There are a whole range of factors that you need to take into account when you have to choose a backpacking destination. Some of these are fairly obvious such as your budget or the main aims of your trips. However, there are often important factors that are overlooked by everyone from first time travellers right through to the most experienced backpackers. This blog post has a closer look at some of the more important things to consider before you take a trip.
If you are a backpacker, then likelihood is that you are travelling on a smaller budget than those who go away for more luxurious holidays. However, even as a backpacker, the budget required for destinations can vary massively. For example, places such as Europe or Australia are much more expensive to travel around than Southeast Asia or Central America. I struggled to find a hostel in Amsterdam for less than £40 a night during the summer of 2019, but in comparison 6 months later I was staying in a beautiful hostel in Quito, Ecuador for £4 a night. This difference in price is something that is seen across the whole spectrum of expenses from transport to activities. I interrailed around Europe for just over 2 weeks and spent almost £700 on everything (excluding transport). In comparison, £700 in South America would be able to sustain you for more than a month if you are careful with your money. Therefore, if you have a small budget, it is important to weigh up the benefits of a longer trip in places such as Southeast Asia or maybe a shorter one in more expensive Australia.
2. Travelling distances
Unless you stay in only one place, it is impossible to avoid travel between destinations. However, the distances that you travel can vary wildly depending on where you choose to visit. If you don’t like the idea of a 24 hour travel day to reach Australia, then maybe think closer to home. If cramped buses for over 10 hours don’t sound like your kind of thing, then maybe think hard before choosing Central or South America. Europe, for example, has brilliant train links and much of the West of the continent is accessible within a day or two from any location. Likewise, Japan and Vietnam also have train connections that allow most of the country to be visited in relative comfort should that be desired. Personally, I quite enjoy long bus rides as they are a time to relax away from the frantic days that I often seem to have as a backpacker, but they certainly aren’t for everyone. If limiting your time actually travelling between locations is an aim for your trip, then maybe contemplate staying in only one country or limiting your travels to places that are well connected, rather than those off the beaten track destinations.
It is important to say that nowhere in the world is completely safe, but equally very few places are too dangerous to visit. With that being said, there are certainly places that you can visit if you are worried about staying safe. Europe and Australia for example are on the whole safer destinations than the likes of Venezuela or Honduras. This is especially important for first time backpackers and solo travellers to bear in mind when they are selecting the best destinations to visit. Nevertheless, as long as you know what you are doing when travelling, most destinations in the world will be as safe as they possibly can be for backpackers
4. Aims of the Trip
One of the most important things that needs to be taken into account is the aim of your trip. Are you going for big parties, to see cultural sites or to do some scuba diving, are just a few things that you need to think about. If scuba diving is your thing, then a trip around France might not be the one. Likewise, if huge parties are something that you are after, then Southeast Asia should be near the top of your list. These things seem very obvious, but you would be surprised at the number of novice travellers that I have met who should have researched their destinations more thoroughly.
So, there is a lot that needs to be taken into account when picking your backpacking destinations and there is no way that this blog post could include them all. However, it should hopefully start you thinking about what you need to bear in mind before embarking on a big trip.