Are you like us and always thinking about your next adventure? We take travel planning pretty seriously here at Hostelworld, and that involves staying ahead of the most exciting upcoming travel trends. That’s why we’ve identified the 19 best backpacking destinations for 2019, based on the biggest growth in bookings and all round amazing-ness!
Get ready for some off the beaten track travel in the Middle East, thrill seeking adventures in Central America and little-explored European gems. Of course, there are some old favourites on the list too – sometimes you just can’t beat the classics!
Here are the best backpacking destinations to visit in 2019 – and some of our favourite hostels to stay in while you’re there.
Georgia has seen a massive surge in backpackers this year and should definitely be on your travel radar. You could spend weeks in capital city Tbilisi alone, strolling around the cobbled Old Town, exploring ancient ruins, soaking at a bathhouse and discovering Georgian food (hello, dumplings 😍). When you fancy escaping the city, take a trip to the Kakheti region to sample some locally produced wine, or to Kazbegi for some hardcore mountain hikes.
Envoy Hostel Tbilisi is somewhere to meet like-minded travellers in the heart of Tbilisi’s Old Town. Guests can enjoy breath-taking views of the city from their sun-soaked roof terrace, and their welcoming staff are always on hand to provide expert travel advice from a local perspective.Check out our hostels in Georgia
Ancient honey-coloured buildings that sit elegantly on top of limestone cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, the beautiful Malta sure is a destination to add to your list for 2019. Known for its impressive historical sites that narrate the story of the nation and its succession of rulers including the Romans and British to name a few. Perhaps what makes Malta such a hot (and loved) destination by backpackers is the mixture of things to do and see, from its rich history that allows travellers to explore ancient ruins, to stunning sparkling blue beaches that provide the ultimate relaxing getaway for backpackers.
If you’ve been looking for a modern hostel with beautiful blue views of the Mediterranean, then we’ve found it! This hostel is in a perfect location that allows backpackers to explore the ancient town with ease and then return home to picturesque views over the Med, whilst sipping a beer on the rooftop. Marco Polo Hostel is a modern and budget-friendly way of enjoying Malta. The rooms are spacious with air conditioning and offer great security. Plus, they offer a floor of dorms for female only backpackers. Apart from the hostel’s stunning views, it also is in a great location with numerous street food and restaurant options, attractions nearby and of course, close to Paceville aka the clubbing district, for those who want to go dancing.
Check out our hostels in Malta
Turkey is renowned for its delicious cuisine, but it’s not only Turkish food that will leave you drooling! This Mediterranean paradise also boasts beautiful white sandy beaches, stunning turquoise waters, fascinating history, amazing archaeological sites and captivating culture. Turkey is a delight (see what we did there?!) for backpackers, offering budget prices and some truly unforgettable experiences; such as the dreamy hot air balloon rides over the famous fairy chimneys of Cappadocia that you’ll have seen all over Instagram. So, what are you waiting for? Go get a taste of Turkey and its delicious authentic Turkish kebabs. Mmmmm!
ShoeStrıng Cave House is a hostel set among five traditional Turkish cave houses! Located in the Kapadokya region, if you’ve ever fancied experiencing the famous fairy chimneys of Cappadocia, this is the place to be. If you fancy floating in a hot air balloon then sign up to a tour at reception, but if you’d rather just spectate and take snaps then relax on the outdoor terrace which offers stunning views of the! Shoestring Cave House also offers a swimming pool, an outdoor bar and the unforgettable experience of sleeping inside a cave, all from just £7.05 a night!
Check out our hostels in Turkey
4. Sri Lanka
Growing in popularity year upon year is the backpacker’s paradise of Sri Lanka; home to chaotic cities, chilled-out mountain towns, diverse wildlife and exotic beaches. Often compared to its gigantic neighbour India, Sri Lanka is an incredible destination in its own right. It’s an amazing place for animal lovers, as Yala National Park provides the best chance in the world to see wild leopards, as well as elephants, crocodiles and buffalo. Head to the south coast between November and April and you could even spot a blue whale!
Hangover Hostels in Mirissa is a great base for living your best beach life on Sri Lanka’s south west coast. Swim, surf and snorkel to your heart’s content, and when you’ve built up an appetite make your way back to the hostel for a juicy burger and a beer.Check out our hostels in Sri Lanka
If you’re thinking of backpacking to a destination that is mighty rich in history, but you haven’t found the perfect destination yet, let us introduce you to Egypt! A country that attracts curious backpackers who are keen to explore its ancient history that quietly, yet powerfully, fills the land. Boasting numerous things to see from sailing on the famous Nile River, to dusting off your magnifying glass to do some exploring from ancient times, including the pyramids, temples and much more. Egypt really has a lot to offer backpackers who seek adventure, for example, The Lost City. Dive deep (literally) into the dark ocean waters and explore a world that remains a huge mystery.
