The 18 Destinations All Backpackers Need To Visit In 2018

The 18 Destinations All Backpackers Need To Visit In 2018

–Wondering where to travel next year and need a little help from your ol’ friends at Hostelworld?! We’ve been all over the globe to find the 18 hottest destinations for 2018. We looked at the countries with the biggest growth in bookings in 2017, and the world’s best destinations to find you the best places to visit in the New Year – you can thank us later! Whether you’re looking for a city mini break, a two week holiday, or if you’re lucky enough to be jetting off for a while, we have the perfect countries for your 2018 bucket list!

From established backpacker favourites like Thailand, Spain and the USA to some rather more off-the-beaten-track adventures in Nicaragua, Israel and South Africa, these destinations will tickle every traveller’s sense of wanderlust!

Of course, in every wonderful destination we have a selection of wonderful hostels to make your visit even more… wonderful! We’ve recommended our favourite hostel for each destination to inspire your travels and help you meet the world. Bon voyage!


Best Backpacker Destinations 2018 - Colombia

📷 @lapiznomada

Calling all party fiends! Colombia’s capital city, Bogota, is a nightlife hot-spot and was once named the UNESCO City of Music! Anyone seeking a great night out head here in the summer, with nearly 12 hours of sunlight, the night never ends! One of the best things to do in Colombia is definitely taking a trip to The Lost City… if you can find it that is! Colombia is well regarded as one of the world’s best backpacker destinations, so what are you waiting for?!

Best Backpacker Destinations 2018 - Calle 11 Hostel, Santa Marta

📷 @ashkatehunter

Calle 11 Hostel offers luxury on a budget, with a thrilling touch – this beautiful villa was once owned by the Colombian mafia. Yes, you can really stay in an ex-cartel mansion! Today this hostel is one of our favourites in Sant Marta. Located walking distance from the beach and with stunning private rooms, yummy cocktails and a gorgeous pool to chill at, this is the perfect choice for your Colombia adventures!

Hostels in Colombia | Cheap flights 


Best Backpacker Destinations 2018 - Iceland

📷 @lovelyforliving

Home to the Blue Lagoon, geysers, and Bjork, this tiny Island nation is still relatively undiscovered as backpacker destinations go, but it offers travellers a chance to experience the true beauty of the natural world. Perhaps the biggest draw of Iceland is the simply breathtaking Northern Lights. The dancing, colourful light display of the Northern Lights 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… beep beep!

Best Backpacker Destinations 2018 - Kex Hostel in Iceland

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.

Hostels in Iceland | Cheap flights


Best Backpacker Destinations 2018 - Israel

📷 @hannahmez

One of the premier backpacker destinations in the Middle East. Israel is a country that seamlessly blends the ancient and the modern and 2017 saw travellers flocking to Israel to experience the wonder for themselves. A combination of stunning heat, gorgeous architecture and an extremely rich culture make Tel Aviv the perfect backpacking destination. Even better, the city is home to an unsuspectingly awesome nightlife scene! Known amongst travellers as the party capital of the Middle East, party-goers from around the globe turn it up in the beaches and streets of Tel Aviv!

For an unbeatable atmosphere visit Tel Aviv in June for Tel Aviv Pride, a celebration of acceptance in which the entire city explodes with colour.

Abraham Hostel is located in the heart of Tel Aviv and offers everything you could ever wish for from a hostel. A rooftop terrace with an amazing view, a vibrant social area and lots of activities. Also make sure to check out Jam’braham on Saturday nights, where you can experience live Middle Eastern music entertainment!

Hostels in Israel | Cheap flights

Sri Lanka

Best Backpacker Destinations 2018 - Sri Lanka

📷 Little Lagoon Hostel

This Island nation home to a wide variety of cultures, languages and adventures, and is still relatively overlooked as far as backpacker destinations in South East Asia, but not for long! Be ahead of the tourists and visit this unspoiled gem for authentic off-the-beaten-track experiences before everyone wants a piece of the action… and the perfect Instagram shot!

