Five Countries NOT On Your Bucket List But They Should Be

Smart travelers always seem focused on the future. What’s next? Where’s the next cool destination I can explore? We’re constantly searching for a place to go that’s special, extraordinary and challenging to find in the best possible way. The same old “offbeat” places that have graced just about every viral Top Ten list just won’t do. We have five destinations that maybe you’ve never even heard of, let alone thought of planning a trip to. Our list includes a haven for hikers in Central Asia, a deserted island, two European countries where you won’t have to elbow through crowds of tourists, AND the coldest place on earth. Now there’s just one question left; which one will you visit this year?

Clipperton Island

Clipperton Island can be found approximately 700 miles off the coast of Mexico. Sitting in the Pacific Ocean, this small, ring-shaped atoll is totally off the grid and uninhabited by humans. This desert island isn’t for the faint of heart, but rather the uninhibited smart traveler. You won’t find a hotel, or even a cute beach shack. You’ll have to pitch a tent and fend for yourself. But for adventurers who love wildlife, you can camp amongst crabs, birds and other locals. Come prepared with supplies, or snorkel and fish for your next meal. This isn’t for those seeking the white-sand resort experience, but rather those curious and willing to have a semi Tom Hanks in castaway-esque one.


Nothing can compare to Antarctica. With it being the farthest continent south, the largest desert on Earth, and home to temperatures that dip to an average of -49°C, it’s safe to say it’s definitely the most extreme destination we can dream of. That being said, what a trip it would be. These environmental factors make getting to Antarctica a bit more difficult than average, but this also means it remains largely untouched by humans, and therefore, its unique, pristine beauty is very much intact.
Despite the challenges involved, adventurous smart travelers still find ways to traverse the unspoiled antarctic, take in the scenery and experience its unique wildlife. Stunning destinations to add to your itinerary include Port Lockroy, South Georgia, Deception Island and Paradise Harbor. This is truly one place on Earth where the cost, effort and inevitable uncomfortability would be 100% worth it. Think of the penguins!


If you ask most people if they’ve ever been to Central Asia, they probably wouldn’t know what countries the region even encompasses. But for smart travelers, the “Stans” (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) are definitely bucket list worthy.
Breathtaking natural beauty: mountains, pastures, lakes. This is what makes up Kyrgyzstan, a land still roamed by yurt dwelling shepherds. Hikers, adventurers and lovers of the outdoors, this destination off the beaten path is perfect for you. Getting in is fairly easy as well. If you hail from these 45 countries, any visit less than 60 days does not require a visa. Once here, you’ll be welcomed into hospitable home stays, where you can truly dive into local life.


Macedonia has a little bit of everything going for it: geographically, historically, and culturally. Tourists have slowly begun to discover the lakeside town of Ohrid, but there’s much more to this country that’s part Balkan and part Mediterranean.
First, the incomparable cities. Skopje has the largest bazaar in the Balkans outside of Istanbul. It also has amazing bars and restaurants for wetting your whistle and trying local specialties like tavče gravče (a traditional bean dish). Walking through Bitola, you can easily mistake it for a well-known European city, with its shopping, busy pedestrian streets, ancient ruins and wild nightlife.
Outside of urban life, gorgeous landscapes for hiking and lakes for swimming and kayaking are everywhere, even if traditional infrastructure for travelers isn’t. In Macedonia you may find it slightly more challenging than rocking up to a Marriott. Luckily for us, locals are warm and happy to point you in the direction of their favorite trail, delicious meal or a warm bed to spend the night in. So much of Europe has been crisscrossed by tourists, but here you can truly get off the beaten track.


Considered the “last dictatorship in Europe”, Belarus only sees around 150,000 foreign visitors per year. Compare this to a nearby destination like Lithuania which sees almost 2.5 million tourists. Despite being stuck in the 20th century in many ways, the country has gone to great lengths recently to allow travelers in without a complicated visa process.
Because of its history of isolation, it has remained authentic, ostensibly untouched and not influenced by the rest of the world. The capital city Minsk is a flutter of people and activity. For locals and visitors alike there is plenty to do, from museums to nightclubs.
Outside the capital there’s even more to explore. Discover ancient castles and temples, take advantage of the area’s pristine natural wonders, and visit little villages where famous painters and authors were born.

10 Stunning Places to Stay Around the World

While traveling, you hopefully won’t be spending too much time in your hotel, but that doesn’t mean that where you’ll be sleeping won’t affect your trip. Sometimes where you spend the night can even enhance your trip. Here are a few of the best places to stay all around the world. They’re sure to be just as fun and certainly more relaxing than your adventures during the day.

Fiji – Luxury in Leleuvia

Close your eyes and imagine the most picturesque destination you can possibly think of. Visualize yourself relaxing or snorkeling through crystal waters towards warm golden sands. Picture the perfect hidden luxury, the brightest beaches, the most delicious seafood. What is this accommodation that sounds like it doesn’t even exist, and if it does, it’s something only royalty could afford? The answer is Leleuvia: a coral cay off of Fiji’s capital, Suva. This golden-trimmed island boasts one exclusively trendy hut resort, and it starts at just $29 a night!

