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Other than Europe, where should I go backpacking that isn't so expensive?

I want to start backpacking and the most recommended place to go is in Europe but it is expensive. What are my other alternatives for a life changing backpacking trip?

15 Answers

top answer by
Mateo from Montevideo


Would you consider coming to South America? It's a great continet to backpacking!! I am from Uruguay, and I have backpacked through Europe and Costa Rica, but nothing like the adventure Sout America has to offer! If you are in India, maybe the flight it's expensive, but once here there are countries like Argentina that are very cheap. 

Uruguay & Argentina & Chile are great destinations to combine in a backpacking trip. You could go more to the north, there I would recomend Chile, Peru and maybe Ecuador, or consider Central America, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Nicaragua. 

In Argentina and Chile you have the Patagonia (Argentina) region that is very beatifull. You could also visit El BolsónSan Carlos de BarilocheSan Martin de los Andes7 Lagos. It is quite an adventure, you could go by car or bus. If you go from July to September you could winter ski, if that is something that you like. If not, you could consider doing other outdoor sports. 

Here are some websites you could use to gather more information from travelling to South America:

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Patagonia (Argentina) (metro area)
  2. El Bolsón (city)
  3. San Carlos de Bariloche (city)
  4. San Martin de los Andes (city)
  5. 7 Lagos (hotel)
9 thanks

answered by
Liam from London

South Africa... If you want to visit a country that is inviting, beautiful and full of adventure this is a must on any backpackers list. The Baz Bus is a South African backpackers dream as it takes you all around the country right to your accommodations door. The East Coast, West Coast and Western Cape are 3 of the most scenic and beautiful places in the world so if you are looking for an amazing experience, at a fraction of the cost of a European adventure this is an absolute must! Game parks, endless coastlines, wine routes, massive mountain ranges and so much more can be found in check it out.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. South Africa (country)
6 thanks

answered by
Peter from Salt Spring Island

I would recommend Latin America starting in Argentina or Chile and heading north (easier to acclimatize to south american travel that way)  or central America  starting in Costa Rica . Alternatively  go to South East Asia starting in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaysia in any order you like and then head to Balifor some R & R. leave India for the next time as its a more challenging travel destination if back packing.  You could also start by taking a organized trip with a company such as G Adventures and then doing your own thing afterwards .

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Argentina (country)
  2. Chile (country)
  3. Costa Rica (country)
  4. Thailand (country)
  5. Laos (country)
  6. Cambodia (country)
  7. Vietnam (country)
  8. Malaysia (country)
  9. Bali (island)
3 thanks

answered by
Renee from Charlotte

My sister recently backpacked through Peru's Sacred Valley of the Incas, starting from Cuscoand visiting ancient sites including Ollantaytombo and Machu Picchu She stayed in hostels and reported that food and drinks were both exotic and inexpensive - if you are willing to try the local specialties. Widely available Pisco Sour cocktails wash everything down. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Peru (country)
  2. Cusco (city)
  3. Machu Picchu (attraction)
3 thanks

answered by
Justin from Phoenix

New Zealand, no contest. The US dollar goes far there ($1 NZ = .75 us). And the trails there are well marked, and many have hut systems so you may not even need tents. The hostels are amazing, and the scenery ... well, there's a reason so many movies and TV shows are filmed there. I highlight recommend the Tongariro National Park for epic hikes.

Each town also has at least on i-Site, which is a very handy traveler information center where you can even book tours and accommodations.

Here's something else nice - there are no dangerous animals to worry about while backpacking. This is a novelty to a guy like me who has to deal with bobcats, rattlesnakes, bears, etc. in his home state. Just beware of the weather - rain gear is a must!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. New Zealand (country)
  2. Tongariro National Park (attraction)
3 thanks

answered first by
Carolann from Around The World

A very common backpacking destination is Southeast Asia - places like Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia are incredibly cheap for travel and have much written about them regarding where to stay and where to go. Malaysia is slightly more expensive but still reasonably priced and would be a good country to add to the list along with Indonesia.

