Backpack Europe eiffel tower

Transportation

Here we will talk about planes and trains as they are how you will do most of your traveling around Europe.

Air Travel

The best way to get to Europe is to fly. There are numerous international airports all over Europe, so deciding on where to fly into depends on your route. In helpful links, you'll find a list of places to book airline tickets, both for international flights to Europe and budget airlines within Europe. Sometimes flying from country to country, as opposed to catching a train, is a lot cheaper, but you do miss out on a scenic route.

Before booking your flight, think about different ticket options so you can make the best decision based on your route through Europe. There are three types of tickets:

1. Your average round-trip, nonrefundable ticket that flies into and out of the same city pairs.

2. Open tickets require you to return to the United States within a certain time but do not specify a date. Jana said that it is typically much cheaper to just get a nonrefundable ticket and make a change for a fee (often it's around $200) rather than buying an open ticket.

3. Open Jaw tickets allow you to fly into one city and out of another. For example, Orlando to London and then Rome back to Orlando. Open Jaw tickets are often the same price as roundtrip tickets, Jana said.

A few words of advice from someone who has missed an international flight before: if the site you buy your ticket from offers insurance in case you miss your flight, get it. Read the terms and conditions before you buy, too, because they won't refund your money and they'll use the terms and conditions as their reason. And, save yourself the trouble, get to the airport on time (three hours early).

Rail Travel

The rail system in Europe is somewhat complicated because each country has it's own company running it's rails. The good news is that there are companies like and that sell passes to non-European travelers.

Passes are priced based on the number of countries you visit and the number of travel days within a certain time period. For example, if you figure your route is going to include 3 countries and you are going to travel for six weeks you can buy a Pass that includes unlimited travel for six days in a two month period.

After you decide the places you would like to visit, you can check schedules and prices at either site to find the right pass for you:

Besides buying your rail passes before you go, you should have a good idea of when you'll be traveling so you can book high-demand routes, such as overnight trains, in advance. This way you'll be garunteed a spot on the train. These reservations can be made while you're in Europe by phone or in-person at the tickerting office a day or two before you depart one city for the next.