Planning a backpacking vacation is one of the most exciting things you can do. You feel the sun on your skin. You smell exotic foods teasing your tastebuds. You have visions of technicolor landscapes rolling out before your eyes.
But first, you have an important task: choosing a backpacking destination. And this can be mind-boggling. But we’re here to help.
Your backpacking destination options will depend on a few things.
Budget And Gear: Choosing A Backpacking Destination
You’ll want to get yourself proper backpacking gear. You might be carrying upwards of 33lbs (15kg) on your back and investing in a pack is worth it
Hostels across Southeast Asia and Central America can be $5 or less. But you get what you pay for. If comfort is crucial, or you want your own room, expect to pay double or triple that. Backpacking with friends can be cheaper.
You need food to live. Some people are happy living off 7-11 meals, but did you travel the world to eat this? Expect to pay $10/day for a full belly in Southeast Asia. Central America can be a bit more. And Europe is a level up.
Time And Weather
Do you have to be back for work in three weeks? Or is this a gap year? Time is crucial in planning your trip. Some countries take ages to get around. For more tips on wide wanderings, check out this page.
In some places, you might spend a whole day on the bus. If time is tight, either budget for extra flights, or rethink where to go backpacking.
You might want to avoid wet seasons. These tend to flip south of the equator: Winter is summer and vice versa. Align your trip with seasons in your destination.
Activities And Safety
Trekking, scuba diving, snorkeling, cooking classes, and cross-country road trips are backpacker favorites. Choose your destination to account for this.
Central America and Southeast Asia have incredible diving. But SEA has the edge when it comes to exotic cuisine. Both have great trekking locations. But Vietnam has the Hai Van Pass roadtrip. What is important to you?
Safety can make or break your trip. Some places are safe for both men and women. Others, not so much. Research before you decide. Check your government’s travel advisory. How much risk is ok with you?
Culture And Language
Do you feel a burning desire to see a culture? Do you speak a language and want to go native? Then ignore this advice and trust your heart. If you ache to go somewhere, other places are detours.
Love music and dance? Latin America takes some beating. Its beats have permeated almost every culture. And walking down a city street can get your heart beating in time with an alluring rhythm.
Interested in spirituality, meditation, eastern mysticism? Asia is famous for its pressure cooker of cultures. And it will dazzle you.
Eager To Hit The Road?
Us too. We hope you enjoyed our tips for choosing a backpacking destination. We tried to avoid specific places. Everyone is different. But keep these things in mind, and you should be good to go.
While your feet are on home turf, check out the rest of our articles. We have lifestyle, fashion, and sport for you to feast your eyes on. Happy travels.