Backpacking across the globe can broaden your horizon, providing memories like no other — a unique experience of a lifetime. If you’re finished with school or just need a new adventure in your life, take some time to see the world this way. Here are fifteen destinations for first-time backpackers looking to not only a travel on a budget, but truly dive into a countries’ culture.
1) India: A massive country with boatloads of history, India is full of bright colors. Definitely prepare yourself beforehand since it can be a bit overwhelming, but once you’re there, it will all be worth it.
Photo courtesy | Enrique Zepeda Venegas
2) Indonesia: Rent a room on the beach near Bali or ride a scooter (national means of transportation) to your hearts content. See the temples overlooking the ocean and find yourself face-to-face with a monkey or two.
Photo courtesy | Hetty S.
3) Australia: Famed for their ‘walkabouts’ Australia can be right of passage experience. Outside of the major cities there is so much to explore, from the Great Barrier Reef to the infamous Outback and impressive coastline.
Photo courtesy | Sven & Fida
4) Thailand: In a nutshell – it’s cheap, beautiful and easy to navigate. This country is a great clash of old and new, from the city markets to the beaches.
Photo courtesy | Mike Behnken
5) Peru: Of course the Inca Trail is a must see for anyone visiting Peru. Aside from Machu Picchu, Peru is host to great, secluded beaches and lively towns that throw fun parties and festivals. Fans of spicy food will love it here.
Photo courtesy | Rick McCharles
6) Vietnam: A wonderful mix of culture, tradition and nature, Vietnam is a great place to explore. The capital of Hanoi is packed with friendly locals, monuments and ancient sights. A trip to Halong Bay too is like walking into a dream.
Photo courtesy | Guido da Rozze
7) Turkey: Half Asian, half European, Turkey has some beautiful mosques, as well as underground caves and rock houses (Cappadocia and Ephesus). While a tourist hub, Istanbul is a great city to visit.
Photo courtesy | Sergey Galyonkin
8) Cambodia: Home to the largest religious architectural site in the world, Angkor Wat is worth the trip to Cambodia alone. Outside of this complex, the city of Phnom Penh is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Asia with great outdoor markets, street food, and nightlife.
Photo courtesy | Conny
9) Greece: Island hop through the Mediterranean and soak in all that the Greek culture and history has to offer. Aside from the picturesque beaches in Mykonos, the mainland has great tours through ancient ruins and temples.
Photo courtesy | Antonio Castagna
10) New Zealand: Aside from the long flight to get there, New Zealand is a beautiful country. Fans of Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit will definitely enjoy seeing the places that these films made famous.
Photo courtesy | Tom Hall
11) Argentina: Argentina is a pretty good bargain when it comes to the exchange rate (unofficial blue rate). Enjoy the food, wine, passion for soccer, and hop a plane to visit Easter Island.
Photo courtesy | Dany
12) Scandinavia: Fjords are breathtaking and a hiker’s dream. However, there’s more to this region than that. Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Helsinki are great cities with plenty to keep you occupied. The people are great too, which is always a plus.
Photo courtesy | Simon
13) Chile: Like Argentina, the views and landscapes are epic. The north offers salt flats and deserts while the south has massive glacier peaks. A place for the adventurer, there is plenty for the outdoor types.
Photo courtesy | F.J. Alarcon
14) United Kingdom: Yes, London is insanely expensive, but there’s more to this commonwealth than England’s capital. There are castles everywhere, plus Scotland, Wales and Ireland are stunning.
Photo courtesy | Eusebius Commons
15) Anywhere in Europe: Yes, it can be expensive, but the continent has so much to offer. Moving around is practically a breeze (just hop on a train) and each country is a brand new experience.