With COVID-19 making many of us nervous about traveling to popular places, you might be on the lookout for some crowd-free travel destinations to visit instead. Thankfully, many bucket list destinations around the globe have nearby neighbors which are just as fascinating and equally, if not more, picturesque.
Vacationing in countries or regions with far fewer visitors not only puts you at less risk, but it can also be a much more pleasant experience all round. Instead of lining up to get photos of monuments or missing out due to reduced capacities, why not go somewhere where you can have it all to yourself? Traveling to lesser-known locations also gives you a chance to connect with the locals and even witness certain cultural practices which you might never see at a tourist hotspot.
If you’re seeking an authentic experience, but want to avoid large crowds, let us show you our favorite destinations and places to stay which are a little off the beaten path.
Instead of Angkor Wat, venture to Borobudur
Cambodia’s Angkor Wat Archaeological Site is not only the eighth wonder of the world, but also a destination on many people’s travel wishlists! Its popularity does however make it a challenge for COVID-19 safe travel.
If you’re still hoping to soak up vistas of incredible ancient ruins surrounded by lush jungle, Borobudur in Indonesia is a worthy alternative. The 9th-century Buddhist temple is situated in Central Java and sandwiched between two dramatic volcano peaks.
As well as exploring the sacred temple – the largest of its kind in the world – at your own pace, trips to Borobudur give you access to miles of tranquil jungle scenery and various other ancient sites. Just like Angkor Wat, you’ll find one of the best times to see Borobudur is at dawn. Let our team organize a sunrise excursion, for a guaranteed crowd-free travel moment.
Swap the Taj Mahal with an overnight stay in a grand palace
The magnificent UNESCO Taj Mahal in Agra is another of the world’s wonders and a must-see at some point during your lifetime! If you’d rather delay your visit until it’s safer to travel to hotspots again, there is an easy compromise.
India is brimming with beautiful palaces featuring extraordinary architecture and intriguing histories. What’s more, many of them allow you to you stay overnight! Take a look at some of the best heritage hotels in India which are housed in some truly stunning buildings.
Slumber in the romantic waterside Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur or admire the unusual Venetian decor and luxurious marble finishes at Taj Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad. There’s also the option of booking a stay at Taj Rambagh Palace, a splendid complex that was formerly the seat of the Maharajahs of Jaipur.
Crowd-free travel in the Grand Canyon? Book a helicopter ride over the South Rim
With its arid scenery and sheer drops, the Grand Canyon National Park ranks as one of the most visited locations in the USA. In fact, over 5 million people from around the world visit each year – a figure that may seem overwhelming.
If you’re still dreaming of seeing the canyon up close this year though, there is a way to soak up its magnificence without having to battle the crowds. Instead of heading for the ever-popular South Rim on a road trip, why not treat yourself to a helicopter ride.
You’ll take off from a nearby city such as Las Vegas and glide your way through the canyon, enjoying uninterrupted vistas out your window. Some operators even give you the option of landing on the floor of the canyon, so you can step outside and snap some breathtaking photos.
Soak up the Tuscan sun outside of Florence
If a vacation in sun-soaked Tuscany is your dream, you might want to go off the beaten path instead of staying in busy Florence. The Italian region’s principal city is filled with beautiful architecture, great restaurants and several heritage sites, namely its glorious Duomo. Nevertheless, all those must-see sights can make it difficult for crowd-free travel.
A fantastic alternative is to stay beyond the city limits within the stunning Tuscan countryside. The area is full of vineyards, many of which feature properties you can stay in. Spend your days admiring lush landscapes, savoring mouth-watering Tuscan cuisine and lapping up la dulce vida in Italy at a slower pace.
Explore Vietnam’s Lan Ha Bay instead of busy Ha Long Bay
UNESCO World Heritage Ha Long Bay, with its iconic limestone isles and verdant peaks, is easily one of the most visited spots in Vietnam. However, if you’d rather not push through crowds to see its beaches and swimming holes, plan your crowd-free travel to Lan Ha Bay.
Found just south of Ha Long, Lan Ha Bay is a lesser known locale, but easily as picturesque. It lies east of Cat Ba Island, making it a great base for diving, snorkeling and climbing trips. It’s also home to hundreds of limestone islands that plunge straight into the crystal-clear sea. Lan Ha Bay is, put simply, Ha Long Bay’s quieter neighbor and a brilliant destination for COVID-19 safe travel.
Conquer the Salkantay Trek or Lares Trail in place of the Inca Trail in Peru
Another destination that’s high up on many people’s travel bucket lists is Peru. Specifically, its Inca Trail which winds its way up the Andean Mountains and through vibrant cloud forest all the way to the legendary Machu Picchu.
Nevertheless, the Inca Trail’s fame also makes it busy, especially during the prime walking season between May and September. Luckily, there are two other trekking routes you can take to Machu Picchu that are equally as spectacular yet much quieter: the Salkantay Trek and the Lares Trail.
Both alternative hiking routes start and end in Cusco and pass through a diverse range of scenery. Walk in the shadow of the snow-capped Humantay Mountains, take in the glittering shores of Humantay Lake and warm up in the thermal springs of Cocalmayo. You’ll also get to interact with friendly locals along the way, learning about Peruvian culture and ways of life.
Pass up Croatia’s Plitvice Lakes for Crowd-Free Travel Spot Krka National Park
Croatia is a hotspot for sunny vacations, plus it’s where you’ll find the very photogenic Plitvice Lakes National Park. Tucked away on the country’s border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, the reserve is one of the top attractions in the country and great for hiking.
While many choose to flock to Plitvice Lakes, there is another oasis in Croatia where you can enjoy peaceful surroundings without having to share the views with too many of your fellow travelers. Krka National Park lies 95 miles south near Split and it is equally worthy of a visit if you love immersing yourself in the great outdoors.
Similar to Plitvice yet smaller in size, Krka features a string of tumbling waterfalls and a series of epic hiking trails which pass through gorgeous gorges. The region is also home to several intriguing heritage sites. This includes ruined castles, the remains of some Roman catacombs and the magical 14th century Krka Monastery, which perches on an island within Lake Viskovac.
Miss Milford Sound in New Zealand in favor of Doubtful Sound
Milford Sound sits at the bottom of the South Island within the Fiordland National Park and it’s universally popular for camping, hiking and sailing trips. Mitre Peak lies at its heart and gives way to lush rainforest, while the sound itself is the natural habitat of many species of marine mammal. Despite all that beauty, it can become a busy destination at certain times of the year. For a crowd-free travel vacation in the New Zealand countryside, why not forgo Milford Sound and visit Doubtful Sound instead?
Despite its name, there’s no doubt that it’s a lovely location. Larger in size than Milford Sound yet less popular, Doubtful Sound is made up of sheer cliffs, thick forest and a huge body of water that houses seals, penguins and even whales! It’s best visited on a guided tour, which will take you across the deep sound to various scenic spots along its shoreline.
Talk to our experts to create an authentic, personalized and COVID-19 safe journey that allows you to discover hidden gems far from any crowds.