I have been backpacking for my annual holidays for many years and I have no trouble at all finding new and exciting countries to visit. There is always something new around every corner and I have met some amazing individuals and seen incredible places during my travels. To really experience a country there is no better way than to get around on foot, as when travelling by car you can miss so much. However, you may well need to hire a car to get to your setting-off point or to link parts of your journey. If that is the case always compare car hire rates to get the best deal.
Below you will find listed my recommendations for the best backpacking destinations for 2012.
Croatia makes it to the top of the list of favorite destinations, outside of the popular, more traditional backpacking haunts such as Argentina, Australia and Thailand. Croatia is a beautiful country with wonderful landscapes plus a terrific cuisine that has strong Mediterranean influences. There is an abundance of pretty islands to visit and in the capital city of Zagreb the stunning architecture is rivaled only by the exotic and offbeat nightlife.
Backpackers on a budget can take great advantage of cheap accommodation in Bolivia in South America, which is also blessed with rugged landscapes and spectacular scenery. In the remote city of Uyuni there are plenty of markets and an unusual feature in the shape of the largest salt flat in the world. From Bolivia the intrepid explorer can reach any or all of Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, Chile and Argentina.
In addition to the usual backpacking areas in Germany, Berlin has become a focus of new interest as a result of the city’s flourishing cultural offering, including some stunning graffiti art in the streets. The zoo has also become a major attraction, as are the remains of the Berlin wall and the many galleries, museum, observatories and aquaria to visit. As a central European destination, Berlin is ideally placed for access to Amsterdam and Krakow. It has a lively nightlife and lots of great music venues.
Backpacking tips and advice for travellers
Getting ready for a journey means making a few plans and packing the right clothing and equipment. Clothing will vary depending on the destination – several layers of light garments are easier to handle than bulky sweaters, and just as warm. T-shirts, trousers and a light fleece are essentials; shorts, swimwear and some form of head covering can be useful in certain places – check the dress code for chosen destinations in advance. Those who plan to walk a lot will need hiking boots or sturdy walking shoes. Whether walking or driving, make sure there are water bottles and towels available, plus a basic first aid kit including insect repellent if appropriate. It may not be necessary to include a sleeping bag if not planning to camp out. Travel documents, insurance papers and money will need to be kept in a safe and secure place – a money belt worn under clothing is ideal for this purpose. Think about mobile phone use, as it may be worth purchasing additional sim cards or to arrange roaming facilities in advance.
Best ways to travel around
Planes, boats and trains might all be necessary at some point in a longer journey. Bus journeys and road trips by car can be arranged around any of these. Compare car hire rates in advance so that the best deal according to a point of arrival can be found, whether this is an airport, railway station or port.
This article has been written by Sam Black, a freelance travel writer.