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20 Best Backpacking Destinations Around The World

Written By:
Cazzy Magennis
/
Last Updated:
June 23, 2020
Travel stories
With so many countries, it's hard knowing where to travel next! Well, here's what we believe to be the 20 best backpacking destinations around the world...
best backpacking destinations
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So you want to travel the world? 

Awesome! 

Backpacking the world is easily one of the best decisions we have ever made. 

It’s given us the chance to meet truly awesome people, taste delicious new foods, see unforgettable sites and just generally have an amazing time.

The only problem? 

Deciding where to go backpacking! 

With so many places to visit, it’s hard knowing where to even begin when planning a trip.

Well, luckily for you, we’ve taken the time to put together our favourite backpacking destinations from around the world. 

To date, we’ve visited more than five dozen different countries and we’ve whittled it down to our top 20.

Hopefully, this authentic advice can help you plan your own incredible backpacking adventures.

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Best backpacking destinations in Europe

1. Ireland

Ireland simply HAS to make the list of best backpacking destinations in Europe

After all, I am Irish! 

But seriously, before we did our epic road trip all over Ireland, I’d never seen much of my own country.

Well, after just one day on the road I quickly fell in love. 

Ireland is everything you imagine it to be … and more!

Rolling green fields, friendly locals, little pubs bursting with charm, stodgy delicious food, great music ...

There isn’t a corner of Ireland we didn’t visit and I can safely say that it’s one of my favourite places in all of Europe. 

In fact, I think you’ll be surprised at just how much there is to see and do on a trip to Ireland

The castles alone would take weeks to visit, but the mountains, the seaside towns, the lakes, and more, mean that you’ll never be short of beautiful things to discover in Ireland. 

backpacking ireland

Best places to backpack in Ireland

Dublin

When you think of Ireland, you naturally think of Dublin, and it’s one of those cities that doesn’t disappoint. 

It really does live up to it’s awesome reputation as a fun-fuelled city, full of history and tall tales.

I could visit Dublin time and time again and never get bored. 

It’s bursting with atmosphere and charm and should definitely be included on any backpacking trip to Ireland.

Plus, Dublin is actually a reasonably priced city, as long you know where to go! 

Galway

Songs like “Galway Girl” from Steve Earle, and more recently Ed Sheeran, have always brought a bit of mystery to Galway

Well, Galway is typically Irish and I LOVE it there! 

Better yet, as it’s a student city it’s got a really strong backpacker vibe.

Just head into the city and you’ll see buskers on the street playing Irish tunes, too many to count Irish bars, and a generally great atmosphere.

Killarney

Killarney is well known for its stag and hen nights, and it’s really not hard to see why.

It’s basically Ireland’s answer to Vegas! 

It’s got an unbeatable nightlife and a lot of Irish charm, with countless bars blasting out traditional Irosh music late into the night.

As well as this, there is so much natural beauty on offer in and just outside of the city.

From the Killarney Gardens, to the epic Ross Castle, this place is bursting with wonderful things to see and do. 

Perhaps best of all is the Gap Of Dunloe, which ended up being perhaps the most beautiful place we discovered anywhere in Ireland

County Cork

Cork is another brilliant place to visit in Ireland

Largely because it’s home to one of Ireland’s most famous attractions: Blarney Castle. 

The castle is brilliant and has become famous over the years for all visitors wanting to kiss the Blarney Stone

A visit to the charming town of Cobh is a must if you’re a Titanic enthusiast (which I am) as it’s home to the Titanic Experience.

Also, be sure to check out the epic Ring of Beara, one of the most scenic drives in Ireland.

backpacking cork ireland

Cost of backpacking Ireland

Overall, you’re probably looking at around $70/day ...

  • Food - $10-20 (more if you plan on eating dinner out once a day)
  • Transport - $5-30 (depending on whether you opt for a car or public transport)
  • Activities - $0-25 (national parks are free, and most other sights are reasonable)
  • Accommodation - $15-60 (the low end is for hostels and higher for mid-range hotels)

If you want to save money for your travels then you’re going to need to avoid alcohol.

Despite Ireland apparently being the home of the drunks, alcohol there is more expensive than most other places in Europe, especially if you want to drink in typical Irish bars. 

To save a little more you’ll need to cook your own meals when possible, use Airbnb, stay in hostels or couchsurf or you can rent a campervan and actually combine the cost of transport & accommodation.

Other Ireland travel tips

2. Finland

Finland has been voted the happiest country in the world for a number of years running, and honestly it’s not surprising. 

You instantly feel happy when you’re here and I think that’s a lot to do with the pace of life and the beauty that surrounds you. 

Finland offers beauty like no other. 

The lakeland blew me away, and visiting in Autumn presents some crazy beautiful scenes.

Then, when you venture further north and cross into Lapland, it’s just as magical as you’ve pictured it in your mind, especially at Christmas time.

Best of all, you’ll have the chance to witness the epic Northern Lights. 

Sure, Finland might not be the cheapest country in the world for backpacking, but it’s totally worth what you spend.

It’s also a country that offers something unique all year around, whether you visit during the Christmas season or the summer to experience the midnight sun. 

What’s nice is that Finland is actually pretty easy to get around in, you can fly or get trains throughout much of the country. 

But without hesitation, I 1000% recommend you rent a car or campervan and wild camp throughout the country. 

It’s legal, encouraged and definitely the best experience you can hope to have here.

backpacking finland

Best places to backpack in Finland

Rovanemini 

This is the birthplace of Santa Claus, so if you love anything about Christmas, then trust me, Rovaniemi is a must-see place in Finland

It was everything I wanted it to be and more. Seriously! 

