How to backpack in Europe with a tight pocket? (An Indian perspective)

It would cost around INR 100,000.

Infonami coming up. (That was a portmanteau).

I am not an expert in travelling, but I have my share of experiences and memories in solo backpacking across the EU.

Here, I am going to write about how to maximize the number of places/cities/countries with less money i.e., how to do sasti mein masti.

First things first, VISA — costs around INR 8000. It is a standard procedure, there are plenty of YouTube videos, articles and answers on Quora that help you with this.


Book return tickets; you can get them cheap. Book flights with a longer layover. That way, you can get them at a lower price. Moreover, most of the airlines provide free transit tours of the city where there is layover. Eg. Qatar airways gives inexpensive transit tour of Doha city to its travellers. That way you can cover one more city/country. Book your flights on Thursdays, those are cheaper. Always search your flights in incognito mode. It costs cheaper if you travel off-season and the places would be less crowded and less-pricey.

Forex & Money matters:

Take some cash and the rest in cards or it is okay even if you don’t convert the currency. Most of the Indian banks give internationally valid and acceptable cards. Don’t forget to activate your card for international transactions before you travel. Eg. Even if you have an SBI international debit card with Indian rupees in it, it works. Try not to withdraw foreign currencies from ATMs. The charges are high. It is best to use online payment methods or POS swiping machines. That way the charges are comparatively very less. Most of the eastern European countries accept Euros at most of the places. Try not to convert currency every now and then. If you convert a lot and are left with some money in that currency, let it be (I am speaking of around €15–25) They might be useful when you go there again or you could exchange them with friends when they are going there or just exchange when there’s a good price. Worst case, just keep it as a souvenir man! You can add numismatics as your hobby on your CV.

Tip: Travelling eastern EU costs less than travelling western EU.


If you know no one, use hostels. They are usually clean and good. You get to know people and you can make new friends. Carry one or two small padlocks. Most of the hostels don’t have locks and the padlocks are chargeable. Use Hostelworld app or to book hostels. Airbnbs are expensive.

Couchsurfing: One thing, it is hard to find a host if you are new to the app. I have an illegal life pro tip. Ask your friends to install and give reviews to you (I mean fake reviews). Don’t forget to add some western names and pictures. That way, the real hosts could believe you. Please don’t misuse this tip. It’s very valuable. Always help the Couchsurfing host with household work/cooking/cleaning/giving company by having a conversation etc. Don’t choose a host who lives far from the city.

You can use Workaway too — It charges money, but it is worth it and it works.

Transport and Travel:

Local Transport: Walk, walk and walk more. European roads and streets are designed to walk. You can catch glimpses of many statues, Graffiti and some nice buildings.

If you can’t walk, use Lime/Uber bicycle or do e-scooter sharing, it is affordable. For public transport, use Moovit app. It gives the live status of public transport and tells you how to reach your destination using public transport. You can buy one-day travel as you like local public transportation ticket(s).

Intercity Travelling: For inter-city/inter-country transport, use Ryanair or Wizzair to fly. Use FlixBus if there are no flights. Use Interrail if you want to travel by train. It is slightly expensive. Ryanair and Wizzair have strict luggage restrictions. Carry only ONE bag. It should fit under the front seat. Try to use a backpack, rucksacks sometimes don’t fit. Check-in using the app itself. It will cost €20 if you check-in at the airport <=2 hours before departure. You need to check-in from Ryanair Bubble app.

FlixBus offers one of the cheapest modes of transport across EU. You can get FlixBus discount coupons in some hostels at the reception that gives 5%-10% off on every ride. You can buy FlixBus pass that gives standard bus fare, no matter the distance. It comes handy.

Omio app gives information about multiple means of transport (Flights, Trains, Buses)- You can book from there too.

Use Waze if you want to travel by bike/car/ motor vehicle. It is sometimes better than Google maps.

Shhhhh!!! For public transport like trams and some metros, some cities don’t have turnstiles and ticket-checkers(**Coughs** Budapest, Zagreb, Vienna **coughs**…Ahem). So, you could just hop on and hop off to your destination. I know that this is illegal and you should buy a ticket, I am just putting it on the table, just so you know. I don’t recommend it or endorse this in any manner but if you’re doing this, I would suggest you do it after 1800 in the evening, then the chances of you getting caught are less. You could always buy one-day unlimited intra-city travel ticket.


