Best countries to go backpacking in after graduation

Best countries to go backpacking in after graduation

You know… you don’t have to fit into a mould of graduating, going straight to work, staying at a company for 40 years, retiring, and THEN traveling if you’re still able. Go work abroad, and travel.

Grab a dog-eared copy of On the Road and do the thing you’ve been reading about. Pack your backpack and hit the road. Yes, backpack, singular. The rule of the road is if you can’t carry it in a single pack, you don’t need it. Make sure to check out these backpacking tips if you’re a first timer as well.

Backpacking around new and exciting countries can be the thrill of a lifetime: immersing oneself in new cultures, trying different foods and meeting extraordinary people. Don’t let the word ‘backpack’ throw you for a loop. I’m not suggesting a Mt. Everest adventure just yet. Backpacking simply means a low-cost, independent travel, where you take as little as possible, and do and see as much as you can.

Choose youth hostels over hotels to not only save money, but to meet other travelers. Hostels can provide a clean, safe, social environment for young travelers all over the world if you do your research. Accommodations often include kitchen facilities, internet access and local information, but each will be different.

Get a backpack and fill with the following:

  • Passport
  • MP3 player
  • Camera
  • Journal
  • A few Traveler’s checks
  • Two pairs of jeans
  • A few T-shirts
  • One hoodie
  • Enough clean underwear and socks to keep your inner mum happy.

The hardest part is really just choosing where to go. I spent nearly 3 years living in South Korea but was able to get to quite a few places. Here are a few of my favourite backpacking destinations…


China is, perhaps, one of the best countries to go backpacking in if you can get around the language barrier. You’ll rely on travel guides and the kindness of strangers, but it’s the most hardcore experience you’ll get of any country. The food is amazing, the country is gigantic, and of course, The Great Wall of China is a site to behold. Don’t go to Badaling, as it is a giant tourist trap. Scout out recommended parts of the wall that are older and less frequented by the average traveler. My suggestion? Simitai. It’s a hike!


One of the most gorgeous places on earth, with the friendliest people, delicious food, and pristine beaches. With hundreds of islands to choose from, don’t stick to just Athens. Spend a day there, soaking up the history and culture, but get out and enjoy the rest of what Greece has to offer. Rent scooters, go on hikes, lounge around the beach. Check out the island of Corfu – it’s the focus of Homer’s Odyssey.


This place is magical, and a perfect destination for a backpacker. The friendliest people of any country I’ve been to happen to all speak English! The Philippines are the third largest English speaking population in the world, so that’s helpful. It has a very Spanish influence, and in Manila you’ll get some of the greatest food, and see what’s rated as one of the world’s most beautiful sunsets. However, just like with Athens above, don’t stay in Manila too long. Hop on a bus and take a ride 2 hours south to Tagatay, a very small sleepy town at the base of the Pacific rim’s smallest, but most active volcano. Take a boat across a freshwater lake, and ride a horse up to the top of the crater, only to look down into the crater at another lake. Have a fresh coconut while you’re up there.

The American West Coast

Calling all Americans: Upon your return from your fantastic journey, if you’re still not ready to enter (or re-enter) the quagmire of the workforce ethic, consider continuing your education through a Masters in TESOL program and become an English teacher in another country. Not only see the world, but live it, experience it, and leave a piece of yourself behind.