Not many 15 year olds get to say that they spent 20 days backpacking Europe. This past summer I spent 10 days with my school in Spain and the other 10 days with my family taking trains through France and Italy, living out of a backpack, and eating a lot of bread. It was my first time out of the country and let me tell you, I definitely didn’t want to leave. Here are some super helpful tips, tricks, and funny stories about my time in Europe.
When my school and I got on the plane for Spain I didn’t know what to expect. I thought that I’d be going to a foreign country not knowing how to speak to other people. All I can say is that we were served a ton of seafood and we were always walking. I’m not to big on the seafood thing so I had to come up with some alternatives.
Tip #1: If you aren’t a huge fan of seafood like me, then when you have the chance to go to a drug store or market place, take it, and get lots of breads and bars while you’re there too. You can even just keep this food in your bag or your hotel room just make sure it’s not something that’s gonna melt and ruin your clothes.
Walking is a huge part of any kind of travel and when it comes to choosing the right shoes, I gotcha covered. You want something cute, yet comfortable. Casual, yet easily dressed up. There are so many option and important decisions you need to make when not only packing shoes, but packing light too.
Tip #2: When backpacking you don’t have a ton of space and really you don’t want to bring a bunch with you either. That means you should really bring only one to two pairs of shoes. Yes, only one to two. It was kinda hard for me to pick just two pairs but I was extremely satisfied with the ones I did bring. I also have super bad feet so I had to bring shoes that would be comfy to walk in. Naturally I brought my running shoes because we were required to have close toed shoes but the other pair I brought were these really comfy Birkenstocks. I swear by these shoes and I easily made them dressy and casual for different occasions.
When we met up with my mom and sister after our 10 days in Spain I had about had it with how much clothes I had. I naturally overpack but I worked really hard to try and not pack as much. Yet again, I overpacked.
Tip #3: Take what you’ve pack and cut it in half. This is especially true for if you’re backpacking. I probably wore maybe 3 of the 6 bottoms and 4 of the 10 shirts I brought. After about 3 days of traveling you really don’t care if someone sees you with a top you had on a day or two ago. No one cares, everyone does it. Plus there are usually Laundromats in or close to your hotel. So if you need you can easily go wash your clothes (Which I did).
I think the key thing that I learned from this trip is that you should always be relaxed. My family purposely planned our 10 days in Europe to be super chill and kinda “go with the flow” style. If we wanted to stay in one place longer we could and if we wanted to skip over a city we could. We just had to make it to our flight home.
Tip #4: It’ll take a few days, but trust me, you’ll be so happy you followed this tip if you do. Relax! Go with the flow! Of course some situations you’ll need to be a little more planned out, but I think that when it comes to backpacking you should have an easy going mentality. Don’t rush anything and you don’t always have to go on tours or see those fancy museums. If you make it, you make it. If not that’s fine too, you’ll just have to come back and see them again someday. If you do really want to go to a certain place make sure you take the time to go see whatever it is. Plan for that kind of thing, but don’t plan everything.
The main ideas for these tips is to have fun, enjoy your time, and have balance. You definitely don’t have to follow these tips exactly and you can even modify them. This is what worked for me and my family and now I know and I’ll be using them when I go to Europe again. Tell me what kind of travel tips you have whether in or out of the country!