You can meet Santa, hunt for the Northern Lights, take a husky ride, visit reindeers, see polars bears and do so much more!

Savonlinna & Finnish Lakeland

Savonlinna is a charming town located in the heart of Finnish Lakeland

Not only is the town home to Olavinlinna, the world’s northernmost medieval stone fortress still standing, but it’s close to one of the most iconic spots in all of the Lakeland, the Punkaharju Ridge Area, which is truly epic. 

The roads in Finnish lakeland are connected by bridges, and this is one of the most picturesque drives I’ve ever witnessed. 

This town is a great place to base yourself to see more of the wider area.

Levi 

This is located in one of the most northern parts of Finnish Lapland, offering you a really high chance of seeing the Northern Lights.

We actually did at the Northern Lights Ranch (which was an epic place to stay).

Levi also has an awesome ski resort and it’s close to Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park which offers beautiful views and wonderful walks.

finland

Cost of backpacking Finland

You’re probably looking at an average of around $80/day

  • Food - $10-20 (supermarkets are normally priced)
  • Transport - $40-60 (trains are expensive, but a car with a tent will save you money)
  • Activities - $0-60 (national parks are free, paid Lapland attractions are quite expensive)
  • Accommodation - $20-80 (if you want luxury accommodation this will be higher)

Other Finland travel tips

3. Croatia

Back in 207, Bradley and I ended up living in Croatia for around 5 weeks, and in that time we got to see a lot of the country.

And now, Croatia will always be one of my favourite backpacking destinations in the world. 

It’s reasonably priced, I liked the people, the sights are epic, it’s warm and it just has a nice atmosphere. 

Generally speaking, Croatia is also one of the cheap places to visit in Europe.

It’s also home to some of the best waterfalls and national parks I’ve ever seen. 

The Plitvices National park is beyond beautiful and the Krka waterfalls were spectacular. 

Not to mention, Croatia is home to Dubrovnik which is the filming location for King’s Landing in the Game Of Thrones.

Sure it’s overpriced, but still worth visiting, and it is possible to visit if you’re on a budget.

If you head to the coast, the water has ample snorkel opportunities, there are nearby islands to discover, such as the stunning Brac Island, off the coast of Split.

waterfalls in croatia

Best places to backpack in Croatia

Dubrovnik 

Dubrovnik is a typical tourist destination, but it doesn’t bother me because it’s totally charming.

The old town is everything you think it will be from Game of Thrones, and there is beauty to be discovered on every tiny street. 

Take a GOT tour if you’re a fan, climb up the city walls for epic views, take a kayak out onto the water, wander the old town, and finally visit Fort Lovrijenac.

Split 

Split is another beautiful backpacking destination in Europe, and it’s a gateway to even more beautiful islands. 

There’s lots to see and discover in Split including the beautiful Diocletian's Palace and the Old Town; but I also suggest you take a day trip to the epic Brac Island and discover the beautiful Zlatni Rat beach.

Pula 

Pula is a charming town in Croatia and it’s even got its very own Colosseum, the Pula Roman amphitheatre which is truly epic. 

The city is located on the water, so it’s got beautiful views, alongside charming cafes, bars and restaurants.

backpacking dubrovnik

Cost of backpacking Croatia

It will cost, on average, around $45-50 per day to backpack Croatia.

  • Food - $5-15
  • Transport - $5-20
  • Activities - $5-30
  • Accommodation - $10-50

Other Croatia travel tips

4. Austria

Austria really is one of Europe’s top backpacking destinations.

Even just thinking about the 2 months we spent there makes me long to return to those snowy mountains!

Every single corner of Austria is beautiful, from stunning mountain ranges, epic ski resorts, charming cities, and so much more. 

I fell in LOVE with Austria and you will too. 

Austria was actually the place Brad and I learnt how to ski, so we'll always have fond memories!

It’s also home to the stunning town of Hallstatt (more on here below), which is widely regarded as one of the most picturesque places in the world (it really is!). 

You can visit the beautiful capital of Vienna and learn the Viennese Waltz after discovering the epic palaces and history here. 

Then, dive into history at the gruesome Mauthausen Memorial Concentration Camp which is also located in Austria. 

One great thing about backpacking Austria is that it’s one of the cheapest countries to fly to from mainland Europe. 

We can thank Ryanair for that! 

backpacking hallstat austria

Best places to backpack in Austria

Innsbruck

Innsbruck is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Austria, and it’s packed with great sites.

It’s small, but full of charm. 

We visited in the winter season which meant there was snow on the mountains; and we love snow, so that was awesome. 

If you visit, take time to wander the cute streets of Innsbruck, try some local strudel, take the cable car to Hungerburg for awesome views with a coffee, or visit the Swarovski for all things crystal. 

It’s also home to the highest zoo in Europe, which is just a short half hour walk from the centre of town..

Vienna

The capital of Austria is bursting with amazing sights and a lot of them are free or low cost, which makes a perfect budget backpacker destination. 

One thing I loved is that Vienna has a really romantic atmosphere to it, and you can learn the Viennese Waltz here (my Valentine’s Day gift to Bradley). 

Be sure to check out the Schonbrunn Palace & surrounding gardens, visit the epic Natural History Museum and then finish your day with fun at the Crater Park funfair.

Hallstatt 

Hallstatt is a UNESCO heritage town and it is truly unforgettable.

This is a great all-year destination, but we visited in winter and it was epic with the winter snow and Christmas vibes. 

Regardless of when you go, you should wander the old town, dine in one of the restaurants with a beautiful view, visit the 5 Fingers Viewpoint and, if the time of year is right, check out the really cool ice cave. 

backpacking austria

Cost of backpacking Austria

The average cost of backpacking Austria is around $50-70/day.

