Have you ever spoken with someone who backpacked around the world who said, “It wasn’t really worth it... In fact, I wish I would’ve stayed here and spent the money on a reasonable down payment for a house.”
According to our sources, that has NEVER happened. No matter what you’re trying to get out of a trip, you’ll get it and more.
Backpacking alone (or with friends) can blow the mind’s doors open and change who you are forever. And never traveling long term can leave you always wondering…
That being said, not all destinations are created equal. Some are safer than others, some have nightlife unlike anywhere on Earth, and some places are made for people to “find themselves.” You can go to Thailand and get the ultimate experience of South East Asia, or you can go to Chile and hit the great outdoors of Patagonia.
The choice is yours, but find time for these 6 trips.
Kuta and Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
This could be the perfect destination to get your feet wet with long term travel. If you’re from the Western world, the culture of Bali is different, but it’s also a hotspot for Australian holidays and international backpackers.
You’re sure to take in a new experiences in the cultural center of Bali - Ubud, but you’ll never feel too isolated. English speakers are a dime a dozen, and probably 25% of people you see are vacationers and backpackers.
And a short hour drive away, you can find yourself in Kuta - a town built for relaxation. You can be a beach bum by day (or learn to surf) and meet backpackers from all over the world. Each with their own idea of what you should do next.
It’s almost impossible to go to Bali and not make new friends and take on new experiences.
And yes, it’s cheap. A private room with hot water and Wifi in Ubud is about $10 per night. And a hostel with free breakfast is even less. Skip the pizza restaurants and eat traditional Balinese food for four bucks a meal (including a big beer).
Australia and New Zealand
As long as you’re just a short skip and hop away in Bali, you might as well take some time to get to know Australia.
Australia and New Zealand tend to be quite a bit more expensive than most backpacking destinations, but they’re also some of the most beautiful places on Earth.
If you’re in Australia, stick to the East Coast. Here you’ll find some of the country's best beaches, small towns, and wineries. Stay in hostels to meet other travelers and save some cash.
Perhaps you’ve never heard of Futaleufú. Perhaps you can’t pronounce Futaleufú.
If you’re looking for some outdoor adventure - hiking, mountain climbing, whitewater rafting - then you need to get familiar with Futaleufú.
One of Chile’s (and the world's) most famous destinations is Patagonia. That’s why you go to Chile. And Futaleufú is becoming famous as your basecamp for adventure tourism.
This town isn’t easy to get to, it only has one bank, and there isn’t much internet at all. And that’s what backpacking is all about. Challenge yourself and you’ll end up somewhere special. Skip the Himalayas and come to Chile, where you can have it all.
Thailand: Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Bangkok
Thailand is the ultimate South East Asia experience for backpackers for 3 main reasons:
- You can have the best of all worlds. (More on this in a second).
- It’s cheap.
- It’s one of the most beautiful countries on Earth.
Number two and three explain themselves. You can stay in Hostels for $8, and you can get lost in the big city or countryside just taking in the beauty.
And yes, you can have it all. Bangkok is a big city. It’s a city that has a reputation of being full of scams and shady business. That isn’t even close.
Sure, the neon lights you associate with Bangkok from the movies are real, but that’s only part of the city. Hangout with travelers, slurp noodles, and enjoy Thai beer in the city, and get a good dose of culture at the Grand Palace while you’re at it.
When you’re ready to relax a bit you have two awesome choices, head inland to Chiang Mai, which is fast becoming one of the tourism hotspots of the continent, or head to the beaches of Phuket - some of the most pristine in the world.
Eastern Europe (Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Romania)
It’s true, the best backpacking places in the world are usually the places that are a bit cheaper. A lot of people want to get the most out of their savings. Unfortunately, that means that heart-throb destinations like Paris and Barcelona are ruled out.
The good news is Eastern Europe is a lot cooler and way less expensive. Prague, Warsaw, Riga, Budapest… the list goes on. In Eastern Europe you have access to the best cities in Europe, without the Western Europe prices.
If you only have a short amount of time to travel - and you're intent on staying in one place to soak in the culture, consider Iceland.
Recently, airlines started offering extremely low fares from the US to Iceland, and it’s been gaining popularity among American travelers ever since.
Reykjavik isn’t very big (just over 130,000 people), and it’s tourism is booming. So, you won’t have any trouble meeting people. Plus, the people are embracing this tourism and English is everywhere.
If it’s your first solo trip, you’ll be happy to know that Reykjavik is basically crime free. It’s one of the safest places on Earth.
Reykjavik can be expensive, but if you focus on the outdoor adventures you can have there instead of beer and restaurants - you can get away with a pretty cheap trip.
One of the top attractions is The Golden Circle - a day long driving trip that covers all of the outdoors surrounding Reykjavik. Skip the tours and rent your own car, and discover all that Iceland has to offer.