This page contains a wide selection of backpacking routes from around the world. They are designed to be a starting point for independent travellers when it comes to trip-planning or at least provide you with some inspiration if you’ve not even got that far. Generally speaking it’s a bad idea to set out with a rigid schedule in mind because plans change rapidly on the road and it takes something away from the joy of travel. However it certainly helps to have a rough idea of where you’re heading!
Where to Go Backpacking – Popular Travel Itineraries around the World
|Asia||Southeast Asia | Indonesia | Thailand | India | Myanmar | Vietnam | Laos | Philippines | Taiwan | Cambodia | Sri Lanka | Japan | Malaysia|
|Oceania||Australia | New Zealand|
|Europe||Balkans | Hungary-Romania-Bulgaria | Spain & Portugal | Central Europe (Interrail) | Baltic | Scandinavia | South Caucasus | Greece | UK|
|South America||South America | Patagonia | Brazil|
|North & Central America||Central America | Mexico | Jamaica | California | Panama|
Scroll down for a more detailed overview of all these itineraries for backpacking around the world!
We’ve included a suggested time-frame and shoestring budget for each route. These are geared towards budget-minded backpackers willing to stay in shared dorms and try to watch what they spend whilst still having a good time. Please note though, that it’s tough to keep the costs up-to-date, particularly following on from a pandemic which has altered travel in almost every region. With inflation and costs rising across the world, travel is getting more expansive in most places too so it may be wise to budget for slightly more than the figures quoted below.
US dollars are used for all budgets only for ease of comparison. As of November 2022, US$1 = £0.84 or €0.97. The budgets are purely for the cost of travel in the country or region and don’t factor in the cost of any flights to/from the area or other pre-trip expenses such as travel insurance which can be costly. You can find out more about the companies that offer the best travel insurance for backpackers here.
If you’re limited by funds but want to spend longer travelling, consider looking for work exchanges as you go. Worldpackers is a very useful platform to use for finding placements in 170 countries around the world which can help you secure free beds and board in exchange for a bit of work. You can get a $10 discount on the sign-up fee with the promocode ‘MYFUNKYTRAVELWP’
European Backpacking Routes
Time – 6 weeks | Budget – US$2200-2750
Take a trip around Iberia’s best cities, towns and beaches. Spending a summer in Spain and Portugal is certainly up there with the best backpacking routes in Europe.
Time – 2 months | Budget – US$1800-2400
The Balkans is a relatively under-visited part of Europe but it makes for a great budget travel destination. Explore medieval towns, mountains, lakes and beautiful coastlines as you take in six countries in two months.
Time – 3-4 weeks | Budget – US$1450*
*plus cost of railpass which depends on your age & where you’re from
Nowhere else in the world is so much history, culture and variety packed into such a small area. Just a few hours on a train can transfer you from one great European capital to another as languages and customs change on an almost daily basis. Perfect for anyone looking to go backpacking for a month or a bit less.
Time – 2-3 weeks | Budget – US$800
Take a trip around the chilly Baltic Sea region and visit some of Europe’s most beautiful cities including Tallinn and Vilnius.
Time – 3 to 5 weeks | Budget – US$2300-2850
Featuring some of the main travel highlights in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, our compact travel itinerary explores the best Scandinavia has to offer and also suggests some tips for trying to get by on a shoestring budget in an expensive part of the world.
Time – 3 weeks | Budget – US$650
Get firmly off the beaten track and explore the natural wonders and quirky mix of old and new in Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan.
Time – 4 Weeks | Budget – US$1450
Explore Athens and around before hopping over to some of the very best Greek islands with this 4 week itinerary. Amble around ancient ruins, sip Ouzo on a cobbled patio and stuff your face full of Dolmades and Mousakka in a country packed with history and gorgeous scenery.
Time – 3 Weeks | Budget – US$1200
Taking in England, Scotland and Wales, our backpacking route from London to Edinburgh takes in historic towns and cities and the best of Britain’s countryside.
Time – 3 Weeks | Budget – US$1200
Featuring historic cities, Transylvanian castles, coastal resorts and mountain retreats, get off the beaten path in Europe with our backpacking route for Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania.
Oceania Backpacking Routes
Time – 2-3 months | Budget – US$6000
Our Oz route features an exploration of the largest island on the planet which ranks up there with the very best backpacking trips. We visit the cities, beaches, rainforests and locate the best parties in one of the world’s easiest and most popular countries to travel in with a lively backpacker scene.
Time – 5 weeks | Budget – US$2000
Starting in Christchurch, loop around the South Island for some of New Zealand’s best wildlife, camping, glaciers, and adventure junkie destinations. The route then heads to North Island, home of indigenous culture, natural wonders and the famous filming locations from the Lord of the Rings films.
Asia Backpacking Routes
Time – 2 months | Budget – US$1200
India is one of the most intoxicating countries to travel in and this is one of Asia’s best backpacking routes. Culture shock awaits on every corner and for better or worse, it’s an experience you won’t forget in a hurry.
Time – 3-4 months | Budget – US$3000
The most famous of the major backpacking regions and it seems to get more popular every year. From visiting ancient temples to chilling out on stunning Thai Islands, everyone can find their scene here. That said a big draw for many backpackers was the crazy party culture including the infamous full moon parties which may come alive again in 2023 after a quiet few years.