Sitting in the heart of Cairo, Hostrgam Hostel is the perfect central hostel and base for backpackers looking to explore both the inner and outer parts of Cairo. The central location of the hostel means that a lot of attractions are within a few kilometres away (Fitbit: 10,000 steps a day – check!) The homely hostel also offers a delicious free breakfast – the perfect way to prepare for your day of Egyptian adventures!Check out our hostels in Egypt
Every now and again you have one of those travel experiences that’s not only life-changing, but also soul-tingling. The magical Kingdom of Jordan is one of those destinations that makes you look at the beautiful planet we call home through fresh and sparkly eyes. Where better to get your nomad on, than with the indigenous Bedouin community. They were the original travellers and if you visit the ancient city of Petra (of course you’re going to visit Petra!), you’ll see the Bedouin men riding around on horseback. Petra is a must-visit. You may have seen it on the ‘gram and you may know it as The Lost City in Indiana Jones, but nothing prepares you for seeing this Wonder of the World in real life. Jordan is far from a one-trick pony and exploring the Wadi Rum Desert is another experience that never fails to amaze. Whether you choose to take a camel, or fly through the dunes in the back of a truck, the desert-scapes are out of this world! There’s more, so much more, from Dead Sea mud-bathing to the buzzing capital of Amman.
Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp is our hot hostel tip. Stay among the Bedouin community, in a cosy tent (think super fancy tent, with a proper bed) and spend your evenings sat around the campfire with a belly full of home cooked middle eastern food. With tiny lanterns dotted around ‘Little Petra’s rocks and stars for miles, you’ll think you’ve died and gone to hostel heaven. Seven Wonders is just 15 minutes from big Petra and they’ll even take you there.Check out our hostels in Jordan
7. The Philippines
As a nation made up of over 7,000 islands, you’d expect The Philippines to have some of the best beaches in the world – and well, you’d be right! Think perfect white sand, crystal clear waters and tropical palm trees. But it’s not all about being a beach bum. Travellers are flocking here to dive with whale sharks, abseil through caves, zipline over El Nido and kayak across heavenly lagoons. The Philippines is an adventure seeker’s dream!
Frendz Resort & Hostel in Boracay has rooms ranging from classic dorms to deluxe en-suite privates, and their facilities are so great that you’ll be balling no matter what budget you’re on. They’ve got a killer pool, organise boat trips twice a week and even provide free pasta for dinner. What more does a backpacker need?Check out our hostels in the Philippines
A country comprised of thousands of volcanic islands, delicious cuisine and gorgeous indigo stained oceans and white sand beaches, Indonesia is a destination loved by backpackers from all around the world for a multitude of reasons. Spend days soaking up the sun on the beach, island hopping or waterfall chasing (sorry TLC), to name a few things to do. Known for its stunning and dare we say, picture-perfect beaches, Indonesia is a strong contender for those looking to chase the sun and sand!
Located in the extremely fun and vibrant part of Bali, Kuta, you’ll find Cara Cara Inn. A colourful and quirky hostel right in the heart of Kuta and a short stroll away from the beach. Cara Cara Inn is a modern (and extremely Insta friendly) hostel with great facilities including a pool (that comes with inflatables, heck yes!) and a rooftop bar that’s great for mingling and meeting new mates.
Check out our hostels in Indonesia
Belize has previously been relatively low-key on the backpacker radar, with neighbouring Mexico and Guatemala stealing the spot-light. But this hidden gem is creeping onto many backpacker’s bucket lists for numerous reasons. Belize is currently in the “off the beaten path” category but offers treats such as picturesque beaches, crystal clear waters and mesmerising Mayan ruins, all for budget prices. Additionally, Belize is considered as one of the best places in the world for diving and snorkelling, thanks to the clear waters, colourful coral and tropical fish. If you’re a scuba fanatic, check out the Great Blue Hole – a deep blue spherical sinkhole which is regarded as the holy grail for divers! It is said to be the world’s largest natural formation of its kind and was recently ranked as number 1 in the Discovery Channels ’10 most amazing places on earth!’ Can’t be bad!
If you are visiting Belize and want to experience the jungle and inland attractions, then look no further! Lower Dover hostel was the Hoscars winner for ‘Best Hostel in Belize 2018’ and describes itself as the place “where Indiana Jones would have stayed!” This exotic jungle paradise is located on a farm nearby to natural pools where you can take a dip. It’s the perfect base if you’re looking to experience Actun Tunichil Muknal caves, Tikal (probably the most famous ancient Maya city to explore in the world) Cave Tubing (as fun as it sounds!) and Zip-Lining through jungle! All can be booked at reception by the friendly staff.Check out our hostels in Belize
Say “bula” (hello) to stunning Fiji! Locating in the South Pacific and made up of around 333 islands, Fiji is a paradise that is just as dreamy as it sounds! The good news is you’ll be surrounded by picturesque beaches that’ll be guaranteed hits on Instagram, along with smiling locals who are as warm and welcoming as the beautiful weather. The bad news is, you’ll never want to leave. Join in with tribal communities and sample their cava ritual, tuck in to the delicious local seafood, explore hidden waterfalls or snorkel the clear waters; Fiji is an adventure in paradise that you will never forget!