  • Food - $5-25
  • Transport - $10-30
  • Activities - $5-30
  • Accommodation - $15-60

5. Malta

Though it’s off the typical backpacker trail, Malta is now one of my favourite backpacking destinations in Europe. 

Why? 

Because Malta really is so wonderfully diverse, with one of the longest and most turbulent histories you could imagine.

Malta is literally bursting with history, a history that dates back so far it’s crazy to comprehend. 

And though it’s small, it’s perfect for backpackers who want a country that’s easy to navigate and one where it’s possible to truly “see it all”. 

Plus, as a part of your visit, you have the chance to visit the stunning islands of Gozo & Comino.

The latter of which is home to the world famous Blue Lagoon.

I don’t think Malta gets enough credit for the sheer beauty it offers and I think it should be placed top of the list for one of the best countries to visit on a budget. 

I imagine it’s also a good place to start if you’ve never backpacked solo before! 

backpacking malta

Best places to backpack in Malta

Valletta

The charming city of Valletta is one of my top 5 capital cities we’ve ever been to.

I love how small it is, but yet how much is packed into such a small city.

Best of all, there are no big ugly skyscrapers insight, instead it has maintained its old world charm.

Valletta is also well priced and a great place to visit on a budget. 

It’s also a great place to learn about Malta’s history in WW2 and further back.

Popular sites include the Lascaris War Rooms, the Malta Experience and the Upper & Lower Barrack Gardens.

Mdina

This is known as the “Silent City” and it’s actually Malta’s old capital city and it sits as a fort. 

It is packed with cute charming streets, beautiful buildings, fantastic views and adorable coffee shops. 

It’s such a great place to visit and it’s free to wander around and in the churches.

What’s also nice is that no cars are allowed into it (as per the name “silent city”).

Gozo

Gozo is one of my favourite islands in the world! 

It’s absolutely stunning on every corner, and it’s even smaller than Malta. 

You’ll go to Gozo thinking you can see it all in one day, then realise that this may be a small island, but it’s bursting with amazing sights (this is what we did).

From ancient temples (we’re talking older than Stone Henge), beautiful beaches, an awesome Cittadella and much more, you’ll love exploring Gozo

popeye village in malta

Cost of backpacking Malta

On average, you’re looking at around $45/ day 

  • Food - $5-20
  • Transport - $3-20 (stick to buses and it’s a super budget backpacking destination in Europe that’s very well connected) 
  • Activities - $0-20
  • Accommodation - $12-60

Other Malta travel tips

6. Italy

Italy is a country that is just bursting with beauty and charm.

Oh yeah, and amazing food and wine!

I actually dream of owning a small little house in a traditional Italian village one day.

Italy will always hold a special place in my heart.

From the stunning northern mountain ranges, to the iconic cities of Rome & Venice and then the more barren heat-filled south. 

Of course Italy is a lovers paradise, I think it’s one of the most romantic backpacker destinations in the world. 

The story of Romeo & Juliet in fair Verona, Venice with its iconic settings and artistic heritage and so much more. 

It’s also a reasonably priced country, so can be done on a budget; though things do get a lot pricier in the big cities.

There are other “tourist traps” in place, but if you know what you’re doing, then no part of Italy needs to be overly expensive. 

It’s the perfect country to travel via train, since it’s so well connected and if you get a Eurail pass, you’ll save tons of money on your train travel. 

Or you can hop in a car and experience the stunning landscapes of the roads of Italy. 

One of my favourite memories of Italy is driving through the Dolomites before crossing up into Austria.

backpacking italy

Best places to backpack in Italy

Rome 

Rome is one of the most famous capital cities in the world, and it’s our favourite. 

It is also overwhelmingly beautiful. 

With so many historic sights to see, including the Pathenon, Colosseum and Vatican City, it’s a place that’s packed with history, beauty and charm. 

There’s nothing quite like dining in front of the Trevi Fountain at night, trust me! 

Turin

Located in the north of Italy, Turin (Torino) offers a cooler climate with epic views in the form of the Swiss Alps. 

It’s also got some really cool sights to see, including an epic Egyptian Museum that houses the best artifacts outside of Egypt itself, a fantastic Museum of Cinema (that offers amazing city views), the beautiful Valentino Park and much more. 

Also, Turin is the cheapest Italian city I’ve ever been too, it’s crazy good value, so perfect if you need a budget city break backpacking destination. 

Verona 

Verona is packed with romance and is the setting of Romeo & Juliet. 

As someone who loves the movie, and the book, visiting Verona was like a dream come true. 

There is lots to see in this charming city and it’s a gateway to the beautiful Lake Garda region in Italy. 

Check out Juliet's Balcony, the brilliant Verona Arena, the epic Castelvecchio and many more fantastic sights when you go backpacking through Italy & Verona. 

trevi fountain in rome

Cost of backpacking Italy

The average cost will be around $55 /day 

  • Food - $5-20 
  • Transport - $10-50 (Trains are fast and well connected, buses are cheaper but slower)
  • Activities - $0-30 
  • Accommodation - $10-70

Best backpacking destinations in Asia

7. The Philippines

The Philippines is without a doubt one of the best backpacking destinations in the world, nevermind just Asia! 

It’s cheap, it’s crazy beautiful and the people are super friendly. 

The Philippines also has the best rum in the world (in my humble opinion). 

I actually think The Philippines is the perfect destination for all types of travellers: from solo backpackers, groups of friends, to couple travellers like Brad and I. 

There is something to suit everyone and it can be as cheap or as expensive as you wish! 

With unique glamping opportunities, epic snorkel and diving opportunities, and stunning landscapes, 

The Philippines is a place that you’ll never get bored of visiting. 

