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20 Best-Kept Travel Destinations Revealed!

by LaurettaCWright
best-kept travel secrets and destinations

If you're anything like me when you go away, you'll relish the opportunity to discover the ‘real' destination – the one they don't always show you in pretty brochures or travel agency shop fronts. 

I've never been one to ‘fly and flop', instead I want to meet the locals and, as much as possible, experience what they do – from the stores they shop at to the restaurants and cafes they eat at – and of course, where they go at the weekend for some downtime.

This is local tourism at its finest – and there's no better way to get to know a destination than by getting in with the locals.

Plus when I explore a destination, I want to show my kids that this great big world that we live in really exists outside of their screen-obsessed bubbles that they wrap themselves in.

There were huge lessons learned when I took my kids on a South African rural tour to spend the day with kids who had absolutely nothing.

And they've had their senses heightened and thrills galore taking part in activities such as shark cage diving, Big 5 safaris and theme park thrill rides.

And they love it of course. So VIP and I continue to choose different destinations for our family holidays every time we go away. There is so much to see – and so little time to see it.

I'm hoping that they'll have the opportunity to go RTW-backpacking (as we did) before settling down with jobs and responsibilities.

And whatever I can do to instil that sense of adventure in them, I have made my mission to do so.

best-kept travel secrets and destinations

On a rural tour with the kids in South Africa

Brits are getting braver

And it appears that my family isn't one of few yearning to tread the path less trodden – and find the best-kept travel secrets and destinations to explore!

According to a study by Kuoni, eight in ten wander-lusting Brits are interesting in escaping the usual tourist traps on their next holiday.

A significant number of those questioned said that they want to take in destinations that none of their friends have been to before.

It seems like people are increasingly looking to carve their own travel experience – me included. I like nothing more than telling friends and family the little-known places we've discovered when we visit a new destination.

That's why we always look to hiring a car when we go on holiday – it allows for spontaneity, and that's part of the thrill in finding new places that only the locals know about, isn't it?

We also try to befriend some of the locals to ask for their advice – and this is where VIP comes in as being particularly handy to be with.

His multi-lingual skills have many a time lead to great experiences and making new friends on our holidays – whoever said learning a language at school was a waste of time?!

Operators and hoteliers have also cottoned onto the fact that people are seeking best-kept travel secrets and destinations – and will offer tours or promote lesser-known attractions to their customers.

For example, when I was on a Mark Warner press trip to the island of Corsica last year, the San Lucianu Resort recommended a lengthy walk to a beautiful waterfall.

Experiencing one of the best-kept travel secrets and destinations

Enjoying the pool at the bottom of the ‘secret waterfall' on a press trip

We all went of course and it was stunning – no one was there for a while and then we were joined by some locals teens who decided to do back flips off the cliffs into the water below.

It was great to watch, but I was praying none of them would get hurt (that's the mother in me!)

One of the most common reasons given as to why people seek out hidden holiday gems was the sense of seclusion and the feeling that you're experiencing it all for yourself.

In fact, this is an important factor for many people, with holidaymakers willing to pay an average of £300 extra on their holidays, if it included an unforgettable secret sight.

I'm guessing that this revived wanderlust is largely in part to changes in our busy lifestyles including

  • The influence of picture perfect destinations on social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter.
  • Film tourism fuelling Brits' desire to travel – evident by the number of tourist offices reporting an influx of tourists following the launch of a movie that was filmed in the destination.
  • The rise of cruising, with unique itineraries and smaller ships/river cruises reaching lesser known destinations.

And while visitors numbers to destinations and attractions such as Egypt's Pyramids, The Great Wall of China, India's Taj Mahal and The Grand Canyon, show no signs of dwindling, there's a new breed of travellers who are increasingly seeking to live like the locals and venture deeper.

Apparently, just 1% of the UK has heard of Indonesia’s Gili Meno Island, selected by the operator due to its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters.

While its neighbouring island Gili Trawangan is now a hotspot for backpackers, the island of Gili Meno remains firmly off the beaten track.

And a minuscule 0.1% of Brits are aware of the tranquil garden complex of Mehtab Bagh, on the banks of the Yamuna River in India, just behind the Taj Mahal.

20 of the best-kept travel destinations

  1. Views of the Taj Mahal from Mehtab Bagh, India
  2. The island of Gili Meno, Indonesia
  3. El Nido Pangulasian Island, Philippines
  4. Jaffna, north Sri Lanka
  5. Con Dao Island, Vietnam
  6. The hike between OIA and Imerovigli, Santorini, Greece
  7. The island of Bequia, the Grenadines
  8. Tirimbina Rainforest Reserve, Costa Rica
  9. The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, Virginia, USA
  10. Salar de Uyuni (Uyuni Salt Flats), Bolivia
  11. The town of Matera in the Basilicata region of Italy
  12. The koalas of Kennet River on the Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia
  13. Farewell Spit, New Zealand
  14. Bukchon Village in Seoul, South Korea
  15. Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
  16. Omodos Village, Cyprus
  17. KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa
  18. Yaxchilan, the ancient Mayan city in the state of Chiapas, Mexico
  19. Margaret River, Western Australia
  20. Zebra migration in Botswana

I've personally ticked off numbers 12, 16, 17 and 19, but I've got plans to tick off many more including some that I devised myself (now on the bucket list!)

