The world's easiest countries to travel through

Some countries just get it. They like tourists; they want to have them visit. So they do everything in their power to make it easy for people to holiday there.

It doesn't necessarily mean they're the best destinations in the world – there's something to be said for taking the time to discover a place that doesn't really care if you're there or not.

But if you're after a trouble-free holiday, or are just new to this whole travel caper and are looking to ease yourself in, then these are the countries you want to be heading to.

(This is the first in a two-part series. Next week: the world's hardest countries to travel through. Send your suggestions to me via email.)

United Kingdom
Let's get the obvious one out of the way early. They speak English, for starters (even the Scots, apparently). Plus, everything in Britain is ridiculously close together, the public transport system is reliable (although not cheap), and the whole country is politically stable. It's a breeze.

New Zealand
The Kiwis are onto it. They know tourism is a major industry for them, and they do it properly. Like Britain, it's a small country that's easy to drive around and see all of the sights (and if you get lost in NZ, there's something seriously wrong). Plus, friendlier people you will not meet.

Hong Kong
If you want to go to China, but you're a bit freaked out about going to China, Honkers should be your first port of call. Westernised enough to make it easy to travel around, yet Chinese enough to make it interesting, it's a great gateway city to the East.

I remember hesitantly approaching the ticket counter at Munich train station: "Sprechen sie Englisch?" The guy laughed. "Of course!" Germany is clean, safe, beautiful, and a piece of cake to get around. Even if you can't work out the simple Deutsche Bahn train system for yourself, someone will be around to help you.

Most Dutch people speak better English than I do, which is both mildly annoying and very impressive. The country's tiny – people commute daily from the Hague to Amsterdam – and it's the sort of place where you'll never feel threatened. You'll feel short, yes; but never threatened.


OK, so it's not as easy as, say, New Zealand, but if you're after a hit of South-East Asia and want to do it with relative ease, Malaysia is the place to head. Kuala Lumpur, in particular, feels a bit like Asia Lite – all the good stuff (food, shopping, culture), with few of the difficulties.

It's a huge country, which doesn't make Canada the easiest to get from A to B, but the real ease of travel here is how friendly everyone is. All you have to do to get help is pull out a map and look slightly confused – people will fight for the chance to point you in the right direction.

If your idea of "easy" is "inexpensive", then Denmark's not the place for you. However, if your idea of easy is a clean, orderly, safe place where English is widely spoken, accommodation is comfortable and transport is simple, then Denmark should be on your list.

Which countries do you think are the easiest to travel through?

Hope you're enjoying the Backpacker blog – there will be a new one published every Tuesday and Wednesday on the Fairfax Media websites. To contact me with any topic suggestions or personal abuse, visit my website, follow me on Twitter, or email me at