The route through Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia is popular, cheap and have loads of information online for other backpackers. You can find some cheap flights throughout those countries but there are often cheaper trains or buses to get you from one country to another (e.g. Southern Thailand to Malaysia via overnight train) - just be careful as some crossings are better made via plane.

We've written some information on our time in Thailand & Malaysia - - but we have lots of information we've yet to write about so let us know if you decide to go and if you have any other questions. We'll try and help!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Thailand (country)
  2. Vietnam (country)
  3. Laos (country)
  4. Cambodia (country)
  5. Malaysia (country)
  6. Indonesia (country)
3 thanks

answered by
Pie from Philippines

Shekar, more travelers are heading to SE Asia since the currency exchange rates almost doubles the money if your coming from the west.

SE Asian countries like Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia & Malaysia can be reached by land travel. If you enjoy beaches then Indonesia & the Philippines will be the place for you.

For budget travelers, its important to have a well-researched itinerary, but with some flexibility in terms of the schedule (island hopping is weather-dependent).

Good luck! :)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Vietnam (country)
  2. Thailand (country)
  3. Cambodia (country)
  4. Malaysia (country)
  5. Indonesia (country)
  6. Philippines (country)
2 thanks

answered by
Spencer from Los Angeles

I'm a huge fan of the Latin America circuit, especially Mexico and Central America. Your dollar can go a LOT further than in Europe and a lot of it feels really authentic. Some recommendations:

  • Mexico. Mexico can be some of the cheapest, depending on where you travel, but also you have to be more careful since some of the areas between destinations aren't very safe. I enjoyed the Riviera Maya area (at least the parts beyond Cancun), and especially Tulum. From here, it's not far to get down to Belize.
  • Belize. Belize is probably my favorite Central America country. Great mix of jungle and beach. Ambergris Caye has a pretty big expat community, though it can be a bit touristy. For a more authentic experience, there's Caye Caulker. 
  • Costa Rica. I spent a few months in Costa Rica and loved it, however, it's become the most Americanized country of all of Central America. Nonetheless, there are some really great and beautiful areas of the country. I loved Manuel Antonio National Park for its beaches and wildlife, Monteverde for its cloud forest and ziplining, Palo Verde National Park for its river safaris, and Nosara for its beaches.
  • Nicaragua. Another one of my favorite Central America destinations. It just feels really genuine and largely undeveloped. Granada (Nicaragua) is beautiful and just off of Lago de Nicaragua which is an awesome lake. San Juan del Sur is a fun beach town, and there are a ton of awesome volcanos for hiking and trekking around Granada, such as Volcan Mombacho and Masaya Volcano.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Mexico (country)
  2. Riviera Maya (city)
  3. Belize (country)
  4. Costa Rica (country)
  5. Manuel Antonio National Park (attraction)
  6. Monteverde (city)
  7. Palo Verde National Park (attraction)
  8. Nosara (attraction)
  9. Nicaragua (country)
  10. Granada (Nicaragua) (city)
  11. Lago de Nicaragua (attraction)
  12. San Juan del Sur (city)
  13. Volcan Mombacho (attraction)
  14. Masaya Volcano (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
Scott from Fort Collins


On my recent travels to ThailandCambodia and Vietnam, there are noticeable backpackers everywhere I traveled.  I think Vietnam is a fantastic place to backpack, and very easy on the wallet.  You will not only eat fantastic food and find decent places to stay, but at a very wallet friendly price.  I had one of the best sandwiches of my life in Hoi An Vietnam in February, for $1 USD.  Backpackers everywhere.  Up north, around Sa Pa are some great backpacking and trekking possibilities.  Really, anywhere you go, there are easy ways to get there and very affordable.  I am also currently researching a trip my wife and I are taking to Chile and Patagonia (Argentina) and there are really great opportunities here as well For a backpacker at affordable prices.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Thailand (country)
  2. Cambodia (country)
  3. Vietnam (country)
  4. Hoi An (city)
  5. Sa Pa (city)
  6. Chile (country)
  7. Patagonia (Argentina) (metro area)
2 thanks

