Preparing a backpacking trip

Soon you will be able to travel again

We have been dreaming of it for a while, we are waiting for one thing only, hitting the road again. Being able to discover new landscapes, meet new people and feel free. Being able to travel, simply.
So while we wait for the right time, we will help you prepare your next adventure!

How to choose my destination to backpack around europe?

Deciding where to go is the first thing to do to organise your adventure.
If you are going alone, finding the ideal destination should be relatively easy. If you are going with someone, it's harder, but it should be easy to solve. Agree on your expectations and which mode of transport you will use. A train trip in Europe or touring Europe on a bike are not organised in the same way. You can also choose to mix modes of transport!

However, if you plan to travel  in a group, you will have to agree. Discuss what each person expects from a trip: relaxing, exploring, sports... a bit of everything? Once you have determined what to expect, you will be able to find the destination that meets the most criteria. if you plan to walk or travel everyday, check that everyone is in shape to do it without any problem and that the climate or weather is ideal.

You also need to discuss the budget. Going backpacking means travelling on a budget, sleeping in youth hostels, etc. Be mindful that comfort expectations are often different when you are 20 and when you are 40. Similarly, you will not necessarily want to change place everyday. You can rent a flat for a few days to explore a region then head to another place nearby.

If you dream of going to a particular place, prepare your plan for others and describe everything that attracts you to this destination. If you give them an estimate, you should win over your travel buddies! Be careful that they do not mistake you for a travel agency...

To find your next destination, find inspiration in our advice and in our ambassador's travel stories:

Tour of Europe route
Tour of europe in 20 days 20 days, 6 capitals and thousands of memories!
Travel route in Greece
Exploring the cyclades A route that combines culture and hiking.
travel route in Italy
Travelling in italy 5 routes for all levels
travel routes in France
Top 5 walking trips in french alps & around 5 mythical treks to recharge your batteries and discover French heritage
package holiday, definition

How does a package tour in europe or elsewhere go?

Do you want to make your life easier and make the most of your trip? Why not go on a package tour?
Package tours aren't only for pensioners! On the contrary, many travel agencies now organise trips that combine sport and travelling.
Your luggage will be transported by the agency and you can enjoy your day on the footpaths or visits without worrying about logistics. All the meals and accommodation are planned by the organisers.
Just enjoy the trip and think only about the gifts you will be bringing back for your friends and family!

For example, to give you an idea of a typical day on a package holiday in the desert, we have written an article:

Preparing the route: our tips and websites that can you help plan your route, step by step.

Do you all agree on a destination? It is now time to choose a route.
You can go with your friend's tales that have gone to the same place, read guidebooks (Lonely Planet, DK Eyewitness, Rough guides, etc) and of course research online. Tourism offices increasingly have websites that suggest routes and activities in their area.

First you can list all the places you want to discover, and work out how much time it will take to travel between each place. Based on this, you will be able to decide on a detailed route.
Keep your options open,  you may want to stay longer in one place or if you are disappointed, move on faster to the next stage. Once you have decided on the first and last stage, to book travel, the rest is much more flexible. Also plan rest days and days where each person, if you are travelling in a group, can take some time out for themselves. So you can take your time and also visit places that only you are interested in!

Even if a trip never goes exactly as planned (and that's part of the magic!), planning your route in advance enables you to have targets that can change depending on your experience on the ground.

Which formalities must you take care of when planning a trip: administrative, healthcare, safety and financial?

You are staying in Europe, but depending on the countries you intend to visit, you may need visas, vaccines, etc...
These formalities can require a little anticipation, ideally, research it before you buy your tickets. In any case, never leave behind your ID, which should ideally be recent. If you have a passport, keep it with you.
OUR TIP: check out the European Union website to verify all the formalities and papers you need.

Generally speaking, to avoid bad surprises, find out about bank fees for withdrawals and payments abroad, increase your withdrawal limits if you plan on using a lot of cash. Also check the prices of your telephone contract abroad, particularly mobile data. Deactivate roaming mobile data on your telephone to avoid significant extra cost.

administrative formalities when travelling abroad

The 2 precautions to take no matter where you are going

1. Scan your identity documents and e-mail them to yourself, to have copies in case they are lost or stolen.
2. Inform your local embassy that you arrived in the country.You will be sent a message with instructions to follow in the event of a crisis.

How to book plane, train, bus, boat tickets, etc?

Once you have decided on the dates of your trip, the first stage and where you are arriving, you can book your tickets. Remember to do so with your bank card, most of them have cancellation insurance, which could be useful.

Depending on your trip, you can book only your plane, train or boat tickets... to arrive or leave the country, and buy your other tickets as you travel to adapt your route to your wishes. When organising the different stages, take into account the travelling times and make sure you have enough time for connections.
Take time to check fare compare websites to get the best price possible. Remember that the cookies on your wen browser can explain why from one day to the next the tickets get more expensive...

There are several modes of transport to travel:
- Ferry companies offer lower prices if you book early!If you think you may have to change your dates, get the insurance! You can change your mind and your departure dates.
- If you intend to rent a car to go on a road trip, book it before you leave!You could get a better price and might even be bumped up when you get the keys.
- If you are thinking of a nomadic train trip around Europe check out the Interrail passes. They enable you to travel around Europe by train. The passes also give you rights to a discount on accommodation or guided tours, to lower the overall cost of your trip!
- Why not go for a bike tour of Europe? You will save on transport and can leave on your bike from your home.
No matter which accomodation you choose, check that your arrival time is compatible with their opening times. Or that there is someone there to welcome you if you arrive very late or very early.
- Do you have no alternative than the plane? If you want, you can compensate the carbon!

