Image of backpacker waiting in a station, reading a map

The ultimate insider's guide to backpacking

Pen Stephanie Lynch Glasses 3 min read

Backpacking around the world is the ultimate dream. We all fantasise over packing our bags and setting off on a trip around the world. There are so many destinations to choose from. I couldn’t possible write about them all so instead I picked a few spots that you should add to your bucket list for your trip, along with some of my top tips for backpacking and solo travel.


Bucket List Destinations


  • Swim the great barrier reef: It’s a must while visiting Australia to experience Australia’s great natural wonder of the world ‘The Great Barrier Reef’. It offers you a once in a lifetime opportunity to go snorkelling or scuba diving while exploring the beauty that lies beneath the water of the world’s largest coral reef.
  • Blue Mountains Camping Trip:  The Blue Mountains is a rugged region west of Sydney in Australia’s New South Wales. A location popular for its breath-taking scenery, steep cliffs, eucalyptus forests, impressive waterfalls and sensational hiking trails. Be sure to schedule in a camping trip in the Blue Mountains.
  • Sail The Whitsundays - There is no limit to the sheer beauty of The Whitsunday islands! Lying in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, in the warm waters of Australia’s Coral Sea are the 74 stunning tropical islands waiting for you to explore them.


  • Avail of the free walking tours: You will find lots of free walking tours around the main cities in Vietnam. These walking tours are given by the locals and are a tremendous way to explore some of the local gems and the hidden spots in the town. Exploring the place through the eyes of the locals.
  • Sleep under the stars at Halong Bay: Halong Bay is a very popular tourist spot and a charming location. You can take a day trip out to Halong Bay but why not go on a boat trip where you can sleep under the stars and savour the sunrise the following morning. 


  • Visit the Great Wall: You can’t visit China and not visit one of the Seven Wonders of the World – the Great Wall of China. You could walk for hours exploring with remarkable scenery all around.
  • Visit Victoria Peak in Hong Kong: This is one not to be missed with 360 degree views of the entire city at the top. Take ‘The Peak Tram’ to reach the summit as it is the quickest way up and the scenery all around is breath-taking. It will get very steep as you reach the top but the views are worth it.



Tips for the Solo Traveller

What I love about backpacking are the different characters you meet along the way who are travelling solo. Solo travel allows you to immerse yourself in a new destination, culture and meet local people. It can be intimidating to head off on your own so I decided to come up with four easy ways to make friends on your next big backpacking adventure.

Stay in hostel dorms: Try not to book yourself into a private room during your travels. Staying in dorms with other backpackers is the easiest way to make friends while travelling solo. You can strike up a conversation with others around you by asking about their travels and where they are from and the conversation will flow from there.

Book group trips: This is the first thing I make sure to do if I am travelling solo. I book group trips in the areas I am interested in. It is the best way to meet like-minded people while travelling. Most people who book group trips while travelling are in a similar situation, they are either travelling on their own or with one or two others. 
Make friends while on transport: When you are travelling on your own, you can be stuck on a bus or a train for a long time. Be sure to strike up a conversation with the people around you. You might even pick up some travel tips.
Try a new activity:It is always easier to get to know people when you are both trying a new activity. It is the perfect opportunity to meet new friends while travelling. Normally after an activity, people will go out for dinner or drinks afterwards.


Budget Management While Travelling

Lastly, I want to leave you with a few ways to reduce your costs when backpacking.  The more you save, the more destinations you can visit!

  • Pack snacks,  I know this might seem like an unnecessary addition but as you are going non-stop while travelling, you can get a little hungry between meals. It will save you buying snacks in the big tourist attractions. It’s important to keep your energy levels up for all the exploring.
  • Book into an AirBnB instead of a hotel as it will cut down on your accommodation cost. You can book a room in a house, rather than a full house. What I love about booking an AirBnB is you usually get to meet the host and gather their tips and tricks of things to try in the area.
  • Go off the beaten track. People tend to travel and stay in busy areas.  Be sure to explore outside of the main tourist attractions. Not only will it allow you to explore the local gems but it will also save you some money. Accommodation, restaurants and even adventures are can be a fraction of the cost away from the busy tourist spots.
  • Roaming. Check your policy before travelling so you don’t get a surprise bill when you get home. Try to use free wifi zones whenever available.

Enjoy your backpacking adventure and remember laya members get 20% off their travel insurance

Stephanie Lynch

Stephanie Lynch Stephanie is the founder of A travel blogger, worldwide content creator and globe trotter. Her background is within the TV industry but she decided to push outside her comfort zone and create a career that she is passionate about. OnTheQT allows her to combine a love of content creation and travelling. Stephanie launched OnTheQT in 2013 to showcase the local gems from locations around the world. OnTheQT’s most recent achievements include winning Ireland's Best Vlog 2016 at the Blog Ireland Awards and winning not one but two awards in the Digital Marketing Awards 2016.