Whether you’re young and taking a year out after college or want to escape the daily grind and experience something new, backpacking is incredibly popular and with good reason. Freedom to do what you want, when you want and the choice to go wherever you want to have some big draws for those wishing to see the world. Living life in the moment and supporting local economies are just two more advantages that this kind of travel bring. Here are some of the most popular destinations:
Landscapes like nowhere else in the world await you in Morocco. Ice-capped mountains, the Atlantic Ocean and the vast arid Sahara Desert all form the wondrous diversity of this North African country. The iconic Marrakech is a must-see for unseasoned backpackers, with its bustling, vibrant markets and street vendors and eclectic mix of modern culture rubbing up against ancient traditions. This mystical destination has been enthralling backpackers for a long time now.
For a truly authentic trip, Vietnam is a stunning destination full of nature, culture and friendly locals. Visit the Mekong Delta for the iconic rice paddies and experience the wonderful chaos of Hanoi first-hand. Incredible culture and tradition awaits you in the historic Ho Chi Minh City. Central Vietnam offers beautiful beaches and some breath-taking nature in the country’s national parks.
For hundreds of years, India has been the go-to destination for free-spirited artists, writers, soul-searchers and backpackers. India is a country to be felt not seen and the smells, heat, noise and amount of people will certainly awaken the senses like nowhere else. It’s a vast country so go prepared for long journey times but the beauty of the Taj Mahal, to name just one of hundreds of sights in India, is well worth the effort.
#4 New Zealand
The beauty of New Zealand backpacking is that it’s easy, laid back and offers awe-inspiring scenery. The landscapes are heavenly, with mountains, lakes, glaciers, volcanoes and beaches all at your fingertips. Experience some great nightlife in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch before heading back out into the stunning wilderness. There are also some top adventure sports available here if you need an adrenaline rush.
The Inca Trail could be the world’s most famous hike, taking you to the ancient and mysterious ruins of Machu Picchu. This is one of the must-see destinations for backpackers and the country has a great deal to offer aside from ancient ruins. Experience amazing culture and tradition, visit iconic hillside terraced villages and discover secluded paradise beaches to truly unwind.
You might be surprised to see Spain make the list but backpackers vote for this country as one of their favorites time and again. Although situated in Western Europe, it is cheaper, wilder and more ruggedly beautiful than other European nations. So much more than a cheap holiday destination, you’ll find a huge depth of history, tons of cultural experiences and a diverse mix of old and new. From the chic districts of Madrid to mountain villages still living as in olden times – Spain is a backpacker’s dream.
If you haven’t gone backpacking here then you can’t call yourself a backpacker. Thailand is the ultimate destination for independent travellers due to its affordability, wealth of sightseeing attractions and incredible natural beauty. Glistening beaches, trendy nightspots, jungle adventures and friendly culture all make Thailand easily accessible and well-used to backpackers.
Bustling, vibrant Kathmandu leads out to a calm, peaceful and stunning country that will welcome you with open arms. Buddhist and Hindu shrines, temples and palaces quietly await you in this breath-taking country. Many come here for the Himalayan treks and of course, Mount Everest but if the thought of climbing leaves you cold then there are plenty of alternatives. Try your hand at paragliding, biking, bungee jumping, kayaking and white-water rafting! Your cash will go a long way here as Nepal is a cheap backpacking destination.
Closer to home and just as stunning as some of the others in this list. Experience the pine forests, the icy-clear lakes, gorgeous waterfalls, huge canyons and everything else the Canadian wilderness has to offer. Numerous hostels are available and so is camping under the massive star-packed sky. Banff National Park is a must-see and Canada is also home to world-class ski and snowboarding resorts.
Once in a lifetime opportunities can be found on this magnificent continent. A paradise climate, totally unique wildlife and amazing beach vibes put Australia firmly on the backpackers must-do list. Discover the Great Barrier Reef, see the mesmerising Uluru and engage in incredible water and adventure sports. Great wine, great food and a wonderful laid-back culture are all waiting in the land of Oz.