Backpacking conjures up images of trekking across the Himalayas, riding an elephant through the jungle, staying in hostels and enjoying affordable beer.
However, a recent survey commissioned by Bought By Many suggests that many backpackers are now choosing to make the most of what the UK has to offer for long-term travel, with Scotland proving to be one of the most popular value destinations for British backpackers.
Backpacking was classed as any travel over two weeks and 22 per cent of respondents said five to eight weeks was their ideal trip length.
New Zealand is the destination of choice for people on an unlimited budget (21 per cent of respondents), and it’s no surprise, being home to some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world. Other favourite destinations are the USA (16 per cent), Australia (12 per cent) and South America (13 per cent)
But for value destinations, the more typical backpacker havens of Thailand (17 per cent) and India (16 per cent) were pipped to the post by Scotland. Nearly a quarter of respondents (24 per cent) identified Scotland as their top choice if they were on a budget.
Backpacking is associated with low-cost travel; so having easy and affordable access to historic cities and the raw beauty of its rugged landscape and serene beaches makes Scotland a popular choice for those suffering from wanderlust.
For those who travelled to Scotland, the most popular destination was Edinburgh, with 45 per cent visiting the historical capital. Glasgow is also a tourist hotspot with 20 per cent of respondents having visited.
It’s not just Scotland’s cities that are a draw, the stunning scenery of Skye, Aviemore, Loch Lomand and the Isle of Arran all cropped up in the survey and 23 per cent of respondents described the country as “very beautiful”.
Sam Gilbert from Bought By Many says: “One of Scotland’s many advantages as a destination is that you won’t need backpacker travel insurance to cover medical expenses. However, buying travel insurance for a trip to Scotland could still cover cancellation costs – for example, if heavy snowfall delayed you hiking the West Highland Way and you missed the Caledonian Sleeper.”