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9 Most Exciting, Under-explored Destinations of 2018

Here at Kaehler, we’re BIG on travel. In fact, not a day goes by when we’re not dreaming of some far-flung destination and the once-in-a-lifetime experiences we might find there. However, even urbane travelers can find themselves stuck in the tourist trap, after all, the most celebrated destinations in the world are popular for good reason. So, if you were non-plussed in Paris, bored out of your mind at Bangkok, losing the will to live in London, or simply sick of other tourists in Singapore, we might have the cure-all courtesy of our favorite travel gurus and industry experts. Read on and discover the most exciting underexplored destinations just waiting for your arrival.


“What is one amazing place or experience in one of the destinations you promote that is off the beaten track and currently underexplored?” - an industry roundup

There's nothing quite like the thrill of discovery when you are traveling. Whether navigating an awe-inspiring mountain range, losing yourself in a maze of city streets, or simply falling on an intimate and authentic restaurant after a day at the beach, it is always rewarding to take the road less traveled. However, you might be forgiven for thinking that, in today's ever-shrinking world, there's barely a corner of our planet not swimming in tourists- and let's not even mention the major cities of the world.

The good news is, for the intrepid explorers amongst us, there's still a wealth of overlooked, underexplored, or just plain forgotten places that will take you off the beaten track. This means, that with just a little effort and creative thinking, you too can explore the wonders of our world at your own pace, without falling into the typical tourist trap.

From the sleepy communes of Northern France to the desolate tundra of Iceland, through wild rainforests and volcanic islands, to lazy beachside cabins and river cruises, whatever type of vacation you are looking for, there's a lesser-known location just waiting for your arrival. So, whether you are a seasoned traveler looking for your next adventure, or you simply want to enjoy a family vacation away from the crowds, read on and discover the inside track on some truly unique experiences from a range of experts in our travel agent industry roundup.


#1 Ancient Palaces and Golden Sands in Cambodia, Southeast Asia

Rob Clabbers
Q Cruise Travel

"Asia can be a great value if you look past some of the more popular destinations. While cities like Tokyo and Hong Kong can be as pricey as the US, the standard of accommodation in Cambodia is very high and reasonably priced. For example, a night in the gorgeous Park Hyatt Siem Reap in Cambodia could be as low as $200 per night.

cambodia vietnam


Liked Laura Croft in "Tomb Raider"? Well, then you must see Angkor Wat - the largest religious monument ever built. Seeing this temple complex at sunrise is beyond belief and will stay in your memory a lifetime. In Phnom Penh, admire the spires and golden roofs of the Royal Palace complex. You may even be able to have tea with the King. The temples and pagodas are numerous.

Learning about the history of this country at times can be a bit upsetting, though: a visit to the Killing Fields will show you examples of man's cruelty to fellow human beings. Hearing about the country's dark past directly from a former inmate of an infamous prison is fascinating and informative. The beaches are wonderful too and places like Sihanoukville, with many different beaches, and the island of Koh Rong should not be missed."


#2 Breathtaking Glaciers and Northern Lights at Langjokull, Iceland

Camelot World Travel

"There are many underexplored areas!! I have visited Iceland and I think that, while it is now becoming a popular spot, it is still quite underexplored. There is so much beauty to find in Iceland, from the Geysers, waterfalls, and glaciers to the people, Northern Lights and of course the thermal spas - Iceland is a fantastic choice!

Here a photo from my snowmobile excursion to Langjokull glacier. It was magical; I stood on top of a glacier, 3 miles deep. The rock formation behind me is actually a mountain peak. Standing up there looking around there are no telephone poles, no electrical lines, just you and was a very surreal moment."



#3 Charming Barge Cruises in Northern Burgundy, France

Stephanie Sack, Barge Lady Marketing Maven
Barge Lady Cruises

"The sleepy region of Northern Burgundy in France remains under the radar, but most likely not for long due to its desirable location, regional cuisine, relaxed culture, and natural beauty. About a three-hour drive south of Paris, this region is known for its great cultural import and it is celebrated for its abundant vineyards and relaxed lifestyles.

Within this serene milieu, the 3-star, 12-passenger barge Luciole glides up and down the Canal du Nivernais, with a dedicated barge crew; including a gourmet Chef, Tour Guide, Pilot, Deckhand, and Hostesses, catering to your every need. Explore the historic, cobblestoned streets of the charming town Auxerre. Bask in beautiful vineyards and sample iconic vintages in the renowned Chablis wine region.

barge cruise northern burgundy

The Luciole is a longtime Barge Lady favorite and this family-owned barge is known for an extremely warm onboard atmosphere, delivering a classic and quintessential Burgundy barge cruise. Guests relax on the expansive deck to admire the passing panoramas, with great food and wine forming a cornerstone component of the Luciole's classic cruise experience.

On what is arguably the most naturally beautiful route, the abundant wonders of Northern Burgundy beckon for exploration, and here you will cruise past rustic lock houses, magnificent sweeping views of French landscapes, and breathtakingly grand cliffs as part of the surrounding scenery. Exhilarating bicycle rides or gentle strolls along the miles of manicured towpath will help you further immerse yourself in this enchanting part of the world.”


