Backpacking in the USA
The USA has always been a popular destination for holidays for a number of reasons.
Firstly it has many major international airports – which means heaps of deals, flight times and flight routes.
Secondly is the fact it’s a western culture, so with that comes all the comforts of home – from fast food restaurants to shopping malls.
But the US is also becoming increasingly popular with backpackers these days too.
Rise in Backpacking
With the global recession every penny now counts when planning a trip and with flights to end US still on the cheaper end of things many people choose it as a stand lane trip – be it 2 weeks or 2 months.
It also fits in nicely with a RTW trip as either a start or finish destination. Some people begin here due to western comforts easing them into backpacking life, whilst others choose a shorter stint at the end, simply as a last minute splurge in the money department for shopping or a lazy couple of weeks to make the most of those final moments of gap year freedom.
The varied ways in which to get around this vast country also make it very appealing. Some choose to explore it via Campervan, with road trips such as LA to San Fran along the Californian coast or into Vegas and the grand canyon being the staple start to any west coast stint.
And then of course there’s the infamous Route 66 connecting both coast…start in the laid back vibe of the Californian beach life and finishing in the glitzy glam of the big apple – or the other way around depending on your taste!
If you’re shorter on time though internal flights within the USA are pretty cheap and it’s easy to bounce around a few major cities without destroying your budget, booking in advance will always get you the best deal though, so have a slight plan in place!
Vast and Varied
In a continent as massive as the US there’s pretty much something for everyone, which is one of the major appeals of the country.
Those seeking sun and glamour can head to Miami, where skyscrapers line the beach, tanned bodies fill the sand and the nights life oozes sophistication.
If adventure is more your scene then heading to the Grand Canyon or some of the many national parks throughout the west coast provide heaps of outdoor fun – from rock climbing to world class white water rafting.
Party people are spoilt for choice – from the glitz of the Big Apple and the live music scene of LA through to extravagant Hollywood parties.
A lot more backpackers are choosing to ditch the iconic cities in favour of adventure though – with backpacking away from the coastal areas on the rise. Here you can sample a completely different side of America, from cowboy ranches to deep south cooking festivals – not all of America resembles the ore packaged holiday brochures you may stereotype it with.
Work and Play
With so much to see and do through the country it’s no wonder that many people are opting to work and study in the US these days.
Organisations such as Camp America are a great way to have an extended stay and earn some money too, and are proving more and more popular each year.
BUNAC also offers a unique working visa for those looking to study abroad and work on the side, a great way to travel and study at the same time.
Many non English speakers are also opting to study English in the USA – a change of pace from classroom learning and a great way to boost your understanding of the language, again a great way to start a trip and extend your travels for a bit longer.
For me I think the USA is much under rated when it comes to travel. Too easily is it dismissed as a 2 week holiday spot for families.
What it lacks in long term history it more than compensates for with an abundance of different lifestyles, even in a country as developed as America it’s possible to get off the beaten track and have a truly unique and memorable experience.