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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 11, 2021

                      11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

                      11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

                      Affordable, relaxing, and healthy, oil diffusers are gaining popularity with people everywhere due to their extensive benefits. Oil diffusers work through the simple process of oil diffusion, which uses heat to turn oil into a vapor that is then spread around a living space. Diffused oil can have several relaxation and health-related benefits, including safe scent-dispersion, mosquito and mold defense, stress relief, and more!

                      Read on for 11 hidden benefits of using oil diffusers.

                      1. Safe Scents That Make Sense

                      Unlike candles or air fresheners, oil diffusers release cleansing molecules into your air that work to purify it, not overload it with unhealthy chemicals. Electronic diffusers also do not pose the fire risk that candles do. Plus, they contain the added feature of interchangeability, which means you change oil types for different scents and health benefits.

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                      2. Stress Relief

                      Several lab studies have confirmed that diffusing essential oils like lavender have been shown to reduce stress and help relieve anxiety in medical patients. Preliminary studies have also shown that oil diffusers can help alleviate symptoms of depression.

                      3. Improved Sleep

                      Diffused oil has relaxing properties that can help people of all ages fall asleep quicker and sleep more soundly. Electronic diffusers not only have the option to mix and match different oil blends (Try a lavender, Bulgarian rose, and Roman chamomile blend to help with insomnia), they also run at a gentle hum that helps relax an agitated mind. Many also come with an auto shut-off feature to help conserve oils once you have fallen asleep.

                      4. Appetite Control

                      Much like gum, oil diffusers can help stimulate the senses in a way that works to curb appetite. New research has shown that diffused peppermint oil can help curb appetite by inducing a satiety response within the body. Diffused peppermint oil has also been shown to increase energy.

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                      5. Bacteria and Mold Killing

                      When essential oils are diffused in the air, they break down free radicals that contribute to the growth of harmful bacteria. Eucalyptus, thyme, and tea tree oils are especially good for this purpose. Diffused oil is also highly effective when it comes to combating fungal yeast threats, as the oil help makes the air inhospitable for yeasts such as mold. Pine and red thyme essential oils are best for combating mold.

                      6. Decongestion and Mucus Control

                      Ever tried Vick’s Vapo-Rub? Its decongesting powers come from active ingredients made from the eucalyptus tree. In principle, oil diffusers work the same way as Vapo-Rub, except they diffuse their decongesting vapor all around the room, not just on your chest or neck. Oil diffusers have been known to cure pneumonia in lab mice.

                      7. Mosquito Repellant

                      Nobody likes mosquitoes — but when the trade-off means using repellants full of DEET, a toxic chemical that can be especially harmful to children, mosquito control can often seem like a lose-lose. However, scientists have shown that oil diffusers can be used as a safe and highly effective mosquito repellant. Studies have shown that a diffused oil mixture containing clove essential oil and lemongrass essential oil repelled one type of Zika-carrying mosquito, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, at a rate of 100%.

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                      8. Pain Relief

                      While applying oils directly to areas of your body may be the most effective way to alleviate pain, diffusing essential oils can also be an effective means of pain relief. When we inhale healthy essential oils, they enter our blood stream and can help internally relieve persistent pain from headaches, overworked muscles, and sore joints.

                      9. The New Anti-Viral

                      Research into the anti-viral effects of oil diffusion is now just gaining steam. A recent study showed that star anise essential oil was proven in medical experiments to destroy the herpes simplex virus in contained areas at a rate of 99%. Another study showed the popular DoTerra oil blend OnGuard to have highly-effective influenza-combating powers.

                      10. Improved Cognitive Function

                      Diffusing essential oils has also been shown to improve cognitive function. Many essential oils have adaptogenic qualities, which can work twofold in soothing us when we’re stressed, and giving our bodies a pick-me-up when we’re feeling down or sluggish. By working to level out an imbalanced mood, diffused oils also help us to focus. There are also several essential oils which have been shown to help balance the body’s hormones. With prolonged use, these oils can work to repair the underlying causes responsible for hindering cognitive function.

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                      11. Money Saving

                      With ten clear benefits of oil diffusers already outlined, there is one more that should now be obvious: using an oil diffuser will help you to save money. As an anti-viral, bug repelling, and stress-relief solution rolled into one safe product, an oil diffuser used with the proper oils will save you money on products you might otherwise be buying to help cure those pesky headaches or get your kids to fall asleep on time. If you’re wondering just how affordable oil diffusers can be, check the buyer’s guide to the best oil diffusers — you’ll be sure to find one that fits your budget!

                      Featured photo credit: Jopeel Quimpo via unsplash.com

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