answered by
Kelly from Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania

I would highly recommend scenic Thailand (starting from Bangkok) OR try Hungary (starting from Budapest). Eastern Europe is WAY less expensive than people think!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Thailand (country)
  2. Bangkok (city)
  3. Hungary (country)
  4. Budapest (city)
2 thanks

answered by
Ross from Fort Collins

first things first, TRAVEL LIGHT! Don't check luggage and you will thank me. It's hard to get in this frame of mind and it takes a few trips to understand but every time you travel you will bring something you won't use the trick is to not bring it in the next one. 

I think the ruins in Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala is a great backpacking trip and checks all the boxes!

1. Cheap beachside shack hostels available 

2. beautiful beaches

3. Tikalthe highlight 

If you start in Cancun and and get to Tikal you will have a great backpacking trip, it gives you everything and once in Guatemala you will see the real Central America! I'm very familiar with this area if you need help.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Mexico (country)
  2. Belize (country)
  3. Guatemala (country)
  4. Tikal (city)
  5. Cancun (city)
1 thanks

answered by
Henrique from Florianópolis, Santa Catarina

Shekar are you from India?! Come on! There are so many amazing places around you! I've lived in Mumbai for 9 months and being from Brazil I enjoyed 2 months traveling in Asia for a good price. Sri Lanka, Tibet, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia! (go see some volcanoes it's amazing)... I've heard that Bhutan and Bangladesh are kind of trendy for inexpensive and unexplored places - but can't tell much since I haven't been there.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Mumbai (city)
  2. Sri Lanka (country)
  3. Tibet (country)
  4. Thailand (country)
  5. Cambodia (country)
  6. Indonesia (country)
  7. Bhutan (country)
  8. Bangladesh (country)
1 thanks

answered by
cao from Paris


I think Asia is a good place for backpacking in term of price. Try Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and maybe Thailand, you'll like it.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Myanmar (country)
  2. Cambodia (country)
  3. Laos (country)
  4. Thailand (country)
1 thanks

answered by

Hi Shekar,

I recommend Ladakh and Nepal in the nearest destinations , with lot many activities available this season.

Argentina is another destination as recommended by Mateo where the following interesting places can be covered.

Also you may try Brazil with activities like Tijuca rainforest trip, sugar loaf mountain trip, Corcovado National Park trip, Petrópolis trip, Buzios trip, R. Iguasso adventure, buggy trip, carnival , cruise and lot more.....

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Ladakh (attraction)
  2. Nepal (country)
  3. Argentina (country)
  4. San Carlos de Bariloche (city)
  5. Buenos Aires (city)
  6. El Calafate (city)
  7. Mendoza (attraction)
  8. Puerto Iguazu (city)
  9. Salta (city)
  10. Ushuaia (city)
  11. Brazil (country)
  12. Tijuca (neighborhood)
  13. Corcovado National Park (attraction)
  14. Petrópolis (city)
  15. Buzios (city)
  16. R. Iguasso (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Mathew from Chennai

Hey Sekhar,

Some of the best places for us Indians to backpack lie in Southeast Asia.

You can consider countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia. The advantages with these countries for Indians are that

1. Proximity - All of them are accessible by a 4-5 Hr Flight Journey. There is good connectivity from India. Flights are available from most Indian Metros

2. Visa Issues - Absolutely no Hassle. All these countries provide Visa on Arrival for Indians. Just show up with a passport :)

3. Cheap Airfares - Roundtrip fares hit as Low as Rs 7000 for Thailand and Malaysia

4. Low Cost of Living/ Travel - The cost of living. travel is really low compared to the West. The exchange rates are also very favourable with respect to the Indian Rupee

I have personally has some amazing life changing experiences backpacking across South East Asia.

Check out this FB group for more Info

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Vietnam (country)
  2. Cambodia (country)
  3. Thailand (country)
  4. Indonesia (country)

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