Travelling the world was once a privilege reserved only for the very rich. But with the drop in accommodation, flight and other travel costs in the past few decades, it is entirely possible to go around the world on a smaller budget. The best way? backpacking.
With the rise in the number of travellers embarking on global travel increasing each year, the tourist industry of some of the world's most popular destinations have had no choice but to follow suit. From London to Lahore, Brisbane to Beijing, cities and towns are now home to many affordable hostels or low grade hotels where a single night stay can amount to little more than $20. Some of these cheaper alternatives aren't half bad either. You can expect all the mod cons of a western home and even indulge in the free meals included in some hostel deals. A key reason to kick-start any backpacking journey.
Low budget airlines have sprung into dominance during the last decade meaning those wanting to hop short distances between countries can do so for a price comparable to that of a long haul bus journey. Air Asia serves many popular destinations in Southeast Asia including Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, where return tickets can cost as low as $35. Western Europe is where the trend started with lines like Ryanair and Easyjet providing cheap flights between the UK and the major capitals of Western Europe. Air travel is now a completely feasible (and flexible) part of the average backpacking itinerary.
It used to be that going abroad meant packing three quarters of your house in fear of not getting the luxuries of home in places abroad. Not so. Most destinations hot on the gap year trail are full of markets, shops and supermarkets that stock everything back home (and are often times cheaper). Suitcases are a thing of the past and as any backpacker worth their salt will know, the key to a great travel experience is to pack as lightly as possible as you can always depend on getting the things you need out on the road. From books, to blankets, to medical supplies, you needn't worry about not being able to get something on your backpacking travels.
By : Harriet Williams