Backpacking Across the United Kingdom

By: Andy Burrows

An excellent road and rail network and a highly eclectic selection of landscapes and scenery combine with good accommodation infrastructure to provide idyllic conditions for pursuing a nomadic lifestyle.

The Youth Hostel Association (YHA) of England and Wales is the most established organisation offering backpacker accommodation in the UK. More than 200 establishments are operated under its watchful eye, all offering a minimum standard of accommodation as well as assistance in local sightseeing plans and travel arrangements. Privately owned and operated hostels are also common and can be found across the length of the nation.

Compared with hostels in some EU countries, those in the UK may seem a little on the expensive side. Relative to overnight accommodation prices within the nation however, they are cheap. Standards vary but most offer rooms and facilities that are functional and clean at the very least. Single, twin, double and triple rooms as well as dorms and family rooms are invariably available at most hostels, ensuring travellers of all kinds are catered for.

Of all the viable backpacker routes and destinations in the UK, Wales and its coastal regions offer some of the most ideal holiday conditions. With a wealth of private establishments and more than 40 YHA operated hostels across Wales, as well as some lovely local scenery and interesting visitor sites, it's not difficult to see why Wales has become a favourite with travellers. Towns such as Conway, Bangor, Brecon, Newport and Anglesey offer YHA hostels and are among the more popular backpacker destinations.

While the YHA network does not extend to Scotland, this should not preclude backpackers from holidaying here. Independent accommodation options are plentiful and can be found in some of the country's most scenic towns and cities. You'll find hostel choices in the likes of Armadale and Ullapool in the northwest, Aviemore and Loch Ness in the northeast, Glasgow and Kendoon in the southwest and Melrose and Edinburgh in the southeast.

The nature of backpacking means there are inherent risks to both the well-being of the traveller and his/her personal possessions. Most travellers enjoy a holiday without incident and this is due largely to common sense and taking sensible measures to reduce risks. By taking precautions, you can minimise the effects of any unfortunate episodes.

While holiday insurance is unable to protect you against mishaps, it is a useful measure which can soften the blow in the event of accident, illness or theft. A comprehensive travel insurance policy will provide you with an essential safety net, meaning you can rest easy on your travels. Knowing that medical expenses will be taken care of and that cash and valuable items are covered, you can set about the business of really enjoying your holiday.

A variety of companies specialise in holiday insurance, but few tailor their policies specifically to meet the needs of those undertaking backpacking holidays. For an insurance policy designed specifically with backpackers in mind, visit travel-insurance-discounts.com

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