Backpacking is a cheap, fun, and adventurous way to explore a country, but you have to choose your spots wisely; unless you have particularly deep pockets, the kind of comprehensive exploration that backpacking usually entails can run you a pretty penny. Still, there are plenty of foreign lands out there that can be conquered on a budget, providing you keep your resources and expectations in order. For those of you seeking an inexpensive locale to traverse on your next vacation, here are seven of the finest and most frugal backpacking destinations on the planet Earth.
1. Georgia . This tiny eastern European nation boasts some of the most gorgeous terrain on the continent, and the scant population of just over 4 million has kept the landscape mostly unperturbed. The capital city Tbilisi is one of the oldest capitals in Europe and features historical sites like the Kazbegi village and Tsminda Sameba Church. The population is warm and friendly, but most people dont speak English very well or at all, so prepare accordingly.
Tons of South American destinations are ideal for travelers backpacking on a budget, but Bolivia may be the best of them all. Situated just north of Argentina along the Andes Mountain Range, Bolivia features a friendly local population and plenty of cheap food/housing, plus easy access to some of the most beautiful topography south of the equator.
The Emerald Isle has always been known as a rewarding destination for sight-seers, with its breathtaking coasts, scenic valleys, and rich cultural history. In this case, you can believe the hype. Ireland offers everything an eager and enthusiastic traveler could want: great beer, magnificent scenery, and some of the most genial people in the world (as long as you stay on their good side).
This culturally diverse Northwest African nation is easily accessible from the Iberian Peninsula, a convenient wrinkle for backpackers traveling through Western Europe. Other traveler amenities like food and hostels are relatively inexpensive, plus the ONFC runs a cheap and efficient railway network that links all the countrys main coastal cities Tangier via Rabat and Casablanca to Marrakech.
The geographical beauty of this island neighbor to the east of Australia is unparalleled. The countrys landscape has famously stood in for Middle Earth in Peter Jackons Lord of the Rings trilogy, which exemplifies how picturesque the terrain can be. Besides hiking/water activities, you can find great skiing in Central North island, or experience more urban adventure in sunny cities like Aukland or Wellington.
There are a number of exotic countries perfect for backpacking throughout Southeast Asia, but for those looking for a less-traveled alternative to Thailand, Vietnam, or Cambodia, consider journeying through Malaysia. Visit the mountain villages up in the highlands or explore by boat to the pure white sand beaches of the Perhentian Islands. Similar to many other nations in the region, travel is less expensive due to the favorable exchange rate, so economically, Malaysia is a backpackers dream.
Warning: Backpacking through the Siberian Mountains is every bit as intense (and every bit as rewarding) as it sounds. Dont take on the Russian tundra if youre a novice hiker/backpacker. The landscape, though stunning, is remote and very isolated, so you will probably have trouble finding regular hospitality. However, if youre capable of roughing it in the cold wilderness, the experience can be truly transcendent. Experienced trekkers should hit the Altai mountains, fondly referred to as the Pearl of Russia. If youre especially ambitious, you could also take a romp through the Khakassia wilderness. But wherever you go, make sure you go in the summer, when the climate is a little more hospitable.