10 Off The Beaten Path Destinations For 2019
Happy New Year guys! I’m happy that this clickbait title sucked you in. For those of you looking to take a walk on the wild side, here are 10 destination ideas for those of you wanting to go off the beaten path in 2019.
Pakistan is wild, diverse, massive, and gorgeous. Home to some of the highest mountains on earth, including K2 in the northern region of Gilgit-Baltistan, some of the friendliest people around, beautiful mosques, temples, and architecture. Pakistan has experienced a sharp downfall in tourism in the last few years due to its not-so-great reputation in western media. Pakistan is trying to pick up the pieces and hold its head high. In fact, so many domestic tourists from all over Pakistan I met in 2018 while traveling in Gilgit-Baltistan were over the moon to see a foreign tourist. Whipping out smartphones to get a selfie with me, asking what made me decide to visit Pakistan, welcoming me to all corners of the country and telling me that Pakistan is a wonderful place and that it upsets them over what has happened in the country in the past and that they hate that there’s a stigma placed on the people in the country.
With precautions and good forward planning traveling multi-faceted and diverse Pakistan is possible and rewarding.
Wanna travel Northern Pakistan? Read The Gilgit-Balitstan Travel Guide
Oman actually made my Off The Beaten Track 2018 list also (a few others from this list did as well). But why Oman?
Oman is a great intro for any first-timer in the Middle East in my opinion. Tourist infrastructure isn’t completely lined out, but travel can be cheap if willing to DIY and camp. Most of all, especially for this region (and for this list), it’s incredibly safe. Friendly Omanis, empty beaches, wild sand dunes, rugged mountains, deep wadis and epic stargazing await you in Oman.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that my home state made the list right?
A lot of people say they want to visit Alaska. Do they? Not always.
With countless glaciers to explore, massive state & national parks, abundant wildlife, dazzling auroras overhead, and more, Alaska is likely the most epic place left to visit without leaving the USA. I’ve written countless posts about Alaska, from itineraries, road trip ideas, travel guides, how-to’s, and more to help others travel here (and I still have heaps more I haven’t covered). For those not so keen to go at it on their own check out these Alaska tours on offer here.
Need help planning your trip to Alaska? Read the Ultimate Alaska Travel Guide
Yes, I’m qualified to use the word ‘ultimate’ in the title, I was born, raised, and currently live here
Wanna do it on a budget? Travel Alaska On A Budget
Tajikistan is the country I’ve spent the most time in (amounting to several months at this point), it’s like a second home to me. Until I visited Tajikistan I was aimlessly traveling all over the world, but that all changed when I stepped foot in Dushanbe on that first late summer day. It was like I found what I was (unknowingly) looking for all along. I’ve found that region of the world I’ll be happy to visit time and time again from here on out, and Tajikistan is the epicenter of it. Not everyone likes this country, many in my opinion on bigger Central Asian itineraries axe it from the list or don’t give it the time it needs to be truly appreciated. For those that truly love wild mountain landscapes, rattling road trips, diverse cultures and some of the most remote places in the world, Tajikistan will be that hidden gem that keeps you coming back year after year. I’ve written extensively on my travels in Tajikistan, and will continue to do so with every trip. In 2018 I finally got to co-lead a small group on an expedition in the Eastern Pamir, to share a part of the world I love.
Need help planning your first trip? Check out my Tajikistan Travel Guide
The Galapagos of the Arabian Sea and the most alien-looking place on Earth are just a couple of nicknames the island of Socotra has gained over the years. It’s an unusual place with countless species of endemic flora and fauna, unique culture, and some of the most amazing experiences you’ll ever have traveling. The only problem is that Socotra has been nearly impossible to reach in the last few years due to the ongoing war raging in the mainland of Yemen. But after hours of situating and sorting, we’ve arranged for an upcoming trip to Socotra in 2020. Find out more on Inertia Network.
