Don’t get us wrong - we love people. We just love them in small doses, like chatting to the people in the coffee shop queue, the lads on the next door pool table, those in the “social smoking” area of whatever bar our alpha mate convinced us was the place to be (NB: smoking is bad) and the couple sat next to us on a short-haul flight. We’re just not the biggest fans of other humans when it comes to holidaying because - let’s be honest - there’s nothing worse than being surrounded by a waddle of people, all stood shoulder-to-shoulder like penguins huddling for warmth.
The trick is to discover a primo travel destination at just the right time - right before the Kardashians klan are photographed enjoying their latest family holiday, followed by swarms of tourists that are going to suck the photogenic lifeblood out of it - otherwise you’ll find yourself overpaying for cheap beer, visiting all the overhyped touristy spots, checking boxes you’re not that fussed about because that’s what everyone else is doing, and getting agitated by all those people in the back of your Insta-stories.
You want to find a wow-factor spot that’s not quite on the radar yet. Think about Pont Des Arts before it was engulfed by padlocks, the Colosseum when it was still stable, Cuba before every price tag went up a million percent, the Bahamas before people thought it was cool to swim with bacon and Iceland before the year 2010. The point is: how cool would it be to go somewhere in time to be one of the cool kids?
To help you with this, we’ve found 8 incredibly badass spots that are destined to become popular, but you still have a chance to explore before tourists swoop in to wreck the scene:
It’s amazing how a decade of drug-fueled civil war can make millions of possible tourists head elsewhere, but that’s exactly what happened to Colombia. Thankfully, all that gunfire and violence hoopla has petered out, paving the way for spring breakers, roadtrippers, backpackers and honeymooners to call this place home for the foreseeable future. That’s why you should explore Choco. With so many other places on the Colombia hit list, we’re predicting this coastal paradise will be forgotten about (for now!), giving you the chance to taste the local culture with all your senses: the food, the powder-white beaches and the obsession with salsa. Trust us: it’s one of the most picturesque pockets of the planet; a Caribbean country with perpetually hot weather and the Pacific ocean to enjoy. What could be better? And Cartagena isn’t far away.
Johannesburg, South Africa
In a world where reputations count for almost everything, Johannesburg’s rep for being rich in guns and home to a thousand gangs hasn’t helped it become a top 10 tourist destination in anyone’s book. That’s the thing with notoriously unsafe places. But forget what you might have heard before today because Johannesburg is fast turning that unsavoury image on its head as it fast becomes one hell of an epic destination. As a city, Jozi is more vibrant than a Roy Lichtenstein print, a city where super-hip and artistic neighbourhoods tango with roarsome lion parks, a city that makes New York look perpetually city, where casinos light up the night sky and fun is almost impossible to evade. But go now, before it’s too late.
The Azores, Portugal
The stranded inhabitants of the Azores may have Portuguese passports in their bedside tables, but they belong to somewhere truly unique; a nine-island archipelago surrounded by the Atlantic ocean, over nine-hundred miles from the nearest European mainland. It’s otherworldly. A stack of magical moments, each one boasting its own distinct version of wow. From gurgling volcanoes to mountain forests, crater lakes to enchanting waterfalls, patchwork farmlands, bubbling hot springs, sexy AF cliffscapes, Instagrammable tundras and so many mythical water-creatures you’ll eyes will start to fizz like bottles of shaken-Fanta - blue sharks, sea turtles, bottlenose dolphins and pods of sperm whales. It’s one of those places you won’t believe actually exists until you scratch its surface with your own fingernails.
El Nido, Philippines
If you haven’t heard of Nacpan Beach yet, you will have in five years time because not only is it voted the best beach in Asia, it will probably be the name of Kylie’s next lipstick range and the name of Kim and Kanye’s next child. Not that we can blame them. This place is a tonic for tourist-sick eyes. White-sand beaches, secret lagoons, forests of emerald green palms and only those that are lucky enough to be in the know. But this cluster of dreamy islands isn’t just for those that are looking for somewhere to finish their summer-novels because there is one heck of an awesome city to play in. Seriously. The downtown areas of Real Street, Rizal Street, and Calle Hama will have you dancing from dusk until dawn every day you are there.
