Tips for better backpacking


Backpacking around Europe is a great way to see the continent, not only on the cheap, but also to ensure that you meet the widest possible mix of people from cultures all over the world. Backpacking is a learning experience, sure, but it's also a whole lot more fun than that. The best bit about backpacking these days though is the interconnectivity of the travel community and the accessibility of information. If your parents were the backpacking types way back in the days of old, you've probably heard all the stories of the letter home every three months, but today it's just not like that anymore thanks to the internet. Online accessibility means more than regular email correspondence however, and a smart backpacker will take advantage of any internet time they get to figure out what's the best way to get from A to B or to find a comfortable place to sleep for the night.

For instance, a lot of European countries offer promotions on transport that are only available online. These can either be seasonal specials or age-related discounts, such as those in abundance for youth under 26. Getting a lift through a ride-share organization is also a possibility when doing the hard yards through Europe; although while in countries like Germany it's more of an organized venture, no matter where you are in Europe you can log on to a ride-share online community and browse the car pooling classifieds for a ride that's going your way.

Winter deals on accommodation are all over the place too, and you'll be able to lodge anywhere from Bruges to Budapest for even less when the temperatures start to drop. This is where a little imagination and pre-planning come into it, as for instance if you're traveling as a couple you can stay at a 4* hotel in Budapest, the capital of Hungary and one of the jewels in the crown of Central Europe, for even less than a youth hostel in France. Relax in the sauna, check out the gym or tuck into one of the trip's most memorable breakfasts. It's a world away from shared dorm rooms in backpackers hostels, but sometimes everyone needs to splurge - so why not do so economically? This works out well if you know your precise dates and can book in advance, which means that it's recommended for London hotels as many travelers start or end their journey in the UK capital to see the sights or take advantage of cheaper flights to this central transport hub.

Another option is having a look at campsites that are accessible by public transport. Usually camping is the domain of those with cars, but backpackers are equally able to camp easily and accessibly in Paris or Amsterdam, which makes another nice change from a dormitory. In Italy, for instance, Rome hostels and Rome hotels can be on the expensive side, and although the city is worth every cent, it's still a consideration for the frugal traveler. Camping just outside the city on the other hand can provide an affordable - and at times quirky, but always memorable - experience for travelers of all ages.