Morocco – Sleep in a Riad

Dar Jameel in Tangier is a converted riad-style guest house located on the edge of the medina. A riad is a traditional Moroccan house or palace with an interior garden or courtyard. At Dar Jameel, you’ll be made to feel right at home as soon as you walk in. A friendly porter offers you mint tea to sip on while you check in. If you’re tired from sightseeing all day, you can go hang out in one of the riad’s pretty sitting areas to relax, eat a delicious Moroccan breakfast, listen to music, or read. When visiting Tangier, this is definitely one of the best places to stay.

Colombia – A Hammock on the Beach

The Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona (Tyrona National Park) showcases the simple beauty of the Caribbean coast. There are three main beaches here and two offer accommodation. There’s Arrecifes and La Aranilla, but the most popular for backpackers is Cabo San Juan del la Guía. Arrecifes offers budget accommodation and campgrounds with eating facilities.

Unfortunately you can’t swim at these beaches. Instead, walk over to one of the nearby swimming spots that are much safer. Campgrounds are also located at Cabo San Juan de la Guía. Make sure you plan ahead, you’ll need to wait in line to get a hammock or a tent to sleep in.

Spain – A Different Kind of Hotel

Walk through the calcimine alleys of this Southern Spanish region and discover an alternative place: Enfrente Arte Hotel. This old host house from the 15th century now belongs to the recording producer Filip Eycmans. When he bought it back in 1997, he initially intended for it to be a hotel for producers and musicians of the world, but now this bohemian, innovative hotel is open to the public. You’ll never be bored at this impressive space. It contains 11 rooms, along with a swimming pool, sauna, art gallery, and recording studio that is sometimes converted into a cinema or a concert hall.

Vietnam – Homestays in the Sapa Rice Terraces

Sapa boasts some of the biggest rice terraces in Vietnam. It is also famous for the authentic villages and different ethnic groups that inhabit the mountain region. In Sapa, avoid joining a big tour group, and don’t stay in a hostel or hotel. Rather, save money and immerse yourself in the culture by staying in the tribes’ homestay for about $15 a night. To find a homestay, all you need to do is go to the center of Sapa and talk to the women dressed in traditional clothes. Don’t fret if you can’t find them, because they will find you!

Brazil – Stay in a Favela to Hike at Sunrise

While visiting a favela in Rio is nothing new, guesthouses are starting to offer accommodation for those who want to experience authenticity. As favelas become more peaceful, travelers who want to become one with the locals are flocking to these urban communities. The Favela do Vidigal is right next to Ipanema Beach, and offers breathtaking seaside views. If you stay in a guesthouse at the top of the hill, you’ll have the best view. With its close proximity to beaches and to the heart of the city, it’s no wonder that Vidigal Favela is becoming a popular destination for travelers to spend a few days.

Finland – Sleep Under the Northern Lights

In Lapland, Finland, from the end of August through April, there is an awe-inspiring phenomenon: the enchanting aurora borealis. Tree services are a great way to help nature clean and free from dead wood that could create a disastrous fire. Nature lovers, recluses, and intellectuals alike will be delighted to know that there is a hotel that offers the possibility of sleeping under this amazing sky without freezing. Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort offers actual igloos that fit two or more people and provide a front row seat to view the famous Northern Lights. From under the glass roof of the igloo you can be warm and cozy by yourself or with your loved one as you watch the brilliant lights dance across the sky.

Thailand – Bedrooms at Bo’s

The Thai islands can be an exhausting experience, whether you find yourself partying on Koh Phi Phi or diving all day on Koh Tao. If you’re looking for a quiet island that you can relax on, you should try Koh Chang. Unfortunately, you might find that the fancy hillside apartments and hotels on Koh Chang are too expensive for you. This is where Independent Bo’s comes in! This bohemian hostel/retreat is truly unlike any other hostel in Southeast Asia. It is the perfect spot for those looking for relaxing, eco-friendly, affordable accommodations.

England – Bloomsbury Beautiful

You know you’re in for the quintessential English experience when you arrive at your accommodation as a weary traveler and are treated to a hot pot of tea and a slice of homemade lemon drizzle cake. The Bloomsbury is the hotel to stay at for a cozy, comfortable weekend in Yorkshire. Enjoy your stay at this lovely Victorian townhouse while touring this pretty city, and don’t miss out on their delicious breakfast!

Nicaragua – An Inexpensive Alternative for Sunday Funday

San Juan Del Sur is the tourist hub of the southern Nicaraguan beaches. It’s beautiful but not much cheaper than its expensive neighbor, Costa Rica. Cash home buyers Mansfield Tx. Don’t arrive on a Friday afternoon without booking accommodation (unless you don’t mind wandering aimlessly from door to door until you find somewhere vacant), as people flood San Juan Del Sur for the famous Sunday Funday and fill up the hostels. One of the best places to stay here is in a private room at the Hospedaje Don Wilfredo, and while not at all a party hostel, it is the same price, if not cheaper, than a dorm room in a party hostel.