If you want to hitchhike, I have some tips.

1. Stand on the side of the road which leads to your destination. Eg. If you’re going north, say, from Chennai to Delhi, stand at the side of the road that goes North, to Delhi, not at the one which leads to Kanya Kumari. You get the point, right?

2. Stand on the highway (preferably outside the city), which goes to your destination city. In the city, with so many roads, it is difficult to get the vehicle that goes to your destination if it is far.

3. Get a piece of paper and write the destination city in bold and hold it so that the passing vehicles could see it. If the name of the place if different in local language, write it in two languages — local and English. Eg. Praha and Prague/ München and Munich.

4. It is advisable to hitchhike in the mornings rather than nights and late evenings. There’s a possibility that they might think that you’re there to mug them.

5. It is preferable to dress well and be well-groomed, not to raise any suspicions.

6. Sometimes cops might stop you and question you, keep your passport handy.

Coming to food:

If you want to travel as much as you can, see as many places as you can and just want to stop your stomach from rumbling, you could just buy burgers for €1,00 from Burger King or for €1,20 from Mc Donalds. In some countries like Hungary, Czech you can get big Snickers and Bounty bars for just €0,50. Always keep some chocolates in your bag so you could just grab a bite when you’re hurrying or satisfy your sweet tooth. There are always Bananas and other fruits.

I am not being parsimonious here, I save money eating those Burgers and Bananas. And at the same time, I eat local food for around €20–30 in each city. I walk on the streets and ask other pedestrians if they are locals. If yes, I ask them, what are the local dishes and where do they eat them. I want to go to the places where they go to eat, may it be street food stall or some restaurant, it gives my tongue a chance to feel the authentic taste of that local cuisine. It actually works, many people are so friendly and they give very good recommendations. They might as well help you book reservations for some busy places.

Speaking of Burger King and McDs, when you want to use a washroom in the cold European climate, rush quickly into nearest McD or Burger King or KFC. You could use the washrooms and slip away. There are some cities like Budapest where you need to pay €0,50/- for using the washrooms without ordering food there. In that case, I suggest you buy €1,00/- burger, put it in the bag, use the washroom, and eat the burger whenever you’re hungry.

Usually, at the end of the day, if there is too much food left at the restaurants, they give it at a very less price instead of throwing away. You can get those on Too Good to Go app. There won’t be much choice for you to select, you’ll get the food in a magic box but you’ll get a lot of food for as less as €03 to €05.

Some cities in Italy, like Rome, has free drinking water, don’t buy water in bottles there. The water is fresh, good to drink and undergoes frequent quality checks. So, fill that water in your water bottles. Rome is called La Regina dell’Acqua for the same reason and those water dispensers are called nasone dell’acqua locally.

Places to visit:

First of all, there are plenty of apps for that. I personally use Visit A City. I feel that the app is really good, as it gives itinerary based on the number of days of your stay in the city, ranging from 1 day to a week. You can get packed itineraries suggestions for a day or two. There are apps like USE-IT which gives maps of cities created by locals. Cool Cousin also gives good recommendations for local travel to explore the place. Culture Trip gives some off-beat places to explore the culture. There’s always Tripadvisor. I would recommend you to know some details and history about the places/monuments that you visit so you could gain some knowledge, feel the history behind them, experience the heritage that they inherited and carried for so long, enjoy them the most, feel thrilled and excited. Just Google or Wiki ’em before you visit mate.

Just remember that there might be free entry for museums. Say, all national museums in Italy have free entrance on the first Sunday of every month and the Vatican museum has free entry on the last Sunday. They might be only for half-days, but you could milk it.

