It is an annual phenomenon. Every year starting in spring and peaking in summer, hundreds of active and adventurous people grow huge, brightly-colored humps on their backs. It is backpacking season. Armed with maps, hiking boots, journals, and a few weeks worth of clothes, they hit the roads in Europe, North America, and all over the globe with an eye for fun, making friends, learning, and exploring. One of the best and least expensive means to transport themselves from place to place is the trusty bus, and many bus touring companies aim their routes and itineraries directly at this market of active adventurers.

There are a whole host of options for the adventurous traveler who doesnt mind sharing bus space with fellow sweaty tramps. Several small bus touring companies cruise the roads of Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, often with convenient hop-on, hop-off passes that are especially attractive for budget-minded easygoing travelers. By no means do you have to be in the college or post-college aged crowd to bus around with one of these companies. But you should have the right attitude to enjoy such an experience a certain sense of irreverence and adventure, along with an easygoing manner helps a lot. If you fit into this category of character, you will meet many friendly kindred spirits during your journeys on and off the bus.

These passes are usually very flexible in terms of allowing travelers to get off and get on the bus when they please, but the territories they cover are often not very extensive. For the most part, you can see all of the major cities, tourist attractions, and other popular backpacker destinations. If you are planning on going a bit off the backpacker path, your bus pass will likely not take you. (If youre planning on going way, way off the beaten path, for that matter, no public transportation will take you.)

Check out our awesome resources and information on tours with the various backpacker companies…

aradbul3 Australia
Oz Experience, Adventure Tours
aradbul3 Canada
Moose Travel, True North Tours
aradbul3 Europe
aradbul3 Great Britain & Ireland
Contiki, Shamrocker Tours, Haggis, Radical Travel
aradbul3 Mexico
Mex Bus
aradbul3 New Zealand
Kiwi ExperienceMagic BusesStray
aradbul3 South Africa
Baz Bus
aradbul3 USA
ContikiGreen Tortoise, TrekAmerica