10 Off the Beaten Path Destinations for 2021

Updated February 2021, 10 Off The Beaten Path Destinations was originally written in December 2019

I’ve been at this for a few years now, so since 2021 is in full swing I figured I’d share my top 10 off the beaten path destinations for 2021.

Valley of Castles, Valley of Castles Charyn Canyon, Valley of Castles Kazakhstan, Charyn Canyon, Charyn, Kazakhstan canyon, Sharyn Canyon, Kazakhstan


2019 took me back to Kazakhstan, and really all that trip did was make me want to return several more times to explore more of what the Central Asia nation has to offer.

Of the post-Soviet ‘stans, Kazakhstan does have decent infrastructure and plenty of sites within the country to visit.

Start planning: check out all my posts on Kazakhstan here

Gomi Felaw, Choman, Iraqi Kurdistan

Iraqi Kurdistan

In 2019 I spent a couple of months traveling overland from Afghanistan to Iraqi Kurdistan. Needless to say, my exit point from the region didn’t disappoint.

With epic mountain ranges, hospitable culture, and an adventure in every direction Iraqi Kurdistan should top the list of plenty of adventure travelers. But it doesn’t. Despite being under the control of its own regional government and being several years beyond Saddam Hussein’s horrific atrocities carried out against the Kurdish people, Iraqi Kurdistan gets a hard pass from many travelers.

Wanna go to Iraqi Kurdistan? Check out my Quick Guide To Iraqi Kurdistan Travel

middle east travel guide, Wadi Dirhur, Firmin Forest, Dixam Plateau, Dixam dragons, Socotra, Socotra Island, Yemen, Socotra Archipelago, Dragon Blood Tree, Dracaena Cinnabari, Yemen travel


Socotra is once again opening back up to tourism. The ecological gem of the Arabian Sea is a little-visited paradise, however, getting there still is no easy feat. But those who persist and make it to Socotra will be greatly rewarded.

With a lot of efforts and arrangements, I’m excited to be offering two small group trips to Socotra Island in March 2021.

The first departure will include visits to the highlights of Socotra plus a camel trekking trip through the Haggier Mountains. The second departure will take us to explore the outlying islands of the Socotra Archipelago of Abd al Kuri, Samha, and Darsa, as well as a trek across the Haggiers and Noged Plateau back on the main island of Socotra. The second departure offers an option 5 day Mainland Yemen Expedition add-on.

Start planning your own trip: The Socotra Travel Guide

Hormuz Island, Hormuz, Iran, Salt Mountain, Salt Mountain Hormuz


I finally visited Iran for the first time in 2019, after having wanted to visit for several years and I can honestly say I was still very blown away. Even after my travels in Tajikistan, Pakistan, and many other extremely hospitable countries, Iran still wowed.

But Iran gets a bad rap in the media, and I’m not saying that the country does not have issues, however, it’s worth noting that just as many of us don’t necessarily agree with our own country’s government, many Iranians hate the regime there. What I’m getting at is, it’s not as dangerous as many people think it is, so long as you’re not a complete moron and break obvious laws (you know, like that idiotic blogging couple that got locked up for flying a drone).

That said Iran isn’t somewhere that US, UK, and Canadian passport holders can travel independently, so you’ll need to book a tour or private guide well in advance. But if you hold a passport from most other western countries, traveling to Iran on your own is a breeze, especially with the visa on arrival on offer for those flying into the country.

Start planning your own trip here: Iran Itinerary For Independent Travelers

Bolshoi Allo, Fann Mountains, Tajikistan


Surprise, surprise… Tajikistan made the list again. Despite having traveled there numerous times, I still find new places to visit, new mountains, new friends, and new adventures.

If you love the outdoors, mountainous sceneries, and multi-day hikes, Tajikistan is screaming your name. But even if these aren’t your thing, you’ll surely find something you’ll like about Tajikistan.

Everything you need to know about traveling Tajikistan: The Tajikistan Travel Guide

Adventures of Nicole, Adventures of Lil Nicki, Pyramids of Giza, Giza Pyramids, Khafre, Khafre Pyramid, Sphynx, Sphinx, Giza, Cairo, Egypt


Egypt was a place I fantasized about as a kid. The pyramids, deserts, the Nile. But that fascination faded as the years went by and it honestly was nowhere on my to-visit list.

Well, owing to the fact that I was headed back to Socotra, and Cairo happens to be where that once per week flight originates, I finally spent a little time in Egypt. Needless to say, it didn’t disappoint and it’s a country that I look forward to spending a lot more time in.

Check out my Cairo travel guide and don’t miss out on the Dahshur Pyramids south of Cairo for an off the beaten path experience

Copacabana, Bolivia, Lake Titicaca, South America


Bolivia has gained a lot of popularity among backpackers in the last few years, but the country still offers a wealth of off the beaten path destinations and epic trekking potential that will have you feeling like you’ve got a bit of it to yourself.

Check out my posts on Bolivia for more ideas

Puku, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia, Africa


If hanging on the edge of one of the world’s largest waterfalls and trekking deep into the bush to view wildlife is your kind of thing, then Zambia might be the perfect place for your next trip. I visited Zambia as part of an overland trip, the first time I visited the African continent and it was an easy favorite.

Check out my post about South Luangwa National Park

Snowbird-Bomber Hike, Hatcher Pass, Alaska


Alaska is massive, so getting off the beaten path in the last frontier is actually not too difficult a task. With epic road trips, over 100,000 glaciers, and countless hikes from day trips to several days in length, Alaska has something to fit the interests of just about any adventure traveler.

Wanna see Alaska without spending too much? Read Travel Alaska on a Budget


Serbia gets skipped over on many travelers’ European itineraries, but Serbia does have a lot to offer. In the cities, you can expect vibrant nightlife and delicious food, but get outside and you’ll stumble into beautiful nature and hidden monasteries.

Looking for more off the beaten path travel in 2021?

Check out more of my off the beaten path blog posts below

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