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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

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                      Marianne Stenger

                      Writer, Open Colleges

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                      Last Updated on January 21, 2020

                      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                      The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

                      Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

                      your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

                        Why You Need a Vision

                        Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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                        How to Create Your Life Vision

                        Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

                        What Do You Want?

                        The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

                        It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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                        Some tips to guide you:

                        • Remember to ask why you want certain things
                        • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
                        • Give yourself permission to dream.
                        • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
                        • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

                        Some questions to start your exploration:

                        • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
                        • What would you like to have more of in your life?
                        • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
                        • What are your secret passions and dreams?
                        • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
                        • What do you want your relationships to be like?
                        • What qualities would you like to develop?
                        • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
                        • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
                        • What would you most like to accomplish?
                        • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

                        It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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                        What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

                        Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

                        A few prompts to get you started:

                        • What will you have accomplished already?
                        • How will you feel about yourself?
                        • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
                        • What does your ideal day look like?
                        • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
                        • What would you be doing?
                        • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
                        • How are you dressed?
                        • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
                        • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
                        • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

                        It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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                        Plan Backwards

                        It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

                        • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
                        • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
                        • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
                        • What important actions would you have had to take?
                        • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
                        • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
                        • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
                        • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
                        • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

                        Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

                        It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

                        Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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