Flick through Facebook these days and chances are your friends are either getting married, having kids or suffering a minor breakdown. Some might even be having all three. So where does that leave the rest of us?
In need of a break most likely. We’re forever being told that millennials prefer spending money on an “experience” — such as a holiday — over something tangible that they could own. An overdraft over a savings account, basically.
Student debt, poorer pension provision and a ludicrous housing market all make for pretty grim reading. So time to put some money aside and start planning your escape. Leave it all behind and get some inspiration below…
Touch down in Bangkok and you’re already panicking about the possibilities. Will one of us really end up with a face tattoo? Will DiCaprio whisk me away to an uninhabited island? Will the woman of my dreams actually be a man? Welcome, to the life and soul of Asia’s backpacking scene.
For those of you who are seeking the sights, head north. At temple-galore, Chiang Mai – rent yourself two wheels and scoot on up the mountain to Pai. Whether you’re there for the street stalls, waterfalls or a snap with a heavily sedated tiger – there’s something for everyone.
If it’s the beaches you’re looking for then any sight of the moon will bring about a bash in the south. Hop around the Eastern Islands, layer on the UV paint and swig from a bucket of rum – the Full Moon parties are year round in Koh Pha Ngan.
Everyone tells you how cheap Thailand is. It’s cheap in an expensive way. It’s so cheap you’ll end up buying two of everything. Twice the food, twice the drink, twice the hangover, twice the fun. Go. Go now.
Eurail is a right of passage and something that every young group of inbetweeners should experience. Four weeks in each others pockets and you’ll find out who your mates really are.
Whilst it’s good to have an idea of where you want to go, the beauty of Eurail lies in the fact that you can be creative and flexible with your travel plans. Book a few hostels before you go, and your flight back – but then enjoy the freedom to decide in the moment. See what takes your fancy on the day and jump aboard the next departing train! Eurail Timetable will be a handy tool to have around.
Night trains are always sold as a great idea but the reality is a sleepless night with ten sweaty strangers, all wrestling to get comfortable. If you’ve planned a full day’s worth of sightseeing, you might be better off booking a bed for the night. White t-shirts will look dirty quickly and you’ll be needing plenty of baby wipes.
A month’s pass across the rails of Europe can set you back as little as £500. You’ll meet a ton of travellers in your hostel who you can swap stories with and get first hand knowledge of all the best places to go. You’ll all have group nights out and wear bum bags and be facebook friends for life!
Okay, so you’ve now done the party holidays. You’ve had the group t-shirts made and stood on enough foam filled dancefloors to realise that EDM was never really for you…
Everyone knows someone who has buggered off to ‘straya. They no doubt inundate you with photos of all their tanned times. As you surf the Daily Mail at work they’re just surfing. The great Aussie adventure. Well now it’s time to cash in that friendship and pay their sofa a visit.
If you’re after a career break, and are eligible for a visa, Australia is the perfect place to pick up casual work alongside your travels. Just Google ‘backpacker jobs’ for whichever city you’re interested in. It doesn’t necessarily just have to be bar/ restaurant work either. Working in a gelato shop is pleasant enough (plus you get free gelato).
Melbourne is the obvious place to start and finish, since it will be the easiest to get international flights to. If you’re on a tight budget then staying at youth hostels throughout the trip will be a good way of spending lightly and meeting other travellers.
It’s also definitely worth getting out of the cities at some point. If you’re wandering in rural and outback Australia, you may find you’re suited to ‘life on the land’. It’s tough work but most farm jobs will include accommodation and all your meals, so you’ll be able to save as you go.
Take along a trusted copy of Lonely Planet Guide and you won’t go wrong.
Okay, so you’ve now done the party holidays. You’ve had the group t-shirts made and stood on enough foam filled dancefloors to realise that EDM was never really for you.
You’ve even breezed around Eurorail. But now you’re thinking it’s time to step things up and really travel? Well then, there’s only one place for it.
From world-famous landmarks like Machu Picchu and Christ the Redeemer, to the tropics of the Amazon rainforest, South America is home to some of the most stunning sights on the map.
Whilst we’d recommend going with the flow for Eurorail – it’s wise to do your research if you’re considering backpacking these parts. Safety will be a concern in some cities – but rather than being overwhelmed by this, simple steps like booking your hostels in advance and scheduling a bus the day before will put your mind at rest. It will also help to learn a little bit of the lingo before you go, even if you only have the basics.
It’s a year round destination and the changing weather gives each place a different vibe at a different time. You won’t be able to cover the whole continent in one trip – so take it slow. Allow yourself to enjoy the little things and have the time to appreciate it. There is a reason why South America is top of the backpacker bucket list.
So, what are you waiting for?