It would serve all of us to be a bit more educated about the world. Very few Americans travel abroad every year–only 46 percent even have passports. (http://www.theexpeditioner.com/2010/02/17/how-many-americans-have-a-passport-2/)

Yes, the United States is a big country. Yes, it is expensive to leave the country. But if you are looking for a meaningful, beautiful, and relatively cheap way to leave the country, we may have a trip for you. Break away from your routine, learn about a world outside of your own, and get a little bit more out of life. Here are some of the best places to backpack.

  1. Thailand

free water bottle

(Photo courtesy of soarlegs.com)

Do you like Pad Thai? It costs roughly a dollar. Filled with idyllic coastlines, dazzling Buddhist temples, and a general fruitful climate certainly makes the lengthy plane ride worthwhile. However, Thailand has become a very popular tourist destination. If you are looking for a more outdoorsy than touristy vacation, head to the North. Here, you can hike through the mountainous jungle in a cooler, more remote section of the country.

  1. Albania

best hydration system

(Photo courtesy of mountainphotographer.com)

Europe is an expensive place to take a vacation, but Albania is certainly one of the cheapest countries to go. It shares the same crystal clear, lush, coastline as other countries on the Mediterranean Sea, but it is far less populated with tourists. As such, the beaches and mountains of this country are relatively unspoiled. Enjoy lamb, mutton, kebabs, pasta, and pizzas here for a fraction of the cost in Italy and Greece.

  1. Chile

water backpack

(Photo courtesy of nomadasaurus.com).

A lot of Americans head to Central or northern South America to lay around by the beach, but head further south and there is a wilderness bursting with mountains, deserts, volcanoes, and coastlines. Patagonia is relatively unexplored, though Chile is still South America’s leading adventure travel destination. The vast geographies will reward you in the trip of a lifetime, and by traveling south instead of east, adjusting to the time zone is far easier!

  1. New Zealand

best hydration system

(Photo courtesy of quantumbooks.com)

This country is best to visit for an extended period of time. If you’re taking some time off from work, recently retired, or have decided to go abroad for a semester, consider taking the 20 hour plane ride to the down-under. Although hitchhiking is common practice, the best way to travel is by car or van. Many travelers choose to buy a used van upon arrival, selling it when they leave. The road seems to be the best way to explore the untamed coasts and mountains of the country. Make sure to head to Queenstown to try out bungee jumping–this city invented it!

  1. Nepal

(Photo courtesy of absolutetravel.com)

You may not be ready to climb Everest, but that shouldn’t stop you from gazing at the snowy Himalayan peaks. Once you have adjusted to the high altitude, trek through some of the best hiking trails in the world. Or, if you are looking for something a little less intense, take a safari through the Royal Chitwa National Park or canoe on the Rapti river. How many towns have you been to that have a weekly animal sacrifice? If you’re feeling extra adventurous, head down to Kathmandu to experience the rich Buddhist culture.

To stay hydrated on your trip: