One of the best ways to meet new people and share unforgettable experiences is by loading up a rucksack and travelling the globe. It’s a part of the travel industry that’s booming, satisfying our wanderlust with unique and authentic insights into different cultures.
But where do you start on your journey to seeing all the world has to offer? And how do you survive when you get out there? If you’re planning on escaping the confines of the nine-to-five, these are the places you should visit.
- Travel insurance
- Always have more than one credit card
- Avoid pre-paid phones
- Only pack the essentials!
- Don’t be afraid to try something new
It may be the smallest continent in the world but Australia is one of the most exciting countries you can discover as a backpacker. With its stunning national parks, the vast and seemingly endless Outback, rainforests covering every climatic type, ten deserts, and vibrant cities like Sydney and Melbourne, Down Under has everything you need for your first foray into travelling.
Add to the mix the Australians who just happen to be some of the craziest and most helpful people you could ever hope to meet, the cutest animals like the quokka and kangaroo, and hostels of every description, and you’ve got everything you could want in one place.
Backpacking tip: Australia is not without a few venomous animals. Make sure you get travel insurance to cover all of the thrilling activities you’re planning on doing. And, whether you’re going to Oz or elsewhere, get the appropriate vaccinations.
With mountains and jungles in the north, beaches in the south and friendly people wherever you go, Thailand is a favourite destination amongst beginner and seasoned backpackers. Despite this, you can still go places where there are no other travellers in sight, meaning you can experience this rich culture all on your own.
The food is cheap and delicious, and even if you make a reservation for accommodation, you can still negotiate the price upon arrival for a great deal. In fact, pretty much everything in Thailand can be bargained – though lesser so in the tourist areas. One of the highlights has to be the Thai islands, including the likes of Ko Chang and Ko Si Chang, which you can easily get to via inexpensive ferries.
Backpacking tip: Always have spare money on you, avoid pre-paid SIM cards that quickly get eaten up by roaming costs and take more than one credit card with you. And, if you’re strapped for cash, you could always do some odd-jobs in bars, on farms or as an au pair to pay your way through the country.
If you’ve watched The Lord of the Rings then you’ll know how much of a varied and breathtaking landscape is waiting for you in New Zealand. It’s the ideal destination for nature lovers and the perfect setting to make long-lasting memories.
With some of the world’s most beautiful fjords, stunning beaches, striking glaciers, caves waiting to be explored and awe-inspiring volcanoes, you’re guaranteed an unforgettable trip. And, if immersing yourself in another culture is a little daunting, don’t fret because the country is very western; you’ll feel right at home and be making new friends in no time. Need a conversation starter? Just mention All Blacks rugby.
Backpacking tip: A general rule is to bring only half of what you initially planned on taking. By that, we mean the essentials to ensure you remain flexible and ready for your next adventure. As they say, less is more.
If you want something a little closer to home, Europe is ideal for backpacking with so many different cultures on offer. Countries like Portugal, Spain, Greece and Italy are much more than all-inclusive resorts and nightlife; they are rich in heritage and home to an assortment of wonderful people.
However, one issue compared to backpacking in places like the Far East and Africa is that Europe is usually more expensive. This goes for the price of room and board, which is why you’re best setting off with a budget in mind. If you’re willing to camp you can save the pennies at some superbly equipped sites.
Backpacking tip: Just because you’re going somewhere more familiar doesn’t mean there are no new experiences waiting for you. Take a leap of faith, talk to the locals and find out about unique and hidden places, and try new things like snorkelling or meditating. The world is waiting.