So, you did it. Whatever “it” is. Maybe you graduated from college. Maybe you just didn’t fail out of college this year. Maybe that girl you’ve been crushing on finally agreed to go out with you. These are all monumental events in your life. Congratulations. Now it’s time to celebrate, and you’re going to use this guide to celebrate properly. No, we’re not publishing a guide on how to infuse watermelons with vodka ( in fact, such a guide would cause for another guide on how to celebrate successfully pulling off such a task). Instead, we’re telling you to go on a trip to Europe. That’s right. Here’s your online, college-kid-approved, pretty-cheap-but-it’s-still-Europe guide to backpacking on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
Keep in mind that these are just suggestions. Everyone has their own price range, and we’ve tried to hit somewhere in the middle. You won’t find any swanky hotels on this guide, and you’re sticking to trains instead of planes. But, to make up for the fact that you’re probably going to spending a lot of time sleeping next to a stranger, we’ve also included a bar in each city. We’re not talking any bar. We’re talking the bar. Whatever that means. It’ll just be a cool place to go, okay? Okay.
The guide you’re about to read is pretty specific. That seemed to be the logical way to pull this off. What should really exist is a Eurotrip version of a make-your-own-adventure book. You know, the kind where you could make your own decisions and they either led you to never-ending happiness or death by alien invasion or something like that? Let’s move on. We’ve chosen four of our favorite European cities and decided that’s where you’re going. Or, at least, that’s where this imaginary backpacker is going: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, and Prague. Of course, when it comes to your own Eurotrip, you can add and drop cities as you please. It’s kind of like shopping for classes at the beginning of the semester, but it’s also not at all like that because it’s actually enjoyable.
Getting around Europe is a lot easier than getting around the United States. You just hop on a train and a few seconds/minutes/hours later you’re in a different country (just for the record, it will never be seconds). So, yes, it’s easy, but it’s also pretty expensive. Nonetheless, if you’re going to be moving around a fair amount, we suggest investing in a Eurail pass. That’s a pretty big umbrella, though. There are a bunch of different Eurail passes, including the Global Pass, which will take you to up to 24 countries, and the Select Pass, which will take you anywhere from 3 countries to 6 countries. For the purpose of this guide, we’re going with a Select Pass because we’re heading to four.
So, Select Pass it is. Once again, you have a decision to make. Eurail apparently wants to make you really think about your celebration journey, and you have no choice but to comply. You’re presented with a few options about how many days you want to be able to travel using the pass within a set period of time, which is usually two months. Most college-kid trips to Europe don’t last that long, but you’re mainly just focusing on how many days you want to be able to use the pass. To use the pass for five days within two months, it’ll cost $356. That’s the cheapest option, so we’re taking it. (Keep in mind, however, that you can purchase online tickets in advance for point-to-point train travel. This could help you save some money, but it does require a lot of planning in advance.)
There you have it: A Eurail Select Pass for four countries with five travel days within two months. Phew. We’re going to take a minute to catch our breath.
Also, we have great news: For some reason, Europe seems to think you’re not an adult yet — because, let’s be honest, you’re not –and allows those who are under 26 years old to buy a youth pass, which is a whole heck of a lot cheaper than an adult pass. Europe deserves a pat on the back for that. Shouldn’t someone tell America that college kids are hardly more mature than toddlers?
Below, we’ve made a list of four hostels, one in each of the cities for this hypothetical backpacker. Each hostel has the basics — and by basics we literally mean a bed and a floor and a ceiling — so we’ve just named some of the not-always-included amenities. These hostels are good compromises because they’re nowhere near as expensive as hotels, but you’re also not going to get murdered in your sleep.
– Rooms come equipped with two, four, six, or eight beds
– All rooms have a shower, toilet, and washbasin
– WiFi (communal sigh of relief)
– No curfews
– About $32 per person (eight-bed room)
– First of all, it’s called The Hipstel, so we know it’s going to be hip and cool and awesome
– Free breakfast
– WiFi (again, sigh of relief)
– Common kitchen
– Walking tours
– About $25 per person (12-bed room)
– Central heating/hot showers
– In-house bar and cafe
– Daily dinnertime
– Daily happy hours
– FREE BEER ON MONDAYS. We repeat: Free beer on Mondays.
– About $35 per person (five-bed room)
– Lockers in the rooms
– Piano and guitar for those not musically challenged
– Free map. Cool.
– about $15 for a dorm-style room
Of course, there are plenty of hostels in cities all over Europe. You shouldn’t have any trouble finding one that’s within your price range. These are just good starting points, so you know how much certain amenities are going to cost you in the long run.
Amsterdam’s Chet’s Jazz Café
Jazz fan? Head to Chet’s Jazz Cafe, which was even featured in The Guardian as one of Amsterdam’s best bars. Grab a glass of wine and listen to some live tunes.
Barcelona’s Tinta Roja
Time Out calls Tinta Roja “soft and mysterious”. Also, it used to be a dairy farm.
Berlin’s Soju Bar
Sure, you’re in Europe, but that doesn’t mean you can’t experience Asian culture. Once again, The Guardian has named Soju Bar one of the best in Berlin. Its focus on the strong Korean liquor separates it from the rest of Berlin’s bars.
There’s no better way to say it, so we’re taking it straight from Time Out again: “[Fraktal is a] comfy, well-worn art bar is a trashy, convivial place where pretty much anything goes”.
And here we are: One Select Pass, four hostels, and four bars later. You have a way to get around, a place to sleep, and a place to socialize. Also, please keep in mind that all the alcohol-related activities on this page should be participated in only by those of legal drinking age.
Congratulations! You did “it”. Check back later to find a guide on celebrating the successful completion of a Eurotrip. Just kidding. That won’t exist. But check back later anyway.