3 Off-the-Beaten-Path Travel Destinations You Must See

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We all have our wish list of places in the world that we want to see sooner rather than later and most of us also operate on a time and money budget. So these three destinations may not rank high on your list of places to visit, but we want to tell you why they are highly ranked on our list of memories.

1. Luang Prabang, Laos

For most people who are venturing into Southeast Asia for the first time, the allure of tasting Vietnamese food from its origin, wandering the temples of Cambodia and taking in the Thai Islands overrides a trip to their quieter neighbor, Laos. But in many ways the country’s subtlety is its beauty.

Imagine cruising down the Mekong on a family’s long boat for two days with no internet and no other connection to the outside world. Taking in the beautiful surrounding, watching the hot sun shimmer on the water, laughing with the family’s 5-year-old daughter, meditating, dreaming, reflecting.

After two days of travel down the river we arrived in Luang Prabang at the confluence of the Mekong River and the Nam Khan. This city is known for its Buddhist monks and morning alms ritual as well as natural wonders outside the city, including some amazing jungle and waterfalls.

It’s a special place that offers a unique cultural experience and chance to connect with yourself and others. The greatest moment was sharing a spontaneous meal with locals even though we didn’t know more than two words in each other’s language. Some things are universally understood.

2. Medellín, Colombia

Travelers who venture to Colombia often stop in the Caribbean city of Cartagena. While Cartagena’s beaches and old city are certainly worth checking out (if you can handle the street vendors) but we preferred Medellín, which is a really wonderful city to explore. Artist Fernando Botero’s work is prominently displayed in the Museo de Antioquia and the plaza out front. The streets close off to auto traffic on Sundays so everyone can bike, run or stroll. And the cityscape is fantastic.

Also, everything was super affordable. We reserved a gorgeous boutique hotel room with amazing city views and had several delicious 5-star meals for a fraction of the price at home in Washington, D.C.

We wish we had more time to explore the parks. If we could do it over, we would have spent 4 or 5 nights instead of 3.

3. Playa El Tunco, El Salvador

We love Central America so much that we visit at least once a year. It’s a quick trip from the U.S., and we frequently find airfare and accommodations for cheaper than what we could book for a domestic trip.

So after we’d traveled once to each country in Central America except for El Salvador, we vowed to go there before we revisited the rest. We were concerned about safety, political climate and other unfortunate elements that keep El Salvador off the travelers’ path, but we did our research and felt perfectly safe going to El Tunco Beach, which is an hour’s drive from the airport. And we’re so glad we did! This was just a long weekend trip but we enjoyed the beach, the food, our accommodations, and of course, meeting the Salvadoran people.

Also, the sunsets were some of the best we’ve ever seen anywhere in the world.

Our Spanish got a lot better that weekend, as we needed to use it and the Salvadorans were really patient with us and helped us improve 🙂

After that first trip, we can’t wait to go back and see more. Of course, there’s always danger anywhere in the world, and you have to be careful. But doing research, reading blogs and watching YouTube travel vlogs can help make for a better trip with tips and lessons from fellow travelers. This has given us some ideas for our next trips! And this is why we want to share our experiences with you.

Next stop: Back to Honduras

What are your favorite lesser-traveled destinations? Tell us in the comments.

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