There are so many remarkable places in this world. Once you decide to travel, it’s like connecting with a best friend you never knew you needed. And what’s better, when you do make that connection, you will always be left wanting to know more and more about her.
But you’ve got to start somewhere!
It’s a hard choice to make because once your mind starts to imagine the possibilities, how can you make the “right” decision when you’re thinking in so many different directions. So many fascinating cultures, continents….it could be a super long process just to narrow it down!
Many first timers out there have a country in mind that they are dying to visit, and they do. They pick another place on their list and then they’re off–going when they can. This is completely worth it, and it can be that simple. But if you’re looking to make your first time traveling an extensive experience, start in Europe!
Let’s face it. The new age world we live in has made it hard to find a corner of the world that hasn’t had endless amounts of travelers come and go before you.
Often, that is the very thing that makes us feel better about getting started in the first place–the comfort of knowing others came, saw, stood in awe, and left safely.
So why not use this to your advantage when you have so much to do to get ready for your big trip? There are so many remarkable places in this world. Instead of pining over picking the right place, why not keep your options as open as you are to this adventure? European travel paves so many different roads for you that you won’t be left feeling like there’s a surface you didn’t scratch. Let’s see, there’s:
Easy, easy, (did I mention easy?) access
This one seems like a no-brainer, right? In Europe, you have the advantage of being in a variety of places within short distances of one another.
This allows you to have a multitude of different experiences without having to spend excessive amounts of time (and money! You get great access for reasonable prices) getting from one location to the next. You can make the absolute most of your first time out!
With phenomenal public transport systems in place, Europe sees an abundance of travelers at all times, so your options for what to do and how to get there are endless.
The various routes for backpacking are well established. Difficulties finding accommodations is really unheard of. You can have your pick of a 5-star hostel (yes hostel!), Airbnb, hotel, and more! Even Couchsurfing is a super popular means of travel throughout Europe- here are some tips if you are curious about Couchsurfing.
With clearly pictured maps and easy-read train schedules, it is the perfect starting point that makes you feel like you can get yourself to where you want to be without much worry. You’ll find that there is no better place to learn how to navigate–but, if you do get lost, that is entirely wonderful too. Trust me. You’ll see!
Can’t find that popular tree on the map? You know the one that all the travelers around you are talking about that looks like the Whomping Willow from Harry Potter? You have to have a picture, so who can you ask to help you?
Anyone! Virtually anyone you choose will gladly point you in the right direction. Everywhere you look in Europe you can find a traveler or locals that are completely comfortable with the backpacking culture around them.
It is remarkable that you could have planned to stay in Paris for three days only to decide that it’s just not enough time! Trains are constantly running so to rearrange an extra day, no biggy!
The next day you’re off to Amsterdam–enjoying a delicious lunch near a lovely canal and by that night, checking into a hostel in Brussels! (Although I do not recommend you leave Amsterdam so quickly, but you get the point!)
Being bitten by the bug
Chances are, you come away from that Eurotrip ready for the next adventure. Being bitten by the travel bug is probably the only bug you’ll ever enjoy being bitten by! Short and sweet, once you experience the overwhelming feeling of accomplishment and pride that you’ve pushed yourself out of your comfort zone and into the world, you will have to do it again! And again…and..again…
A guide to where you’re heading next
That bite helped you realize something even more profound. Of the many places you got to explore, some you gravitated to more than others.
Maybe the mountains and the architecture of Austria had you overwhelmed with appreciation, but the food and Mediterranean breeze of Italy is where you have to be again.
It’s all special to you but the instinct you’ve begun to develop starts to point you in the next direction. Maybe you fell hard for Spain so this prompts you to head to the Caribbean Islands that have major Spanish influence.
You can determine how far you want to push yourself. If there are certain comforts that you enjoy, perhaps you’ve reached your sweet spot and know your style. Maybe you feel like it’s time to head to a more remote setting.
You now have enough experience to build from and map out the next route you want to take. Not only will you know where you want to go, but you’ll have the confidence you’ve gained in yourself to get you there.
The next place is never the last.
European travel opens many doors for you. Ultimately though, no matter what way you take that first leap, the important thing is that you take it. The special part, keep planning that next place in your mind.
I’m giving you this insight not because Europe was my first experience out of the country, (really? You couldn’t tell, well dang!) but because it’s the place that lead me to discover that I needed to have my own solo experience in the world.
Yep, that’s right. My first date with my passport was with a girlfriend and I and our two backpacks. We spent two months in 8 countries, and within that next year, I was back, by myself, and my life was never the same.
Even though my first experience wasn’t alone, it’s something I highly recommend going for your first time out. I still have a hard time describing how valuable it was to learn and grow in that capacity.
It is one of my deepest treasures that everyone deserves to encounter. If you’re unsure if you want to make the trip solo and are thinking of finding someone to go with you, there are some questions you could ask yourself to help you decide what’s right for you. Check out our post, “What Type of Traveler are you?”
Where did you take your first trip? Did you travel with others? What were some of your reservations or didn’t you have any at all? We would love to hear from you! Let us know below!
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