The Savvy Backpacker was created by a husband and wife team of experienced travelers. This site is dedicated to helping future travelers plan their budget backpacking trip to Europe. This site differs from most other travel sites because we mainly focus on all the nitty-gritty details of planning and preparing for a trip — not the destinations themselves.
The Savvy Backpacker is mainly written by myself (James), but my wife (Susan) also helps with a lot of the research and ideas. You can read more about us below!
I was born and raised in the Midwest. I grew up in Kansas City, Missouri and lived in Madison, WI for a year. Then in the summer of 2011 my wife got an internship in Paris so we packed our bags and moved to a tiny 7th floor studio in the City of Light.
I studied abroad in England at the University of Leeds in 2007 and I’ve visited multiple countries throughout Western and Eastern Europe. In the summer of 2010 I studied French at Middlebury College through their intensive summer language course. Sadly, my French is still terrible.
I currently work in the tourism and hospitality industry, but before Paris I worked at a small advertising agency as a copywriter. Before that I was in the U.S. AmeriCorps (the domestic version of the Peace Corps) where I worked for an organization that helped provide food to underprivileged people in Missouri and Kansas.
I am a photography nerd and I love travel (obviously). Thanks for reading!
Susan was born and raised in a small town in Missouri. Her interest in travel began in middle school when she first started learning French. During a high school summer trip she visited Paris for the first time and lived with a French family. She went on to study French for her undergraduate university degree. During her time in college she studied abroad in Quebec, Canada and Strasbourg, France.
After graduating she moved to Kansas City where she worked at a large healthcare IT company — with hopes of being transferred to their Paris office. After two years without being transferred she decided to pursue her love of France and moved to northern France to teach English. She taught English for seven months and then started her Masters degree in Professional French Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
During her graduate studies Susan completed an internship, and was later hired, at a major business school in Paris.
Henry is our fluffy maltipoo dog. We decided to bring him to Paris with us. We soon found out how hard (and expensive) it was to board him in Paris, so we chose to bring him with us as we traveled… and he has become quite the European traveler. He even has his own pet passport! He love squirrels, peanut butter, and socks.
I noticed something when I was researching my first European backpacking trip. I saw that most backpacking sites offered very little well-researched content — most information was just fluff. I spent countless hours wading through hundreds of websites, but I never found one site that gave me all the information I wanted.
Then I went on my first trip to Europe. As a solo-traveler I got a lot of opportunities to talk to many other backpackers. I picked up a lot of helpful information from the experienced backpackers and I learned a lot of things that the guide books never talk about. After a few months of travel I noticed that many of the novice backpackers were struggling with the same issues I faced when was just starting out.
When I returned home I was often asked for backpacking advice by my friends and I got the idea to create a high-quality site about backpacking in Europe — a site that I would want to actually use. My vision was to build a site that was well designed, user friendly, and had tons great information. This is how The Savvy Backpacker was born. I hope you find it useful.
First off, thanks! I’ve put a lot of time and effort into this site. One of the best ways support me is though my Amazon.com links. Basically, you click any amazon.com link, buy something within 24 hours of clicking the link and then I get a small commission. I’m not getting rich — in fact, I often don’t even make enough to cover my monthly web hosting bill — but every little bit helps. Thanks again.