Backpacking and Travel Info for Europe

Written by: Britney Anderson

Backpacking through Europe isn’t as expensive or difficult as it may sound, not if you follow the three P’s — prepare, protect and pack.

image credit: Keith Parker (Keithusc)

Prepare

Before brushing up on your Jack Kerouac books and posting a “Europe or bust” post on Facebook, start your trip by studying possible places you’ll be traveling to, staying overnight and eating at.

First and foremost, budget your trip as best you can. According to a USA Today article, you can budget about $15 for food a day if you’re a supermarket or local grocery store shark, but plan to spend about $25 to be safe and to allow yourself to enjoy the local food.

As for where to go, as photographer Eric Kim explained, “It is better to spend more time in fewer places than see more places in less time.” He advises not to be afraid to ask locals where the hot spots are and always purchase a map. Check out Hostelbookers.com for some cool places to visit.

As far as lodging, hostels are a terrific, inexpensive way to swing a fun and affordable backpack trip across Europe. It doesn’t hurt to check out where hostels are located in the area you’ll be traveling. Not only can you adjust your budget better ahead of time but you can also book hostel stays and take advantage of discounts that Hostelworld.com offer.

Protect

The last thing you want is for your European backpacking experience to turn into a peddler’s burden of begging for money and food. Don’t make preventing identify theft and protecting your money and passport a priority after you’ve been robbed.

Signing up for coverage with the Lifelock Identity Alert system assures that you’ll be more concerned with beer and local spicy food you just consumed more than the security of or your finances while on the trip. Lifelock boasts a proactive approach to broader identity coverage, notifying you by email, regular mail, phone … everything short of smoke signals.

The Savvy Backpacker cautions using your credit card at foreign ATMs, as you will be nailed with enormous fees. It advises to use an ATM or debit card instead. It also gives you plenty more information on the Euro and British Pound Sterling and exchange rates.

With Identity Strong protection, you’re not only protecting your physical items, but your virtual items, as well. Yes, pickpocket thieves are good enough now to steal your identity without even taking anything out of your wallet, thanks to technology.

Pack

If you did your homework, then by the time you’re actually ready to pack you’ll know one thing for sure — pack light.

There are only two things you need to keep in mind when packing, and that’s organization and weight distribution, according to Wildbackpacker.com. From having the proper-sized backpack to deciding on what’s a luxury and what’s a necessity, packing your backpack is perhaps the most essential part of planning your trip.

Once you’ve sorted between luxury and necessity, lay all your necessary items — clothes, phone adapter, compass, lighter, insect repellent — on the floor and then pack from least used (to go to the bottom) to most used.

Europe isn’t all flat, soft terrain, so do you a favor and prepare for outdoor exercise. To learn more about light backpacking, go to Backpackinglight.com.

Remember, there’s plenty of mystery and the chance in backpack trips through Europe, even if you prepare.

Traveler Tip: Roll your clothes to save space 

Raised by a single mom, Britney knows how important it is to make the most of what you have. She is the queen of DIY in New Hampshire.

I Think I Can, I Think I Can: You Can Travel the World, Too

Written by: Amy Taylor

It may seem hard to get out and enjoy life because of busy schedules and hard economic times. You hear about the privileged set going on weekly vacations to the islands for sun and water skiing. There’s no way can you do that — or can you?

There are lots of ways to get out and see the world while being financially conscious.

Golf the Scottish Coast

Getting to this destination will cost you a plane ticket to Scotland, and all of the change you have in your couch right now.

Just picture it. Gentle breeze licking at your face while you sidle up to the tee and adjust your grip on your 5-iron. You’re about to tee off on the Scottish coast and it only cost you 8 pounds, or US$12. There are tee times all over Scotland, and you can book them at the same time you book your flight.

Hike the Appalachian Trail

Setting out to hike the Appalachian Trail (AT) is a life-changing experience. For the cost of a pair of hiking boots, a backpack and a change of clothes, you can be on your way. The AT spans 2,100 miles up the eastern half of the country, from Georgia to Maine.

The hiking culture is unique. Most hikers would literally give you the shirt off of their back, or the food out of their pocket, if you’re in need. It’s what is known as trail magic.

Make a pit stop in the West Virginia/Maryland section of the AT. Hop off the trail at any one of the many towns that lie along the path. This area is particularly scenic, and you a chance to rest your feet and legs. This area of the country is full of 4-wheelers. It’s almost like a sport. Before you hop on the ATV, Polaris mechanic experts suggest you check the ATV tire’s tread, air pressure and take a tape measure to see that both tires are the same.

Photo by Nicholas A. Tonelli via Wikimedia Commons Continue reading “I Think I Can, I Think I Can: You Can Travel the World, Too”

Authentic Asia: 5 Things to See and Do

Authentic Asia: 5 Things to See and Do

Written by: Lily Gregory

Live life to the fullest and experience as many cultures and see as many sites as possible — at least that’s what I learned from watching Angkor_Wat“Eat Pray Love.” After seeing the film I was inspired to travel and take in as much culture as I could. When I was a young girl, I always dreamed of traveling: to see giraffes and elephants roam free, taste the mouthwatering cuisine in France, have a different pen pal in every country.

Now, years later, I finally started living out my dream. I’ve experienced new cultures and cuisine in Europe, surfed the North Shore in Hawaii and became friends with complete strangers in Texas. When preparing for a trip, I plan and research my destination. I’m going to take an Asia cruise this summer, and have already mapped out must-see landmarks and booked exciting excursions to try.

1. Visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Asia is home to some of the world’s most iconic and spiritual places ever recorded in history and features more World Heritage Sites than anywhere else in the world.

  • The Great Wall of China is one of the most iconic landmarks in the world and is the largest man-made structure in the world.
  • The Taj Mahal is the highlight of India and one of the most beautiful structures in the world.
  • Ayutthaya is a beautiful city and was once the ancient capital of Thailand from 1350-1767 AD. Visitors flock here every year to wander the ruins and gaze at the city’s beauty. The most-visited attraction is the sandstone head of an ancient Buddha statue. A nearby tree grew around it, crushing the statue’s body but mysteriously leaving the head. Continue reading “Authentic Asia: 5 Things to See and Do”