It’s got over 7,000 islands, so you’ll have to pick your spots wisely

But, I guarantee, that when you visit The Philippines, you’ll be planning your return as soon as you leave. 

backpacking the philippines

Best places to backpack in The Philippines

Palawan

This is one of the most famous backpacker destinations in The Philippines and it comprises a variety of islands. 

The most popular areas to visit in Palawan are Coron, Port Barton, El Nido & Puerto Princesa. 

This whole island is famous for its island hopping opportunities and the gorgeous sights on offer. 

My favourites include, the most beautiful beach in Asia: Nacpan beach, the cleanest lake in Asia: Kayangan Lake and German Island at Port Barton to swim with turtles and many more spots. 

Siargao

This is another famous place to visit in The Philippines and it’s particularly popular with surfers as it’s where you can find the best surf spots in The Philippines. 

They actually hold big surf competitions here in October. 

Siargao is bursting with beauty, with great spots including the picturesque Sugba Lagoon, the stunning Guyam Island and Daku Island. 

Actually, Siargao is regarded as one of the most beautiful islands in Asia, because of the thousands of coconut trees that cover the island. 

Siquijor 

A quiet island that’s not yet overrun with tourists, Siquijor still has a very off-the-beaten-track vibe to it. 

It’s absolutely beautiful, tiny, so it’s easy to navigate and it hosts some of the best sunsets views I’ve ever seen. 

Cliff jump at Salagdoong beach, swing for joy at Cambugahay Falls or snorkel your heart out in the beautiful waters all along the coast.

philippines

Cost of backpacking The Philippines

Overall you’re probably looking at around $35-40/day 

  • Food - $5-15
  • Transport - $10-15
  • Activities - $10
  • Accommodation - $7-20

Other Philippines travel tips

8. Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is one of the best countries in Asia ... period. 

It’s such a small country, but it’s packed with charm.

Because Sri Lanka is so small, it’s super easy to get around and you won’t need to rush yourself.  

I also think this makes it one of the greatest backpacking destinations for beginners

We drove around Sri Lanka in a tuk-tuk for 3 weeks which was EPIC, but it’s very well connected with trains if you decide to do it on a shoestring budget. 

Sri Lanka has so much to offer and it’s actually quite a diverse country. 

You’ve got the beautiful beaches all around the coast and “Little England” in the middle, which gets its name because it’s so often cold and rainy there. 

It’s actually where the tea is grown, due to the colder climate. 

Sri Lanka is one of the very cheap places to travel in Asia and your money will go far here, especially when it comes to quality in accommodation, which is great! 

You could get by on as little as $10 a day if you slow travelled … crazy right! 

backpacking sri lanka

Best places to backpack in Sri Lanka

Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya is part of Sri Lanka’s “Little England” and it’s where you can find endless gorgeous tea fields and some of the most epic waterfalls in the country. 

The tea fields are fantastic to visit, and you can wander among them or even enjoy a tea in one of the many tourist tea farms that offer epic views. 

Be sure to visit the many waterfalls in the area and go for a swim, hike up Adam's Peak or wander in the Hortons National Park. 

Ella 

Ella is a very popular place to visit in Sri Lanka and has a perfect backpacker vibe. 

In fact, there is so much happening in Ella that you’ll never want to leave! 

It’s super beautiful and well priced. 

My favourite sights include the epic Nine Arch Bridge, a hike up Little Adams Peak and Ravana Falls.

Unawatuna 

Located in the south of Sri Lanka, this is the perfect area if you seek sunshine, snorkelling and beautiful views. 

There is lots to see and do in Unawatuna, including a visit to the Dog Care Clinic, the famous Sri Lanka swing and the chance to swim with turtles.

It’s also a very popular place to learn how to surf.

best backpacking destinations

Cost of backpacking Sri Lanka

Overall you’re probably looking at around $30/day 

  • Food - $3-10
  • Transport - $2-18 (we paid $18 per day for our TukTuk)
  • Activities - $0-20
  • Accommodation - $2-15

Other Sri Lanka travel tips

9. India

There really is so much to love about India, especially the fact that it is crazy cheap, so perfect if you are on a budget!

People can visit and slow travel here for $10 daily, and if you want to live like a King or Queen, you can on a budget! 

India is crazy, but that’s what I love about it. There is so much to see, do, experience and the culture shock is wonderful. 

I think people often either love or hate India, but once you get over the fact it’s overpopulated and busy, then it’s stupid to dislike India. 

The people are warm and kind, the sights are unforgettable, and the food, wow, the food is just beyond amazing. 

I have yet to experience food like we did in India. 

It’s true that you can’t get decent Indian food outside of India … once you eat there, it will ruin other Indian food for life! 

If the crazy nature of India daunts you, then it might not be the best place to visit on your first backpacking trip, simply because it’s manic, and it might scare you! 

Test the water elsewhere, then be prepared to be blown away by the beauty and atmosphere of India.

taj mahal india

Best places to backpack in India

Agra 

Agra forms part of the cultural triangle, which is the typical tourist trail in India. What’s it most famous for? 

The Taj Mahal of course!

One of the wonders of the world and rightly so. 

The Taj Mahal did not disappoint. It’s an architectural dream and it’s truly epic. 

It’s really a bucket list experience. Agra also has other great sights too, including Agra Fort & Tomb of Akbar the Great.

Jaipur 

The pink city of India is wonderful! 

It’s a place where you can truly experience all the cultural delights that India has to offer. There is so much beauty on offer here

From the iconic Amber Palace, the beautiful Hawa Mahal, the stunning Jaigarh Fort and so much more.

Jaipur is a perfect backpacking destination in India for those wanting to see it all! 

