Backpacking around Europe is no radically new idea. People have been doing it for decades and in some countries such as Australia it has become almost a right of passage. Even so, there are still things people don't take into account when embarking on their modern day European adventure. Below are a few things to expect, plan for, and generally look forward to when trudging across the cultural collage that is Europe.
1. Expect Wifi to be EVERYWHERE
Good news for people worrying about purchasing texts, minutes, etc from their cell phone carrier when traveling abroad. There is no need! In this era of the smart phone all one needs to get in touch with people far away is Internet access. With useful free applications such as Viber, one can use their phone as a phone without any phone company service. It is truly astonishing how easy it is to obtain internet access these days. Many cafes, pubs, and almost all hostels offer free or cheap internet access all over Europe. A smart phone isn't necessary either, a tablet, or laptop would work just as easily. So save money and don't bother with those money grubbing phone companies.
2. Eurail IS the way to go
People have been backpacking in Europe for a long time and Eurail has lived up to the people's demand. If the plan is to backpack for cheap, and it almost always is, renting a car and flying can be crossed off the list. The European train system is much more developed, intricate, and scenic than it is in America. Eurail has multiple packages for any backpacking adventure. Whether the plan is to just visit 2 or 3 countries or see them all, a customized Eurail ticket is hundreds of dollars cheaper than purchasing individual train tickets.
3. No need to travel far
An important thing to take into account about Europe is its age. Europe has thousands of years of history behind it while America only has hundreds. This is important because mass transportation and the industrial revolution had yet to happen for the majority of Europe’s existence. Because of this, traveling from one place to another was much more difficult and individuals generally lived their lives out closer to where they were born. This allowed for differing cultures to develop in closer proximities to one another than they did in America. While in the U.S. one would have to travel hundreds of miles across several states to observe a true difference in culture, in pre-industrial Europe someone only had to travel a couple towns over. A mistake Americans make too often is that because European countries are comparatively small, each country only has one culture. Nothing could be further from the truth. For example, it has been observed that accents can change just 10 or so miles outside of English cities. Just as dialects, cuisine, and festivities vary greatly in the U.S. from the east coast to the west coast, so do they for each country of Europe. This means there is no need to travel far to find a change of scenery and a different cultural experience. So look forward to truly seeing a country and dig deep into the cultural nuances of each region.