4 Popular travel spots to avoid and where to go instead

It’s all too easy to get stuck in a travel rut. You start thinking about your annual leave and how you should spend it, where you should go, but all you can think of are the same destinations over and over. “Let’s go to Bali…” or “How about we spend a few days at a beach in Thailand?” Yea, sure, these places are great but there’s a whole WORLD out there waiting to be discovered. So, rather than just going on auto-pilot and going to the same old places, consider these destinations instead!

Instead of Koh Samui visit Koh Rong

There is no denying Thailand’s beaches are among the most beautiful in the world and Koh Samui is the quintessential Thai beach getaway. Guys, I’m not going to judge you if you got to Koh Samui, it’s gorgeous! BUT did you know Cambodia is also home to some gorgeous beaches and there are fewer people and it’s very, very cheap!

Koh Rong is an island off the Cambodian coastline that is picture-perfect, with white sandy beaches and crystal-clear water for you to enjoy. There are far fewer tourists than the main areas of Thailand and it’s very cheap, with a private beachfront bungalow costing around $30AU per night. The beachfront bungalows are by no means 5-star luxury, they are simple and magical and a chance for you to get away from all that touristy crap and get back to grass-roots travel. Away from tourist traps, you’ll find Koh Rong to be visitor-friendly, but deliciously peaceful and simple.

Places to stay:

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Instead of Queenstown visit Wanaka

When you think of visiting New Zealand, it’s hard to go past idyllic Queenstown. Drive an hour north, though, and you’ll find yourself in Wanaka. Away from the snow-bunny, tourist-heavy streets of Queenstown, you’ll find Wanaka is an absolute haven. It offers a relaxed, welcoming vibe and views of the Southern Alps that will take your breath away, as well as a range of world-class wineries to spend a day (or two). If you’re looking for an escape to New Zealand that’s a little more grown up, but no less adventurous and enjoyable, Wanaka is your spot.

I know New Zealand is one of those places you traditionally would think of for a winter break, but the locals in Wanaka rave about the summers! The days are long and you can swim in Lake Wanaka with no fear of shark attacks, sea snake bites or death by microscopic jellyfish. Seriously, Australia… wtf?

Places to stay:

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Instead of Bali visit Hoi An

One of the big appeals of visiting Bali is all the delicious food and cheap shopping. Turns out, Vietnam has also got you covered with both these things. The beautiful, soulful town of Hoi An is in central Vietnam, along the coastline, and is an interesting mix of French and Vietnamese influences. Away from over-crowded beaches and bad sunburn, you’ll find Hoi An is a peaceful place situated along the water.

Hoi An is an elegant fairytale town straight out of your dreams.  The fusion of French architecture with the simple, resourceful lifestyle of the Vietnamese people makes for beautiful streets lined with bright lights, pretty trinkets and inviting cafes and restaurants. It’s a slower pace of life, compared to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh but in no way is it less communal. Hoi An is worth visiting because the streets are beautiful and unlike anything you’ll see elsewhere and because it shows a slower, relaxed side to Vietnam. Three to four days is a good amount of time to stay in Hoi An.

The food is amazing, providing traditional Vietnamese flavours and European goodies. Local tailors custom make suits, dresses, handbags and anything else your heart desires, all at great prices. The locals here are welcoming, lovely and amazing hosts. You can’t help but relax and unwind in this serene spot. It’s also a good budget-friendly option!

Places to stay:

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Instead of Singapore visit Tokyo

A visit to Singapore will see you visit classy department stores, eat fantastic food and stay in luxurious accommodation. Tokyo offers all this, with a little Japanese flair. You’ll still find great shopping, but you’ll also discover a child-like element to the city too, with games arcades, batting cages, rabbit cafes and karaoke bars. You can feast on world-class sushi, tempura and some pretty spectacular ramen, then spend the day exploring this eclectic city, bursting with culture and history.

Tokyo retains the high-end feel of Singapore, but with a fun and carefree edge to it that makes you feel like the entire city is your playground. It’s one of those places you visit and just spend the whole time exploring, it’s hard to sit still in Tokyo, you just want to get out there and have as much fun and do as much as possible because it’s so great.

Places to stay:

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Useful travel resources for your next adventure

As always, our guides and content are completely free. If you found this post (or anything we do) useful, we’d be grateful if you considered using the affiliate links below. We’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Rest assured, these are the services we love and use ourselves. Thank you in advance for your support! Phoebe and Matt.

Agoda – our go-to site for booking hotels
Skyscanner – our go-to for booking flights
RentalCars.com – great search engine for car rentals
Motorhome Republic – our go-to site for booking RVs
Booking.com – another go-to site for booking hotels
TourRadar – great search engine for tours
Uber – our go-to transport option

Little Grey Box

I'm a writer and presenter and my husband Matt is a videographer. Together, we run Little Grey Box; an award-winning travel blog and YouTube channel.

10 thoughts on “4 Popular travel spots to avoid and where to go instead

  1. Love that you mentioned Wanaka! I’ve been to both Wanaka and Queenstown, Queenstown is great but Wanaka is so underrated. Cheers

    1. We soooo agree with you, Catherine. Best yet, they are so close so you can do both anyway 🙂

  2. WOW I just loved your way of taking the mind and heart right up to the alternate equally good destinations. Feel like visiting Tokyo and Koh Romg after going through your post.

  3. I am defo gonna check out these places. I love to travel to. It’s hard to say where my favourite places are but Lapland, Brisbane, Barcelona, Austria and Prague are just a few amazing places I have travelled to.

      1. Ooooooo I would love to go to Iceland. It’s also on my list. I would recommend Levi or ivalo in Lapland. Also a place called Menton near Nice in France, Basil in Switzerland where you can travel into Germany and the black forest. The gold coast and sunshine coast Australia and one of my ultimate favourites is the old town San Diego. X

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