Living in a world over-saturated with information, travelers can sometimes feel like there is nowhere new to discover. Don’t lose faith though; most people still tend to follow the crowds and head to well known destinations which, let's face it, are often spoiled by over-tourism. Take these places as inspiration and start planning your next trip to somewhere far from any beaten paths.
Whilst it may be small and unassuming on the world map, Georgia has plenty to keep travelers busy. A rich mix of European and west Asian cultures, dramatic mountains and Black Sea coast are attracting those in the know. This post-Soviet country blends the traditional with modern in everything from architecture to food, and Tbilisi is quietly one of the most happening capitals in Europe, with a club scene often compared to Berlin. Georgians love to eat and are known for their warm hospitality - the good news is the food here is delicious. With influences from the Mediterranean, Turkey and the Middle East, fresh ingredients like walnuts and pomegranates are whipped up into mouth watering dishes. And you’ll never be far away from a friendly toast with the local moonshine Chacha, so make sure to pack some aspirin.
Central America packs a lot of different countries into a relatively small space and some are more overlooked than others. Costa Rica tends to get most of the shine time and while its tropical beaches are a major draw, if you want to take a step off that well worn path look no further than its southerly neighbor. Let other people be put off by the famous canal and strike out beyond Panama City where you’ll find a paradise of remote islands, breathtaking beaches and hazy tropical sunsets. To really get away from people, hop on a sailing trip to the San Blas archipelago, a string of nearly 400 islands mostly unnamed and uninhabited. For company you can grab a snorkel and spend time with the local sharks, stingrays, and dolphins as you travel to the next deserted isle.
Little known Cape Verde is a group of 10 tropical islands off the coast of Senegal with a troubled Colonial past and a vibrant, multicultural present. When the Portuguese set out to build an empire they started here, colonizing the then uninhabited islands and setting up the first European settlement in the tropics. From this murky history has sprung a rich and passionate island nation, with a strong sense of identity best showcased in their diverse, spicy food, and the famous Morna music, a mix of Portuguese fado and Caribbean flavored rhythms that will provide the perfect soundtrack to your trip.
If you are considering Southeast Asia, ignore the pull of Thailand and Indonesia and discover this overlooked island off the east coast of China. Often voted as one of the world’s friendliest cultures, the Taiwanese haven’t experienced tourist burnout and will welcome you with warm smiles and delicious food. With nine national parks this small but fascinating island invites adventure. More and more cyclists are being drawn to its steep mountain roads and there is a burgeoning surf scene too. Taiwan doesn’t disappoint on the street food front either - in the capital Taipei alone you’ll find over 100 night markets stuffed full of some of the most exciting food in Asia. There are the usual hot bowls of noodles, umami filled dumplings, and crispy fried chicken but if you really want to step off the culinary beaten track, take your pick from local delights including stinky tofu, frogspawn or pig’s blood rice cake.
Smart travellers are bypassing Italy and Croatia and heading to this small country on the Adriatic Sea. It has been described as a Balkan culture with a Mediterranean energy and the beaches here are some of the most stunning in Europe, just without the crowds. There is plenty of entertainment to be found along the coast, from swanky ports catering to wealthy Russians to quiet bays where you can eat grilled fish and drink local wine for much less than typical Mediterranean prices. For a country that takes only three hours to drive across there is so much to do here - head inland to the mountains and take a white water trip down Tara River Canyon, one of the deepest river canyons in Europe.
As the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia, Laos is often passed over by travelers on their way to the more popular destinations. Lucky for us that means this wild, stunning country is still relatively undisturbed by tourism and still maintains some of the free, undiscovered vibes of the old hippie backpacker days. Settlements in Laos evolved around the mighty Mekong River, where various river cruises provide a great way to travel between sights as the river snakes down the country. One of these should be Luang Prabang, a beautiful city famous for its Buddhist temples, sitting on a peninsula surrounded by limestone mountains. If you’d rather stop moving completely head south and while away your days in the backpacker haven of Don Det Island, where hostels on stilts are strung with hammocks to catch the sunset.