How To Plan a Backpacking Trip Across Europe, Part I


Life is a Journey, Go out and Explore.

On that note let’s find out everything there is to know about planning A Backpacking Trip Across Europe. Just like Scotty,Cooper, Jenny and Jamie in the movie Eurotrip

    1. Discuss the Idea: Europe may be the second smallest continent on the planet but it is one of the most fascinating lands in the world. Add to that, it’s remarkable infrastructure and unity and you have a perfect place to vacation and enjoy yourself. After all, which other continent do you know of that allows you to travel to more than 10 countries on a single visa and a single currency. The first step to planning a backpacking trip across Europe, is to discuss this idea with your closest friends. Form a group of two to four adventurous, outdoor, travel loving people and start saving up for this once in a lifetime experience.


    1. Decide when to visit: The next step is talk about the period of the year when you along with all the people of your group, would be able to spare time for this adventure cum vacation. The best time of the year to visit Europe is between June – September. At this time the weather in most places of Europe is pleasant and there are a lot of events that one can attend. The events range from pulsating sporting action (Wimbledon, F1 racing) to beer fests (Oktoberfest) and concerts to wild parties (in places like Ibiza). If you’re a Delhiite then June is the best time, as it’s hot to be in delhi around that period.


    1. Finalize the Countries and Cities: Now comes the most important part of the planning process, deciding on the list of places and cities that you would like to visit. The whole of Europe is quite huge with more than 40 countries and most likely you won’t be able to cover all of them if you’re on leave from work or a short term break. Don’t try to do too many places as then you would only be travelling most of the time. If you are a first time visitor to Europe then you might just want to see the schengen states and a few eastern European countries.


    1. Work out the Visas that you need to get: If you’ve reached till here then the chances are that you are quite keen and serious on this trip. So now get ready to apply for the all important visas that could make or break your plan. For Travelling purposes you can think of Europe as being divided into 2 parts, Schengen and Non Schengen. The Schengen countries are those which are a part of the Schengen Agreement. For these countries you get a special Visa using which you can goto any of the schengen states. For the non-schengen states on the other hand, you need to have a separate visa for each place. For Ex: If you wish to travel to Germany, Netherlands, Spain and France, just one visa of any of these places is sufficient as they are all schengen states. However if you wish to travel to Turkey, Bulgaria and Poland, then you need to get 3 visas, one for each place. Checkout The Schengen Office for more information on this.


    1. Decide the exact dates and the travel itinerary: Next you need to decide on the exact dates of your travel and a detailed travel itinerary. Not only would you need to book your air tickets based on this info, you’ll also need it to get your visa. If you’re taking a break from work, then leave around a weekend so that you can get those 2 days for your journey. Your Travel Itinerary should contain information regarding the country and city that you would be visiting and the number of days at each place.


    1. Work out your budget: A Backpacking trip is actually a budget trip, and since Europe is a popular backpacking destination so there aren’t too many problems that you would face with regards to accomodation and transport. So it’s important to work out a suitable budget for the trip and the fun starts when you really have to stay within that budget. A budget trip would involve you staying in a hostel, using public transport at all times and a lot of walking. Although planning and going on a Euro Trip is slightly expensive but it’s the best way to learn the value of money.


    1. Start Collecting the Documents required to get your Visa: Now starts the hectic process of applying and getting your visa. This is supposed to be the scrariest and most confusing part, but it’s quite easy if you follow a methodological approach. Start collecting information on the documents needed for a visa of the country you wish to go to. Once all of them are in place, submit your application at the visa application center. If you are in Delhi and need to apply for the visa of a Schengen state then goto the VFS site of that country. For Ex: VFS Netherlands if you are going to Amsterdam, Utrecht or Rotterdam. Similarly there is VFS Belgium if you’re going to Brussels, VFS Germany for Munich, Berlin, Frankfurt and so on. Your visa application form needs to be submitted at the appropriate center along with all the required documents. If there exists no VFS branch for the country of your interest then look up the information on that country’s consulate in India.


Read Part 2 of this series here. That’s where your plan would become a reality and no one would dare say Scotty Doesn’t Know.



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