I am 21 and have never had PIV sex before, largely because I have simply not felt ready. Recently, however, I do feel like that is something I am more comfortable with (for a variety of reasons) and, as I am about to leave for Europe to study abroad for 4 1/2 months, it seems to me there is a real possibility of hookups/relationships in my near future.
I'm loath to start any sort of hormonal birth control, however, both because I'm about to leave the country for several months (making it more difficult to address complications or make adjustments in any sort of regimen) and because I don't know if/when I'll actually have sex - thus, I don't really want to potentially endure some of the side effects of HBC if there's no real reason to, if that makes sense.
So, my question is, is it irresponsible, or at the least unwise, to rely solely on condoms as a means of birth control? I realize they're 98 percent effective when used correctly, and I would absolutely ensure my (hypothetical) partner and I are using them correctly, but I'm just curious if anyone actually relies on condoms alone and has had long-term success with this.
I don't plan on making this a long-term solution; if I do become sexually active over the next few months I will obtain some sort of HBC when I get home. But, in the mean time, I want to make sure I'm being smart about this.
Edit: Thank you for all the feedback! I feel very much reassured.