Backpacking Guide for Students

Backpacking Guide for Students

Backpacking has become a long-standing tradition among young people, especially those in college or taking a gap year. Many students avoid traveling because they feel it would be too expensive, dangerous, or difficult to plan. Fortunately, however, even the longest trips are easier than ever to plan, and there are countless resources all over the world to make backpacking a simple, exciting, and budget-friendly way to travel for any young person.

While backpacking around Europe or trekking through South America may have been an impossible fantasy for many students a few decades ago, most young people now find that they can manage a trip on any budget, and no one regrets the confidence, friends, stories, and memories they gain on long backpacking excursions.

Where should you go?

This first major choice when planning a backpacking adventure is harder to answer than one might expect.  Europe has always been the most popular choice, even since the early days of youth travel, and with good reason. Who doesn’t dream of drinking wine by a canal in Venice, seeing the Mona Lisa, and strolling through the streets of Barcelona in the evening? Europe is still the most common destination for students but, unfortunately, the crowds have grown with its popularity, and prices have risen even as Europe has become more accessible than ever.

However, most European cities remain incredibly safe, and offer a lot of adventure as well as civility. Those traveling on a very tight budget or looking for a more unusual experience should consider traveling in lesser-known European cities, particularly in Eastern Europe. For an even more exciting and wallet-friendly excursion, consider South America, East Asia, or Southern Africa.

Backpacking Guide for Students

How long will you be traveling?

The next question to consider is how long your trip will be. There are unique advantages and disadvantages to traveling for shorter or longer periods of time. Shorter journeys are usually cheaper, and often allow travelers to do the basic sightseeing in many different cities in less time. However, short, multi-city trips such as these tend to leave students feeling more like they are sprinting through museums than enjoying a vacation. Longer journeys may cost more, but they also allow a traveler to get the most out of the locations he or she has gone so far from home to experience, and to really feel the life of certain cities and cultures.

Longer trips can also allow for opportunities to make your travel cheaper. Students traveling for longer periods can participate in wonderful programs like WWOOFing, which lets them trade work on an organic farm in an exotic destination for free room, board, and cultural experience. Many students benefit from such volunteer experiences, and it will undoubtedly pay off to research these sorts of opportunities before cementing your itinerary. Some even manage to travel for almost no cost thanks to these resources.

Where to get the information you need?

When traveling, a good guide book is essential, and the internet has also made travel infinitely easier to plan. You can get information on youth hostels, cheap restaurants, and events, and can often benefit from special offers available through your guide book or online. Youth hostels are essential for any backpacking trip, but beware: not all hostels are created equal. Do your research, because some may offer bare, dirty, loud accommodations, while others make you feel like you’re at a luxurious resort. No matter where you stay, make sure to talk to other travelers. There will inevitably be other backpackers wherever you go, especially at hostels, and they will become an invaluable source of advice, and maybe even good friends that you can keep in touch with when you return home.

About the author
Natasha is a travel writer offering budget travel tips on how to find cheap flights and how to get best possible prices on domestic flights.