have you just graduated from college and are planning a great adventure backpacking trip to Europe? Congratulations are in order! Follow these recommendations from the travel professionals to ensure your trip is the adventure of a lifetime!
The first steps are to secure your travel dates, travel partners and budget. The second step is to ensure your passport meets country requirements. Generally, you should have a least ninety days remaining prior to expiration upon your return to the United States. Failing this, many countries will deny entry. If you’re applying for a passport renewal or applying for a passport for the first time, allow at least three months for processing – more in the busy spring months. Take a photo on the cover and interior of your passport and email it to yourself. Order Euros from your local bank and confirm that your credit card does not incur foreign transaction fees. It’s cheaper to purchase Euros here than incur the bank charges in Europe. Finally, check with your cell phone carrier to either enroll in an overseas data plan or prepare to purchase a SIM country for each country upon arrival.
If your trip is at least two weeks long, plan to visit no more than five countries. While it’s tempting to see as many countries as possible, it’s nearly impossible to get the true flavor of the culture in any less than three or four days. You also don’t want to spend the majority of your time travelling. Determine which countries you will be visiting and book your Eurorail pass accordingly. It’s much easier (cheaper) to do this in advance than attempting bookings in country. Most passes have few restrictions other that specific countries and will allow as many on and off stops as desired.
Finally, begin packing well in advance. Because you will spend a tremendous amount of time with your backpack on, it’s so important to pack light. Take advantage of the awesome deals offered by Groupon coupons and stock up on lightweight, versatile clothes from Old Navy. Shorts, t-shirts and very comfortable walking shoes are about all that are needed. Pack rain gear and a daypack and you should be set for at least two weeks. Take plenty of pictures, try new things and speak with the locals – you’ll have a grand time!