Best Backpacker Destinations 2018 - Clock Inn Kandy, Sri Lanka

If meeting fellow travellers is on the top of your list, the Clock Inn Kandy is perfect for you! This hostel is super new and it has some quirky rooms that are actually huge barrels! Breakfast is included and the friendly staff are ready to help you.

Hostels in Sri Lanka | Cheap flights

South Africa

Best Backpacker Destinations 2018 - South Africa

More and more backpackers have discovered the wonders of South Africa in 2017, and we’re sure this number will continue to grow in the New Year. Play with the penguins in sunny Cape Town – yes, we did say penguins in the sun! – surf in the warm waters of Durban, or search for the big five on safari, South Africa is wild enough to satisfy any adventure nerd! With a variety of different terrain and landscapes ranging from white sand beaches, lush winelands (drink up!), and forests a plenty, this diverse nation is the perfect all-rounder for 2018.

Best Backpacker Destinations 2018 - B.I.G Backpackers in Cape Town, South Africa

Backpackers of the world, we’ve found your new favourite place! Situated in a quiet street, nestling below Signal Hill, The B.I.G is a 10 minute walk to the vibrant Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town Stadium, local shops, restaurants, clubs and bars as well as a gym and fitness centre. They also have their own PIZZA OVEN so head to South Africa to grab a slice of the action!

Hostels in South Africa | Cheap flights


Best Backpacker Destinations 2018 - Scotland


With it’s stunning landscapes and not so stunning weather, Scotland is for the Brave-hearted (haha, get it?!) With two buzzing cities to conquer and an abundance of sweeping countryside, Scotland should not be overlooked by anyone planning a UK visit.

We suggest a trip to Edinburgh in the summer months to experience the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, a festival of comedy, music and culture that simply consumes the city. A lot of the Fringe Festival is free to attend, and free to perform if you fancy yourself something of a Thespian!

Best Backpacker Destinations 2018 - Castle Rock Hostel in Edinburgh, Scotland

Caste Rock Hostel is not only super social and fun (with awesome walking tours and pub crawls), but it also offers a stunning view of Edinburgh Castle and boasts amazing proximity to the market.

Skyewalker Hostel is located on the Minginish peninsula and is a paradise for stargazers with its beautiful glass dome. This hostel is for over 18’s only – so you can relax in peace after exploring Skye, or socialize with other travellers your age.

Hostels in Scotland | Cheap flights


Best Backpacker Destinations 2018 - Croatia

📷 @chloeaprilparkersmith

A popular summer destination for travellers looking to bask on the sands of the Dalmatian Coast, Croatia has created excitement among a certain group of TV fans. Forget Netflix and chillin’ in your hostel dorm, get out and explore Croatia’s awesome Game of Thrones filming locations! With gorgeous sunshine all year round, winter may be coming.. but certainly not to Croatia!

Best Backpacker Destinations 2018 - Swanky Mint in Croatia

Swanky Mint is a place in which hostel dreams come true. The old factory building is now home to a swanky hostel with an awesome pool and huge sun terrace, cosy private rooms and spacious dorms. You will love Zagreb – and this hostel is definitely one of the reasons!

Hostels in CroatiaCheap flights


 📷: @eduarfh_81

Part of the classic trio, along with Thailand and Cambodia, Vietnam is a must-see for anyone planning their first trip to Asia. To catch a glimpse of the soul of this vibrant country, book your trip to coincide with one of the amazing lunar festivals. A humbling visit takes backpackers through the War Remnants Museum and the Son My Memorial. Be sure also to experience the beauty of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.

Best Backpacker Destinations 2018 - Vietnam

Tam Coc Rice Fields Resort is – you guessed right – surrounded by rice fields and the most splendid nature. Enjoy unspoiled Vietnam while staying in a cute private hut. Oh, and bring your apron, there is a lot of Vietnamese cooking action going down here!