Octopus Resort is the reigning champion of Fiji, voted ‘Best Hostel in Fiji 2018,’ and rightly so! Located on one of the world’s finest beaches, a few steps from the ocean, you’ll think you have died and gone to heaven! The reviews say it all, as guests are blown awaya by the beauty of this hostel, all for backpacker budget prices! The bar and restaurant, serving delicious local food, has a sand floor… So no shoes needed at meal time! After you’ve eaten, feel free to relax in the hostel pool and watch the sunset over the ocean.
Check out our hostels in Fiji
Most are aware of fajitas, tequila and sombreros, but did you know that Mexico also offers beautiful beaches, ancient Mayan cities and tropical rainforests?! If you’re looking to embrace the unique culture of Mexico, take your pick from listening to traditional Mariachi musical groups, watching a ‘lucha libre’ wrestling show or strolling around beautiful colonial towns. Once all that excitement is over, wash it down with some tacos and a chilled Margarita! It goes without saying that Mexico is one of the best backpacker destinations for food lovers. Sure, you’ve tried Mexican food before, but nothing tastes quite as good as the original! Try carne asada tacos from an authentic eatery and (trust us!) you’ll never settle for Tex-Mex again!
Mayan Monkey is all about the rooftop! One of the newest hostels in Cancun with a swimming pool, lounge chairs, BBQ parties, amazing cocktail bar… all found on the rooftop! Mayan Monkey has teamed up with the agency Party Rockers to give its guests the best of experiences with parties, tours to the main eco parks, ruins, highlights, snorkelling or diving in the Coral Reef! All of this AND free breakfast… you’re welcome!Check out our hostels in Mexico
Underestimated or unknown? Relatively quiet and normally unexplored on travellers’ maps, take this as our (really big) hint not to skip Lithuania on your next trip. Beautiful pointed buildings peeking out above the greenery makes Lithuania feel something like a Disney fairy-tale, think Rapunzel style. However, this country is much more than just a pretty face landscape. You’ll find yourself spoilt for choice with numerous museums to visit, castles to photograph and local food to add new tastes to your palate. Not to mention, the rather impressive ‘Dead Dunes’, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the tallest migrating dunes in Europe!
If you’re in Kaunas, you’ll find your home away from home at The Monk’s Bunk. Located in the city centre within walking distance to cool bars, restaurants and theatres, you’ve got everything you need within minutes’ walk. Backpackers love the cosy, relaxed vibe and the big kitchen and common room which provide the perfect setting for meeting other travellers.Check out our hostels in Lithuania
High above the rest of the world, fertile plains nestle under the giants of the Himalayas, a true beauty to behold and set to become one of the world’s best backpacker destinations in 2019. Nepal’s boastful mountainous landscape that is known to attract backpackers with a love for hiking, is one reason why this country is loved by adventure seekers, but it shouldn’t be the only reason! Visit national parks, temples, set your sights high and go paragliding and even splash some cash on a plane trip over the Himalayas. In the Kathmandu Valley, you’ll find the highest density of world heritage sites on the planet (now that’s impressive). With 130 monuments and wonders waiting to be explored in 2019, there’s really no excuse why Nepal shouldn’t make your travel list for 2019.
Holding a 9+ rating, Zostel Kathmandu is a lively hostel located right in the heart of the city’s backpacking hub. The hostel prides itself on the cleanliness, helpfulness and friendliness of its staff and the atmosphere surrounding the hostel. Modern facilities with quirky features add to the uniqueness of Zostel Kathmandu. Sip a beer on the rooftop bar, feed your hunger at the garden café or soak up the sun lazing on the rooftop hammock.
Check out our hostels in Nepal
All right, stop. Collaborate and listen. Iceland Iceland baby, the awesome Nordic nation is in at 14! Home to the wonderful waterfalls, great geysers, and Björk, this tiny Island nation is second to none when it comes to offering travellers a chance to experience the true beauty of the natural world. Perhaps the biggest draw of Iceland is the simply breath-taking Northern Lights. The dancing, colourful light display is truly otherworldly and an experience every backpacker should enjoy at least once. We highly recommend hiring a car and experiencing Iceland on the road with one of these epic Iceland road trips.
