For many young people around the world, heading off with just a backpack and a head full of dreams is a rite of passage. Rather than sitting at home in their comfort zone and familiar surroundings, they decide to get out into the world and experience new things. From exciting cultures to exotic food and memorable adventures, backpacking has been popular for a long time now. Of course, it can also be pretty cheap if you go to the right places or pick up some work to pay your way as you go. Backpacking allows people to easily travel the globe without needing lots of money and in a way that will be really authentic.
Naturally, the biggest question for many is which countries are the best to travel too. Here are the ten most amazing backpacking destinations to try out.
10 – Morocco
Morocco is found in North Africa and has always been a classic backpackers haunt. When you consider how it combines cheap living with convenient access, exotic culture and awesome food, then it is easy to see why. The food here is very cheap yet tastes amazing – this means you can sample all the different options without having to spend lots. You must try the freshly made mint tea too which is divine. Accommodation is basic but satisfactory here with hostels often being the preferred choice of backpackers. A visit to the Souk at nighttime is a must when here to really see the real Morocco at its best.
09 – Indonesia
While Bali may seem a bit too touristy and overpriced for the average backpacker, Indonesia still has some great places to check out. Lombok is one such island found in this area which is great value for money but still offers the chance to see and do some memorable things. The locals here are very friendly and with it being a popular destination there are also usually other backpackers around to make friends with. The food is superb here and they do some fabulous fish dishes and meat curries or stews to fill you up cheaply. If you are looking to cut back on your accommodation costs, shared dorms can be very cheap but even your own private hut will only be around $10.
08 – Djibouti
This is another African backpacking paradise but found more towards the centre of the continent. This is a good one to choose if you want to go somewhere a bit different and unique. The other draw here is the amazing wildlife with zebras and gazelles to catch sight of amongst others. Naturally, the weather is always pretty good here so remember to pack your hat and suncream. Djibouti is superb value for money – a full blown meal out is only around $3 and snacks are cheaper than that. This country is also fairly small so you can get around of all it on your trip for the full experience.
07 – Cambodia
If you want a country that offers stunning sights to see, awesome places to visit and some of the best scenery around, Cambodia is a great choice. This has long seen it as a real classic backpacking destination. As well as the sheer beauty of the country, the main draw for many here is the low cost of living. You can get by on practically what you got for an allowance as a kid! Getting around is also fun here on the local public transport which gives you a real taste of authentic life in this region. Many head to Siem Reap here to stay as it is close to the beautiful site of Angkor Wat. Prices for accommodation here and across Cambodia often start from as little as $1 a night. To go more upmarket, you can rent a private room for around $10. There are some great beaches here too which makes it a top place to really unwind.
06 – Estonia
Although Europe may not seem as exotic as other places, it has its fair share of awesome backpacking destinations. Estonia is certainly one and gives a real cultural mash-up to discover. With traces of Scandinavian, Russian and other European cultures in the mix, it is an interesting place to spend time in. The capital is Tallinn and this is where most backpackers head too. With its lively bars and nightlife, it is easy to see why. The food is also good here with a number of restaurants that offer decent sized meals without them costing too much. Accommodation is often in the form of hostels for backpackers but they are all clean and welcoming.
05 – Vietnam
When it comes to backpacking, Asia and Africa often have some of the most popular spots. Vietnam is another Asian winner that sees many people looking for adventure heading too. Forget all about the war in the late 1960’s/early 1970’s – that is thankfully long gone now. Modern Vietnam is full of colouful locals who are only too pleased to see visitors. Rooms are cheap as is the delicious food when you get hungry. There are some amazing sights to see here from beautiful temples to ancient towns. It is also pretty good for the more active types who like hiking or other physical ways of keeping busy.
04 – Nicaragua
Found in Central America, this awesome country has started to get more popular with backpackers looking for the next big thing lately. When you visit here, it is easy to see why. Nicaragua has great weather and an unspoilt feel which is what every backpacker is after. Not only is it easy to get to but its location in Central America means you can use it as a base to explore other countries in the area. Local hostels are cheap to stay in and the tasty local food is also good value for money. With some lush scenery to take in and a laidback feel, this is a great spot to check out.
03 – Albania
Many people will not think of lovely Albania as a backpacking destination but they should. A European country with a Mediterranean flavour, it has a charm all of its own. The architecture here is stunning and there are some beautiful towns to take in as you go. The culture here is on par with other more expensive options like Italy or Greece as is the food. This means you get an amazing time but for much less. Albania also has a great coastline with many fabulous beaches to relax on when you are tired. Its position in Europe also makes Albania easy to reach and easy to explore other European hotspots from. Whether you take in lively Tirana or other Albanian locations, you will love the warm welcome you get.
02 – Nepal
Nepal is a real old school classic where backpacking is concerned. This is because it offers so much more than simply getting drunk every night and living out of a backpack. The country has some of the highest peaks in the world which is great for more active types who enjoy walking or mountaineering. The views from the top of these peaks are simply amazing! You will also see many stunning temples and lodges as you move around Nepal which are awesome to take in. There is also a wonderfully relaxed, spiritual feel when backpacking here which is much less frantic than some other popular haunts. If you are looking for adventure, cheap food and cheap lodgings then Nepal is your best bet.
01 – Thailand
King of the destinations for all backpackers has to be Thailand. Over the years, it has evolved greatly to become a real mecca for those seeking adventure on a budget. Although some may feel this popularity has ruined it somewhat, there is still so much to see and do here which makes it a must visit. The beaches here are globally know for being awesome and you will love spending time in the crystal-clear waters. Naturally, this is also good for activities like snorkeling or water-skiing.
Of course, Bangkok is the most well-known place for backpackers in Thailand and is still a bustling place. With cheap yet tasty food, lively nightlife scene and cheap rooms, it is all you could need when backpacking. If you want to escape the crowds or indulge in more culture, try heading to the North of the country or heading further inland. From Chang beer to Thai curries, you will not be disappointed with a trip here.
As the above list shows, if you are thinking of packing a rucksack and shipping out, there are some great places you can travel too. All are not only friendly and cheap to live in but also offer many memorable sights and cultures. Whichever one you choose, you will be sure of having a good time.