What's your best-kept travel secret or destination?

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A Pin For your Travel Board

If you're an #adventure #traveller who is always on the look out for the best-kept #travel secrets and destinations here's 20 of the best!


James Travis 22nd October 2018 - 11:11 pm

Really good list. Definitely consider visiting some of these

LaurettaCWright 23rd October 2018 - 4:04 pm

Thanks James – glad that I inspired!

Mutlu 13th October 2018 - 2:01 pm

hello, it is a very good list. I havent heard most of the attractions but I think Salar de Uyuni and Lake Atitlan are already very popular, particularly Salar De Uyuni.

LaurettaCWright 14th October 2018 - 6:35 am

Thanks – and yes, you’re right ….there are so many other places and destinations that people choose to see. Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat isn’t it? I could go to see that as I don’t think anything bad as such has happened there – but do correct me if I’m wrong!

sarah morris 12th October 2018 - 3:36 pm

Some interesting destinations! Definitely need to add a few of those to my bucket list!

LaurettaCWright 14th October 2018 - 6:38 am

Thanks Sarah – so much to see & do & not enough time, right? Now, if I won the lotto….the kids could be educated ‘on the road’ and we’d get to travel all the time – it would be epic I’m sure!

Kara 8th October 2018 - 5:28 pm

I am ashamed to say I have not heard of any of these – will have to look them up

LaurettaCWright 14th October 2018 - 6:50 am

It’s fascinating once you start reading about them Kara – prepare to lose yourself to the web for a good hour!

kerry 7th October 2018 - 10:58 pm

Ohhhh I love this Lauretta. I have pinned it as part of my travel wishlist. We did explore a lot of Thailand when we were there,totally off the beaten track sometimes, and also the Australia outback. I seem to have an ever growing wish list of destinations!

LaurettaCWright 14th October 2018 - 6:52 am

Ah thanks Kerry! You’re a girl after my own heart with the exploration of destinations, but I draw the line at some of the dark tourism destinations…there are some crazy places out there!

Kelly E Hirst 7th October 2018 - 2:00 pm

Some interesting destinations- I’m personally interested in finding out more about Yaxchilan, the ancient Mayan city in the state of Chiapas, Mexico

LaurettaCWright 9th October 2018 - 9:51 am

Wow – that sounds really interesting. Plus I’d just like to see Mexico anyway!

Musings of a tired mummy...zzz... 6th October 2018 - 8:03 pm

I completely agree: whenever we go anywhere we want to explore as much as possible and be immersed in the local culture

LaurettaCWright 14th October 2018 - 6:53 am

It’s a great educator for the kids as well isn’t it Laura? Talking of going away (and it raining as I type this!) I’m going to start looking at places to escape to!

Curious and Geeks 6th October 2018 - 1:46 pm

I love staying with locals instead of hotels during our travels! They are often so welcoming and always ready to share about their countries and lives.
I would love to take my kids to a safari in Namibia but from your list I think Costa Rica would be number 1 on our bucket list!

LaurettaCWright 9th October 2018 - 9:53 am

Totally agree – it’s lovely to meet locals and appreciate their hospitality – most of them are always so welcoming and happy that we choose to spend our holidays in their country – it’s lovely to be part of that – and it’s something you just wouldn’t see if you stayed in a hotel and sat around sunbathing all day!

Laura - Dear Bear and Beany 5th October 2018 - 10:33 am

What a wonderful bucket list of places. It would be amazing if you managed to tick them all off!

LaurettaCWright 5th October 2018 - 11:00 am

Wouldn’t it Laura? I doubt that will happen of course, but it’s nice to see what other people found were the best-kept travel destinations.

Regina Walters 5th October 2018 - 9:57 am

I would love to personally witness the Zebra Migration in Botswana.

LaurettaCWright 5th October 2018 - 1:31 pm

That’s a great one Regina – that would be awesome of course! I wonder if there are videos on YouTube to get you closer to the action?!

Newcastle Family Life 5th October 2018 - 9:51 am

My brother works in travel and gets to travel a lot for work, he’s just returned from Abu Dhabi and hearing his adventures always makes me want to travel more. He plans customised trips for people travelling outside of Europe for Hays and he is so busy lately with families planning more adventurous trips rather than package holidays via a travel agent x

LaurettaCWright 5th October 2018 - 10:02 am

Yes I bet! Increasing numbers of families are becoming more adventurous (due largely by their parents wanting to explore further). Sounds like a great job!


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