Five Budget Friendly Caribbean Destinations

Shoestring Travel Regions – Where to Go Backpacking

On this page you will find a very brief overview of five of the most popular shoestring travel regions. Follow the links for a larger overview of travel in each region, all of which have become popular with backpackers. If you know you want to travel, but haven’t settled on a destination, this page and the featured articles should help you get a better feel for what to expect in each area.

Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia backpackers guide

  • Value for Money: 4/5
  • Backpacker Crowd: Young. Plenty on a ‘Gap Year’ or fresh out of school/university. Southeast Asia is party central as far as going travelling is concerned. Lots of drunk Brits.
  • Most popular backpacking destinations: Thai islands (especially Phi Phi & Phangan – full moon parties), Bangkok, Siem Reap (Angkor Wat), Vang Vieng (Tubing), Ha Long Bay, Bali.
  • Cons: Lots of scams, slightly ‘same, same, not so different’ vibe after a while if you stick to the beaten track.

Southeast Asia backpacking tips

View all our Southeast Asia travel articles here.

Central America

  • Value for Money: 4/5
  • Backpacker Crowd: Similar to South America. Costa Rica and Panama tends to have more Americans and surfer-types. Also many travellers doing voluntary work or learning Spanish in countries like Guatemala and Nicaragua.
  • Most popular backpacking destinations: Antigua, Bay Islands, Costa Rican rainforests, Bocas del Toro.
  • Cons: Grim capital cities. Slow transport.

Central America backpacking tips

View all our Central America travel articles here.

South America

South America Backpackers Guidebook

  • Value for Money: 3/5
  • Backpacker Crowd: Slightly more mature on the whole and greater variety of nationalities than in SEA. Tends to attract more adventurous types and Che Guevara wannabees.
  • Most popular backpacking destinations: Machu Picchu, Inca Trail, Rio de Janeiro, Quito, Salar de Uyuni.
  • Cons: Never-ending bus journeys. Unsafe feel in most major cities.South America backpacking tips

South America backpacking tips

View all our South America travel articles here.


  • Value for Money: 2/5 – Better further East.
  • Backpacker Crowd: Depends where you go. Hostels get crammed with European weekend visitors so it’s slightly different to other regions but you can find more typical ‘backpacker’ crowds during the week.
  • Most popular backpacking destinations: Spain & Portugal, Greek islands, Berlin, London, Prague, Istanbul, Budapest.
  • Cons: Mostly the cost and the weather if you come outside summer. Visa regulations and costs can be a hassle depending on where you’re from.

Europe backpacking tips

View all our Europe Travel Articles here.


  • Value for Money: 5/5 – $20/day is a manageable budget just about everywhere. You can cover huge distances for very little if you’re willing to rough it a bit on the trains. Even the better classes are still very affordable.
  • Backpacker Crowd: More spiritual types than you get in Southeast Asia or other regions. Even in Goa, there isn’t much of a party scene these days but there is still a big backpacker vibe in the most popular destinations although even many of the smaller cities are home to a million plus people, so the sensation of somewhere being overrun by travellers is rare.
  • Most popular backpacking destinations: Rajasthan, Goa, Kerala.
  • Cons: India is not a relaxing destination by any means. The constant energy and life is part of its appeal but can get a bit draining after a while with little escape from the chaos. Female travellers also regularly report harassment.

Travel Regions - An Overview

If none of the regions above appeal, check out our backpacking routes for other regions for a bit of extra inspiration and a few more ideas for more off-the-beaten-track adventures.

Featured Image, CC BY 2.0