How backpacking around Europe has changed in the last decade

How backpacking around Europe has changed in the last decade

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It was about ten summers ago that Europe welcomed its first wave of millennial backpackers (although back then we were more commonly known as Gen Y…). And now, as another wave of bright-eyed, bushy-tailed explorers set out on their rite-of-passage Eurotrip this summer, we thought it would be fun to reflect on how much this iconic experience has changed in the last decade.

1. We had Facebook, but that was pretty much it in terms of social media. No Instagram, no Snapchat. And because status updates weren’t a thing yet, we didn’t spend our time obsessing over updating our Facebook profiles. We actually just experienced places.

Backpacking around Europe has changed
 

2. We didn’t take selfies. We asked people to take our photo for us. Weird, eh?

Backpacking around Europe has changed
 

3. We didn’t blog or update social media. We emailed our family and friends with updates about our trips, having to contend with slow connections and European keyboards at internet cafés, screaming things like “WHY CAN’T I GET AN AT SYMBOL?!” and “WHERE’S THE QUESTION MARK!?” while our time quickly ran out. It was fun.

Backpacking around Europe has changed
 

4. Thanks to the lower adoption of the Euro, we changed currencies nearly every time we crossed a border.

Backpacking around Europe has changed
 

5. Airbnb wasn’t a thing.

Backpacking around Europe has changed
 

6. We used actual cameras instead of our phones to take photos, and panicked when we filled our memory cards and had to find somewhere to buy new ones.

Backpacking around Europe has changed
 

7. The Schengen Zone didn’t exist, so we got pretty passport stamps every time we crossed borders.

Backpacking around Europe has changed
 

8. Liquids and gels were still allowed in carry-on luggage, and said carry-on luggage wasn’t restricted to one item.

Backpacking around Europe has changed
 

9. Prague was ‘up-and-coming’. Budapest was ‘off-the-beaten-path’. Krakow was virtually unheard of.

Backpacking around Europe has changed
 

10. We read real maps.

Backpacking around Europe has changed
 

11. There were actually a lot of places where English wasn’t commonly spoken, and definitely wasn’t used for signage in train stations.

Backpacking around Europe has changed
 

12. Wifi? Huh? Yeah no. Most of us didn’t even take our cell phones with us…

Backpacking around Europe has changed
 

13. People with Canadian flags on their backpacks were actually Canadian, not Americans pretending to be Canadian to be treated better.

Backpacking around Europe has changed
 

But one thing hasn’t changed…

Backpacking around Europe has changed

How awesome Europe is!

 
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