Jodhpur 

Jodhpur is actually known as the “Blue City” because the old part of the city is all painted in blue.

This makes for a really cool picture, but the highlight of Jodhpur is the amazing Mehrangarh Fort and Museum, which is actually one of the largest forts in India, and the views of this place at night are amazing.

There are lots of really cool places to visit and see in Jodhpur!

backpacking india

Cost of backpacking India

You’re probably looking at around $25/day

  • Food - $3-10
  • Transport - $10
  • Activities - $5
  • Accommodation - $2-10

Other India travel tips

10. Vietnam

Vietnam is another of the fantastic backpacking trips in Asia. 

We LOVE Vietnam. 

It’s one of our favorite places in the entire world. 

The people are super friendly and welcoming, the food is delicious, the coffee is great, the sights are amazing and everything is so cheap! 

Vietnam is a country that’s super easy for backpacking because you can head North to South or vice versa and see it all. 

The north brings you epic landscapes and gorgeous views, such as the rice paddies of Sapa or the world famous HaLong Bay.

Or, you can head to the south and discover the sand dunes of Mui Nei, one of the world’s largest caves and so much more. 

Best places to backpack in Vietnam

Da Lat 

This is such an amazing place in Vietnam and an area that has lots to do. 

It’s located in the more mountainous part of Vietnam, which means it’s actually cooler, which is a welcome change for the heat that you typically find in Vietnam. 

Visit the beautiful Datanla Falls, Elephant Falls and go tobogganing which was lots of fun! 

We also recommend renting a moped and just driving through the mountains, it’s pretty epic with amazing views. 

Hue 

Hue is another wonderful backpacking location in Vietnam and it offers some unique insight into the history and culture of Vietnam. 

The Imperial Citadel is super impressive and unique. It’ll give you a look into the rich history of the country. 

Afterwards you can check out some of the tombs in the area such as the Tomb of Khai Dinh. 

Mũi Né 

When you choose Vietnam as one of your chosen backpacking destinations (which you should!), make sure to head down to the south of the country and visit this spot. 

It’s truly a beautiful place with a lot to do. 

You can go sand boarding on the white sand dunes, catch an epic sunset on the red sand dunes and check out the beauty of the Fairy Stream, which looked like what you would expect Mars to look like!

backpacking vietnam

Cost of backpacking Vietnam

You’re probably looking at around $25/day here.

  • Food - $3-8
  • Transport - $30 (covers 3 weeks of buses in the country)
  • Activities - $4-10 (exception being Halong Bay)
  • Accommodation - $5-20

Other Vietnam travel tips

11. Indonesia

Indonesia is an incredible country and a very good backpacking destination. 

It’s super cheap, it’s easy to navigate and there are over 11,000 islands, which means there is a lot to see and discover. 

There tends to be a few set islands that tourists stick to: such as Bali, Java, Flores, Lombok, Komodo & The Gili Islands. 

Each of these islands offers something different and unique and you’ll find backpacking Indonesia a complete treat. 

Whether you want to check out some of the most epic waterfalls in Asia in Malang, or hike up an active volcano known as Mount Bromo (crazy epic adventure!), or learn to surf on the beaches of Bali, snorkel the Gili Islands, or visit the Komodo Dragons, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to things to do in Indonesia. 

You can get between islands via low plane transfers, boat transfers and on some islands, a very good train and bus network! 

Getting around Indonesia can be as cheap as you want to be, and you’ll never need to spend a ridiculous amount of money (unless you want to). 

backpacking indonesia

Best places to backpack in Indonesia

Java

This is actually my favourite island in Indonesia. 

It’s super easy to go from one end to the other, whilst starting in the capital of Indonesia: Jakarta, and ending in Malang for some of the most epic sights I’ve seen on my travels.

From endless great waterfalls, the best temples in Asia (I’ve seen A LOT of temples), to beautiful flower gardens and unique sights, Java has something for everyone.

Bali 

Bali is so famous it doesn’t really need an explanation from me! I love Bali. 

We’ve visited twice and it’s true that it’s becoming very toursitified, but once you head up north, you’ll discover the real Bali and the beauty that comes with it. 

Visit lesser known areas such as Sideman and Amed, for peace, quiet and epic Bali views. 

The Gili Islands 

The Gili Islands are off the coast of Lombok, and Gili Trawagan is the most popular island to stay on. 

The other islands are smaller (but you can kayak between them) and tend to be more popular with honeymooners.

Gili T is surrounded by beautiful water and it’s got a real backpacker vibe to it. 

There are no vehicles on the island too, which really gives it a paradise atmosphere! 

beautiful indonesia

Cost of backpacking Indonesia

You’re looking at around $35/day 

  • Food - $2-10
  • Transport - $5-30
  • Activities - $2-20
  • Accommodation - $5-20

Other Indonesia travel tips

Best backpacking destinations in Central America

12. Nicaragua

Nicaragua is perhaps the BEST backpacking destination in Central America. 

I LOVE IT! 

Before we went, we had heard this dodgy reputation that Nicaragua had, and that kind of made us want to visit more. 

Anyway, I can tell you that Nicaragua is safe (sure it has its problems - everywhere does), but it has some amazing sights to see. 

It seriously produced the best sunsets I’ve ever seen in my life. Just jaw-dropping gorgeous!

Not only that, it has some of the coolest experiences on offer. 

You can slide down a volcano...yes a volcano, and you can see real life magma bubbling away too, it’s pretty epic. 

Nicaragua is also really cheap. It’s got super friendly people, brilliant surf, awesome accommodation and the food and rum is delicious.

Definitely a fantastic place to visit in Central America and one I hope to return to.

P.S. Nicaragua produces the best coffee in the world. PERIOD (If you visit, let me know so you can pick me up some!)

