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Why is America such a small priority for backpackers?

Despite having some of the best natural wonders in the world, it seems nobody really wants to backpack in the United States anymore. Why is this?

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As an “adult”, I first visited the US in 2010 when I went to Orlando, Florida for a little holiday. I also re-visited Orlando the following year, as well as Mexico and Cuba. In the years since, I have made only 1 return trip to the States, and this was a flying visit to New York and San Francisco. Personally, I have never really seen the benefit in visiting “the most powerful nation on Earth” and from talking to fellow backpackers recently during a trip to Malaysia, it seems nobody really cares for travelling around the US these days.

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A gun shop in the USA

One of the reasons for this I think is because I, personally, always prefer to seek out unique experiences, rather than go to the most popular places. Additionally, the US is a bloody expensive place to visit, with accommodation in New York City really taking the piss (get a cheap hotel in New Jersey and travel to NYC on the subway every day instead). By my reckoning, it is roughly 4 times more expensive per night in America than somewhere in Asia like Thailand or Cambodia (which coincidentally are also big backpacker hideouts), and this really puts a strain on one’s budget.

Regardless of the cost, however, there are some great places to visit in the US, if you are so inclined to come here. For example, you have the great night life of New Orleans and San Francisco, the beaches of Hawaii, the politics of Washington D.C. (see if you can spot Donald in the White House), and the flora and fauna of the Everglades, not to mention much, much more.

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Politically, it is perhaps not the best time to come to America. I probably won’t bother again until Donald Trump has been removed from the White House, but notwithstanding, is it really the price that is putting people off, or are there other reasons? Even South America (i.e. Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina) seems to be on some kind of backpacker resurgence these days, whereas less and less people are visiting are good American friends up north.

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4 thoughts on “Why is America such a small priority for backpackers?

  1. Interesting post, it’s true that the US is pretty low down on my bucket list and the price of visiting is definitely a big reason. Being such a huge and diverse country, it’s hard to plan an itinerary unless you join a package tour like TrekAmerica (not my kind of trip) or splash the cash on a van and go the traditional roadtrip route (amazing idea, but not kind on the bank account!)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a cool post…I had three months Backpacking in America and LOVED it…we were on a pretty strict budget as it’s true it is an expensive place to travel, but it was totally worth it and still managed to stay within our means.

    The one thing that made it difficult was that as Backpacking isn’t as common in the US as it is in places like Europe and Asia, there are far fewer hostels around- HOWEVER the hostels that are there are generally have really high standards so it balances out. I definitely want to go back for another trip soon. Three months was not enough!

    I wrote a post on how we travelled here-

    https://alexgettinglost.com/2016/01/28/car-free-backpacking-in-the-usa-is-it-even-possible/#more-271

    Check it out 🙂

    Looking forward to reading more posts from you

    Alex 🙂

    http://www.alexgettinglost.com

    Liked by 1 person

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