Where to leave your luggage when travelling

How to pack when visiting a city in transit

Do you intend to spend a day in a city but you have to leave your accommodation and don't want to be too weighed down for visits?
Some youth hostels have luggage lockers (it may be free if you ask nicely) and increasingly left luggage services are available in towns. You will pay but they are secure, and you can visit light! remember to bring a lock for your rucksack or locker and check that you have chosen a left luggage service near your next connection, to avoid crossing the city again before leaving.

How to find and book accommodation depending on your budget?

Youth hostels, rentals, hotels, bed&breakfasts or campsites, up to you to find out what you want and what fits your budget! You can even plan to spend a night in a 4 star hotel after a week of camping, you will appreciate the comfort even more. Don't hesitate to consult the specialist sites to get the best price!

If you are going to an area with a mild climate, why not camp?If is a very cost-effective option, especially if you are carrying your tent! If you want to lighten your rucksack, some campsites have pre-pitched tents or bungalows you can rent. If you get to the campsite and it is raining, ask if they have any bungalows available, you won't have to pitch your tent under the rain and be damp the next day.

Youth hostels are not only for young people!They have services tailored to families and groups of friends no matter their age. It is usually the cheapest solution, apart from camping maybe, and the advantage is that you don't need to carry your tent.
Sleeping in a hostel is great because the cooking area is where you can meet other backpackers and share meals with them. They will share their tips and maybe make you want to change your plans!

Rentals and peer-to-peer rentals in particular, we will not give THE reference in peer-to-peer rental, but you won't have any trouble finding it... Rental flats and houses are best for longer stays. Settle in comfortably, save money by cooking and explore the surrounding area as you wish. It's a luxury alternative to a youth hostel, perfect if you have a budget and you enjoy peace and quiet.

Guest houses and Bed and breakfasts are often comfortable and you will eat well. Travelling for several weeks using guest houses and B&Bs isn't always possible for all budgets as they prices are often higher. However, they can be a great step during a nomadic trip or as a reward once you have got where you want to be.
Finally, I won't present the hotel option! It all depends on the budget you have allocated for your holiday. A night in a hotel may enable you to hit the road again well rested.

Travel in Europe checklist

How to pack for holidays: our checklist

Packing your luggage is an important part of the trip, that's why we have written a whole chapter in this handbook. It is even a warm-up that will take you on a journey before you leave!
Check your travel plan to remember everything you will need. Typically, if you plan overnights in youth hostels, you will be able to wash and dry your clothes, so you can pack even less to travel lighter. Find out about the climate in your destination and the weather during your holiday, to adapt your equipment.

Travelling in Europe means that you will find the product you are missing if you need it, unless you are in the back end of beyond. That said, choosing multi-use and hardwearing products will lighten your backpack and be ready for all situations.

You won't need the same hygiene equipment if you are camping or staying in a hotel. Rare are the backpackers who can plan an entire trip going from one hotel to another. You will need a light towel, microfibre ones take next to no space, and toiletries.
Do you want to travel light?Sun cream is the beauty product you will need every day. The rest we will let you decide on. A piece of Marseille soap could be useful as you can use it as soap as well as for laundry and washing-up.

To limit your clothing as much as possible, choose versatile products, that are easy to maintain, including merino wool t-shirts, that you can wear for several days without worrying about unpleasant smells. A compact down jacket will keep you warm even during long nights and once folded, can be used as a pillow when travelling. Trousers that convert to shorts are two-in-one products!
Try out your shoes before leaving to avoid unpleasant surprises once you have arrived.

If you plan to sleep in a youth hostel, remember to bring earplugs and a bag liner. You will be able to sleep in peace, without worrying about the cleanliness of the bedding.
For evenings in a guest house or on a campsite, take comfortable trousers such as jogging bottoms or leggings, and a pair of flip flops. flip flops are useful in communal bathrooms and showers. Also take your swimsuit, you can use it to shower or if you get the change to swim.

Also think of products that will secure your belongings, important papers and cash or bank cards. Nowadays, many rucksacks can be secured with a padlock. It will be practical in public transport and when you leave your bag somewhere. Having a secret pocket in your jacket to place your identity documents in will give you peace of mind.

Of course, if you have planned sporting activities during your trip, don't forget your equipment. Except if you can rent it on location!
To eat when trekking, you will need a cook set, cutlery and of course a flask.You will avoid single-use plastics and will save money by preparing picnics.

If you are going on a package holiday, the travel agency will give you a list of essential equipment. If you have gone for an exceptional destination: desert, tropics, the "vital" equipment will be provided by organisers.

For more details, check out the advice below:

travel philosophy

Our vision of travelling

For us, backpacking is more than just a simple mode of travel, it's a state of mind!

More travel tips

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You are going on a trek and you need a pair of boots! But you need more detailed information to be able to choose them.You are in the right place!

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So, you have finally decided to go and explore the desert!Yes, but where should we start?Start with reading this article.

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