Backpacking is one of the most versatile ways to travel the world. During your next vacation, why not travel light and see as much of the world as possible? Strap on your backpack and get ready to travel the continent of your choice. Here are some great places to start.
The best backpacking trip in Africa is the most obvious: Kilimanjaro. This trek, while difficult, is doable by your average athletic, in-shape human. One of the unique things about this climb is that you start in the heat of the equatorial African bush and emerge at below-freezing temperatures at the top. You’ll need to be well-prepared for this trip! If Kilimanjaro is too much for you, Mount Kenya, a day’s drive north, is another great wilderness backpacking trip in Africa.
You don’t have to climb Everest to enjoy backpacking around Nepal. If you want to stay urban, check out Kathmandu with its numerous temples and city life. For scenery and fresh air, trek around the Himalayas and visit villages nestled away in the mountains.
Canberra is a huge city, and it is hugely popular with backpackers. You can enjoy all sorts of cultural centers, museums, and (of course) indie coffee shops, or take a break from the metropolis and go “bushwalking” around the hills that surround the city.
St. Martin is a great place to land yourself for a backpacking trip, especially an extended one. There are a few good hostels to stay at, plus a good beach for camping on the lonely northern coast. You can check out all the tourist spots around the perimeter of the island or climb the hills in the middle. Plus, Saint Martin is the gateway to St. Barths, Anguilla, and Saba (which, incidentally, contains the highest point in the Netherlands), so you can visit four islands and four different countries in just a couple days!
5 Central America
While Central America is a distinct region, it’s also pretty small, which means you can cover every country in a month and a half. Start in Mexico and head down to Panama for the ultimate Latin culture experience. Be sure to get off the beaten path now and then—there are many hidden treasures in Central America!
6 Eastern Europe
Very different from its other half in the West, Eastern Europe is an amazing area to explore. Like Central America, it’s easy to explore multiple countries in this region in a single trip. Try taking the buses and hitting the major cities of your destination countries.
7 Middle East/ North Africa
The Middle East doesn’t sound like a very inviting area to travel for fun, but you’d be surprised at what a nice place it can be, in many areas. Since you can’t miss out on the pyramids, start your trip in Egypt and head to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Iraq.
8 North America
The great thing about the United States is that you can cover a whole lot of ground and many different types of biomes during a relatively short amount of time. If you start in California, head east to Arizona, and then travel north to Montana, you can hit beach, desert, high desert, forest, woodlands, and prairies in one trip.
9 South America
Ecuador is a beautiful place for backpacking, and a perfect location to begin your South American backpacking trip. Not only is Ecuador relatively cheap, but it also offers a ton of awesome adventures, from sprawling marketplaces to ancient ruins to fantastic hikes and waterways.
10 Western Europe
Backpacking through Western Europe sounds so romantic that it’s become cliché, but don’t let that scare you away from trying it. Try a north-to-south trip, starting in Britain and working your way down to Portugal. The variety of food, scenery, and cultures is surprising and delightful! No wonder this is the most popular backpacking area in the world.