Eastern Europe – in the last few years it’s become one of the places for intrepid backpackers to tick off their bucket lists. For backpackers, experiencing Eastern Europe is affordable, rich in history and architecture, and has plenty of natural beauty to explore.
1. You May Need to Allow for Travel and Transit Time
When you’re utilizing public transport, make sure you allow enough time in your trip for the additional waiting that can happen at transport and train terminals and on journeys through different regions.
If you want to combine the best of both – take the scenic route – check out different ways to get from one destination to the next along the most interesting or attractive routes. Or, take a night train, and get your sleep enroute.
2. Learning a Little Lingo Helps You Go Far
Learn at least the most basic words and phrases of the languages from the countries you’ll be visiting. Even just being able to say Hello, Goodbye, Please, and Thank You will help you when you’re trying to establish where the nearest toilet is, or when you’re ordering food. Use apps on your smartphone, or old school travel dictionaries to help with your communication.
3. You Need to Know Your Currency
Most Eastern European Countries use their own national currencies. The Euro or the US dollar may not be accepted in everyday transactions, so get to know what the local currency is in the regions you are going and the best conversion rates with your own currency so you can keep to your budget.
4. There are Good Accommodation Options
The accommodation options you’ll find in Eastern Europe are likely to be affordable, clean and run by friendly people. Along with the traditional hostels for backpackers, it can pay to check out guest houses, B&Bs, and small hotels as well for a great stay. Many also include breakfast, saving you from buying or preparing one meal of the day.
5. You Should Check if You Need a Visitor’s Visa
Depending on your native country and the origin of your passport, you may need to apply in advance for a Visitor’s Visa to enter into some eastern European countries. Check before you go, if you are a citizen of a country that needs a Visa, sometimes these can be purchased at borders, but often times they need to be applied for in advance.
6. Make Sure You Pack for the Seasons and Climate
Many parts of Eastern Europe can either be very hot in summer or very cold and wet in winter. You will need to be prepared for this in terms of the gear you carry in your backpack, and the accommodation you book. Make sure you have wet weather gear if needed, and accommodation with heating or air conditioning as needed for either season.
7. It Pays to Swot Up A Little in Advance on Local Customs
A little research in advance on local customs and culture can save embarrassment and inadvertent offense when you visit any foreign country. Check standards of dress, and what may be needed if you are visiting any religious or spiritual sites so you know how to behave appropriately, and have an item of clothing to cover up if needed.
8. The Food and Drink is Good
The food and drink in Eastern European countries are good! Eating like a local wherever you can is often the best way to save money, and get the most authentic flavors in local dishes. If you’re not a usual drinker, take it easy on the Slavic vodka! But most of all – you will enjoy!