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5 Under-the-Radar Destinations for 2020

Looking for a new place to explore in 2020? We have a few ideas.

Years ago, when I first traveled to Croatia, I was asked one question more than any other: "You are American, how did you get here?" By plane, I assured the locals who asked, but they were still incredulous. They were an Adriatic playground of the Europeans, and Americans hadn't yet started traveling in droves to Croatia's beautiful coastline.

Croatia was, at that time, and under-the-radar destination. It's exciting to explore somewhere new, a place where no one in your office can give you advice on where to stay, sleep, and adventure.

If you're looking for somewhere a bit off the map, journey to one of these often-overlooked destinations.

Oman

Photo by MT Sobek // Tour: Wonders of Oman

Oman is an under-the-radar destination in the Middle East that will surprise you with its well-preserved cultural heritage and diverse landscapes.

In Oman, you can ride camels across the Wahiba Sands after checking out the deep pools of Wadi Bani Khalid, stay in luxurious waterfront resorts along the Arabian Sea, hike the Al Hajar mountains, and tour ancient sites.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Photo by Exodus Travels // Tour: Bosnia & Beyond

Croatia gets so much attention these days that you may not have noticed the gem right next door, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Overlooking this spot would be a mistake, though. Don't be scared off by the destination's well-publicized conflict of the 1990s; this Balkan country is full of beautiful landscapes, rocky mountains, and towns that showcase its diverse history.

Head to the re-built city of Sarajevo for an intoxicating mix of eastern and western culture, then make your way to the small town of Mostar to check out the famous bridge, Stari Most, over the Neretva River. While you're in the area, pop over to the tiny country of Montenegro and see its stunning fortified town of Kotor.

Mongolia

Photo by World Expeditions // Tour: Mongolian Tavan Bogd Trek

If remoteness and adventure are what you seek, then Mongolia is your destination. It'll take a bit to get there, sure, but once you've arrived, you'll pretty much have the place to yourself. 

Make your way to Western Mongolia to experience the country's deeply-rooted nomadic culture, and to hike through the Tavan Bogd, the five highest mountains in Mongolia. If the desert is more your style, the Gobi Desert is one of the world's largest, and it's ideal for exploring by camel or by 4x4 jeep.

Canada

Photo by CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures // Tour: Classic Heli-Accessed Hiking

Set your sights north this year with a trip to Canada. Canada has some great cities to explore (Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto, to name a few), but its natural beauty is where this country shines.

In the east, explore Nova Scotia's rugged coastline or kayak through the beauty of Ontario's Thousand Islands. In Saskatchewan, hop on a floatplane to access remote fishing on McTavish Lake. Further west, British Columbia beckons with enough forests, mountains, and wild streams to delight any adventurer.

Panama

Photo by Southern Explorations // Tour: Panama Family Adventure Tour

Panama may be known for its famous canal, but there's so much more to it than that. This narrow country is the bridge between Central and South America and a short, 2.5-hour flight from Florida. 

Visit Panama for its beaches and 230-plus islands, but be sure to make your way inland, too, to explore the jungle wildlife in Chagres National Park, and the fantastic birding opportunities in Soberania National Park. While you're in-country, don't miss the chance to check out Panama's Geisha coffee, which is known as the "champagne of coffees." Be ready for a champagne-like price tag, too!

Cover photo by Alyssa Ramirez // Adventure: Hike up to Kotor Fortress

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Sara SheehyAdmin

Writer | Nomad