This unusual holidays guide takes you on a journey of eclectic adventures, one of which is guaranteed to wow you into doing something different.
Unusual holiday destinations guide
Every year we hear about a new and undiscovered destination, tipped to be the next big thing to see before it’s spoiled when everyone else goes. The problem with this kind of tourism is that many countries, newly arrived on the travel scene, are unable to manage the sudden influx of visitors, leading to problems with overtourism.
One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.
– Henry Miller
The kind of unusual destinations we like to explore challenge our preconceptions of places and leave us wanting to know more. It’s less about the latest travel trend and more about seeing another side of countries often underrated or misunderstood. Travel with a local guide and you’ll gain an insight into local cultures, stay in family homes or traditional camps, or get an expert explanation of the wonderful native wildlife. So go against the flow of footsteps and discover somewhere really off the radar. These aren’t your average bucket list destinations; these are countries for the curious traveller.
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What does an unusual destination holiday look like?
Small group holidaysUnusual destinations are often misunderstood, if known about at all, and travelling with a local, knowledgeable guide is often the best way to uncover the area’s secrets and start up conversation in the communities. Groups are kept small to guarantee interaction with your guides, who will be keen to share their insights and in depth understanding of the culture and geography. It also means you’re more likely to meet other travellers with similar interests, similarly intrigued by an unconventional choice of holiday. Most tours will be focused on outdoor or cultural activities, such as a culture and festival holiday in Bhutan or a walking and wildlife holiday in Romania, so it’s good to know you’ll be with like-minded people. Keeping things small allows you to be accommodated by locally owned guest houses, or to stay in traditional tribal camps, and get around remote areas or wilderness without disturbing the wildlife.
Tailor made holidaysTailor made holidays offer you the opportunity to make the most of your time in an unusual destination you’re likely to only ever visit once, like Oman or Colombia. Whether you want to spend more time in one place than another, do something different or stay a little longer, your tour can be tailored to suit, or you can even drive yourself.
Self drive holidays offer you the freedom of the open road, but with the indispensible local knowledge that means you know where to stop and how long each journey will take, taking you along the more scenic routes while also ensuring you don’t spend too much time on the road. In short, they do the hard work for you. They’re great for exploring friendly destinations like Tasmania, where you get to stay in small and unique, locally owned B&Bs that may only be accessible by car but can’t cater to larger tour groups. They’re also tailor made, so many of the sights and stays will be so far off the beaten track you’re unlikely to find them in a typical tourist brochure, and you’ve always got the security of 24-hour assistance.
Family holidaysYou may be surprised, but some unusual destinations can be brilliant places to take the kids. Borneo, and much of Malaysia, is made for family holidays, featuring child-friendly resorts and fascinating furry creatures. Adventure loving little ones can join shorter walks – specially tailored for shorter legs – and experience the spectacular scenery of Bhutan. Georgia and Armenia will amaze junior history buffs, while you can wear them out with everything from kayaking to horse riding. Oman offers camel trekking and wadi bashing (4x4 drives through dried up riverbeds) – but long bumpy roads aren’t best for kids (or anyone) who get car sick. Romania is a living fairytale of castles, spooky stories and bears, while travelling in Tasmania is made easy with the flexibility of a self drive tour and very kid-friendly food.
Some destinations are more appropriate for older teens, often due to altitude, weather, or the type of activities on offer. Madagascar is not well-suited to young kids due to risk of stomach upsets, bug bites, long and arduous roads and hot weather and, for this reason, many tour companies don't accommodate them. Older, active teens (aged 14 onwards), on the other hand, will have a fantastic time kayaking, camping, hiking and spotting fluffy lemurs.
More about Unusual destinations
When it comes to unusual destinations, you have a world of choice. To help guide you in the right direction, here are our top 10 unusual destinations – try one for your next holiday.
Unusual destinations are often too hot or humid in summer but, if you’re restricted by the school holidays, you’ll be pleased to know there are some that boast beautiful, quiet beaches.