HEY BAE! Welcome to the Blogging Backpacker Series!
So you have decided you are going to travel Europe! You want to see as many countries as you can in a three month period, you want to cover the most amount of distance for the least amount of dollars. WHAT DO YOU DO? Luckily, there have been many before you with your exact predicament and thankfully, THERE IS A SOLUTION.
In the fall of 2015, my best friend and I, the Kristinas from Canada, took off with our backpacks and each other for nearly four months. That trip was my first real taste of backpacking; I had traveled Europe before, but never for that long and covering so much ground. There were nearly six months of planning that went into this trip because there were so many things to consider.
First off, when planning your Eurotrip, you have to ask yourself some questions. Where do you want to go? What do you want to see? How long do you want to be in each place? How much time and money do you want to spend on transportation? Do you want to see anything while actually moving from place to place? Once you answer all those questions, you will have a much clearer view of what the best way to travel is for you.
For us, we selected ten countries we’d like to see, and as many cities within each country as we could, which turned out to be fifty-five cities in nearly four months. For the most part, the countries we wanted to see were all neighbouring each other. We wanted our travel plan to be easily accessible and extremely flexible, so we could change our minds at a moment’s notice, which we did quite a bit. Having taken all of these things into consideration, we decided the most cost efficient way to travel is the train because it allows you to do whatever you want.
The next step is determining which company you would like to train with. There aren’t many out there, but the best company for extended travel for multiple countries is Eurail, because they offer a Global Pass. The pass has a minimum of five and a maximum of twenty-eight countries, so there are some countries in Europe that do not have Eurail, here’s a map! The longest Global Pass you can acquire in Europe is for three months, as without a visa, you cannot stay in Schengen Area Europe for longer than that because of the Schengen Agreement. Another thing to note after purchasing the Eurail Global Pass, which costs $1575 plus $26 for insurance, is that you are not fully done paying for it. There are certain countries that require a reservation prior to boarding to train, and some of those reservations will cost up to 10€.
So after all that, we travelled Czech, Slovakia, Austria, Germany, Poland, Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, France and Spain with the Eurail Global Pass for three months. The pass allowed us to start our train portion of the trip later, after we were a little too hung-over from Oktoberfest, because you can activate it whenever you want. It allowed us to add Verona to our trip because we could easily add that to our route and heard it was gorgeous from a Couchsurfing host in Florence. It allowed us to spend more time in Naples and Barcelona, because we loved it so much and had no plane to catch. If we missed a train because we were too busy drinking beer in Ireland, or wine in Italy or Spain, we just caught the next one. Those are all amazing advantages, but the best one has to be staring out the window when you are on the train, watching the European countryside roll by. Remember baes, you do your bliss above all else, before anything else, it would be rude not to.