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10 of the Best Backpacking Destinations to Add to Your Bucket List

10 of the Best Backpacking Destinations to Add to Your Bucket List

If there’s one thing backpackers love more than traveling on the cheap, it’s adventure. We have compiled ten of the world’s most beautiful backpacking destinations that are relatively affordable, but also provide ample opportunity for exploring the great outdoors and undertaking one-of-a-kind adventures.

1. Australia

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    Although Australia is anything but cheap, working holiday visas are easy to obtain and will allow you to see more of the country than a regular tourist visa would. Many backpackers pick up odd jobs like bar tending or fruit picking while travelling so they can enjoy the country’s notorious surf spots and nightlife without worrying too much about money. Australia is also a top destination for adventure travel and could be a great place to give skydiving, white water rafting, or deep sea fishing a go for the first time.

    2. Peru

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      Peru is famous for the ancient city of Machu Picchu, but even if you don’t want to shell out $600 or more for a 4-day trek, there are still plenty of other reasons to visit. The landscape is amazingly diverse, with everything from snow-capped mountains to lush Amazonian jungles, impressive canyons, and laid-back beaches where you can surf or just hang out while enjoying a couple of pisco sours.

      3. Ethiopia

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        Ethiopia is often overlooked by backpackers due to its history of political instability, which is a shame considering the country’s affordability and unique culture (as one of the only countries in Africa that was never truly colonized). Some of the highlights for travelers in Ethiopia include the ancient walled city of Harar, the spectacular Blue Nile Falls, and the Danakil depression (where you can see hot springs and volcanoes as well as sulphur and mineral salt formations).

        4. Croatia

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          Croatia is known for its luxurious coastline. While it’s not as cheap as some other Eastern European countries, it’s still more affordable than the Euro Zone, especially if you avoid peak season from July to September. Aside from sun and sea, Croatia has a rich culture and history, as evidenced by the well-preserved medieval city of Dubrovnik. You can get a taste of the wild by visiting national parks like Plitvice Lakes and Krka.

          5. Philippines

          Photo by Adrian Simionov

            The Philippines is an archipelago of over 7,000 islands. Although it’s not as well-known as some Southeast Asian destinations, it’s well worth a visit. There are over 30 volcanoes, a tropical rain forest, Spanish colonial architecture, and some of the world’s most beautiful rice terraces. The fact that many Filipinos speak English will also make it easier for you to get around and make new friends along the way.

            6. Madagascar

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              Madagascar is one of the largest islands in the world. This beautiful place is surrounded by the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean. The island is well-worth visiting if you’re a nature lover, as over 80% of its animal and plant life is unique to the country and can’t be found anywhere else. Aside from the spectacular rainforest and wildlife reserves, you won’t want to miss Avenue de Baobab, which is lined with hundreds of meters of magnificent 800-year-old Baobab trees.

              7. Thailand

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                Aside from being super cheap and convenient for travelers, Thailand is brimming with natural beauty, wildlife, and culture. Although some of its islands have become overrun in recent years, there are still plenty of off-the-beaten-track places to explore, especially in the north of Thailand. Try wilderness trekking in the mountains of Chiang Mai, where you can visit impressive temples, palaces, and floating markets or take a scenic boat ride along the Mekong River.

                8. Bolivia

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                  Bolivia is one of the most affordable backpacking destinations in South America, but that’s certainly not the only reason to add it to your bucket list. Bolivia also has the highest percentage of indigenous peoples in South America. The capital of La Paz boasts the world’s highest and longest urban cable car system, which is a great way to see the city while avoiding the hoards of traffic below. A few other things you won’t want to miss include the salt flats or Salar de Uyuni where you can spend a night in a hotel made entirely of salt, and the high altitude lake of Titicaca, which is lined with ancient Inca ruins.

                  9. India

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                    India’s low cost of living has made it one of the most popular backpacking destinations in the world, attracting more than six million people each year who are looking for everything from a month of cheap partying to spiritual enlightenment. Goa is well-known for its gorgeous beaches and vibrant nightlife. However, if you’re up for something more adventurous you can explore the limestone caves of Meghalaya, go skiing in Kashmir, or try river rafting in Himachal.

                    10. Morocco

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                      Morocco has a similar feel to Mediterranean countries like Greece and Italy. This beautiful destination has gnarled olive trees and a dazzling coastline. It is also distinctly North African with its Islamic architecture, fragrant spice markets, and rooftop terraces. Trains in Morocco are cheap and reliable, making it easy to get from place to place. You won’t want to miss seeing the blue streets of Chefchaouen or visiting the brightly colored dunes of Erg Chebbi at sunrise or sunset.

                      Featured photo credit: Picjumbo.com via picjumbo.com

                      More by this author

                      Marianne Stenger

                      Writer, Open Colleges

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                      Last Updated on January 15, 2019

                      8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                      8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                      In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

                      Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

                      Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

                      Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

                      Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

                      The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

                      There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

                      How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

                      According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

                      Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

                      Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

                      The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

                      Listen carefully:

                      We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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                      The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

                      Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

                      8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

                      There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

                      Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

                      1. Pray Daily

                      You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

                      When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

                      Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

                      Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

                      2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

                      A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

                      By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

                      Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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                      If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

                      This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

                      How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

                      3. Smile Often

                      Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

                      Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

                      Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

                      The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

                      4. Organize Your Working Desk

                      A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

                      When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

                      Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

                      Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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                      5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

                      I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

                      Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

                      What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

                      6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

                      God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

                      I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

                      I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

                      7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

                      You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

                      How do you do that? This is my formula:

                      First, go to my website (find my website here in my profile) and take the smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

                      If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

                      If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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                      If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

                      Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

                      8. Go Exercise

                      Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

                      The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

                      You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

                      12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

                      The Bottom Line

                      It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

                      It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

                      Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

                      More Resources About Mindfulness

                      Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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