The Backpacking Bucket List, 2018

The world, as they say, is your oyster, and if you plan to spend some time backpacking throughout 2018, be sure to check out some of the hottest destinations on the planet! From natural scenery near the Arctic Circle down to the steamy tropics of India, and from temples and shrines in the Orient to Gothic architecture in Europe, there is something for everyone as we look forward to planning yet another year of travel!

Iceland’s majestic natural wonders

Iceland may be cold but it is one of the most interesting places on the planet. In 2018, Iceland has an emerging reputation as a backpacker hotspot, and with its beautiful glaciers, mountains, waterfalls, and geysers I am not going to argue with that status.

Colombia is aching to be explored…

Colombia is not the country backpackers immediately think of when planning their adventure in South America. While Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina are more widely-travelled, Colombia is really an upcoming destination (that I haven’t been to yet!) for backpackers of all ages.

Tea being harvested in the Sri Lankan highlands

Sri Lanka has long been a favourite country of mine, and a few years ago I thought I was cool that I had spent so much time there (west, south, and central) despite it lacking a true backpacking infrastructure. Yet in 2018, Sri Lanka is now a huge destination for travellers on all budgets.

Kinkakuji in Kyoto

Kyoto in Japan has long been a favourite cultural hotspot for backpackers, but what makes it return to this list for 2018? Well, many Millennial backpackers are choosing to visit Japan for the first time and forsake the bright lights of Tokyo (admittedly Tokyo is still an epic city in its own right) to check out the amazing temples and shrines in Kyoto (and Osaka).

The streets of Hanoi

Vietnam sometimes gets the short shrift when travelling in SE Asia (Thailand and Cambodia are places EVERYONE visits), but in 2018 more and more people are aware of the wonders of this resplendent sleeping giant. From the UNESCO Heritage sites at Halong Bay to the glorious beaches of the central region (and Hoi An Ancient Town), and from there southwards to the steamy Mekong Delta, there is simply something for everyone in Vietnam!

Gaudi’s City

Barcelona has always been one of the best cities to visit in western Europe, but in 2018 the capital of Catalonia is piping hot! Compared to some places in Europe, Barcelona can very friendly for the budget-conscious traveller and it has an immense collection of tourist attractions to tick off of your bucket list.


Budapest is an emerging destination in Europe for travellers on all budgets, but especially for backpackers. Everything is really cheap in Budapest and the local scene is incredible, in terms of culture and entertainment. It is no wonder why Budapest ranks in the top 3 European destinations for Chinese travellers.

Komodo National Park

Komodo Island may very well be the most amazing place in the whole of Indonesia. After a short break in Bali, hop on a plane over the water and land at Labuan Bajo in Flores. From there, take a boat over to the smaller Komodo Island, where you – in the presence of a guide, of course – will come face to face with these dangerous lizards, which are known to kill Humans! This is a safari, Indo-style!

Uzbekistan has a lot to offer backpackers

Uzbekistan – as a whole country – was once upon a time a mecca for backpackers on the old Silk Road, but then South America and South East Asia became more popular (plus Australia). However, now Uzbekistan is making something of a comeback – and with sights like the Registan in Samarkand it is not hard to see why!

The Kerala Backwaters

Kerala in south west India is the go-to destination in 2018 when on the sub-continent. Whereas other years, hotspots like Agra and Varanasi have been more popular, there is more and more of a concerted effort to head down south and check out the natural wonders of tropical India. In Kerala – including the backwaters of Kumarakom – you are not here to enjoy temples and mausoleums, but rather take in the sights and sounds of this sleepy corner of India as you sail over the water on a houseboat.

Have a great 2018 wherever you go in the world – and remember to dream big and chase your passions!

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