In many parts of the world, you can take “backpacker buses.” These buses have elements of a packaged tour but combine the independent nature of backpacking. Backpacker buses are typically hop on/hop off again buses, meaning you get on at one place and hop off at the next stop, staying until you want to get on the bus again. They are pretty simple and passes tend to be good for one year giving you plenty of time to see whatever country you are in.
You can find backpacker buses in Canada, the US, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and South Africa. They all operate the same way. You buy a pass covering certain destinations and stops and can move in that direction. Some passes allow you to move back and forth but generally you start in place and move in one direction.
Backpacker buses are fun but they are not cheap. Even if they are offering a great deal, you will spend more money on these buses than you would by doing it yourself. These companies simply have to pay for things you as an independent travel don’t have to.
That doesn’t mean these companies should be overlooked. Many of them are quite good. It might seem odd that a book about how to travel the world includes information about how to not do it solo but I have taken plenty of backpacker buses and, while some of them are better than others, I’ve never really had a bad experience.
Backpacker buses offer many things:
- Convenience- All your transportation is taken care of and the buses always drop you off in the center and go to all major destinations.
- A few deals- Many of the buses have worked out deals with tour operators to give you slight discounts.
- Instant Friends- Don’t worry about meeting people in the hostel. You now have a group of people you can hang out with. And if you don’t like them? Simply get off the bus and wait for the next one!
If this is your first trip around the world, you are probably a little nervous. If you aren’t really comfortable traveling alone or worried what might happened, taking one of these buses might be a good stepping-stone into traveling by yourself. Moreover, in places like New Zealand and Australia’s East Coast, the backpacking scene is very much built around these buses. They are endemic and often the best and easiest way to get around, even if you don’t like the idea of a backpacker bus. They aren’t the only way to travel but often, it makes life a lot easier taking them.
The major companies are:
My guide book on world travel can help you save even more money and will give you in depth information on the costs of every place in the world with more ways to save money on before you go and during your trip. PLUS, there are discounts and coupons on accommodation, flights, transportation (including money off backpacker buses), and tours worth over $1000 USD!! That’s some serious savings!