If you are always on the lookout for a great new vacation destination that is not overrun by tourists but still offers an amazing experience, these five destinations need to be on your radar. All of these destinations, except Ghana, require no visa for Americans and all of the countries have a high level of English proficiency.
Finland – Yes, this Nordic country is a great destination! It’s easy to reach and is a mix of Scandinavian, Slavic, and Baltic cultures all rolled into one. Whether you want to brave winter temperatures to visit Santa Claus in Rovaniemi or wait until summer to explore eclectic Helsinki you won’t be disappointed. Finland has a blossoming food culture and some of the best Scandinavian designs in the region. It’s also the perfect spot for people who love to be outdoors. Finland is a member of the European Union and nearly all Finns speak perfect English.
Croatia – Do you dream about visiting Italy but are thrown off by the price tag and crush of tourists? Croatia is Italy’s neighbor on the other side of the Mediterranean. European tourists have been visiting for years but prices are still affordable (and much more affordable than Italy!) Preserved medieval cities, an amazing coastline, and amazingly well preserved historical sites can all be found in Croatia. Sure it might not have the prestige of Italy but you’ll be able to experience Croat hospitality, delicious food, and have a unique cultural experience.
Malaysia – Southeast Asia is a popular spot for a “far flung” vacation. Thailand and Vietnam are two of the most popular spots for Americans but Malaysia should be on your radar too. No matter what your vacation style is, Malaysia fits the bill. Beaches, a vibrant urban environment, deep historical and cultural roots, great food, and adventures like bungee jumping and white water rafting – what isn’t to love? Malaysia is a multicultural melting pot adding to its allure.
US Virgin Islands – This group of Caribbean islands that include St. John, St. Croix, and St. Thomas are territories of the United States but are often overlooked when considering a vacation in the region. That’s good news for you because it means less crowded beaches and more opportunities to experience local culture. It’s no surprise that the number one draw is the beaches and crystal clear waters but the islands are also home to colonial towns built by Danish colonists. They have a unique history resulting in a unique experience for today’s visitors.
Ghana – Last but not least Ghana is a great choice for the adventurous traveler wanting to experience Africa. It may cost you a bit more in airfare to reach the West African coast however, local prices are very affordable even if you are paying the “tourist” price. Ghana is not a safari destination but there are several natural parks where you can see elephants, monkeys, crocodiles and other animals in their natural environment. Handicrafts and the arts are an important part of Ghanaian culture and you’ll be treated to delicious, inexpensive meals. It’s important to keep in mind this is a developing country so many things like air conditioning, steady hot water, and flushing toilets (especially in rural areas) are not constants. Go with an open mind and flexibility to adapt!