Hostels in VietnamCheap flights


Best Backpacker Destinations 2018 - Spain

📷 @handluggageonly

Spain has topped our list of backpacker destinations for 2016 AND 2017 but hey, no one likes a showoff! Rustic villages meet party cities in this colourful destination. Throw in some sangria and a tapas platter and you’ve got yourself a fiesta –ole! 

Spain tends to enjoy delightful sunshine all year round, albeit slightly milder in the winter months. If you’re looking for scorching heat be sure to visit Spain in June-August, just remember your sunscreen!

Best Backpacker Destinations 2018 - Casa Gracia in Barcelona, Spain

Casa Gracia in Barcelona is probably one of THE most instagrammable and beautiful hostels of all times. Amazing rooftop and pool, gorgeous private rooms and can we please talk about the donkey in the bathroom?! Ugh, let me just stay here forever, please…

Hostels in SpainCheap flights

The Philippines

Best Backpacker Destinations 2018 - The Philipinnes

📷 @corrisen

The Philippines is a gorgeous country with some of the most stunning beaches in Asia. It’s also one of the best backpacker destinations for thrill-seekers in So! From shark diving to zip-lining to canyoneering, there is an abundance of things to do in The Philippines for adventurous backpackers in 2018!

Best Backpacker Destinations 2018 - Mad Monkey in Boracay, Philippines

Did someone say PARTY? Well, here you can have the most epic parties ever! The Mad Monkey comes with a massive pool, bustling bar, SPA retreat, amazing rooms and good music. Just few minutes away from Bulabog Beach and White Beach. Perfect for party people!

Hostels in The PhilippinesCheap flights


Best Backpacker Destinations 2018 - USA

📷 @felipe.9013

The draw of visiting the USA is the sheer size of the country and the sheer range of different cities, climates and geographical scenery to enjoy. As far as backpacker destinations are concerned, the possibilities are endless. Visit the city that never sleeps or sleep under the stars as you explore the Grand Canyon. With 50 states to explore, you could spend a lifetime exploring! It’s no wonder so many Americans favour domestic travel. Do some research before you visit and decide whether you prefer the bitchin’ beaches of California, the glorious hiking trails of Colorado, or the vibrant cities of Florida – and that’s just 3 states!

Best Backpacker Destinations 2018 - Freehand Hostel in Los Angeles, California

The Freehand LA is #RooftopGoals – people from all over town line up to hang out at this rooftop paradise with two cocktail bars and gorgeous pool. Stay in one of the stylish dorm rooms or the fancy AF private rooms and enjoy the hottest place to be in LA!

Hostels in North AmericaCheap flights


Best Backpacker Destinations 2018 - Thailand

📷 @coconut_sports

There’s a reason that Thailand is so popular with backpackers. In fact, there are many! As well as white sand beaches, clear blue oceans and stunning hostels, the country offers off-the-beaten-track budget travel experiences and an epic party scene. Thailand is a rite of passage for most travellers, and usually the first port of call for any Southeast Asian adventure, we don’t see this changing in 2018!

Thailand is known among young travellers as home to the Full Moon Parties. The Full Moon parties occur once a month during, (you guessed it!), the full moon. Although there’s nonstop partying on the Thai islands, if you’re heading to Thailand to get your groove on then we definitely recommend timing your visit around a full moon.

If partying until dawn isn’t necessarily your thing, Thailand offers travellers and holiday makers alike a diverse variety of things to do and experience. In the North of the country you can explore the immense jungle and in the South you’ll find the white sand beaches to unwind… Thailand really has something for everyone!

Best Backpacker Destinations 2018 - Lub D, Phuket

Lub D is 3 minutes away from the beach, located in the heart of Patong Entertainment District and boasts a massive see-through swimming pool, we hope your Insta followers are ready for this! Is there anything better than sipping a cocktail together with your hostel mates? With plenty of events and pool parties every Saturday – we’re sold!

