Where to go backpacking

Backpacking Routes around the World

This page contains a wide selection of backpacking routes from around the world. They are designed to be at least a starting point for planning your trip or 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 helps to have a rough idea of where you’re heading.

We’ve included a suggested time-frame and shoestring budget for each route. US dollars are used for all budgets only for ease of comparison. As of December 2020, US$1 = £0.75 or €0.83. It’s also advisable to take out insurance before heading off travelling on any of these routes. You can find out more about the companies that offer the best travel insurance for backpackers here. Neither this cost nor are any pre-trip expenses such as possible visa fees or flights to/from the region are included in the figures.

Where to Go Backpacking – Popular Travel Itineraries around the World

Quickly find a Backpacking Route:

Asia: Southeast Asia | Indonesia | Thailand | India | Myanmar | Vietnam | Laos | Philippines | Taiwan | Cambodia | Sri Lanka

Oceania: Australia | New Zealand

Europe: Balkans | Hungary-Romania-Bulgaria | Spain & Portugal | Central Europe (Interrail) | Baltic | Scandinavia | South Caucasus | Greece | UK

Africa: Morocco

The Americas: South America | Central America | Mexico | Patagonia | Brazil | Jamaica | California

Scroll down for a more detailed overview of all of our itineraries.

Backpacker Tours:

If you’re really anxious about travelling alone or it’s your first time backpacking then you may wish to join a tour group for at least the first few weeks of your trip. If that’s you, then you may wish to read our post on the best backpacking tours which outlines the pros and cons of travelling with a group and looks at a couple of the main options in terms of companies to go with.

Where to go backpacking in North, Central & South America?

South America Backpacking Route

Time – 5-6 months | Budget – US$6000

South America travel itinerary

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. 

2 Months in Brazil

Time – 2 months | Budget – US$3000

backpacking routes

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.

Backpacking Route for Patagonia

Time – 5-6 weeks | Budget – US$2000

Where to go backpacking?

Penguins!, CC BY-ND 2.0

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!

Mexico Route

Time – 5 weeks | Budget – US$1100-1700

Where to go travelling?

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.

Central America Itinerary

Time – 2 months | Budget – US$1800

Backpacking Routes

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 but that doesn’t mean it lacks for things to do. Outside the big cities and parts of Mexico, this is actually a very safe part of the world with peaceful, fun loving people and some charming places to visit.

2 Week Jamaica Travel Route

Time – 2 Weeks | Budget – US$600

Kingston Travel - Bob Marley

Bob Marley Museum, CC BY 2.0

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.

2 Week California Itinerary

Time – 2 Weeks | Budget – US$1000

San Francisco backpacking

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

Morocco Backpacking Route

Time – 3 weeks | Budget – US$650

Backpacking Route for Morocco

Merzouga Warrior, CC BY-ND 2.0

On the doorstep of Europe, Morocco is easily accessible, 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.

Europe Travel Itineraries

Travel Route for Spain & Portugal

Time – 6 weeks | Budget – US$2000

Spain travel itinerary

Take a trip around Iberia’s best cities, towns and beaches and enjoy Latin passion in the liveliest corner of Europe.

Balkans Route

Time – 2 months | Budget – US$1800-2400

Backpacking route for Montenegro

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.

Interrailing around Central Europe

Time – 4 weeks | Budget – US$1325*

*plus cost of railpass which depends on your age & where you’re from

Europe by train

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.

Baltic Backpacking Itinerary

Time – 3 weeks | Budget – US$900

Latvia backpacking route

Sigulda bobsleigh, CC BY-SA 2.0

Take a trip around the chilly Baltic Sea region and visit some of Europe’s most beautiful cities including St Petersburg, Tallinn and Vilnius.

Scandinavia Backpacking Route

Time – 3 to 5 weeks | Budget – US$2300

Denmark backpacking route

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.

South Caucasus Travel Itineraries

Time – 3 weeks | Budget – US$650

Backpacking Route for Armenia

Get firmly off the beaten track and explore the natural wonders and quirky mix of old and new in Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan.

Island Hopping in Greece

Time – 4 Weeks | Budget – US$1450

Best islands in Greece

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.

3 Week UK Itinerary

Time – 3 Weeks | Budget – US$1200

UK backpacking route

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.

Hungary, Bulgaria & Romania Backpacking Itinerary

Time – 3 Weeks | Budget – US$1200

Bulgaria backpacking route

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.

Where to go travelling in Oceania?

Australia Travel Itinerary

Time – 2-3 months | Budget – US$6000

Australia backpacking

Ayers Rock, CC BY-SA 2.0

Our Oz route features an exploration of the largest island on the planet. 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.

5 Weeks Exploring New Zealand

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 junky 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

2 Months Travelling Around India

Time – 2 months | Budget – US$1200

backpacking in Jaipur

India is one of the most intoxicating countries to travel in. Culture shock awaits on every corner and for better or worse, it’s an experience you won’t forget in a hurry.

South East Asia Backpacking Route

Time – 3-4 months | Budget – US$3000

Malaysia budget travel

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 is the crazy party culture that really comes to a head at the raucous full moon parties. Almost the entire region is dirt cheap by global standards making it a budget travel paradise.

Ultimate Thailand Backpacker Route

Time – 2 months | Budget – US$1500-2500*

*depending on how much partying you do!

Travel Itinerary for Thailand

Take in all the best that the ever popular backpacker destination that is Thailand has to offer. The best beaches, parties and islands as well as the cultural highlights of the North.

Myanmar Route

Time – 3-4 weeks | Budget – US$650

Backpacking Route in Myanmar

Bagan pagodas, CC BY-SA 2.0

Looking for the traditional Southeast Asia then look no further than Myanmar (Burma). Its doors are slowly creeping open and travellers are starting to discover again this incredible country home to some of the world’s most beautiful Buddhist temples and palaces.

Vietnam’s Re-Unification Express

Time – 3 weeks | Budget – US$500

travel itineraries

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.

Island Hopping in Indonesia

Time – 5-6 weeks | Budget – US$1000

travel routes

Clear water in the Gilis, CC BY 2.0

Looking for more than a standard trip around South East 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.

Laos Backpacking Route

Time – 15-30 days | Budget – US$600

Laos Backpacking Route

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.

Philippines 4 Week Itinerary

Time – 4 Weeks | Budget – $900

Philippines travel plan

El Nido, CC BY-SA 2.0

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.

Taiwan Itinerary

Time – 2-3 Weeks | Budget – $700

Where to go in Taiwan?

Taroko Gorge, CC BY-SA 2.0

Taiwan is small, budget-friendly and boasts great transport links. It’s built for independent travel and more backpackers are starting to realise that!

Cambodia Backpacking Route

Time – 3 Weeks | Budget – $500

Backpacking Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat, CC BY 2.0

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.

Sri Lanka Backpacking Route

Time – 3 Weeks | Budget – $450

Ella backpacking

9 Arches Railway, CC BY 2.0

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.

Work as you Travel – Backpacker Jobs

worldpackers promo

Another option for those looking for something a bit different is to work or volunteer. This is another good way to make friends to potentially travel with. Worldpackers is a very useful platform to use for finding placements in 170 countries around the world. You can get a $10 discount on the sign-up fee by following the link and activating the promocode ‘MYFUNKYTRAVELWP’.

This page was last updated in June 2019.

featured image of India train, CC BY 2.0