One of my resolutions this year is to leave the country. I know that I could easily accomplish that with a quick little jaunt up to Canada, but I'm craving some serious adventure (no offense, Canada, I still think you're great). Now thanks to this recent Reddit thread, detailing under-the-radar travel destinations, I've already started planning my epic 2016 world tour. The only thing left is, like, finding the money for it. Ha ha, snooze, am I right?
A recent thread on AskReddit posed the question, "World travellers, what under the radar destination would you recommend?" Since the post was tagged with the "Serious" tag, we can only assume that the intention behind this question was very serious, and therefore only serious answers for this serious question need apply. Which, honestly, I understand; without the tag, I would not put it past Reddit to turn the thread into a gallery of poop jokes. Stranger things have happened.
I was especially excited to stumble upon this thread at this particular time because, in case you guys haven't noticed, plane tickets are super cheap right now. Like, I still can't afford them, but I can almost afford them. If I eat ramen for the next three months, I can afford them.
Here are seven under-the-radar travel destinations to put on your bucket list right now, plus a little additional research of my own. Check out more over at AskReddit.
1. Western Sichuan, China
Several Redditors noted that if you want a Tibetan cultural experience without actually dealing with the political climate of Tibet, where independent travel is currently not an option, then Western Sichuan, home to more than a dozen Tibetan tribes, is your best bet.
Historically, Western Sichuan was known as Kham, a grouping of Tibetan states with their own fiercely individualistic culture. Khampas have maintained their identity for thousands of years, against a backdrop of rolling mountains and broad grasslands.
Tasmania is an island state of Australia, separated from the rest of the continent by the Bass Strait. Over 45 percent of the state is comprised of reserves, national parks, and World Heritage sites. Though historically Tasmania was the sight of Aboriginal genocide and housed a penal colony for the British Empire (yeah, not a great history), its reputation today is one of immense natural beauty.
If you're looking for some seriously remote and seriously breathtaking hiking time, Tasmania is where it's at. You might even see a Tasmanian Devil. Please take 100,000 pictures if you do.
3. Wadi Rum, Jordan
A "wadi" is a valley or a ravine that is dry except for the rainy season. Wadi Rum is the largest wadi in Jordan. It's also known as The Valley of the Moon. Honestly, it looks like one of those places that quite literally takes your breath away. I don't know if I've ever seen anything like it.
Access to Wadi Rum is, understandably, pretty tightly controlled. The area is mostly inhabited by Bedouin communities, who have developed a successful eco-tourism business.
4. The Balkans
So, Hungary is not part of The Balkans. Just so you know that I know that. The Balkans include Romania, Bulgaria, Armenia, and Bosnia, an area that is finally starting to heal following years of conflict and is now an fascinating mix of old world culture, Communist architecture, and contemporary... whatever it is that we do right now. Plus, it's affordable.
5. Krakow, Poland
Honestly, this Redditor just did my job for me, I am totally sold on Poland. When can we leave? Let's go. Right now.
6. Patagonia, Chile
Ask any of my friends — this is the place I've been wanting to go for years. Years. "Those who hurry waste their time" is a Patagonian expression that I love. I want to visit the place that spawned it. Chile stretches from glacial fields to the driest desert in the world, features world-renowned wine, volcanoes, the Andes — like, it sounds made-up, but it's not. It doesn't get much more magnificent than that.
7. Puerto Rico
"Maddy, Puerto Rico is not under the radar nor it is technically 'out of the country.'" I KNOW THAT. But it's still under the radar in terms of trips you can maybe actually afford that will bring you out of your comfort zone and into a different cultural experience. Rain forests, waterfalls, stunning beaches, coffee farms — yes, please. Take me now.
Head on over to AskReddit for more travel ideas.