Hostels in ThailandCheap flights


Best Backpacker Destinations 2018 - Nicaragua

This Central American country boasts awesome beaches on two oceans and wild jungle in the country’s centre. A true backpacker’s paradise, Nicaragua offers alternative experiences and true bragging rights amongst your travelling comrades!

Best Backpacker Destinations 2018 - 99 Surf Hostel

Literally ON the beach the 99 Surf Lodge allows you to roll from your hostel bed directly onto the shore! Eco-friendly and entirely built with local materials with verandas in front of the ocean to unwind after a day spent surfing. Why not try their restaurant Taberna 99 for dinner? This hostel offers you great activities such as fishing trips, volcano and historic tours, fly-boarding and other aquatic adventures!

Hostels in NicaraguaCheap flights


 📷: @trentnattrass

Guatemala is another relatively undiscovered Central American gem, well, except by true travellers anyway! The ancient Mayan ruins and Spanish colonial history juxtapose the modern metropolis of skyscrapers to create a varied and exciting destination for 2018… get there before the tourists otherwise you’ll end up fighting the crowds and tripping over selfie sticks!

Best Backpacker Destinations 2018 - Guatemala

📷 @hittheroadco

Backpacking in Guatemala? Greengo’s Hostel is in the middle of the jungle with a small river running through the property and hammocks to relax and reconnect with nature. Go on, take a little ‘me’ time!

Hostels in GuatemalaCheap flights


Best Backpacker Destinations 2018 - Cambodia

📷@byjulianatan@magdischnagdi & @christycassano

The Angkor Wat temples continue to draw people from across the globe to marvel at their splendour, but that doesn’t mean you should miss out on the modern world too. The Aeon Mall is the perfect place to indulge in some retail therapy.

Nature galore for all the earthy souls out there! The Ganesha Kampot, Eco Guesthouse and more’s goal is to give you the most relaxing time in their private huts, surrounded by trees and the largest natural pool in Cambodia, size matters after-all! Their restaurant offers you some amazing traditional Khmer dishes made with ethically sourced ingredients. YUMMY!

Hostels in CambodiaCheap flights


Best Backpacker Destinations 2018 - Nepal


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 2018. The mountainous landscape is simply glorious to behold. In the Kathmandu Valley you’ll find the highest density of world heritage sites on the planet! 130 monuments and wonders await to be explored in 2018, you can spend weeks here without getting bored!

Located on a hilltop, surrounded by nature, the Mystique Highland Resort is a real Nepalese retreat! Enjoy the wondrous starry nights from the rooftop bar and restaurant nestled in this amazing hostel.

Hostels in NepalCheap flights



Mexico City sprawls and grows before your very eyes, a place where you can discover world class museums, galleries and stunning architecture AND wash it all down with some tacos and a Margarita! One of the best backpacker destinations for food lovers. Sure, every country has it’s own variation of Mexican food but nothing is 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!

Best Backpacker Destinations 2018 - Mayan Monkey, Cancun, Mexico

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!

Hostels in MexicoCheap flights


Best Backpacker Destinations 2018 - Portugal

📷 @karlis.kromans

Lisbon is the home of hostels! The unique blend of nightlife, passion and love of life has lead backpackers to Portugal time and time again. Travellers feel at home in Portugal, even if they’ve never visited before! Be warned: the nightlife starts late, so be prepared to see the sunrise and make the most of your afternoon nap!

Best Backpacker Destinations 2018 - Boutique Taghostel, Lagos, Portugal

Imagine waking up to the ocean right outside your window, feeling the warm breeze while you sip your morning coffee. Sound like paradise? Well, you should definitely check out the Boutique Taghostel’s incredible rooftop where you can have breakfast and recharge before exploring the city. Or, simply relax under the warm Portuguese sun! This hostel offers amazing activities too, such as surf lessons, kayak tours, boat trips, dolphin watching and bike rental! Life is beautiful!

Hostels in PortugalCheap flights


How many of these backpacker destinations will you be visiting in 2018? Let us know in the comments 👇

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Annabel Usher (Hostelworld)

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