When most of us think about planning that holiday getaway, we think about either an all inclusive or backpacking from hostel to hostel. But there are so many other ways to get “off the beaten path” of the mainstream travel industry.
From river boating in the jungle to eco tourism to sub-zero safaris, this planet we call home offers such a variety of travel experience. Here are just five out-of-the-box ideas you might want to consider for you next adventure.
Cruise Asia’s Forbidden Country
Formerly known as Burma, Myanmar’s long-ruling military dictatorships made independent travel difficult and kept the nation in cultural isolation. Myanmar thus represents a unique opportunity to experience a part of the world that is largely untouched by Western influence.
The Orient Express combines Old World luxury with local materials aboard its Irrawaddy River cruise, an unforgettable way to experience the country’s pagodas, teak forests, and mystic green mountainsides. You’ll watch the sun set over Bagan, a magnificent site featuring more than 4,000 ancient temples.
Glamour Camping in the South of France
At Mille Etoiles in Ardeche, 12 yurts sit high above a river gorge full of green forests and natural stone arches. What is a yurt, you say?
Traditionally associated with central Asia, these are bent wood-framed dwellings covered in some sort of fabric or material. They are basically tents, but here at Mille Etoiles the posh yurts are each designed with a different theme, from Papillon bamboo to French antique. It’s camping, sure, but with Provencal soaps in the bathroom and perfect croissants on the breakfast table.
Private Caribbean Hideaway
Many of us love the Caribbean, with its pristine azure seas, soft breezes, and miles of powdery white beach. It’s the crowds and tacky resorts we could do without.
Here’s a solution: rent an entire island. Surprisingly, there are many available options to do just this, from magnificent luxury villa rentals to intimate getaways such as Seagrape Cottage.
Located on Little Thatch, a 54-acre drop of sand in the British Virgin Islands, Seagrape is a red-roofed hideaway that sits all by itself in total privacy. That’s right – the whole island is yours. Explore your perfect coastline by day, and return at night to soak in your cedarwood hot tub.
A green vacation doesn’t have to mean eating raw food in an undyed hemp teepee. Some of the world’s top retreats now feature sustainable, eco-sensitive practices, allowing you to bathe in guilt-free luxury.
Try the solar powered Kapawi Ecolodge in the Ecuadorian Amazon, where a staff full of reformed headhunters from the local Achuar tribe serve gourmet fare from European-trained chefs on fine china. Built in 1993, the lodge consists of 19 traditional thatched bungalows along the river, as well as flush compost toilets and biodegradable soap.
Safari In Antarctica
For a truly original vacation, try White Desert. Accompanied by a team leader, you’ll head south from Cape Town, South Africa to the edge of Antarctica, and an exotic high-tech campsite that overlooks a frozen sea. Everything runs on solar and wind power, and you can go ice climbing, kite skiing, or simply fraternize with the local penguins. Really, how many people can say they’ve gone on an Antarctic safari?