This is coming from a coffee fanatic, who has sampled many varieties of coffee in the world. There is nothing that comes close to Nicaraguan coffee.

backpacking nicaragua

Best places to backpack in Nicaragua

Granada 

The beautiful colonial town of Granada is packed full of charm and great sights to see and things to do.

The town itself is perfect for wandering around and visiting the cathedral, but you should also visit Apoyo Lagoon for epic views and swimming opportunities in a crater lake.

Also, take a day trip to the awesome Masaya volcano to see the real life lava I mentioned before. 

Leon 

This is one of my favourite spots in Nicargua, mainly becuase you have the chance to volcano board down Cerro Negro!

This is one of only 2 places in the world you can do this, and it’s epic! 

Leon is also home to the largest cathedral in Central America, and it’s very beautiful. 

Ometepe

This is a beautiful island in Nicaragua that is accessed via a boat trip.

Ometepe is an island made up of two volcanoes, both of which you can ascend if you want.

There are lots of beautiful sights on this little island including La Ojo De Agua (a great spot for swimming), Charco Verde and its black sand beaches, waterfalls in the wet season, and much more. 

nicaragua

Cost of backpacking Nicaragua

You’re probably looking at around $30/day. Much less if you want to take things slow and spend a few weeks surfing somewhere like San Juan Del Sur.

  • Food - $2-10
  • Transport - $3-20
  • Activities - $2-24
  • Accommodation - $5-15

Other Nicaragua travel tips

13. Mexico

Mexico is definitely one of the best places to go backpacking in the world. 

Why?

Margaritas, guacamole, pico de gallo...need I say more??

The food and drink in Mexico is amazing, but the sights are even better. 

Mexico has stunning beaches and great snorkeling opportunities, as well as some fantastic Mayan pyramids; including the famous Chichen Itza

Mexico has so much to offer backpackers, regardless of their budgets. 

It’s true that some areas are much more expensive than others, such as the tourist resort areas of Cancun, Tulum & Playa Del Carmen, but once you step out of those destinations, you’ll realise there’s a lot more to Mexico at a better price. 

backpacking mexico

Best places to backpack in Mexico

Valladolid 

Valladolid is such an awesome place to visit in Mexico.

It’s in the Yucatan region and it’s packed with amazing cenotes (sinkholes). 

The famous Cenote Suytun is easily accessible from here, as is the awesome Chichen Itza. 

Valladolid has such a nice vibe to it, and there is lots to discover in the area

Palenque

Palenque was my first taste of what I call “true Mexico”. 

It’s authentic, it’s got amazing sights and food was delicious. 

Some of the highlights here include the epic waterfalls on offer: Misol-Ha and Agua Azul, discover the amazing Palenque Ruins and visit the cool Eco Park. 

Cancun

Even though Cancun is very touristy and not exactly cheap, I still have to put it on my backpacking destinations list, simply because it’s so much fun! 

Cancun’s beaches are so blue and beautiful, the food is delicious, albeit a little overpriced, but Cancun is also home to Coco Bongo, a world famous club that was seriously a brilliant night!

backpacking valladolid

Cost of backpacking Mexico

You’re looking at around $35 (for non touristy Mexico) & $60 a day for beachside Mexico.

  • Food - $3-15
  • Transport - $10-30
  • Activities - $5-15
  • Accommodation - $10-50

Other Mexico travel tips

14. Guatemala

Guatemala is one of my favourite places in the world (Okay … I feel like I’ve been saying this a lot … Perhaps I’m too easily pleased!) 

But, it’s another really great budget backpacking destination.

Guatemala is home to some awesome volcanoes and natural beauty and the charm of Antigua is real. 

Guatemala does seem to have a bit of a reputation for being unsafe, but I can tell you that we didn’t feel unsafe once in the entire country. 

You can climb up volcanoes in Antigua, you can swim in the most BEAUTIFUL waterfalls in Semuc Champey or you can paddleboard on Lake Atitlan.

Guatemala is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Period. 

antigua in guatemala

Best places to backpack in Guatemala

Antigua 

The colonial town of Antigua is breathtaking. The cobblestone streets are charming, the cute restaurants and cafes are wonderful and there are a bunch of really great sights to see. 

One of my top recommendations for backpacking Antigua is to take a coffee tour. 

Guatemala is famous for its coffee and a coffee tour is a great way to go behind the scenes. 

Or if you’re more adventurous you can hike up the active Acatenango Volcano.

Flores

Flores is a beautiful spot in Guatemala and it was actually the first place we visited. 

It’s an island and a perfect place to enjoy a romantic sunset dinner. But one of your main reasons for visiting will be to check out the epic Tikal Mayan Ruins

Some of the best Mayan ruins anywhere in Central America.

Lake Atitlan 

Lake Atitlan is another fantastic backpacking spot in Guatemala and it’s got a real backpacker vibe too it. 

It’s easily reached via Antigua or Guatemala City and there are lots of towns on the lakes you can visit. 

You can relax on the lake, swim, paddleboard, kayak, hike the volcanoes around it and do much more. 

Truly a beautiful place that’s filled with indigenous people which gives you the chance to learn about their culture. 

backpacking guatemala

Cost of backpacking Guatemala

You’ll probably spend around $30/day in Guatemala

  • Food - $2-8
  • Transport - $10-15
  • Activities - $3-8
  • Accommodation - $5-15

Other Guatemala travel tips

15. El Salvador

El Salvador’s reputation often precedes itself.

It’s known as unsafe, and has one of the highest homicide rates in the world. 

Well, Salvadorians are well aware of their reputation, and they hate it. 

