There were definitely aspects that I hated about backpacking around Europe. I’ll start off by saying this. I loved Europe more than I hated it. But there were aspects that I despised.
I want to be completely truthful about my time in Europe. So I have to admit that there were some negative aspects of backpacking around Europe.
Let me know if you agree or disagree in the comments below. It’s always fun to hear your response to my opinion.
9 Things I Hated About Backpacking Around Europe
1 Cell Phone Service Sucked!
This was something that I didn’t realize would be a big issue, tell about a week before I left for Europe. I went to my cell phone provider (AT&T), and asked them about how everything would work while I was traveling. They informed me that the only time I could use the internet or messaging on my phone, is if I was connected to WiFi. I asked if there was anyway to get around this. There were 3 or 4 plans that I could pay monthly for a certain amount of data. Don’t do this! I bought the second most expensive option, which gave me 3-400 mb a month. I don’t follow how much data I use in the states, because I have unlimited, so it doesn’t matter. Using data in Europe made me realize how fast data goes when you are on the internet. The extra $30-$40 I spent on data was basically useless. I think I use up one months data in about 3 days. After that I switched to only using the wifi at hostels and cafes in various cities.
Two Pieces of Advice
Have T-mobile as your provider if you are going to travel. T-mobile originated in Europe and so they have cell phone towers over there. My buddy who I was with for some of the trip, had t-mobile, and basically got the same service he did in the US. It might have been a little slower, but he didn’t have to pay any extra. AT&T is only affiliated with the US and maybe Canada?
Download Whats App
ANOTHER MUST HAVE. It’s a free app where you can add other people’s phone numbers and everyone can add a profile. The benefit is most providers charge you 10 cents per text message or somewhere around there. This is free, and you can use it when you are on WiFi. A great App to have when you are meeting new people.
This one only really applies to Italy and Spain. But Spain was the worst! A siesta is when all of or the majority of stores close in one city for a certain period of time. It’s great for whoever is running the stores, as they can go home and take a nap, or just chill. The reason I hated it was because when I was walking the Camino De Santiago, I would get into various towns around 2 pm. I would be very hungry, but all of the stores were closed! It was frustrating some days.
In Italy I didn’t have to much of a problem, because I would wake up and get coffee and a cornetto, and then eat lunch before the stores closed.
I also had something personally happen to me that made it tough to like siestas at all. Even though it was not really that big of a deal. I actually got locked in one of the stores during a siesta. In one of the towns on the Camino, I went to a store looking for a towel to use after showers. I went into this store around 1:55 pm, not thinking about siestas one bit. This particular store had an upstairs, where I went to look for a towel. I came downstairs ten minutes later, and all of the lights were off and nobody was in the store. I was locked in the store! To make a long story short, the cops ended up having to come and get the manager of the store to unlock the doors. The best part about it though, was the cop only asked me my name and DOB, then let me go! There is a huge difference between American cops and European cops.
3 German Food
Out of all the places I visited while backpacking around Europe, Germany had by far the worst food.
The first food I tried when I arrived in Munich was, the white sausage and mustard, with a pretzel. The pretzel was fine. But the white sausage was a little below average for a signature Bovarian food. When I was told it was the signature Bavarian food in Munich, I was not impressed. It was alright with loads of mustard on it and I made sure I ate it to not offend my buddy.
Germany is a lot like the US, in that it does have a lot of places to get fast food. Since I didn’t really like the Bavarian food, I ended up going to a Thai restaurant almost every day. I also ate a lot of fast food while I was there.
4 Loose Change
I like the Dollar better. Seems like something that is very minor to not like about Europe, but I’ll tell you why. When you are in Europe and you buy a sandwich for 2 Euros, and you give them a 5 Euro bill, you get back either “3, 1 Euro coins” or “1 2 Euro coin, and a 1 Euro coin”. This means that you are most definitely going to have a shit load of coins to walk around with!
It’s natural to not value coins as much as you value bills. Because coins are usually worth less than bills. I am coming from the US, where coins really don’t mean much. If you have a bunch of change in your pocket in the US, and you drop them on the ground it doesn’t really matter. It’s probably under a dollar.
5 Torino, Italy
This could have been one of the things I hated about backpacking around Europe that was dictated by when I went. And the events that transpired while I was there.
I had a very hard time finding the hostel that I had booked when I got to Torino! It was the most confusing European city I went to by far. I followed the directions from hostelworld and still had a hard time. When I did find the hostel, they had there doors locked tell a certain time, so I couldn’t even drop off my backpack.
The biggest issue was the location of the hostel was far away from the main tourist area. It took a 10 minute bus ride to even get in the vicinity of the hostel.
It was also pouring down rain pretty much the whole time I was there. I ended up not getting to really explore this Torino at all.
6 Bank Issues
Make sure that you are banking with a nationwide bank and not a local bank. I didn’t think this would be that big of a deal, but it was.
I let my bank know before I left exactly which countries I would be visiting and for how long. What they FAILED to tell me was, every month I had to call to put a new note on my account. It doesn’t make much sense that they would make their customers call once a month to put a new note on their account in a different country! Especially when the customer has to pay for the long distance phone call.
And this happened in Torino! It just added to the dullness I experienced while being there. I ended up having to go a day without any money there! Thank god I paid for my hostel up front.
7 Breakfast Variety
Breakfast in Italy, Spain, and France is amazing. I love it. So I’m not complaining about the deliciousness, but rather the variety. Every morning when you wake up, you are pretty much forced to eat sweets unless you make your own food. I try to eat some protein every morning for breakfast in the US. And I switch it up. I never complained about eating crescents with Nutella in the middle every morning, because they were really good. However, it would have been nice to have another healthier option.
A Bocadilla in northern Spain is a sandwich in which there are two pieces of bread, and a piece of meat in between. ONE piece of meat. Most likely ham. No condiments. If you want cheese, then your sandwich will most likely be two pieces of bread, and one piece of cheese. No meat. This was one of the only options on the Camino De Santiago that I had. Check out my post Spanish Pilgrimage- Camino De Santiago – 10 Vital Questions You Should Highly Consider. And after a while it almost becomes a joke with people. “Hey, you want to grab some food, I have been craving a bocadilla!” (sarcastic tone) It’s the least satisfying option of that month long pilgrimage.
9 Customer Service
There were a few different times that I got taken advantage of while backpacking across Europe. The majority of the time it happened while being waited on at a cafe or restaurant. The waiters knew that I wouldn’t be able to complain about a bill if I didn’t speak their language. If it ever did happen in the US, the customer would be in the right almost 100% of the time, if they complained. This isn’t the case in Europe.
One specific time I just got a coffee in Rome, and they tricked me. They told me to sit down, and they would bring the coffee out after I had ordered. I just got a coffee. When I got the bill, it was 10 Euros! I went and asked the guy, as he spoke a little English, and he told me it’s because I sat down. From then on, I always stood up next to the bar when drinking coffee. There were other times when I just got overcharged for no reason as well. The cafe and restaurant workers do not care to much about customer service in Europe.
None of these 9 aspects were large enough to affect my experience of backpacking around Europe dramatically
I wanted to write this article to highlight that there were some things that I didn’t like about traveling to Europe. Some of these points could be cultural differences that I was not accustomed to or the fact that I didn’t speak any of the languages. So that definitely plays a part. But from where I was at during the time, I still didn’t like these 9 aspects.
Don’t worry. Almost every article I write about Europe is going to be more positive. I just wanted to make sure I talked about some aspects that really annoyed me.
Let me know if you have any questions or concerns below! I would love to discuss more about what your opinions are as well!