Backpacking around the world is one of the best experiences you can possibly have.
There are so many incredible places to backpack when you’re young, free and ready to meet other amazing people.
Here are 10 incredible backpacking destinations you need to add to your bucket list.
Grab a pen and paper and get dreaming!
1. Tour through North India
North India is an incredible part of the world to go on a backpacking adventure. Not only is it one of the most affordable places to travel, but there is also so much to see!
Go to the classic tourist hotspots like the Taj Mahal and the other major Royal sites in Rajasthan like Jaipur and Udaipur. Rajasthan is the Indian state that is the loudest, most colourful and most hectic the country. It will truly meet your expectations of what India ought to be!
The colour festival of Holi in March is celebrated in a big way in Pushkar, Vrindavan and Varanasi. Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is India’s most widely celebrated annual festival in November, is unforgettable. There are so many huge festivals in India throughout the year. These festivals are all celebrated in a major way in the North.
The mighty Himalayas are also one of the best places to explore in North India as a backpacker. From the Yoga Capital of the World, Rishikesh, to the home of the Dalai Lama in Dharamshala. You can go on a crazy motorbike journey in Ladakh, known as the desert in the sky. Himachal Pradesh is one of the best states in India to experience the majesty of the beautiful Himalayas. Places to visit include Manali, Parvati Valley and Dharamkot among many others.
India is one of the easiest places in the world to backpack. There are heaps of amazing traveller towns filled with hostels, cafes and other young backpackers. There is an abundance of trains, buses and domestic flights to help you easily move around the country as a backpacker. Long-distance Ubers are also a thing and very affordable!
2. European City Trip
You almost cannot call yourself a backpacker without doing a backpacking trip throughout Europe. The number of countries you have ticked off in Europe is like a badge of honour for the travel enthusiast.
This makes the classic European backpacking trip is a bucket list item for most, and for good reason! Europe as a continent is sprawling with a vast number of countries and cities in such a small geographical location. This makes it the perfect place to take in a multitude of destinations in one trip.
An epic backpacking trip through the cities in Europe can take you from Western Europe all the way to the East. Amazing cities to add to your European backpacking list include Lisbon, Barcelona, Paris, Berlin, Bruges, Copenhagen, Prague, Budapest, Dubrovnik, Kotor, Mostar, Athens, Sofia and many more.
A European backpacking trip can be tailored to suit any budget. From luxurious city escapes in Scandinavia to budget destinations in countries like Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania. Europe has everything from sprawling cities to quaint villages. The best part is a backpacking trip through Europe can be just as enchanting in winter as it is in summer.
3. Australia’s East Coast
Backpacking around Australia’s East coast is one of the ultimate dreams of most backpackers. Australia is a favourite spot for a working holiday and backpacking trip combination.
You can spend a few months working hard on a farm (with many fellow travellers!) or in hospitality. Then spend all your hard-earned cash on an epic backpacking trip along Australia’s beautiful east coast.
Thousands of backpackers descend on Australia each year to work and travel around the endless white sandy beaches of the east coast. Working and travelling along Australia’s east coast is action-packed, and you can actually make some serious cash!
Backpacker hotspots in Australia that can’t be missed include Melbourne, Sydney, Byron Bay, Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, Cairns and so many more.
While travelling through Australia is on the expensive side, Australia has a very generous minimum wage of $20 per hour with great perks. So if you are working there, saving enough to travel is very doable!
4. Adventure through Turkey
Turkey is an incredible backpacking destination to add to your bucket list. Due to bad press, Turkey gets a bad wrap! But it is actually an incredible (and safe) place to visit as a tourist.
Turkey is rich in ancient history and the nature is simply breathtaking. It also is one of the most affordable places to travel in Europe. Turkey has great transport infrastructure, making it very easy to get around, backpack in tow!
Incredible places to visit in Turkey include the mineral white terraces of Pamukkale, Cappadocia for hot air ballooning, the mosques of Istanbul and the beautiful beachside city of Antalya.
Turkey is an amazing place to set sail. A 4 day trip through the stunning Turquoise coast will only set you back a couple of hundred euros. It also has some of the most important archaeological sites in the world which are a must-visit.
5. Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan
The Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan is a must for any party-loving young backpacker. It’s hard to find a traveller who either hasn’t been or is planning to go!
The full party is an epic party held on a beach on the island of Koh Phangan in Thailand each and every full moon. There are stalls set up all along the beach where you can buy buckets of your choice of alcohol and mixers.
You can expect fire dancing, neon singlets, glow sticks, loud music, rowdy tourists and a whole lot of fun. There is even a jungle rave which they have around the same time as the full moon party.
If you aren’t into partying, you can still have an amazing backpacking trip in Thailand. Just avoid the party beach on Koh Phangan. Other backpacking islands in Thailand to add on to your trip include Koh Tao, Koh Samui and the Phi Phi islands.
