If you are finding that your plans for backpacking across Europe are a little daunting, then do not worry, by far the largest majority of first time backpackers share you apprehension.
The first thing that you should realise is that people are much the same the whole world over. On your trip you will meet some great people who you can really relate to and get on with and who will be more than willing to give you a helping hand; and you will also meet some others who are right “you know what’s” with whom you will have to deal. You will also come across many different cultural attitudes, so you will need to be broad minded. Treat people kindly and with respect, and hope that you will receive the same in return.
Don’t be timid about introducing yourself and talking to strangers; in fact at every hostel you stay at you should make a point of greeting everyone you come across. It is easy to strike up a conversation, just remember the five ice-breaking questions: the person’s name, where they are from, where have they just arrived from, how long they will be here, and where are they heading next.
There is a large variety of backpacking hostels and hotels across Europe; some are excellent and some are dreadful, and most are in between. It is a good idea to do some research when you are planning your trip and read the reviews; they are not totally reliable, but they can give you a good idea regarding overall quality.
If you are new to hostels, then remember that they are not hotels, but then they are a lot cheaper; so don’t expect too much of them. There are some hostels that are well known for their party atmosphere and which have developed certain notoriety in backpacking circles. If you prefer a quite time then these are best avoided; there are plenty of other hostels that are quiet with a homely atmosphere and if you travel by bus they can be just a short ride away.
Generally it is very important to be considerate to other travellers and not arrive in the early hours in too high a party spirit if that is not the hostel’s ethos. Remember that while you may have the next day to recover, other guests may be booked to travel by coach to far flung destination in just a couple of hour’s time.
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This is a guest post by Claire Chat a new Londoner, travel passionate and animal lover. She blogs about Pets and Travelling in Europe. If you want Claire to write you specific content, you can find email her here or contact her on Twitter (Claire_Chat).