#4 Cultural Family River Cruises in Europe

Nicki Squittieri, Travel Agent
Legacy Travel

"Although river cruising has become more popular in the past few years - in part thanks to marketing campaigns from cruise lines such as Viking - there are many more niche experiences/itineraries offered by cruise lines that are less 'mass market' and that I don't think people are aware of. I have many clients who call to inquire about a family vacation to the Caribbean, or who want to take a family Disney cruise on a large ship. However, most don't know that Disney has paired with AMAWaterways [Adventures by Disney Rhine River Cruise] and that they can have a culturally fulfilling, educational, and amazing family vacation on a European river cruise.

Also, for clients who have been to western Europe (London, Paris, Rome) and want to explore something 'different,' eastern Europe is a phenomenal choice. Prague, Vienna, and Budapest, for example, are remarkable cities and probably not the first places someone thinks of when they are considering a trip to Europe.

Another under-explored travel experience has to be the Christmas Markets in eastern Europe which are spectacular and truly something everyone should cross of their travel bucket list!".


#5 Wild Rainforest and Remote Beaches in Ballena, Costa Rica

Matt & Sarah
Costa Rica Experts

"The Costa Ballena region is one of our favorite off the beaten track destinations. It is a great option for travelers who want to experience lush rainforest, diverse wildlife, and remote beaches while avoiding the crowds of Manuel Antonio. It's also a perfect launching point to hike the nearby national parks or go dolphin/whale watching.

Another favorite spot; the geothermal activity of Rincon de la Vieja National Park is similar to that of Yellowstone National Park. There are hiking trails leading to picturesque jungle waterfalls, bubbling mud pots, sulfur hot springs, and an active volcanic crater. The park can be experienced as a day tour for travelers in and around the Guanacaste region."



#6 Majestic Mantas and Active Volcanoes on “Big Island”, Hawaii

Patti Stevens
Travel Gallery, Inc.

"I like to travel where I can swim with the Manta Rays at night, zip line and hike through a tropical rainforest with views of magnificent waterfalls, explore lava fields, and the green sand beach. It's a great feeling to stand at the most southern point of the United States.

Exploring three National Historical Parks including Kaloko-Honokohau with its ruins of early fish ponds, petroglyphs, heiaus and beachside wildlife like the "honu" turtles swimming and basking everywhere.

My favorite place is home to the Merrie Monarch which is the largest Hula competition in the world. How about experiencing the Ironman World Championship, held in Kailua-Kona since 1978. Now, get in a saddle at Parker Ranch in Waimea and ride the backcountry like the Paniolo (cowboys) experienced years ago.

Oh, and did I forget to tell you there's an active volcano here! One of my favorite places is local, but truly is a visit to Hawaii Island formerly called "Big Island", Hawaii."


#7 Beachside Cabanas with a Butler in Castaway Cay, Bahamas

Meg Kinnerk, Owner of Mickey's Dream Vacations
Mickey's Dream Vacations

Who doesn’t dream of a little slice of paradise in the Bahamas? Well, while other travelers might schlep their way through the regular tourist trails, you can be just a bit savvier about the whole experience and enjoy luxury as you’ve never known before. Why not indulge yourself in a Disney Cruise Line Vacation and get your drinks bought directly to your lounger as the gentle waves lap at your feet. Read on and discover how.

disney cabana cay

"For Disney Cruise Line one of the most amazing things to experience is renting a cabana at Castaway Cay. You get the private cabana to yourself with your family for the entire day, your own stretch of beach and a cabana butler—AMAZING!

Here a picture I took when I did the cabana last February with my family."






#8 Luxurious Overwater Villas from Sandals, Caribbean

Mike Kerbellis
Southern Travel Agency

For many travelers, the call of the Caribbean is strong, with the crystal-clear waters and laid-back lifestyle offering a very special appeal. Sadly, long flight times can put a dampener on the experience for anyone who hates being stuck on a plane—and let’s face it, that’s all of us! What most people don’t realize, however, is that there more than 700 islands, islets, reefs, and cays in the region, and many of them are open to visitors but remain underexplored. Read on and discover how to dip your toes in the spectacular Caribbean seas while experiencing a sense of tranquility you never thought possible.

sandals overwater villas

"A lot of travelers love the luxurious overwater bungalows popular in Tahiti—but they don't love the 13+ hour plane ride it takes to get there. What they might not know is that they can now find overwater bungalows at properties much closer in the Caribbean. Within the past year, Sandals has launched beautiful overwater villas at their resorts."


#9 Awe-inspiring Atolls of Rangiroa, Fakarava, and Taha’a, French Polynesia

Engage Vacations

french polynesiaFrench Polynesia is most famous for the island of Bora Bora—a magical place full of volcanoes, blue lagoons and delicious coconuts. However, there are many other islands and atolls in the region and most of them are just as breathtaking as Bora Bora. Luckily for you, we have three suggestions that will help you make the most of this idyllic part of the world—and if you are really lucky, you might just lose yourself amongst the barrier reefs that are home to majestic sharks and rays. Read on and discover the lesser-known islands of this part of the world.

"Many people wanting to go to the South Pacific think only of Bora Bora. French Polynesia has so many great atolls to explore that are just as beautiful. A few of my favorite places that I feel are underexplored are Rangiroa, Fakarava, and Taha’a."