Snow-capped peaks, fascinating history, delicious cuisine, gorgeous architecture, and epic trekking await you in pint-sized Armenia. I was wowed from the moment I crossed the border from Georgia as I made my way to the capital of Yerevan. Another factor in why travel in Armenia is that much sweeter– it’s cheap. I couldn’t believe how little money I ended up spending while traveling in Armenia. And for those of you that have a fascination with separatist regions and breakaway territories– the only possible way to accessing Nagorno-Karabakh (more recently renamed the Republic of Artsakh) is from Armenia. For those wanting to visit Artsakh, check out this 3 Day Nagorno-Karabakh Road Trip. For those of you not willing to travel independently, check out these tours in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh on offer
Armenia on your mind? Read the Armenia Travel Guide to start planning your trip
I know what you’re thinking… why on earth would anyone suggest Afghanistan on a list like this?
Afghanistan made this list in 2018 as well (much to the dismay of some lady who felt the need to message that it shouldn’t be albeit never having been there). This list isn’t for everyone and there are countless cookie cutter lists out there for you Debra (I don’t think her actual name was Debra, but you can see what I’m getting at here).
Afghanistan isn’t a place for the inexperienced traveler. There are huge risks involved and you do have to be willing to accept them, however there are ways to visit Afghanistan that greatly reduce these odds against you. For those wanting a remote expedition and the ability to say they’ve been to Afghanistan with the least risk possible head to the Afghan Wakhan Corridor. It’s rugged and wild, but the area has remained pretty much untouched as far as extremism and terrorists are concerned. If you are seriously considering visiting the Wakhan Corridor I recommend contacting Malang Darya’s company Wakhan Adventure/Big & Little Pamir to help you make arrangements.
Other parts of Afghanistan are possible to visit as well. In 2018 I was able to visit Kabul, Bamyan, Band e Amir, Mazar e Sharif, Old Balkh, Takht e Rustam, Herat, and the Panjshir Valley without any problems. This is a much dicier trip than the above mentioned Wakhan Corridor, but it is a world away and to me more than warranted a second visit to see more of the country. For a great guide who is a stickler on security and can arrange an unforgettable trip contact Noor, the owner of Let’s Be Friends Afghanistan.
Wanna go to Afghanistan? Read my Afghanistan Travel Guide
Once a favorite, always a favorite. I first landed in Moldova in 2012 after having wanted to visit this mysterious country since I was in high school. What happened on that first trip? I made heaps of Moldovan friends, drank wonderful wines, partied with diplomats in Chisinau, ate copious amounts of Moldovan foods, learned to use marshrutkas and butchered lots of sentences at my first attempts at the Russian language (Moldovan/Romanian is the official language, but Russian is still widely understood thanks to its Soviet Union past).
But why Moldova? It’s one of the least visited places in Europe, making it not too stuffy even in the peak of summer. All the glorious wines, including some fantastic underground wine cellars like those of Cricova and Milesti Mici. Fascinating cave monasteries like those of Orhieul Vechi. Epic Soviet architecture (or is it just me that has such a soft spot for Soviet architecture?). Oh… and epic lavender fields that rival those in France in beauty, but without the hoards of tourists. Then let’s not forget about the separatist region of Transnistria, with it’s own currency and quite a few curious locals that met me on the streets of Tiraspol and soon after were giving me a grand tour of the city.
Learn more about Moldova in my Moldova Travel Guide
Meet Transnistria: The Transnistria Travel Guide
Before I visited Dominican Republic in 2018, all I knew of it was Punta Cana. What I found once on the ground was that it’s a country exploding with culture, flavor and epic landscapes. I was invited by the ministry of tourism to explore some of the island, and walked away still wanting to see more. DR is a perfect blend letting you relax on the beach, eat delicious local dishes, warm & friendly locals and vibrant culture.
Bar Naples and the Amalfi Coast, much Italy’s southern regions of Calabria, Basilicata, and Puglia are not common stops on many foreign tourist’s Italy itineraries. After spending a bit of time in this part of Italy I can’t seem to understand why. The people more passionate, the food has more spice, stunning beaches, and rugged coastlines and so many historic sites and ruins to explore. Italy’s dirty south is worth road tripping around to squeeze in random stops along the way that you may not make while traveling by train. For those wanting to delve even further south, you can take your car by ferry to Sicily and explore the island, or travel by ferry or flight to Italy’s southernmost island of Lampedusa.
Check out the Southern Italy Road Trip Itinerary
Read the Lampedusa Travel Guide