What do you most want to experience from your travels in 2019?
Trippy user Danielle, a recent graduate needed suggestions. She wrote:
I just graduated college and want to travel internationally at some point. I am going back to school in the spring for grad school so money is something I will be saving. I have been to Canada and Mexico but would love to go to Europe. Any suggestions welcome!
If you’ve yet to discover places beyond the US, Canada, and Mexico, we have the list for you.
1. Wadi Rum, Jordan
If you’ve seen “Lawrence of Arabia” starring Peter O’Toole, Alec Guinness, and Omar Sharif, you would have had a glimpse of Wadi Rum. Wadi Rum Protected Area is a 182,000 acres (74,000 hectares) desert located in southern Jordan, near the border of Saudi Arabia. It consists of towering cliffs, narrow gorges, and natural arches – a maze of monolithic rocks and desert landscape.
According to UNESCO:
Petroglyphs, inscriptions and archaeological remains in the site testify to 12,000 years of human occupation and interaction with the natural environment.
The area has several dune fields showing colors based on the source of the sand. Brick-red dunes are from the iron-rich sandstone.
You can sleep under the stars (organized by a tour company or the Bedouin camps), in tents or at luxurious and air-conditioned domed camps. I would suggest staying in one of the local camps for an authentic Bedouin experience. A must-do is to join a full-day tour of the desert on a 4X4 with a Bedouin guide.
2. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Bolivia is both inexpensive and unique. And when you visit Uyuni Salt Flat (Salar de Uyuni), the world’s largest salt flat, you’re in for a treat. This 4,050 square miles salt-filled landscape located in Bolivia’s altiplano is 12,000 feet above sea level and one of the most memorable places I have ever visited.
The only way to visit Salar de Uyuni is by joining a guided jeep tour where you’ll follow a driver (who is also the tour guide) and a cook.
3. Balkans region
Trippy user Claus recommended Balkans region for travel. He wrote:
The Balkan countries are cheap. Also cheaper than the other eastern European countries further north. Places like Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania Serbia and Macedonia, are very cheap to travel and very interesting too. They are maybe not as known as some other areas in Europe, but they are all very worth a visit and going there is way more adventurous than sitting in Prague or Venice with a million other tourists.
You’ll be pleased to discover the Balkans region if you like affordable places with plenty of bars and cafes, good food, rich culture, and history.
4. Penang, Malaysia
Murals and graffiti is fun Georgetown, Penang. A tourist hotspot, with good food!
Penang is a small island that has a beautiful mix of different geographies, beaches (Batu Feringghi), a heritage town (George Town), and hills. The plane tickets for all these destinations from KL are cheap!
The food is excellent in Penang; there was this one Dumpling place called Restoran Zim Sum – very cheap dumplings, high quality, available early in the morning to mid-afternoon.
Penang dining scene is still something of a secret held by the locals. From street foods to upscale restaurants, there is a vast variety of foods to try on the island, only a two-hour flight from Bangkok and a one-hour flight from Singapore.
5. Iguazu Falls, Brazil, and Argentina
Located on the border of Parana in Brazil and Misiones in Argentina, Iguazu Falls is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984, Iguazu Falls is unlike any of the amazing waterfalls of the world. There are 275 cataracts or waterfalls, spanning across 1.7 miles. To see the extent of the falls, you’ll need to go to the Brazilian and Argentinian side of the falls.
Iguazu Falls is twice the height and three times the width of Niagara Falls.
6. Costa Rica
Carlos from San Jose Costa Rica recommended Costa Rica. He wrote:
It’s a natural destination with lots of unique places and activities to offer! If you ever consider traveling to Central America, Costa Rica is a must on your trip plan. And of course, I would be glad to help you out with any Costa Rica travel questions if your trip to this beautiful country ever comes true. Pura Vida and enjoy this Costa Rica sunset!
If you’re wondering where to visit in Costa Rica. Here are two suggestions from Trippy users.
Your best bet is the Osa Peninsula! It’s the best place in CR hands down! The beauty is unmatched, and it’s the most biologically diverse place on earth! Get supplies in Puerto Jimenez and drive past Cabo Matapalo to some of the vacation rentals out there! Then drink, eat and enjoy being one of the only people that go to this beautiful country. And actually, see it!
You might check for Arenal, near the volcano with the same name. It is a very youth city with plenty of adventure attractions and cheap cost.
You MUST check the Tenorio Volcano National Park – Rio Celeste a one of a kind blue river! 2 hours from Arenal (car + hiking).
We only got back from Japan two weeks ago, and we’re already planning a trip again. We visited many places during our two weeks there, but I feel that it’s a country you could spend months in and only scratch the surface. I loved the culture (it’s so different to anything else I’ve experienced), and I enjoyed the food (ramen, sushi, noodles, okonomiyaki), but the best part about Japan was its lovely and considerate people. They are so polite and patient, even when we couldn’t speak their language and they didn’t understand what we were saying.