Time – 2 months | Budget – US$1500-2500
Take in all the best that the ever popular backpacker destination that is Thailand has to offer. The best beaches, party destinations and islands as well as the cultural highlights of the North.
Time – 3-4 weeks | Budget – US$650
Looking for the traditional Southeast Asia then look no further than Myanmar (Burma), home to some of the world’s most beautiful Buddhist temples and palaces. Travellers started to come here in bigger numbers during the 2010’s but ethical concerns about the Burmese regime have returned in recent years leading to a fresh drop.
Time – 3 weeks | Budget – US$550
Take a ride on the famous train line that re-united a country and trundles its way down from Hanoi in the North to Saigon in the South taking in the best of Vietnam as you go.
Time – 5-6 weeks | Budget – US$1100
Looking for more than a standard trip around Southeast Asia? Indonesia offers up limitless opportunities for adventure without, for the most part, the crowds you find on the backpacker trail elsewhere in the region.
Time – 15-30 days | Budget – US$600-800
Check out this guest post which suggests a sensible plan for spending up to a month in the quiet but beautiful Southeast Asian nation of Laos. It could be condensed into a 2 week backpacking trip should you have less time.
Time – 4 Weeks | Budget – $900
Our backpacking route for the Philippines explores some of the world’s best scuba-diving locations. Featuring the best of Palawan and the Central Visayas, you will discover just how beautiful this country is.
Time – 2-3 Weeks | Budget – $700
Taiwan is small, budget-friendly and boasts great transport links. It’s built for independent travel and more backpackers are starting to realise that!
Time – 2-3 Weeks | Budget – $1400
Explore the land of the rising sun by bullet train as you whizz around Japan in two to three weeks taking in all the most popular destinations including Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima.
Time – 3 Weeks | Budget – $500
A nation of great contrasts, with incredible ancient ruins and unspoiled islands as well as extreme poverty and tales of recent horrors. Our itinerary covers the best Cambodia has to offer in the space of just a few weeks.
Time – 3 Weeks | Budget – $450
One of the world’s emerging backpacker and indeed travel destinations, Sri Lanka is a very affordable country with loads to see and do and an extensive train network perfect for anyone seeking a new adventure.
Time – 3 Weeks | Budget – $600
From culture in Kuala Lumpur and Penang to wild rainforests and island retreats, Malaysia is another great Southeast Asian destination with a manageable size and relatively low costs.
Backpacking Routes in South America
Time – 5-6 months | Budget – US$6000
South America is an exhilarating continent to visit and has long been a favourite destination for backpackers. From the beaches of Brazil to adventures in the Andes, there is something for all tastes in this part of the world and this is our longest itinerary which could take up to half a year!
Time – 2 months | Budget – US$3000
Explore fantastic coastal cities, glorious beaches, waterfalls, giant areas of diverse nature and take in the biggest carnivals on the planet before venturing into the Amazon to round off your Brazilian adventure.
Time – 5-6 weeks | Budget – US$2000
Explore the weird wilderness of South America’s far south here as you head towards the end of the world. Hop in and out of Chile and Argentina to experience, glaciers, volcanoes, stunning hikes, beautiful lakes and wonderful wildlife. Nature lovers look no further!
Backpacking Itineraries for Central America & North America
Time – 2 weeks | Budget – US$500
Short but sweet, this two week Panama itinerary takes in jungle hikes, Caribbean islands and one of the region’s best cities. Start in Bocas del Toro and end up in the wonderful San Blas Islands.
Time – 5 weeks | Budget – US$1100-1700
With Maya ruins, mountain towns and mighty waves, there’s plenty of fun to be had on our Mexico backpacking route. Taking a little over a month, it’d make for a great summer break and offers a nice balance with a dose of culture and history as well as plenty of time to relax and enjoy the odd lively Mexican night out.
Time – 2 months | Budget – US$1800
This is the land of chicken buses, explosive volcanoes, cloud forests, ancient ruins and so much more. Central America never lacks for colourful surprises and at times can be completely bonkers. It is a small region so is much easier to visit several countries in a short space of time, although travel can still be slow.
Time – 2 Weeks | Budget – US$600
Short but sweet, our two week Jamaica itinerary takes in the best that the Caribbean island of Jamaica has to offer. Learn about the life and times of Bob Marley and the reggae music he pioneered in Kingston. Explore some of the island’s natural wonders in the Blue Mountains and Ocho Rios areas before chilling out on the long beach in Negril at the end of the trip.
Time – 2 Weeks | Budget – US$1000
Possibly the most famous state in the USA, California is home to a little bit of everything with vibrant cities, stunning coastlines, giant national parks, mountainous regions, massive forests and even a desert. This ambitious two week itinerary tries to squeeze as much in as possible and features iconic destinations such as San Francisco, Los Angeles and Yosemite National Park.
Africa Backpacking Routes
Time – 3 weeks | Budget – US$650
On the doorstep of Europe, Morocco is easily accessible and boasts one of Africa’s best rail networks. It’s also very cheap and full of fascinating places to visit so it makes for a great travel destination. From maze-like souks to the wonders of the Sahara, Morocco is full of mystery and intrigue.