You have to talk with your fellow hostel mates or hosts, about the local attractions and you could make new friends, explore together, discuss stuff, make fun of things and who knows, you may travel together next or they could give you a ride to your next city if they have a vehicle. You’ll never know. (I met a person in a queue to the Accademia Gallery in Florence — where there is David. He told me about the city, heritage and history behind the things in that museum and we are friends ever since. It all started with a simple question — “Is the entrance to the museum free of charge today”?) Always talk/grab a drink/play games with other people when you’re travelling alone. You can go to weekend meetup events (from the Meetup app). I am sure that you’ll get to know some very interesting people, jobs, cultures, personalities etc (Happened to me — Ever met a freelance chef who cooked for Johnny Depp, AJ and Russian mafia leaders? Met a person who earns money making videos on PornHub? Met a woman who works for 3 months at a bar and travels for 3 months? Met a girl who travelled more than 130 countries?) You’ll never know when your perception and view towards life changes. Of course, you exchange a tremendous amount of knowledge and make myriad memories all the way.


Try not to forget souvenirs. It might also be a tiny little inexpensive thing. Also, if you can, try to bring something for your Mom, Dad and siblings — they feel happy. (Remember, I am not telling you to fill your bags with souvenirs and gifts for relatives near and far). My friend buys picture postcards from every place she visits. Likewise, I store my tickets — transportation/museums and local maps or I buy fridge magnets. For some, it’s keychains, flags, tee-shirts etc. You get the idea — anything, just to remind of you of those memories when you look at them.

If you don’t feel like it:

If you’re feeling alone or sometimes if you don’t feel like doing it, there are Reddit groups for solo travelling, for seeking a travel partner and many others. Just post there. You might find someone. There’s Yes Theory and Yes Theory Fam on Facebook, where people share their experiences of seeking discomfort. This helps you motivate yourself and get excited about what you’re doing.

Internet & Connectivity:

I know it is difficult these days to get going without internet, just buy travel SIM cards. They are not expensive and they usually work across most of the European countries.


Airbnb(If you can afford), Arts and Culture,, Reddit, Cool Cousin, Couchsurfing, CPlus for Craigslist, Culture Trip, FlixBus, FREE NOW, Hostelworld, Google Lens, Google Translate, DeepL(Website), Meetup, Moovit, Omio, Ryanair, Ryanair Discovery, Ryanair Bubble, Shazam (Maybe you like that local song and want to add it to your playlist), Sixt, Lime, Bird, TIER (e-scooter sharing), Too Good to Go, Tripadvisor, Uber, USE-IT, Visit A City, Waze, Wikipedia, Workaway, Worldpackers.

Finally, a few things to keep in mind:

All this said, when you’re travelling alone, you’re bound to make mistakes, and you’ll — may it be luggage/losing the way/not managing money properly. Embrace them, learn from them. Next time you’ll travel better. Don’t be too hard on yourself, be a little flexible about the schedule and also about the money, not everything goes as you think. Try not to Instagram travel too much. First, experience the place, feel it and then take pictures. Posting on Instagram could wait. Post them at the end of the day after you reach hostel or you can post them after your entire trip ends. There’s is no real need to post it at the same instant.

Also while returning home don’t forget to bring two bags — the one with which you left home (along with some souvenirs), and another — a virtual one with full of memories, experiences and knowledge.

I travelled for 18 days and 6 countries for INR 48–50k, apart from the Visa charges, and to and fro flight tickets from India.

I hope this helps!


Dinesh Palli.


Some pictures:


Sarma in Zagreb:

My hosts in Grabovac:

Plitvic Lakes in Croatia:

with an astronomical amount of hair gel:

Museum of Broken relationships:


On Danube:

That’s love.


Fantas: Yes, I tasted all of them. Some are yukkkk!

John Lennon wall:


Delirium Pub:


Cinque Terre:


with the host and the gang:

We ate pulao on the beaches of Venice.


Ponto Vecchio = Old Bridge:



There are many other photos, but I already think this is too much.

Thank you for scrolling down this long and thanks for reading.

P.S: I am not a good poser. All photos are taken on my mobile, I asked for passers-by to click one.



Plant Scientist, Computational Biologist, Programmer. Philately and Numismatics, Listens Podcasts and loves travelling. Trying to learn pottery.

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Dinesh Palli

Plant Scientist, Computational Biologist, Programmer. Philately and Numismatics, Listens Podcasts and loves travelling. Trying to learn pottery.