Few cultures approach food and drink like the Japanese. Careful preparation and meticulous presentation are the norms even for a regular bowl of ramen. Most restaurants in Japan specialize in one type of food. Thus you’ll find eateries serving only ramen, tempura or teriyaki.
8. Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad & Tobago are two islands, one country located in the Caribbean. This multi-ethnic country is not a hotspot for tourists looking for sand, sea, and sun. Tourists can go the most extensive and wildest Carnival in the Caribbean (in February), enjoy multi-ethnic foods and learn about steelpan (steel drums), the national instrument in Trinidad and Tobago.
Of course, you can enjoy the sand, sea, and sun as well in Trinidad and Tobago.
9. Republic of Georgia
Trippy user Fiona from Ireland recommends Georgia:
Georgia I was surprised I enjoyed it that much, but that’s the fact. Accommodating and hospitable people, delicious cuisine, stunning mountains, warm sea, and lots of things to do.
Located on the edge of the Greater Caucasus Mountains and the Black Sea, between Asia and Europe, Republic of Georgia was an essential stop in the Silk Route era. This former Soviet republic is one of the oldest places that produced wine.
10. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Trippy user AM suggested Rio de Janeiro. She wrote:
Rio de Janeiro, hands down. Stay in Lapa the party place. Whole Airbnb apartment $30 a day. Super cheap and the most fun we had-dancing drinking. We spent ten days living it up and only spent $300 we hang-glided off the mountain, did food tours, etc. A must for FUN.
The Sugarloaf Mountain, Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado, Copacabana, Santa Teresa, and Barra de Tijuca are some of my favorite places to visit in Rio de Janeiro.
11. Alentejo region, Portugal
Portugal! The entire country has something to offer, and while small, there is much to see and explore and places to hang out. Regarding food/accommodation cost, it is said to be the cheapest in Western Europe.
I would consider the Alentejo region besides Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve region. If you’re lucky, you can see cork harvesting between the beginning of June to mid-August.
12. The Baltic countries
Cathy recommended the Baltic countries:
Other regions where you can get exceptional value for money are the Baltics and Central Europe. Riga in Latvia, Vilnius in Lithuania and Tallinn in Estonia are astonishingly beautiful, amazingly historic cities with very different personalities, histories, and architectural styles. Unlike cities such as London and Paris, they also have the virtue of being a manageable size, which is less intimidating for the traveler, and means you don’t spend so much time and expense on transport. They are all worthy destinations in their own right, but also are great bases for day trips to other wonderful places – for example, from Tallinn, you can take a day trip on a ferry to Helsinki (which is otherwise an expensive destination for a budget traveler).
The Baltics include Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, is the largest and oldest surviving medieval town in northern Europe. Riga, the capital is filled with beautiful art nouveau and medieval architecture. Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, has a walled old town and is by the Baltic Sea.
13. Huacachina, Peru
Besides Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley, Lake Titicaca, and Amazon forest, there is Huacachina in Peru. Huacachina is Peru’s desert oasis surrounded by dunes, famous for sandboarding and dune buggy rides. Located about a five-hour drive from Lima, on the southwestern part of Peru, it’s a fun destination that isn’t pricey or overcrowded.
14. Western Australia
Western Australia – most visitors focus on the Eastern part of the country, from Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef down to Sydney & Melbourne. WA is huge (France could fit in it four times) and sparsely populated. You can find pristine, deserted beaches, swim with whale sharks in the Ningaloo Marine Park, sample delicious wines in Margaret River, ride camels on the beach in Broome, explore Perth and quaint Fremantle, or get into the outback and marvel at the natural beauty. It’s a shame, so few visitors make it out west – this is the real Australia.
And did you know, Qantas flies direct from London to Perth in Western Australia? It’s one of the world’s longest non-stop flights. The over seventeen-hour flight is worth it if you like nature, wine, and adventure.
I enjoyed Guatemala. Lake Atitlan and Antigua are beautiful. If you’re very adventurous, you can go North to the Highlands near Huehuetenango. Breathtaking views and the culture is more traditional than modern. Also, some of the best coffee in the world comes from there!
Mary Beth had Guatemala in mind when she wrote:
Tikal National Park is a must do. I saw Tikal before Machu Picchu. I was disappointed with Machu Pichu. Tikal spoiled me. Antigua is a beautiful colonial city. You can also go horseback riding, hike the volcanos, check out coffee farms. It is also Spanish school central, so there’s a lot of backpackers from all over the place. Could be easy to connect with other people to travel with from there. Lago de Atitlan is also gorgeous.
Per friends, Rio Dolce, Coban and Livingston to can be good places off the grid to hang out, as well as some of the small beach towns along the Pacific. Guatemala seems to have a lot of inexpensive B&Bs and places on Airbnb. There are a lot of buses to cut down on transport costs. I’d avoid taking overnight buses and make sure you are at your day’s destination before dark. There used to be a decent number of night bus robberies, that may have changed, but better safe than sorry.