Right now, this very second, the coastline of Mazunte is uber-laid-back. Lost on the southern coast of Oaxaca, this place is a rare diamond neatly tucked off the beaten path; a place of rugged shorelines, glistening gold sands, chilled vibes, and rolling waves that only the most dedicated surfer’s know about. But it won’t be long before the sleepy fishing village vibe goes the same way as Tulum and becomes a cliche hotspot for all those to hop around the world as semi-famous-Insta-travelers. Thankfully, the coast of Mazunte, just south of Puerto Escondido, isn’t quite there yet. It probably won’t be long until this hideaway gets held aloft like a World Cup trophy for all to see, but it isn’t there yet. So pack your favourite summertime swim shorts and enjoy having this stretch of beach all to yourself.
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain
When you hear the words Gran Canaria, your mind probably hits both sides of your skull before landing on a vivid image of some fancy beach resort overrun by other human beings, which is a pretty gross image to be stuck with. But with more the 80 beaches to explore, you can be sure as sh*t there are some uncovered strips of sand and heavenly hideaways ready for you to explore and snap. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking this small pocket of planet earth is just a mass of picture-perfect beaches because barely a party popper away from its endless shores is a city full of colour and culture; a city that comes to life with music, costumes, and carnival vibes. Imagine Rio before all the tourists took over.
Santorini may get all the Instagram models, Hollywood celebrities, and Travel+Leisure journalists, but with that comes holidaymakers by the planeload - a sensation that is as overpowering as it is annoying, which is why you should head to Greece’s second-city; Thessaloniki. It’s like the more spectacular, humble and noble little brother to Athens. Yeah, on the surface, it’s a megapolis full of ancient monuments, mysterious runes, notable landmarks and jaw-dropping museums. But dig a little deeper and you’ll stumble across a myriad of bizarre moments. Train cemeteries, haunted houses, ancient brothels, and gardens of the Pasha, all of which fuel the whispers about this place being Europe’s most underrated city. Of course, all good things must come to an end, so make sure you visit this city before the last great chapter gets closed.
Da Lat, Vietnam
If there’s one thing we learned from our university days, it’s that there’s no such thing as a good nickname. We hung out with people called The Hot Mess Express, The Dalai Drama, Cheeto Von Tweeto, and Big Mac. None of them were positive. But with monikers like The Paris of Vietnam, The City of Flowers, The City of Lovers, and The City of Eternal Spring, Da Lat shatters that notion completely. It’s the exception to the rule, and it deserves all the praise it gets because, hidden high up in the Vietnamese mountains, is the most incredible highland retreat you’ve ever seen; a town surrounded by waterfalls, pine forests, and a lake so breath-snatching it made Mumma Nature shed a tear. It’s a town with a seriously cool French Colonial vibe that’s been entwined with traditional Vietnamese culture. With plenty of places to kick back and relax and spots that will make your heart race so fast you can see each thud through your linen shirt, it’s no surprise this secret spot is considered the perfect escape from bustling city life.
And there we have it.
8 lesser-known slices of the good life that you just know will feature in the next season of KUWTK; spots that are fast becoming more affordable, more accessible, more popular than the school rugby team and more intriguing than the sort of Whatsapp message that comes with an NSFW warning. But head there soon and you’ll be able to say you discovered these destinations way back when they were cool - flashing everyone the date on your ‘Gram as proof before smiling as the crowds go “whoaaaaa!” like you some sort of living legend; a relic from cooler times.Thanks for reading. For more ideas on how to embrace the endless summer, chase the horizon and keep your skin sun-kissed all year round, follow us on Instagram, Facebook and sign-up for a naughty-little newsletter below! (you’ll get a cheeky 10% off if you do).