Welcome to the Travel Forums

Why join TravelBlog?

  • Membership is Free and Easy
  • Your travel questions answered in minutes!
  • Become part of the friendliest online travel community.
Join Now! Join TravelBlog* today and meet thousands of friendly travelers. Don't wait! Join today and make your adventures even more enjoyable.

* Blogging is not required to participate in the forums

New to Backpacking

I would like some general info on backpacking, some tips for good packing, and just general tips. Thanks!
13 years ago, November 11th 2007 No: 1 Msg: #22346  
I am currently working in France for a few months. At the end of December, I will be heading out of France, and embarking on a Europe backpacking tour. However, I am new to the world of backpacking, and am not entirely sure of how everything works.
If someone could help me out a bit, I'd really appreciate it!

Firstly, when staying in a hostel, what does one do with their backpack? Do all hostels have lockers, or is that something I need to specifically look for?
Also, if you are staying in a hostel for a few days, what do you do with your backpack while out on day trips? I am under the impression the your backpack pretty much goes everywhere with you, but I've heard a lot of talk about day packs....What is the general concensus on this?

My plan is to be backpacking for 3 months. Would someone pls give me an idea of what a good packing list would look like? I really don't know where to start, as I don't know how much of everything I will need?
What do most people do in terms of toilettries? Is that something you take enough of for the whole trip, or is that something you buy along the way?

If anyone has been somewhere in Europe that they really recommend visiting, please post it here so I can start to make up my itinerary 😊

Thanks so much!
Any help is appreciated!! 😊
~Andy~ Reply to this

13 years ago, November 15th 2007 No: 2 Msg: #22572  

First advice--get a Eurorail pass. It offers flexibility and allows you to not have to worry too much about travel b/t countries. I wish I had gotten one, but I was only doing a few countries and figured I would be flying mostly. Yeah, now sitting standby in a Paris train station hoping to catch the last bus into London can be called a travel adventure, but not soo much fun that night!

Hostels--not all hostels offer lockers or luggage rooms. This is definitely something you should make a priority when researching hostels. Other key things to base your choice on are location (is it way outside the city, near public transportation, etc.) and atmosphere. It's better to pay a little more for a hostel located near the attractions and night life rather than cheaper and further out. You'll pay an arm and a leg for taxis.

A lot of backpackers play tourist w/their daypacks. If you see those in full gear good chance they're camping out somewhere or they didn't get a hostel w/good security.

A packing list varies--to each his own--but pack as little as possible. Pack your initial toilitries and you can buy replacements as you go. Get things in travel size. I would say a couple pair of jeans, a couple tee shirts, something to keep you warm and dry for when it rains or snows and a good pair of walking shoes. The less you have the better. Seriously.

As for things to see and do, it's about your interests. It doesn't hurt to pick a few must-visit places to spend a little more time in.

Good websites to check out are:

www.eurail.com --find the pass that fits your travel itinerary.
www.hostels.com --DEFINITELy read the reviews. They are key to really knowing what the hostel is like.
www.guideforeurope.com --more travel forums and sample packing lists.
www.eurotrip.com --same as above.
www.travbuddy.com --this is a good site if you're looking for people to meet up and travel w/you.
www.ryanair.com --low budget airline if needed.
www.travelocity.com --if you opt not to do the eurorail pass, you can purchase train tickets in europe through here.

Good luck and have fun! I can't wait to do it again!
Reply to this

13 years ago, November 24th 2007 No: 3 Msg: #23056  
B Posts: 5,192
The Beginners Guide to Independent Travel - lots and lots of tips there.

But keep them coming 😊
Reply to this

13 years ago, November 25th 2007 No: 4 Msg: #23090  
To add onto whats been said above, about storing your backpacks, many airports/train stations/bus stations have luggage lockers where you can leave stuff. Also most people are quite obliging once you make friends with them. For example I left a witch doctors stick I bought in Peru in a hostel in Lima for 3 weeks while I went off to Ecuador. No charge, no hassle nothing. I've left my backpack at a travel agency in La Paz, Bolivia while heading off to the salt flats for 4 days. Not a problem.

When you are staying in a hostel dorm, most people just dump their backpacks anywhere on the floor where they can find space. Its not really a big deal. Hostels have lockers, but you typically have to bring your own locks, and they are usually only small enough for valuables - passport, camera, any electronic gear, ipod etc.... Most places however, will store your luggage for the day for free, for example if you are catching a night bus/train/flight but have to check out in the morning due to hostel rules.

The trick, or atleast my recommendation is to keep all your valuables (passport, camera, ipod, laptop etc) in a day sack that you carry around with you, and leave your big backpack in the hostel with clothes etc....Ive done that for months without a problem, no one is really interested in stealing your dirty underwear.

When travelling in slightly more dangerous countries, like Venezuela, we used to chain up our backpacks to something in the room that isnt readily moveable like a bed. Or we would chain two backpacks to two chairs and a table, so anyone carrying all of those out would look rather stupid.

In a worst case scenario, you would lose clothes, shampoo etc, medicines, and that kind of stuff, which is all easily replaceable. Thats pretty much all I keep in my big backpack.

You can always buy stuff along the way anyway, so my advice is to take as little as you can, when you are trudging through heat or snow trying to find a hostel you will be glad to not have a heavy pack. Weigh your pack before you leave, unless you are really strong I would say anything over 13-15 kilos means you have packed too much. Take medicines from home that you are comfortable with, but things like tshirts and boxers you can always buy.

