From time to date I have noticed a growing trend in social networks and the media in cataloging people for their style of travel. Some are travelers while others are just tourists; as if being a tourist will be a lower category.
I personally dislike this kind of judgment, to the point that I wrote an article about it: The real difference between a traveler and a tourist .
If your travel preferences are to have a hot bath every day, you cannot tolerate sharing a room with 10 other strangers and you prefer to travel in a group than alone. It is totally valid, these preferences will not make you a better or worse traveler.
Some people proudly wear fictional travel medals, for example you will hear them proudly talk about the ridiculous number of hours they spent on a bus to save a little money instead of using an airplane. If that makes them happy, I’m happy for them, it makes me happy to take the plane if possible.
I had to make this clarification because from this moment I will begin to use the term “backpacker” and I do not want it to be misinterpreted, nor do people believe that traveling in this style is more authentic or better.
Now that I got this frustration out of my system, let’s go to the article.
Traveling with a backpack on your shoulder has certain advantages, many of them are for your mental and spiritual well-being. Here is an article of what I have learned when traveling only with a backpack .
In addition to the preference for luggage, it could be said that being a backpacker is a mentality. A backpacker prioritizes experiences over belongings and will seek to keep costs low in the rush to experience something new or extend the trip. You will not mind taking the transport that is necessary in order to reach the destination (I once traveled 2 hours on the roof of a bus because there was no option) and you are aware that the roads that the country has are easier to travel with. a backpack instead of trying to drag a suitcase.
Each of these sacrifices bring rewards. The most notable is that backpackers normally frequent the same routes, recognize each other and make friends easily because they share the same values. You will make friends for life accompanied by experiences that you will never forget.
So, if you would like to travel with a backpack on your shoulder and a mentality of this style, what are the best countries for backpacking? Here are my suggestions for the best countries for backpacking.
Best countries for backpacking: Philippines
When I started traveling the world, the Philippines was never in the plans but as I got to know other travelers, their travel stories and descriptions of that place made me want to see it for my own eyes. “The best beaches in the world” they told me while we were talking in a beachside bar in Thailand , it was strange to hear these opinions when you know that Thailand is also recognized for its beaches.
When I arrived in El Nido, a town on Palawan Island recognized by Lonely Planet and other publications as the most beautiful island in the world, I realized that all the stories were true. In short, El Nido has the best beaches I have ever seen and as a Mexican I have high standards.
This country surprised me a lot with its other less known backpacker attractions such as getting into some caves in Sagada. You will feel that you are doing caving; They will give you a helmet with a flashlight and you will start to go deep into the ground without any rope, harness or protection.
The rice terraces in Banaue is a place that has survived the passage of time, they were built more than 2,000 years ago and for their architectural challenge of the time they are considered a wonder of the world. Perhaps not as recognized as the Pyramids of Egypt but definitely impressive.
It is not easy or comfortable to get to these places. You need to make a mixture of flights, buses, boats, etc., which prevents it from being invaded by mass tourism and ideal for those people who really want to live the experience.
Best of all: Filipinos are characterized by being the kindest and happiest I met in Asia, they reminded me so much of the Latin American warmth. This together are some of the many reasons why I chose the Philippines as one of the best countries for backpacking.
Best countries for backpacking: Vietnam
Most of Southeast Asia is known within the backpacking world as the “Banana Pancake route”, due to the number of backpackers from Western countries such as the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom accustomed to ordering this on the breakfast.
Vietnam is one of the countries that are within this route and despite having a large influx of tourists in its main destinations such as Ha Long Bay, it is still a great backpacking destination.
The rural area of Vietnam is beautiful, preferable if you decide to visit it on a motorcycle.
One of the best places I was was Hoi An, Mui Ne and the Phong Nha Caves.
In the latter, the experience was not as extreme as in the Philippines but more impressive. The largest caves in the world are located in Vietnam and are worth visiting. I’ll talk more about Vietnam in the next article.
As an additional tip, Vietnam has so far been the cheapest country I have ever traveled to. I spent a month touring the country and what I spent was minimal, even staying in luxury hotels in Hoi An .
You can know the total of my expenses in the article I wrote: How much does it cost to travel to Vietnam .
Best countries for backpacking: Croatia
Are you a fan of Game of Thrones? Good because I also.
Croatia prior to the launch of this series was one of those countries that people knew existed but could hardly locate on a map. Today it is gradually becoming a great tourist destination and it deserves it.
The country is full of medieval ruins, amazing beaches, delicious food, and a fascinating history.
If you are considering a backpack trip to Europe, before considering your traditional route in places like Paris, Madrid, London, etc., check out photos of: Split, Dubrovnik and the Plitvice National Park.
Many places in Croatia still retain their “authenticity” to put it in a way because they are not frequented by the masses, in a few words they are still a gem to discover for those who decide to get off the traditional route a little, just as a backpacker would. .
Best countries for backpacking: Romania
I will make a confession. Beyond the typical and overcooked of a place, in 90% of my trips I never have an idea of what there is to see, do or eat at the destination.
It will seem that after so many years of traveling I would be a professional in planning a trip but in the eyes of many people I would leave a lot to be desired if I would dedicate myself to being a travel agent. In my case, I simply choose the destination, I reserve the plane ticket and that’s it.
People who have traveled with me are very frustrated because they hope that due to my profession as a travel blogger I have everything planned, when the opposite is true.
Within this lack of knowledge of destinations, Romania was no exception. When I arrived in Romania and they asked me why I decided to travel there, my answer was simple: vampires.
I know, the myth of Dracula and the vampires was assigned to Romania because of Vlad the Impaler. But for me it was more than enough reason to decide to explore this country. Better still was my surprise at all the things I found when I got to Romania.
In addition to the mythical castle used to be inspired by the Dracula novel, the country is full of amazing stories. It was the first line of defense of the Catholic countries against the Muslim invasions during the time of the crusades, there was a Saxon colony that established the Oktoberfest tradition and finally, traveling here is very cheap compared to Western European countries.
If you had to choose a country for backpacking in Europe, Romania would be in the first places.
Best countries for backpacking: Nepal
Finally, after Thailand and Spain, another country that stole my heart and to which I could return immediately is Nepal.
I personally nicknamed him the “little brother of India”, as he retains that similarity of Indian culture but without falling to extremes.
Its smiling, friendly population will greet you with a “namaste” wherever you go that will make you feel welcome at all times.
But the best? Nepal is the owner of the most impressive natural beauties that I have had the opportunity to witness: Himalayas.
Walking among the mountains is like walking among giants. I took a trip to Everest Base Camp and despite the risks involved it was the best trip of my life.
I would return to Nepal a thousand times for the opportunity to lose myself in its mountains.
At the end of the day what matters is going out to see the world, any destination you choose is valid but if you want to start experiencing what it is to travel off popular routes, put a bit of adventure in your day to day and challenge your limits of comfort then choose one of the above destinations. These are my recommendations of the best countries for backpacking.
Almost none of these countries will find it in the list of “places you have to see before you die” or similar article, it is better that way, I prefer that these places remain far from everything, preserving their beauty accessible only to those who really are Interested to go.