Kex hostel is a highlight in itself that needs to be seen and experienced for anyone visiting Iceland. Located in an old biscuit factory and with an awesome bar, a jazz club and a library that’ll make you feel like you’re back in tech-free times, it’s the perfect place to stay during your Iceland adventures.Check out our hostels in Iceland
Ever heard of a little-known place called the USA? Okay, this isn’t exactly an insider tip-off, but there’s a reason why America is proving as popular as ever with backpackers. In fact, there are 50 reasons – each US state has its own distinct vibe and personality, and a wealth of exciting destinations to discover. From big hitters like New York and LA to more underrated spots in New Mexico or Alaska (yep, we even have hostels in Alaska) there’s somewhere for everyone in the land of the free.
At Auberge Nola Hostel you won’t be able to resist the carefree, New Orleans spirit – meaning you might find yourself drinking a few too many margaritas at their nightly parties! It’s okay though, because this stunning 19th century southern home has its very own cinema room for you to recover in the next day.Check out our hostels in the USA
Every wanted to go on a safari? Or, better yet see the big five on said safari? If so, Tanzania is one heck of a place to tick it off your bucket list! The plains of the Serengeti are home to the Great Migration, where once a year over 2 million wildebeest, zebra, gazelles and eland rumble their way across to greener lands in Kenya. A sight so impressive it’s one of the Ten Wonders of The Natural World. Backpackers seeking adventure also travel to Tanzania to tackle Mount Kilimanjaro, while it’s challenging, the views from the top are meant to be breathtaking (for more reasons than the high altitude). Just offshore you’ll find the tranquil tropical islands known as Zanzibar, a popular beach getaway where you can catch some rays on its white sandy beaches, dive with whale sharks or snorkel the colourful coral reefs!
Sitting peacefully along the east coast of Zanzibar you’ll find NEW Teddy’s Place. This hostel gives new meaning to the term tropical paradise! Backpackers who love to chase the sun and beach hop, this hostel could not be more perfect for you. Surrounded by the tallest of palm trees and waking up to the sound of waves crashing upon the beach, shore (pun intended) does seem like a great way to start any day! The hostel offers a great variety of things to do from relaxing by the beach to parties, bars and restaurants, NEW Teddy’s Place has it all. Plus, they offer free breakfast (with the option of pancakes!) to start the day off right. Continue the day by exploring hidden beaches whilst making new friends and finish it off with an amazing sunset BBQ hosted by the hostel.
Check out our hostels in Tanzania
If you didn’t already know, Morocco is having a moment. Go and haggle for bargains and lose your bearings in a Marrakech souk, grab a board and hit the waves in Taghazout, marvel at the electric blue streets of the Insta-perfect mountain town Chefchaouen and embrace your inner foodie in Fez. But don’t stop there – this fantastic country is just finding its feet as a backpacker hotspot and there are countless gems waiting to be explored.
Equity Point Marrakech has all the luxuries you need to start your Morocco trip in style. Swimming pool? Check. Massage room? Check. Exquisite furnishings? Check. And don’t miss out on a traditional Moroccan meal cooked by the hostel’s chef, Rachida.Check out our hostels in Morocco
Last year’s number one, Colombia looks set to remain a firm backpacker favourite in 2019. It’s a travel heavyweight that has it all; bustling cities, glorious countryside, beautiful beaches and low prices. Anyone seeking a great night out should head to Medellin’s El Poblado neighbourhood, where the bars include one with a swimming pool sized ball pit! For pristine beaches, look no further than Tayrona National Park. And don’t forget to pack your hiking boots if you want to make the unforgettable 4-day trek to the Lost City!
Head up the hills of Minca to find Casa Elemento. There, you’ll be rewarded with epic views of the jungle, which you can enjoy from the comfort of the world’s largest hammock. Lay back, relax, meet new friends and listen out for the toucans and howler monkeys. This unique hostel provides unbeatable photos opportunities plus tasty local food from the onsite cafe, a refreshing pool and nightly campfires. Casa Elemento has all the ingredients for an unforgettable travel experience!
Check out our hostels in Colombia
The ancient Mayan ruins and Spanish colonial history juxtapose the modern metropolis of skyscrapers to create a varied and exciting destination for 2019. Perhaps the most fun part about Guatemala is how it caters for a range of backpacker types with the variety of activities and things to do that the country offers. Explore delicate fishing villages, tropical jungles, bustling markets, active volcanoes and stunning beaches and lakes, to name a few!
Located in Guatemala City, Central 10 Hostel offers the perfect balance of modern minimalist and industrial décor vibes. Past guests boast about the cleanliness and friendliness of the staff. Offering both private rooms and dorm rooms where each bunk has a curtain to give travellers a tad more privacy. Located in the centre of Zona Viva in zone 10, the hostel is right in the middle of the restaurant district of the sun (yum!).Check out our hostels in Guatemala
How many of these backpacker destinations will you be visiting in 2019? Let us know in the comments