This Is The Best Destination To Start Your Journey Of Backpacking Through Europe

Have you ever wanted to be one of those people who quit their jobs, sold all of their stuff, and lived out of a backpack for months or maybe years on end? It's never too late to make it happen — or, at least, a version you're comfortable with. If you're confused about where to start, Europe is never a bad idea. While there are more affordable regions to backpack through, like Central America or Southeast Asia, Europe is a backpacker's paradise based on geographical location and easy transport between countries once on the continent. 

While many backpackers choose to wing it as they go or only stick to a loose itinerary, there is one factor that needs to be seriously considered when on a backpacking journey: the starting point. Your starting destination can easily dictate the route you end up taking. If you're planning a European backpacking venture, starting in London is the move. Not only is it a major hub that allows you to travel to your next destination via plane, train, or automobile, but it's also an exciting city that many backpackers skip due to fear of it being too costly.

Geographically, it just makes sense

Let's start with the obvious. Geographically, London is a prime spot for beginning your European backpacking trip. It's easy to reach from mainland U.S., as there are direct flights from several major U.S. cities, including New York City, Seattle, Dallas, and Los Angeles. Once there, London is in a prime location to make your next jaunt as swift as ever. 

Want to head north to Scandinavia? Norway, Sweden, and Finland are just a short flight away. Want to head far east or down south to the Greek islands or historical Malta? RyanAir offers extraordinarily cheap flights to several major European cities. London Heathrow (LHR) is in the world's top ten airports with the most direct connections, nearing 250 in total. So, if you really keep an open mind and suddenly decide to ditch your European plans, London can easily take you to another continent.

For a more eco-friendly and backpacker style of travel, take it slow. Paris is just a two-and-a-half-hour train ride away. You can slowly work your way from Western Europe to Eastern or Southern Europe using a train pass such as Eurail. To best compare your options, utilize sites like Omio, which compares train, flight, bus, and, when an option, even ferry schedules.

London on a backpacker budget

London isn't known to be the most budget-friendly destination, but even in the most expensive cities around the globe, there are some true-and-tried ways to cut costs. First and foremost, when it comes to accommodation, say goodbye to five-star resorts and get comfortable with hostels. Hostels are a great way to save money when traveling, and sites like HostelWorld will help you compare neighborhoods, reviews, and prices for different accommodations. If sharing a room with a few strangers doesn't sound appealing, you can always opt for a private room at a hostel, which is often still more affordable than a standard hotel.

Aside from where you'll stay, there are plenty of affordable things to do in London. Head to Cecil Sharp House to catch some English folk songs for just £4 and take a boat ride with Uber Thames Clipper along the River Thames for only £5.40. For something entirely free, head to Sky Garden