5 Mistakes to Avoid While Backpacking through Europe


Backpacking through Europe in your twenties is almost a rite of passage. It’s an experience full of fun and adventure and can also teach you some lasting life lessons. 

If you’re a beginner to backpacking, you might assume that there’s not much to know. Just pack light in a backpack, travel on a budget, and take in the sights, right?

Well, yes. But backpacking has its own set of dangers. When you’re solo traveling in foreign countries, there’s lots that can go wrong. The good news is that you can avoid them by taking advice from seasoned travelers as well as administering a good dose of precaution in all you do. 

Here are the top 5 mistakes to avoid while backpacking through Europe!

Don’t crowd your itinerary

It can be tempting to jampack traveling to as many countries as possible when you’re drafting out your itinerary. After all, you’re backpacking which gives you the advantage of being mobile and always on the move. And if you’re going to be visiting Europe for only three weeks, doesn’t it make sense to visit all the places you possibly can? Who knows when you’ll get a chance like this again. 

Not exactly. 

The disadvantage of being overly ambitious in traveling to multiple countries is that you may not do justice to any of them. With only a day or less to visit a famous city, you might end up only getting time to see the most populated and overcrowded tourist spots.

The real reason why you’re traveling is to be able to soak in the culture of the place, eat the food and walk the streets. A traveler is someone who’s able to live multiple lives! You can only do that if you give yourself a few days in each city and really try to meet people and explore the city. 

Another drawback of having a crowded itinerary is that you’ll get exhausted just from shuttling from city to city. We always need time to recover from a train journey or a flight, and you don’t want to be fatigued while looking at the most beautiful sights. 

Only visiting tourist attractions

Just like the previous point, make sure you spend time doing non-touristy things as well. If you don’t 

You wouldn’t visit Paris just to look at the Eiffel Tower (atleast we hope not!), so why do it for any other place?

Take the time to research underrated and authentic spots in the place you’re visiting. The backpacker community is vast and you can find many detailed reviews and guides recommending which spots to visit and which ones to give a miss. 

Sitting for your coffee

This will sound silly, but you may not know this! In Italy, there are different rates for coffee in a cafe. The most expensive is sitting at a table. It’s lesser if you stand, but cheapest if you take it to go. 

There are lots of other tips to save money. You might be tempted to visit the highly-rated Michelin starred restaurant in the city, but this can burn a hole in your pocket. When backpacking, your priority should be to spend on safety, accommodation, and experiences rather than food. 

Besides, what better way to experience the city than to eat its street food? The best meal I ate in Budapest was from a Doner stall at 2 AM!

Currency Leftover

When you’re exchanging currency between two countries, most of the time you can only exchange notes. So if you have a lot of loose change and coins, make sure you use them up! 

As a rule, carry around small change so you can always pay exact amounts instead of using up your big notes and then having a jingling wallet

Looking like a tourist

It’s no secret that tourists are the target of thieves and pickpockets. If you want to attract as little attention to yourself as possible, you’d benefit from dressing like the locals.

Since you’re packing light, you most likely packed simple and versatile clothes for the entire journey. This is a good thing because you won’t be wearing bright and gaudy colors and stand out like a sore thumb. 

A dead giveaway of a backpacker is, unsurprisingly, bags and shoes. Bulky trekking shoes for long hours of walking and a huge backpack will mark you as a backpacker with a red flag. We recommend sacrificing some precious backpack space for a pair of everyday shoes (like slippers) and a handbag or fanny pack. 

This way, you can leave your heavy backpack at your hostel and wear some comfortable flip flops with a handbag carrying only your essentials. You’ll blend into the crowds better, and be less of a target for any mobbers.