10 Epic Backpacking Destinations That Are Cheaper Than You Think

Once associated with hippie culture, these days backpacking is popular with many different kinds of travelers—from outdoorsy wilderness trekkers to modern-day “flashpackers,” who travel with all the latest gadgets and creature comforts. Still, most backpackers have a few things in common: a budget consciousness, an adventurous spirit, and a tendency to travel light.

Cheap Backpacking Destinations Around the World

With abundant budget airlines to choose from, traveling light is an increasingly cheap way to trot the globe. Here are the top cheap backpacking destinations worldwide that have also seen an influx of affordable flight options.

Pro tips: If you’re planning an extended trip, many low-cost airlines offer cheap one-way flights. For others, you may be able to fly into one location and back from another to satisfy any round-trip requirements. When flying one-way internationally, make sure to bring proof of onward travel.

Cartagena, Colombia

Just 1,000 miles from Florida across the Caribbean Sea, Cartagena is a logical starting point if you want to backpack throughout South America. It’s a good jumping-off point for a variety of activities, and the nearby Rosario Islands provide marvelous snorkeling and remote beaches.

Within Cartagena, you can see some brilliant colonial architecture inside the walls of a fortified city. To the north, the protected coastline of Tayrona National Park is a great place to hike in a lush tropical forest while enjoying views of palm-lined beaches. To the south, you can continue to the mountainous capital of Bogota and then to Ecuador and beyond.

Flights to Cartagena: Fares have come down in recent years. More flight options from JetBlue, along with the presence of Spirit Airlines, have brought competition to many of the routes. I regularly see round-trip fares as low as under $200 (from Florida) and mid-$200s to mid-$400s from a variety of other cities.

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