Backpacking is something that many people will consider at some point in their lives. Though usually an activity associated with those over-enthusiastic psychology student types who have clearly never experienced a punch to the face, the concept of backpacking extends far beyond. From mature professionals seeking a career sabbatical to elderly folk looking to milk the most from life having retired- getting out of your home environment and adventuring to a distant corner of the world could be just the thing you’ve been looking for. Here’s a look at some of the most hotly tipped destinations for backpackers as of 2013.
Probably the first country that comes to mind upon the mention of word ‘backpacking’, Australia has been a constantly popular destination for people from all creeds and backgrounds for many decades. Boasting some of the most surreal landscapes on Earth, the country enjoys a reputation as a bearer of all fruits. From sunny (reeeeeally sunny) beaches to dense forest and of course the thousands upon thousands of square miles of unmistakable (outback), a backpacker could really lose themselves here. With so much to see and do, an outrageous array of unique (and mostly deadly) wildlife and pretty much year round sunshine- there’s a reason so many people head to Oz.
Perhaps a little less obvious, Peru has been picking up trade from a traveller or two for a fair few years now. Home to not only the infamous lost city of the Incas ‘Machu Picchu’ amongst other mind-blowing archaeological sites, this South American nation has much to offer and caters for a whole host of interests. From the adrenaline junkies to the lazy-day beach types- there is much to be explored in Peru, and probably for half the price of Australia too.
Huge and isolated in the North West of the American continent, the US state of Alaska possesses beauty and formidability in equal measure. For those of you who’ve seen the movie ‘Into The Wild’ you should know exactly what I’m getting at. With the perilous combination of sheer, raw natural beauty but a landscape and climate that seem particularly good at killing people- Alaska is a destination for the level headed and mature backpacker.
A huge nation which as I’m sure you all know sits atop the USA, Canada differs from its southern neighbour quite vastly. Remaining a British colony up until the late 19th/early 20th century- the nation and its people offer a lot to visitors. Some parts speak English and some French, the landscape stretches not only for over 5,000 miles sea to sea- but from dense Bear infested woodland to arctic glaciers to sun drenched beach. Surely you’ll find a thing or two to keep yourself occupied?
Though tiny, minuscule even- Belize packs one hell of a punch in terms of tourist attraction. Located to the North East of Guatemala and South of Mexico, Belize is only around 9,000 square miles in size. Despite its modest capacity however, the nation has become a renowned destination for backpackers in recent years as a result of the natural beauty it offers. Mostly covered in dense forest and possessing its own barrier reef (second only to the Great Barrier Reef), if you like picturesque landscapes and the company of a relaxed and friendly people- Belize may be worth looking into.
A must-visit for any avid lovers of wildlife, the island of Borneo is located in South East Asia and is home to a simply unbelievable range of animal and flora alike. The rainforest which engulfs much of the nation is thought to be around 130 million years-old- and as a result is literally alive with an unending array of creatures and habitat which many have spent their lives attempting to come to terms with.
As a nation of 31 states, 1618 languages, 6400 castes, 6 ethnic groups and 29 annual festivals- India is unlike any other country on the face of our planet. As a hive of culture many a traveller has ventured into the nation only never to emerge as the same person. India is regarded not only as an unending land wherein you can lose all sense of identity, but as a nation steeped deeply in faith and custom. Whether seeking an eye opening adventure or looking to lose all sense of yourself- India caters for all in some way or another.
3. Eastern Europe
Despite the fact that many maintain a sense of distance when it comes to Eastern Europe as a result of most of its comprising countries former USSR status- nowadays the area offers some of the most exciting new destinations for holiday makers, adventurers and backpackers alike. From the sun-kissed beaches of the Bulgarian Black Sea coast to the sprawling raw countryside of Albania and even onwards into the mystery of Russia itself- there’s a lot to be discovered and for a reasonable expenditure.
Another country that is perhaps dismissed more than is fair, Vietnam is a bona-fide backpacker’s paradise. Despite possessing a long, worn-torn history- the nation is most definitely on the up. Whereas the thick life filled jungles, the culturally enriching rural areas and the boisterous and fun loving cities were once the stage for intense warfare- nowadays they are more suited to a trip that will change your life forever.
1. New Zealand
There is literally one downside to visiting New Zealand- the immensely long flight. Other than that there is no reason not to go and explore this island nations many lakes, forests and mountain ranges. From sparse nothingness to some of the most lively party towns and cities found anywhere on this fine Earth- New Zealand has held many a traveller in awe for as long as it’s been viable to actually get there without spending 3 months on a boat. Located even further south into the Pacific than their Australian neighbours, the people of New Zealand comprise mostly of native (Maori), Irish and Scottish stock. The surreal backdrop of unimaginable natural beauty coupled with the fact that the nation’s first language is English makes New Zealand an utterly irresistible destination for many backpackers each and every year.