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The World's Most Rewarding Backpacking Locations

So, you've saved up your money and you're ready to do some exploring on a modest budget. We've got all the inspo you'll ever need for traveling light and without breaking the bank. From sun-drenched beach vacays to postcard-perfect countryside sojourns, the world is your backpacking oyster. Journey with us as we make our way from one inviting destination to the next, and bring your best walking shoes and good humor while you're at it.

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01Enjoy nature and culture in the UK

Hiking, walk with backpack, active lifestyle concept image. Man traveler walks neaar famous Glenfinnan viadukt in Scotland Solovyova / Getty Images

The UK is a fabulous place to backpack. In August, you can take in the sights in London and travel west to the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta. The north of England is popular with football fans, but there are fantastic fellwalking opportunities in the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. You can also trek the mountainous Snowdonia National Park in Wales.

Cross-country bus trips cost as little as $7. Head up to Scotland, and you can attend the world's largest arts festival in Edinburgh or look for the Loch Ness monster.

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02Be inspired by Ireland

Backpacker standing at the edge of the Cliffs of Moher, Galway, Ireland The Good Brigade / Getty Images

Start in Dublin, this island nation's cosmopolitan capital. You can use Dublin as a base for day trips to Northern Ireland, or you can stay in Belfast. Check out the Titanic museum and, if you're a fan of the show, embark on a journey to see some of the filming locations from Game of Thrones. These attractions are not far from the Giant's Causeway, a fascinating natural wonder and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

If you make some buddies on this first leg of your trip, you can carpool along Ireland's west coast, the Wild Atlantic Way. It's a stunning road trip with pristine nature and charming seaside towns.

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03Ponder returning to Portugal

Chapel Senhor da Pedra on Miramar Beach, Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto Elena_Sistaliuk / Getty I'mages

Portuguese cities like Lisbon will surprise you with their cost-effectiveness compared to other mainstays on Eurotrip bucket lists. Stylish hostels abound. You can eat well at a sushi buffet or fill up on pastéis de Belem without having to fork out a large sum. Take a train ride to must-see Sintra nearby.

Lisbon's panoramic views, the same enticing ones that prompted voyagers of old to traverse continents, will spark something in you too.

Eat seafood in the Algarve, check out jaw-dropping big wave surfing in Nazaré, and if you're a bookworm, try and visit Porto's Livraria Lello when it's quiet.

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04Find your joie de vivre in France

a female tourist looking at Eiffel Tower fancy.yan / Getty Images

Whether you're going south to Cannes and the French Riviera or to Paris, backpacking in France can be a delight. Cut down on food costs by using hostel kitchens. You can make your own grub in between occasional splurges on macarons and French cuisine.

Cycle through the Loire Valley for mesmerizing scenery, captivating castles, and fulfilled fantasies. Go exploring in the Pyrenees too. The trails are fruitful, and the locals challenge the grumpy French stereotype.

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05Seek sea, scrumptious food, and safari in South Africa

Female hiker photographing out to sea from a rock Alistair Berg / Getty Images

South Africa has a bad reputation for safety. Still, the country has so much to offer visitors who are willing to do their research. Depending on where you're coming from, the exchange rate can work in your favor. There are backpacker hostels in major towns, but also loads of affordable and chic Airbnbs. The country's Panorama route near Kruger National Park offers excellent canyon hiking with a side of safari. The Garden route between Port Elizabeth and Cape Town is dotted with gorgeous beaches, surfing and fishing hotspots, satisfying restaurants, and the epic Otter Trail.

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06Have an ace time in Australia

Backpackers playing with Quokkas on Rottnest Island near Perth, Australia John Crux Photography / Getty Images

Fancy diving in the Great Barrier Reef? How about surfing at the famous Bondi Beach? Australia is super hospitable, and the strong backpacker culture makes it easy to soak up the country without breaking the bank. Drive the Great Ocean Road between Melbourne and Adelaide and get a good look at the Twelve Apostles in person. If you're a Masterchef Australia fan, see what all the former contestants are cooking up when you're in the mood to drop some dough.

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07Explore India with an open mind

Tourist with backpack walking in the mosque arch near Taj Mahal in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India byheaven / Getty Images

Backpacking in India and Pakistan offers arguably the most inexpensive traveling that you will ever do. But it's only for the truly adventurous. The poverty can be unsettling, and foreigners should expect some unwanted attention.

However, if you arm yourself with knowledge and accept the challenge, India can blow you away with its beauty and spirit. Party in Goa, go tiger-spotting in Rajasthan or relax on a houseboat in Kashmir. And while you're at it, gobble up all the glorious food your stomach can handle. If you're vegetarian or vegan, this country offers an endless array of meat-free dishes.

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08Count your blessings in Canada

Woman on Lynn canyon suspension bridge, North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada Preserved Light Photography / Getty Images

Backpackers have plenty of options for where and how to spend their time and money in the Great White North. Get the best views of Niagara Falls and let Toronto's energy fill you up. There's also some French to learn in Montreal.

Our suggestion? Nature rules in this nation. Wake up at the crack of dawn for sunrise hikes in the Canadian Rockies. Or go whale-watching off the coast of Vancouver. British Columbia isn't a filming mecca for nothing.

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09Be merry in the UAE

Looking along desert towards the business district owngarden / Getty Images

Backpacking in the UAE's desert oases can cost a pretty penny. But don't let that put you off. If you've been hustling for some time, these Arabian cities could be just the change you need. They scream luxury, but you can find hostel accommodation with free breakfast to boot. Save your money for the novelty theme parks and fine-tune your bargaining skills at Karama Market in Dubai. Party in skyscrapers or take refreshing dips in the clean and safe beaches.

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10Take time out in Thailand

Young man (traveler) standing near Wachirathan waterfall in tropical rainforest. Chiang Mai Province, Thailand Chalabala / Getty Images

Thailand is a favorite with backpackers for a good reason. It's budget-friendly, the waters are turquoise, and the people will warm your heart. Whether you plan to party in Phuket, do business in Bangkok, or meditate in a jungle retreat, you will come away with some A-plus memories. Be sure to get your fill of muscle-melting massages at the best prices in the world.

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