Actually, El Salavador was one of the only countries in Central America where we used public transport to get almost everywhere, without feeling unsafe at all. 

The country actually has a lot to offer. 

It’s small so it’s a great backpacking destination if you don’t have a lot of time on your hands.

It’s famous for its epic surf spots, so hit the coast to catch some waves and enjoy the backpacker vibe there. 

Then take the Ruta De Flores to see some beautiful landscapes and authentic local towns.

If you’re in search of a cheap backpacking destination in Central America, then this is perhaps the cheapest! 

backpacking el salvador

Best places to backpack in El Salvador

El Tunco 

This is one of the most popular surf spots in El Salvador, and this whole strip of coastline is filled with restaurants, bars, great accommodation and beaches! 

Even if you’re not surfing, it’s a really cool place to just swim and relax.

It’s got a great nightlife too, we ended up having an awesome night out with friends we met there. 

Santa Ana 

Santa Ana is a very small town, but it’s often a starting point for the Ruta De Flores

The centre of the town itself has some cute sights, and I think I love the fact that it’s not touristy at all. It all adds to the charm. 

It’s the perfect base for taking part in the Santa Ana Volcano Hike, which is one of the coolest volcano hikes I’ve ever done in the world. 

San Salvador 

The capital of El Salvador is unique. There is no tourist infrastructure at all, and it’s actually a little americanized in the more developed areas. 

But again, that’s what makes it unique. 

There are a few things to see and do in the city, and it’s a good base for some cool day trips. 

santa ana volcano

Cost of backpacking El Salvador

You’re looking at around $25 /day

  • Food - $3-5
  • Transport - $2-6
  • Activities - $5-10 
  • Accommodation - $10-30

Other El Salvador travel tips

Best backpacking destinations in South America

16. Argentina

Argentina is fantastic! 

I absolutely love this country and I hope to go back and explore more of it some day. 

It’s definitely one of the best backpacking destinations in South America

Argentina is a country known for its excellent wine, tango dancing, and it’s steaks (though, I never tried one!). 

I won’t lie and say Argentina is the easiest place to backpack on a budget, but if you are sensible with your money, you can still visit and not spend too much.

Regardless, it’s totally worth it! 

You’ll have the chance to go to the “end of the world”, in Ushuaia, which is the gateway to Antarctica. 

It’s such a cool place and a stark contrast to the heat in the north of the country! 

You can’t go to Argentina and not visit the bustling and fabulous capital of Buenos Aires, which is as cool as you imagine. 

Oh, and Argentina is home to one of the world’s most famous waterfalls: Iguazú Falls.

backpacking argentina

Best places to backpack in Argentina

Ushuaia 

As I mentioned, this city is known as the “end of the world” as it’s the last city at the tip of South America, which means it’s a gateway to Antarctica. 

You can take tours to Antarctica from here, which are hella expensive, but I’m sure a once in a lifetime experience. 

Or you can even go visit the epic Penguin Island and see the hundred of penguins that live there. 

El Calafate

This beautiful area of Argentina is home to one of the best sights in the world: the Perito Moreno Glacier

This was seriously one of the best things ever, and you cannot go to Argentina without visiting here. 

Actually, the town of El Calafate was really nice too. 

Great places to eat, relax and walk around sand we ended up spending a few days here. 

Buenos Aires 

The capital of Argentina has to get a mention. I loved the vibe here. There are lots of great sights to see, and it’s a brilliant place to take a tango lesson, or even see a tango dancing show! 

What I loved most was that it’s such a crazy mix of countries in Europe.

If you’ve been to lots of countries in Europe then perhaps you’ll know what I mean.

One moment it feels like the buildings all around are inspired by Spain, and the next you feel like you’re in France or The Netherlands.

backpacking destinations in south america

Cost of backpacking Argentina

You’re looking at around $50 /day 

  • Food - $5-20
  • Transport - $25-40 (long distance buses are expensive)
  • Activities - $5-25
  • Accommodation - $5-20

17. Chile

Chile is my favourite country in the world, so it has to make this list!

The reasons could be because of how diverse it is ...

You’ve got epic deserts located in the north, a buzzing capital city in the form of Santiago, and once you head south, you’ve got the most breathtaking scenery in the world in Patagonia.

Stunning mountain ranges, volcanoes, secluded hot springs with not a single person in sight. 

The best way to see the best sights in Chile is to 100% rent a car. 

That’s what we did and have no regrets. Driving in Chile is fine once you get out of the main cities.

backpakcing chilie

Best places to backpack in Chile

Puerto Natales 

This is the gateway to the Torres Del Paine National Park and the famous “W Trek” located in the heart of Patigonia in Chile.

This is one of the countries most famous sights and it’s bloody amazing. 

It requires hiking to reach the most beautiful mountain ranges and unique glaciers, and there’s no way of getting around the prices, but it’s worth every single penny.

Santiago 

I loved Santiago, probably even more so because we ended up couchsurfing here and making amazing friends with our hosts (we’re still in touch today and had a reunion in London recently). 

But Santiago is quite a student city so it’s got a young vibe. It’s also got a bunch of really cool sights to see. 

San Pedro de Atacama

This spot represents just how shockingly diverse Chile is. 

I’ve just spoken about glaciers and mountain ranges, well now I present to you, the desert, with epic landscapes and star gazing like no other. 

Check out the iconic Valle de la Luna which offers moon-like landscapes and the amazing Laguna Verde and the unique Pukará de Quitor.

Cost of backpacking Chile

You’re looking at around $50 a day.

  • Food - $6-15
  • Transport - $5-35
  • Activities - $15-50
  • Accommodation - $12-30

18. Brazil

Brazil is a massive country with a lot to offer. 

