8 Unusual Travel Ideas for 2020

Why are Unusual Experiences critical to happiness?

The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.

Eleanor Roosevelt

Whether it is trying a new cuisine, having a discussion about a new topic, learning a new skill, or traveling to a new place, Unusual Experiences help the brain release dopamine and norepinephrine, two hormones critical to feeling good. According to Neuroscientist Dr. Michael Merzenich, known as the “father of neuroplasticity,” unusual experiences are also critical to keeping your brain healthy and vital.

Unusual experiences with a romantic partner, with your kids, with friends or on your own such as trying new things or traveling to new places, taps into feelings of self-expansion, giving us a zest for life, and making us feel good about ourselves and our power to live a good life.

Researchers David Gonzalez-Cutre, Alvaro Sicilia, Anna Sierra, Roberto Ferriz and Martin Hagger have taken the importance of unusual experiences a step further. They hypothesize that unusual experiences are so important that in fact, novelty is a basic psychological need in self-determination.

Err on the side of Novelty. Try something new!

8 Unusual Travel Ideas for you to consider for 2020

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Unusual Travel Idea #1: Search for Namibia’s Desert Adapted Animals

  • Visit Namibia’s Skeleton Coast which has miles and miles of desert and red sand dunes rolling into the Atlantic Surf. If you are lucky you will see desert-adapted lions hunt seals on the beach!
  • Take a drive in an open safari vehicle in Namibia’s dry Damaraland region and search for desert-adapted elephants.
  • Track desert-adapted rhinos on foot in Namibia’s Palmwag area.
  • Do a “Living Desert Experience” and learn about the smaller creatures that have adapted to surviving in the desert, in addition to the large mammals.
  • Enjoy the German colonial architecture of Namibia’s cities and towns and the nightlife of capital, Windhoek.

Contact Nicolette Muller at Nature Travel Namibia

Africa-Keys-Jeeps-River

Unusual Travel Idea #2: Loll in the slush on a Kenyan Safari in the rains

  • Rekindle your childhood of sloshing around in the rains, bathtub or water fountain.
  • Cross swollen rivers, adding to the adventure.
  • Enjoy off-season rates at the priciest of luxury lodges.
  • See lions, leopards, zebras, giraffes, hippos, rhinos, crocodiles, buffalo, elephants, and more.

Contact Aparajita Lyall at Africa Keys

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Unusual Travel Idea #3: Camp under the stars in wild Botswana

  • Stay in remote, exclusive campsites in Botswana’s wild where elephants may walk past your tent.
  • Have the chance to see lions, cheetahs, leopards, African wild dogs, hippos, elephants, and more, on twice-daily game drives.
  • Enjoy delicious freshly-cooked meals and sundowners under the stars and let your cares fade away.

Contact Jane Bettenay at Ulinda Safari Trails Botswana

Wild-Eye-Svalbard-Walking

Unusual Travel Idea #4: Walk the Arctic

  • See and photograph the incredible landscapes of Svalbard.
  • Photograph wildlife ranging from polar bears and walrus to seals and reindeer.
  • Enjoy a true expedition style adventure.

Contact Gerry van der Walt at Wild Eye

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Unusual Travel Idea #5: Run a marathon in historic Bruges

  • Bask in the cobblestone lanes, romantic canals and market squares of historic Bruges, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-see quintessential medieval town.
  • Run the Great Bruges Marathon or Half Marathon, winding through the Belgian countryside where locals line the path to cheer you up.
  • Revel in the post-race party where there is plenty of Brugse Zot beer and food to celebrate.
  • Tour the greatest Belgian breweries, making up for the lost calories.

Contact Dan Bergan at Finish Line Travel

Water-By-Nature-Zambezi-Rafting

Unusual Travel Idea #6: Raft the mighty Zambezi river

  • Start your adventure beneath Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
  • Camp on stunning white sand beaches in the warmth of a flickering bonfire.
  • Experience gourmet meals and spectacular sundowners.
  • View wildlife as they go about their business along the river.

Contact Hamish McMaster at WaterByNature

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Unusual Travel Idea #7: Go camping in Kyrgyzstan

  • Photograph soaring peaks, glaciers, pristine lakes, wild rivers, forests, alpine wildflowers, and expansive high pastures, as well as the Milky Way, Golden Eagles, Marco Polo sheep, the Lammergeier with its ten-foot wingspan, ibex, and marmots.
  • Make friends with herders at yurt camps in the high pastures and enjoy the vibrancy of local markets.

Contact Justin Black at Visionary Wild

Unusual Travel Idea #8: Cruise India’s holy river Ganga in a beautiful boat

  • Travel 1,000 miles from the colonial city of Kolkata to India’s holiest of cities, Varanasi.
  • If you haven’t seen Varanasi, you haven’t experienced the heartbeat of India. Among the oldest inhabited cities in the world, it is among the holiest of cities for Hindus.
  • See some of the most important Buddhist sites including Sarnath, Nalanda and Bodh Gaya.
  • Enjoy expanses of empty river teeming with bird life, not to mention the Gangeatic dolphin.

Contact Pannir Murugesu at Sayang Holidays

More Unusual Travel Ideas for 2020

Uganda offers game parks to view the Big 5 safari animals, gorilla and chimpanzee tracking, rafting on the river Nile, and more! Learn more about Unbelievable Uganda

Ditch Cabo San Lucas in Mexico and go to Loretto for kayaking and snorkeling in what Jacques Cousteau called, the “Aquarium of the World.” Learn more about the “Aquarium of the World”

High up in the Himalayan mountains, find Shangri-La in the Kingdom of Bhutan. Set among the world’s tallest mountains, find a culture, that stays largely in hiding. Learn more about Hidden Bhutan