Have you ever had someone show you their travel photos? Of course you have. And what’s the one big takeaway almost every single time: I’ve seen this before.
More often than not, people all travel in very similar ways. Everyone thinks their experience in Las Vegas or on a Caribbean cruise will be incredible. And, sure, they may have a nice time. But it will likely overlap rather closely with some of the same stories you’ve heard firsthand from others who have experienced it.
Instead, why not try something new? The best part of traveling is expanding your horizons, and these days it isn’t that difficult to find something off the beaten path or a bit more challenging. If you find yourself struggling for inspiration, however, look no farther than the following three unique travel options to get you out of your comfort zone.
1. Be Adventurous
There have been more and more reports over the past year of places like Mount Everest being mobbed with adventure-seeking millionaires. This not only degrades the outing for everyone but can make traversing the highest peak in the world quite a dangerous proposition. So that may be a “unique” experience to avoid. But you don’t have to go climb the world’s highest mountain to push your limits. One of the best ways to travel is picking a specific activity and basing the trip around that.
For example, hiking in a place like Peru is a fantastic option. There is everything from 10-day circuit treks to a few hours walking through the easily accessible Andean mountains. Many areas even offer horseback rides for those who want to see the splendor but lack the endurance. Others may prefer adventuring through caves or swimming in the famed “cenotes” of Mexico’s Yucatan region. Or, maybe you’d enjoy zip lining through Costa Rican jungle, partaking in surf lessons on the Colombian coast, or sandboarding down dunes in Brazil.
Some of these may sound scary. That’s fine! Not everything is for everyone. But the idea is to figure out where you typically set the line for adventure in your day-to-day life — and then cross it. Don’t go crazy, but do get active and challenge yourself.
2. Northward Bound
When getting a week or two off work, the first thing most people think of is fun in the sun. It’s understandable, and a beach vacation can be great to unwind and do nothing. But it can also get old fast and cause you to miss out on one of the most invigorating aspects of time away: fulfillment. This isn’t to say you need to run a marathon in your down time, but a whole week vegging out doesn’t offer much in the way of unique experiences. We’ve all been there, done that.
This is one reason more and more people are starting to look for the best Alaska cruise, a unique travel idea that works great for solo, couple or group trips. The luxury of the voyage offers the same benefits in terms of having a stress-free experience and being easy on you physically. But the mental stimulation and pure wow factor are off the charts.
Rather than getting home on a Sunday and shaking the sand out of your shoes as you wonder where the week went, you will return invigorated and fulfilled. Seeing glaciers, wildlife and the pure scale of the Alaskan frontier will be one of the most amazing experiences of your life. You’ll gain a new appreciation for the world — and come back ready to take it on.
3. Go It Alone
A lot of people go their whole life without going on vacation alone. Some find it strange and expect the experience to be awkward. Others have families or relationship situations that make it seem impossible. Can I really go off to Yosemite National Park while my wife and kids toil away back home?
Obviously, you need to make sure your loved ones are supportive with the idea. But especially for people who just haven’t considered a solo trip, it can be an eye-opening experience. Travel is about exploration, and some aspect of that should be emotional and spiritual. You can learn a lot about who you are when you are in the special mindset that only comes from traveling.
Whether it’s just for a long weekend or a long trip overseas, you might be amazed that these experiences are so open, freeing and rewarding. As a side benefit, this is also a way for couples with kids to actually get out of town on a reasonable budget. One big barrier to travel is having to buy five plane tickets — plus everything else — on experiences the 3-year-old won’t even remember.
Instead, let mom get away by herself on the cheap while dad holds down the fort. Then, six months later, reverse roles. It not only serves as a great solo trip, but also allows you to return home with a renewed appreciation for home life.
A Life Less Ordinary
We all get stuck in the same routines and mentalities from time to time. But travel is one of the best ways to break out of these funks. And it’s all the better if you use your vacation days on unique experiences rather than just doing the same ol’, same ol’ year after year.
If you want to do something new and captivating, try an activity that is physically and emotionally adventurous. Consider going north on the best Alaska cruise rather than always defaulting to the beach. And, if money is tight or you just want to mix in some self-exploration, take a trip by yourself.
Dreams are never supposed to be ordinary. Your travel shouldn’t be either. It’s time to get out there and start finding some unique experiences that you’ll remember forever.