Traditionally taking in country routes and difficult terrain, a backpacking holiday was once the mainstay of students or those taking a sabbatical from the world of work. Nowadays whilst the rural retreat might still exist as a backpacker’s dream, the same can also be said for cityscapes. So, which is best?
For those after a full-on physical adventure into the unknown, rural retreats are probably still the best option. From the quintessential English charm of the Lake District or the Cotswolds to the green pastures of Southern France and the expansive deserts of the American continent, you’ll find plenty of hidden gems and natural beauty to discover.
The perks of rural retreats are undoubtedly the chance to get to grips with Mother Nature but there are other things to consider. For a start you’ll need to take a greater amount of equipment with you, especially if planning on hiking or crossing difficult terrains. Weather conditions can also increase risk factors in these areas and the isolation experienced can make you more vulnerable.
Whilst it is important to acknowledge these risks this does not mean intrepid explorers should be deterred from taking such a trip. Providing the necessary preparation is taken, including investing in backpacker travel insurance, these trips can be just as safe as any other. Tailored insurance for backpackers is always the best option as it will cover specific threats and dangers and Allianz Global Assistance backpacker insurance is a great example.
Alternatively, those looking for a modern take on the backpacker holiday will be keen to choose cityscapes for their destinations. Journeying across Europe is a popular option and with big names such as Paris, Berlin, Prague and Amsterdam all within easy reach it’s easy to see why.
The perks of this type of trip are arguably the ease of travel and wide availability of attractions. However it should be noted that the quiet solitude found with rural backpacking trips may be missing, as may some of the opportunities to immerse with local cultures. Cities can be overwhelming to those unfamiliar with them and the danger of pick-pocketing and other thefts is also rife, so it’s important to keep your wits about you.
Once again, insurance is key and can help you get the peace of mind you need.
Making your decision
When choosing between rural and urban destinations for your backpacking trip the decision will ultimately rest on your personal preferences. If you’re interested in both then why not opt for a trip which takes in both? The American continent is a great option for this with South America offering a more rustic, rural experience whilst the USA has plenty of big cities to explore. The States also have their fair share of natural attractions and rural areas making it suitable for a shorter backpacking trip that takes in both types of location.