Lastly get a good guidebook, that can help you not only with where to go, what to see, where to stay but also gives you a comprehensive list of things to take. Or go to a bookstore, sit there and read one! :-) Reply to this

13 years ago, November 25th 2007 No: 5 Msg: #23101  
Thanks so much to all 3 of you! You have all left some very useful tips and I really appreciate it! 😊

If there is anything else that anyone thinks of, feel free to leave a msg!

Thanks again everyone! Reply to this

13 years ago, November 26th 2007 No: 6 Msg: #23167  
Hello Andy 😊

Hostels usually have lockers to put your backpack in.
But even if u stay at one which does not u can leave it on your bed. Just dont leave money or valuables in it. While u are out on day trips u can also just leave your backpack in your locker or on or beside your bed. Yeah a day pack or a shoulder bag is a good idea for day trips. U can put bottles of water, suncream, snacks, books etc that u will want to use during the day in it. Also a moneybelt to wear under your clothes and in bed is advisable to keep your money and doccuments in.

There is not a shortage of toiletery variety in Europe so there is no need to take enough for the entire 3 months.

Packing: Whatever u do make sure u dont bring too much. A very heavy backpack can be a real pain when u have to carry it from here to there. I usually only bring 2 outfits. I wear one while I hand wash and dry the other. Also 1 towel should be enough. U can handwash that and leave it someplace to dry.

I recommend that u buy a Lonely Planet book which covers all of Europe. This will help u decided which countries u would like to visit and give u lots of practical travel information about things like accomodation, money, transport etc..... They cost around 27 Euros and are available in most bookshops around the world.

Reply to this

12 years ago, December 13th 2007 No: 7 Msg: #24167  
Hey-- I saw someone above recommended a rail pass...I would also suggest getting one, but since you live in France I'd check out an inter-rail pass (http://www.interrailnet.com/). It's for residents of Europe (it doesn't matter if you're a citizen or not) & is cheaper than the Eurorail pass which is made for non-residents.

As the others mentioned, pack light. A few things I coveted while backpacking through Europe were flip flops or some other kind of easy foot wear for showers, a small hand towel, a small travel pillow (you never know when you’ll end up sleeping on the floor of a train station), individually wrapped baby wipes, a deck of cards, a reading book (a lot of hostels have places to trade your book for a new one, so starting out with one is essential!), a battery operated alarm clock and a travel bottle of laundry detergent.

Get to Krakow, Poland if you can. It’s a lovely city with a lot of history and a great night life! Here is a link to the hostel I stayed in…it was amazing! (http://www.nathansvilla.com/krakow.html)

If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask!
Reply to this

12 years ago, December 16th 2007 No: 8 Msg: #24299  
B Posts: 5
I backpacked through 10 countries in Europe and it is a fascinating way to travel. Definately go with the Eurailpass, a must have. If you are clever you get a first class pass, and are clever enough with your scheduling, you can often find yourself in a sleep car on a train traveling between cities, and not even in need of a hostel every night.
One thing that you will fing when you get there is that there is an entire backpacking culture for individuals backpacking across Europe. If you are not careless many of these people are a great resource and form a friendly and helpful community. Ususally being a backpacker makes a statement about yourself and how you like to travel. This holds true throughout the world not just in Europe.
What I found is that there are often hotels that are just as affordable as hostles, and provide more flexibility. Your choices are basically two, either research your accomodations well ahead of time (this seems to be what you are inclinded to do), or just wing it, you will find yourself not the only one doing this. And often times I have seen backpackers huddle together to spend the night at a trainstation when plans have fallen through. Safety in numbers I suppose.
Either way what every you choose to do you will have an amazing time.

Reply to this

12 years ago, December 18th 2007 No: 9 Msg: #24377  
N Posts: 1

You should definitely check out the following articles about backpacking..


There are plenty of practical tips in these articles.

About your backpack.. You should have a smaller back pack with you, in which you store your valuables. You always carry this one with you, while leaving the larger with clothes and toilettries at the hostel.

3 months for backpacking is a long time - If this is your first time, you might easily become tired after a couple of weeks. Remember to think about how costs vary throughout Europe. 3 months can be lots of fun also though! ;-)

My travel destination tips:


Have fun mate!

Reply to this

12 years ago, December 24th 2007 No: 10 Msg: #24611  
Roll up thos little dryer fluffies inside your shirts. It will keep them smelling fresh longer and they can be used when you do your laundry. If you like to cook try to get a room with a kitchen about half way through for a couple of days. It will break up the eating out and keep you happy.

Have a great adventure. Greece and Scotland are amazing!! Reply to this

12 years ago, January 28th 2008 No: 11 Msg: #26220  
B Posts: 23
Belong to the country you are travelling in! Learn about it; speak to the locals; be open minded. Above all, don't look like a victim! Be confident: and travel on the Mexico City underground; the Golan Heights; Brasilia; Asia or through an American airport choked by anti-terrorist paranoia and Yankee hubris. Reply to this

12 years ago, January 31st 2008 No: 12 Msg: #26484  
Hello myself and my husband backpacked for the last 6 years and we were a little bit nervous about it, but you know the world is such a fascinating place and you'll love every minute of your travelling I'm sure - so don't get too worried about all the details - just enjoy it. We have recently published a book called 'Luxury backpackers: Global Adventures in Style' for first time backpackers who want all the adventures but don't want to stay in filthy hostels. Check-out our book online I'm sure it would help you a little bit! Best Wishes jill from
Reply to this

Tot: 0.059s; Tpl: 0.012s; cc: 6; qc: 39; dbt: 0.0108s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.2mb