6. Hike the Inca Trail in Peru
Hiking to Machu Picchu on the Inca Trail is, without doubt, the best way to reach arguably the most well known ancient ruins in the world. This trip should be an ultimate bucket list item for every backpacker.
The 4-day hike is extremely challenging due to the high altitude. But it is worth every effort as you follow in the footsteps of the ancient Incas to Machu Picchu. This hike takes you through various mountainous landscapes and amazing Incan ruins along the way.
A 3 am start on the last day to hike to the sun gate of Machu Picchu means you are treated with seeing the sunrise over the mystical ruins below you.
You can continue your backpacking adventure through Peru and the rest of South America. This is an epic backpacking destination for those with a love of nature, wildlife, adventure, ancient history and the mysteries of the Amazon jungle.
7. Find yourself in Bali the “Island of the Gods”
If you are a fan of Eat, Pray, Love then chances are Bali is already high up on your travel bucket list. Bali, also known as the Island of the Gods, is the only part of Indonesia that is predominantly Hindu.
Bali is rich in culture, has a deep sense of spirituality and is home to incredible volcanoes, luscious jungles and beautiful white sand tropical islands. It is a heaven on earth! This is why it has become such a hotspot for travellers from all walks of life but in particular backpackers and those looking for a longer-term travel destination.
Bali has everything from yoga retreat centres, epic surfing, breathtaking nature and even a pumping party scene. The beach town of Canggu is famous for its vegan cafes, Ubud for its tranquil jungle villas and the Gili islands for crystal clear seas.
Bali is an affordable destination which has started to become a hotspot for digital nomads. Digital nomads semi-permanently live in Bali, earning enough money online to sustain a relatively lavish tropical lifestyle.
This is an amazing place to connect to yourself and to other like-minded people who are on a similar journey.
8. Greek Island Hopping
The Greek Islands are the ultimate European summer destination. Island hopping through Greece is one of the best ways to experience the magical islands as a backpacker.
Each island is unique and has its own charm. Whether you are looking for wild parties or secluded beaches, the Greek Islands have it all. Plus they have the most beautiful sunsets in the world, incredible food and the clearest water you will ever see!
The Greek Islands, in general, aren’t logistically great for backpackers. But there are traveller hotspots and with some forward planning, you can have an epic Greek Island adventure as a backpacker.
The islands of Santorini, Mykonos, Ios and Corfu are the most established spots for travellers and backpackers. Each has many options when it comes to budget accommodation, transport and hoards of other travellers. These islands will give you everything you expect from Greece including white buildings, pink flowers, blue top churches and those dreamy sunsets. Plus there is a great party scene on all these islands.
Other amazing islands like Milos, Paros and Karpathos are stunning but have less infrastructure for backpackers. But it is worth the effort to plan your trip so you can stop off on these islands as well.
When it comes to travelling around Greece with other backpackers there are options such as Busabout’s Greek Island Hopper and also sailing trips with other companies like Contiki and Topdeck. These options will allow you to hit all the hotspots without even having to think about it!
9. Explore Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is an incredible up and coming backpacking destination that should be high on your bucket list. There is so much to see and do on this small but beautiful tropical island.
For those with a spirit for adventure, Sri Lanka is the perfect destination. It has hiking, waterfalls, tuk-tuk adventures, wildlife safaris, world-class surfing and of course incredible tropical beaches.
Sri Lanka has delicious food as well and is rich in Buddhist culture with some of the friendliest locals.
While backpacking in Sri Lanka has only relatively recently become accessible, the country is already well-equipped for backpacking trips. There are trendy hostels popping up in travel hotspots like Weligama and Ella. Plus it is easy and cheap to get around the island by bus and train.
Sri Lanka is incredibly affordable and bustling with other travellers. With so much to offer Sri Lanka should definitely be on your travel bucket list!
10. Vanlife in New Zealand
Buying a van and travelling around New Zealand is a firm backpacker favourite for travellers all around the world. Similar to Australia, it is a great option for those looking for an extended working holiday.
New Zealand has so much beautiful nature to offer which is best explored by van. From the pristine beaches and volcanoes of the north island to the epic alps and breathtaking lakes and sounds of the south island. New Zealand has stunning landscapes to explore by van from the top to the bottom.
The best part is, New Zealand has free camping sites dotted all around the country, making this an attractive destination for budget backpackers looking for an adventure.
There are loads of opportunities for foreigners to work for a high wage in hospitality in cities like Auckland or Wellington or as a seasonal fruit picker in more rural regions.
So get that visa application started and turn your van life dream into a reality in New Zealand!
There you have 10 bucket list backpacking destinations you need to visit before your time on earth is up.
The world has so many incredible places to visit as a backpacker so strap on your pack and get exploring.