Backpacking is an increasingly popular way to get to know a country on a more up-close and personal level while saving heaps of money on transport. Students are especially fond of spending their gap year backpacking across Europe, getting to know other like-minded young people and gaining real-world experience. Backpacking, whether undertaken alone or with a group of friends, builds unforgettable memories that can last a lifetime.
Many backpackers prefer to seek out hostels, which are very affordable, dorm-style accommodation that cater to students and travellers. It is advisable to familiarise yourself before setting out, both with what accommodations are available along the route you intend to take and with the culture of hostels in general. These friendly, often crowded accommodations are havens to thieves and con artists, so be cautious and use common sense when meeting new people. Don’t leave valuables or cash lying about, but rather keep them on your person or otherwise secure them. When planning a backpacking trip, be sure to pack lightly. You will not need nearly as many clothes as you may think. Rather than carrying a lot of expensive and difficult to replace electronics, consider bringing along a journal, and perhaps an inexpensive camera to record your travel experiences.
While women and those travelling alone should be particularly aware of safety, common sense will take you a long way. Avoid secluded areas and exercise moderation when partaking of alcoholic drinks. With a few precautions and some careful planning, a backpacking trip can be a wonderful experience.