Last Updated: 10/25/20 | October 25th, 2020 (Originally Posted: April 2012)
Some people travel to explore ancient historical sites, others to sample the culture or food or language of new and exciting destinations.
And, sometimes, people travel to party.
When it comes to budget backpacking, one of the most common ways travelers break the ice is over a drink. Or two. Or three.
Whether it’s at bars, clubs, lounges, beach parties, or just in small groups sitting around talking while sipping a bottle of wine, alcohol — for better or worse — is often a staple of life on the road.
If you’re looking to embrace your wild side and party hard with other travelers, here’s my thoroughly researched list. I’ve been to over one hundred countries and have drunk heavily around the world, so I know a good party when I see one!
If you are looking to party when you travel, visit one of these places:
1. Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok is a major destination for travelers. It’s where the infamous Khao San Road is located. It’s filled with travelers drinking out of alcohol filled buckets every night. They take after the locals who go out every night drinking from alcohol-filled buckets. Seriously. Stop by the ex-pat bars on a Tuesday and everyone is drinking. Then, when official bars close, everyone heads out to the after-hours clubs until 5 am. Visiting Bangkok won’t do anything good for your liver. Khao San Road, the ex-pat bars, Patpong, Thong Lor, or the new scene cocktail brewing in Chinatown – Bangkok has something for everyone.
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2. Barcelona, Spain
Any city where people eat dinner at midnight is a city that will start and go late. Barcelona is a city for night owls. The clubs here don’t get busy until about 2 am and stay packed until dawn. It’s why residents don’t even wake up before noon. Here tourists mingle with locals who all the love the nice weather and rooftop gin bars. Drink sangria until the sun rises, go on a pub crawl, get wasted at the famous Kabul hostel, and roam the Barri Gothic looking for hole in the wall pubs. The waterfront gets especially nuts on a weekend.
Related Articles on Barcelona:
- Barcelona Itinerary: How to Spend Your Time in This Incredible City
- Barcelona City Guide
- Gaudi’s Barcelona
3. Rome, Italy
Rome was a great city to party in. There are lots of bars, lots of kicking clubs, and lots of beautiful people. The pub crawl tours are a great way to meet other travelers. You often get pretty friendly and do crazy things with the people you meet. (See exhibit above!) While Romans themselves are a bit tame, the backpacker party scene here is crazy with tons and tons of bar crawls littering the city. The Spanish Steps Bar Crawl gets especially wild.
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4. Prague, Czechia
Cheap beer (and cheap flights) makes this city a major party destination for people around the world. While I didn’t encounter any of those notorious stag parties, the nightlife in this city will leave you in a haze wondering what you did last night and whose number that is on your arm. Multiple story clubs, strong cocktail bars, cheap beer halls — Prague has it all. If you want a wild hostel, stay at the Mad House.
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5. Miami, Florida
Miami is not cheap but it’s a great place for the clubbers out there. Lots of music, lots of great DJs, lots of dancing, lots of pretty people, and most importantly, lots of booze. Even on a backpacker budget, you’ll be able to find some fun. Maybe you’ll even run into a celebrity or two.
Related Articles on Miami:
- Miami Travel Guide
- My 28 Favorite Places to Visit in the U.S.
- 21 Amazing Restaurants From My Road Trip Across the United States
6. Sydney, Australia
Aussies know how to party and well, they do it really well. The hostels in Sydney organize great hostel parties to meet other travelers but if that is not your thing, you can find your own crowd at any of the clubs and bars around the area. Aussies love to party and are more than happy to welcome newcomers with a drink.
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7. Ios, Greece
Any top party list has to include a place in Greece. Ios is party central (though Corfu does give it a good run for its money). During the summer, the Greek Isles heave with people and this island heaves the most with travelers coming here to party all night so they can sleep on the beach all day. Here on Ios, travelers come with the goal getting drunk and…well, that’s about it. There are shot bars and bar crawls and bars that make you drink while playing weird games. Ios is where morals, sanity, and dignity are left on the ferry to be picked up when you get ready to leave. It’s one of the wildest places I’ve ever been.
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8. Bali (Kuta), Indonesia
Bali is a great place to get down. After a long day in the sun, all the backpackers want to do is relax and get silly on Kuta Beach. It’s a hotspot on the travel trail for a reason. The foam party is a blast (any foam party is) and, on Bali, you’ll spend your days hurting your skin in the sun and the nights hurting your liver with alcohol.
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9. Florianopolis, Brazil
This place in Brazil is a big travel destination. It’s known for its hot weather, hot bodies, and hot parties. In fact, everything is just hot here. The beaches have great night parties and there is a famous pool party run by one of the hostels.
Related Articles on Florianopolis:
10 Ko Phangan, Thailand
This island in Thailand is home to the monthly Full Moon Party which sees 20,000 people on average and goes until dawn. ’nuff said. (But if I had to say more, I would also say there’s jungle parties, half moon parties, people getting wild on the beach, going down slides, and playing tons of drinking games. It’s one of the biggest party places in the entire region.)
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These are just some of my favorite places in the world to have fun and party. Other destinations that I’d recommend are:
- Montreal, Canada
- Las Vegas, USA (duh)
- Budapest, Hungary
- Krakow, Poland
- Cancun, Mexico
- San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
- Queenstown, New Zealand
Not only are these great party destinations, but they are some of my favorite cities in the world. If you are looking to cut loose and flex your party muscles, be sure to check out these cities. They are some of the best places to party in the world!
Note: I know Ibiza is a great place to party so before everyone asks why I didn’t include it on the list here’s why: It’s pretty much club central so if you aren’t a clubber, then Ibiza isn’t a good place. Plus, I didn’t want a list loaded with just Europe and Asian destinations.
How to Travel the World on $50 a Day
My New York Times best-selling paperback guide to world travel will teach you how to master the art of travel so that you’ll get off the beaten path, save money, and have a deeper travel experience. It’s your A to Z planning guide that the BBC called the “bible for budget travelers.”
Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
- SafetyWing (best for everyone)
- Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
- Medjet (for additional evacuation coverage)
Ready to Book Your Trip?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use when I travel. They are the best in class and you can’t go wrong using them on your trip.