It was the first ever country Bradley and I went backpacking together and truly entered us into the world of travel. 

I love Brazil. I think it's bursting with culture, amazing food and great vibes. 

It’s the home of the Samba, and a great place to learn, and their national drink in the Caipirinha, which is Bradley and I’s favourite cocktail. 

They’re stupidly cheap, and there’s nothing quite like lying on the Copacabana beach in Rio and drinking a Caipirinha whilst tanning….bliss. 

Since Brazil is so big, there is a lot of ground to cover, so you’ll either need a lot of time to backpack this country, or just choose certain locations. 

But you'll soon discover there is so much to see, and it’s the gateway to the Amazon Rainforest, which honestly is a bucket list experience. 

Best places to backpack in Brazil

Rio De Janeiro 

It’s chaotic, it’s probably a little unsafe at times, but it’s brilliant. 

Rio is the heart of Brazil and I would happily return tomorrow. 

Check out the epic Christ the Redeemer, and the amazing Sugar Loaf Mountain for some beyond amazing views. 

Head into the jungle forests, or hit up the clubs and experience that famous Rio nightlife. 

Manaus

Whilst I will not suggest you undertake the Belem to Manaus boat ride, I will suggest you go to Manaus and use this as your gateway into the Amazon Rainforest. 

From there you can get tours that take you on a 2 night stay in the forest. It’s epic. 

I mean, it’s the Amazon Rainforest, come on!

You’ll even have the chance to camp in the jungle in hammocks, which is actually a lot scarier than it sounds…

Salvador 

Salvador is the African capital of Brazil and it is bursting with culture.

I LOVED it! 

And, fun fact, it’s the setting to Michael Jackson's video: They don’t really care about us. 

They kind of have a shrine to Michael which is cool. There’s lots of cool places to visit here and the beaches are great for swimming and relaxing. 

backpacking brazil

Cost of backpacking Brazil

You’re looking at around $50 /day

  • Food - $3-15
  • Transport - $20-100 (long distance travel is expensive)
  • Activities - $5-30
  • Accommodation - $10-30

19. Bolivia

Bolivia is the cheapest backpacking destination in South America, there is no doubt about that! 

Bolivia is amazing and offers some of the most unique things to do in South America.

The famous Bolivian Salt Flats are here, and honestly, they’re crazy unique and well worth doing. 

Other amazing sights include Laguna Colorada and its unique flamingos, Valle De Las Animas and much more.

Bolivia is actually a really cheap country to take excursions. 

Bradley and I got to go paragliding for less than $50 each and it was an unforgettable bucket list experience.

This makes it one of the best budget travel destinations in South America. 

backpacking bolivia

Best places to backpack in Bolivia

Uyuni

This is the gateway to the famous Salt Flats of Bolivia, so it’s a great place to base yourself, however Uyuni also has some pretty cool sights to visit too. 

One of my favourites includes the unique train cemetery!

Potosi 

This is one of the highest cities in the world, so you’re going to experience your first dose of altitude sickness..

Potosi is a small city that boasts a lot of charm. It’s actually a UNESCO protected town, and you’ll see why as you wander around. 

There are lots of beautiful churches and museums to explore, as well as a really vintage cinema! 

Isla De Sol 

This is a beautiful Bolivian island located on Lake Titicaca. You get a boat to access the island and it’s all super remote. 

There are only a few restaurants and accommodation on offer, but this makes it amazing. 

It’s so remote and just a peaceful place to really step back. The star gazing here is amazing too and there are lots of walks you can do on the island. 

isla del sol bolivia

Cost of backpacking Bolivia

You’re looking at around $25 /day

  • Food - $2-8
  • Transport - $4-15
  • Activities - $5-25
  • Accommodation - $5-15

20. Peru

Last but not least, the final destination on this backpacking destination guide is Peru.

Peru is having a bit of a moment, lots of people seem to be flocking there since Machu Pichu became more accessible (it wasn’t when we visited, so we didn’t go!). 

But apart from it’s most famous sight, Peru has a lot to offer. From beautiful beaches and great surf, to historic sites and ruins. 

Peru is a beautiful country with very friendly people. It does have a high drug scene, and you’ll get a lot of locals asking if you want to buy cocaine, say no and they’ll not bother you again. 

Peru is easy to navigate, but if your budget allows you to fly, then fly, because I can tell you a 24 hour bus journey from Lima to Cusco was just...too long! 

backpacking peru

Best places to backpack in Peru

Cusco 

This is one of the more popular spots in Peru as it’s the gateway to Machu Picchu, but Cusco itself is also bustling with amazing, historic sights. 

My favourites include the Sacred Valley, Moray and the Maras Salt Flats.

Lima 

Lima is the capital of Peru and it’s got a lot to offer. 

It’s actually a strange city, in that it hides away it’s poor. 

This isn’t a myth, if you head outside the main city, you’ll enter the slum areas, and you’ll see poverty. 

We stayed at a hostel who runs a charity to help feed the children here, so we saw it first hand. If they leave the slum areas, they’re transported back there by the police!

On a happier note, Lima has some really cool surfing spots and beaches, perfect for catching some rays. 

In fact it’s here that Bradley learnt how to surf!

salt farms in peru

Cost of backpacking Peru

You’re looking at around $35 /day

  • Food - $2-10
  • Transport - $8-20
  • Activities - $10-50
  • Accommodation - $10-20

So there you have it! 

Our guide to the best backpacking destinations around the world. 

I hope this post has helped you and given you some travel inspiration for backpacking around the world. 

Regardless of where you choose to backpack, you’re going to have a fantastic time and create unbelievable memories! 

If you think we missed any destinations off the list then just drop a comment below, we would love to hear your suggestions.

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