Ditch The Bucket List: 3 Underrated Summer Travel Ideas

Summer travel. The very phrase conjures images of sun-kissed skin, lazy afternoons, and adventures waiting to be had. But for many of us, it also triggers a familiar internal struggle: “Where should we go this year?” and “What should we do?” This year, ditch the predictable summer destination hunt and instead, embrace a summer of unexpected experiences! Let’s go beyond the typical bucket list and explore some underrated summer travel ideas to truly make your summer epic.

underrated summer travel ideas

Hack #1: Underrated Summer Sabbatical – Test Drive Your Dream Life Abroad

School’s out, and that often means a significant chunk of free time during the summer months – especially for parents.  But what if we told you this break could be more than just your usual summer trip?  If you’ve been dreaming about moving abroad, the long summer could be the perfect time to explore the possibility of living abroad.  Instead of the usual two-week getaway, why not plan an extended stay in a place that’s always called to you? 

I’ve always said that before you commit to a life abroad it’s a good idea to test it out and see if it’s right for you. Your usual 2-week holiday is not long enough to know if a place is right for you.  You often end up in the tourist zones and by the time you adjust to the time zone changes, and take part in a few activities, it’s almost time to return home. However, during a 4 to 6-week stay you have more time to experience local life firsthand and search for affordable housing options for at least a month, giving you a real feel for the cost of living. You’ll be able to truly immerse yourself in daily life.  Who knows, you might just discover your new home away from home!

Planning Your Extended Stay:

Choose Your Destination

Here’s the fun part! Research countries or underrated destinations that have always intrigued you. Consider factors like climate, cost of living, and visa regulations. For example, if you crave a slower pace of life and stunning natural beauty, consider exploring countries like Bali, Indonesia or Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.

Find Your Home Base

Nomad  List is a great resource for comparing budget-friendly destination options. Additionally, platforms like Airbnb or local rental listings can help you find furnished apartments or houses for your extended stay.

Embrace the Culture

Don’t just be a tourist!  Avoid crowds and get local, take a cooking class, learn basic phrases in the local language, or volunteer with a local organisation. These experiences will provide a deeper understanding of the culture and give you a chance to connect with the local community. Pro-tip: Pack an empty water bottle and fill it after security to avoid expensive airport drinks. This small tip can save you money and reduce plastic waste.

Budgeting for Your Sabbatical

Plan ahead! Factor in expenses like housing, food, transportation, and activities. There are lots of online resources to help you estimate the cost of living in different locations.


As you’ll be abroad for a considerable amount of card, you’ll want to make sure you take credit/debit card with no foreign transaction fees. Many travel reward cards offer bonus points on travel purchases and travel insurance, making them a smart choice for international adventures.

Hack #2: Chase the Deal, Not the Destination

Craving adventure but strapped for cash?  Welcome to the wonderful world of ” travel hacking”! Sites like Jack’s Flight Club specialise in finding unbelievably cheap flights to surprise destinations.  Suddenly, that trip to bustling Marrakech or a weekend getaway to Budapest you never considered becomes a real possibility! Interested in biking along scenic routes or would you prefer a summer vacation thats more quiet and relaxing, lying on the beach overlooking the coastline? It could go anyway if you’re willing.

It was actually, Jack’s Flight Club that helped me to find our flights to Mexico for only £230 each and if you know anything about our story then you know how that ended. It requires being open-minded to whatever comes up but there’s lots of choice so there’s nothing to worry about. Once you’ve secured your deal, embrace the element of surprise and use travel blogs and forums to uncover even more underrated travel ideas in your mystery location.

While Jack’s Flight Club excels at uncovering hidden gem destinations with fire-sale prices, it’s not the only tool in your travel hacking arsenal. Consider using flight comparison websites like Skyscanner, Kayak and Google Flights to become a deal-finding pro yourself. These platforms allow you to set price alerts for specific routes, notifying you when prices drop like a hawk spotting a juicy morsel. They also offer flexible search options, letting you see prices for entire months or nearby airports, maximizing your chances of scoring a steal. Skyscanner takes travel hacking a step further with its “Explore Everywhere” function. Feeling adventurous but undecided on a destination? Simply enter your departure airport and choose “Everywhere” for the destination. Skyscanner will then display a list of destinations ranked by price, allowing you to discover exciting new locations that fit your budget. Think Mayan ruins for a fraction of the cost, or a weekend getaway to a charming European city you never knew existed. Kayak and Google Flights offer similar “explore” features, but with a twist! You can filter by interests, so if you crave the serenity of a beach vacation or the thrill of whitewater rafting, you can prioritize destinations that suit your desires. By strategically using these tools alongside targeted deal alerts, you can become a master of the travel hack, turning your summer wanderlust into reality without breaking the bank. Imagine sipping cocktails on a secluded Thai beach, whitewater rafting down a roaring river in New Zealand, or discovering awe-inspiring national parks in the American Southwest, all thanks to a perfectly timed deal you snagged on Google Flights. The world is your oyster, and with a little know-how, you can explore it without blowing your entire budget.

Maximising Your Deal Flight Experience:

Be Flexible

Since you’re chasing deals, be open to travelling on weekdays or during shoulder seasons (the periods between peak and off-seasons) when flight prices tend to be lower. 

Pack Light

With limited baggage allowances on some deals, packing light is crucial. Invest in versatile clothing items that can be mixed and matched to create multiple outfits.

Embrace the Unknown

 Part of the thrill of deal flights is the element of surprise. Research your surprise destination beforehand, but also be open to spontaneous adventures and exploring the unexpected and lesser-known destinations. This way you may be able to avoid the usual summer crowds allowing for unforgettable experiences.  You could end up chilling in a Japanese hot spring, pounding local hiking trails or skiing with the kids. It’s all possible when you remain open-minded. 

Pro Tip

Check out our guide to essential travel gear to help you create a capsule wardrobe that can handle any adventure.

Hack #3: Building Community – Support and Inspiration Ideas for Family Travel Adventures

Travelling with family creates cherished memories that last a lifetime.  But let’s face it, navigating unfamiliar destinations with kids in tow can sometimes feel overwhelming.  This is where the power of travel communities comes in!

Here’s how connecting with others who love travel can enhance your adventures:

Support and Shared Experiences

Travel comes with its own unique set of challenges, from picky eaters to jet lag woes. Connecting with other travellers’ allows you to share experiences, swap tips and tricks, and gain valuable insights from seasoned pros.  Knowing you’re not alone in the struggles (and triumphs!) of travel can be a huge source of support and encouragement.

Travel Inspiration and Recommendations

Looking for kid-friendly destinations or activities? Travel communities are overflowing with inspiration!  Members share stunning photos, detailed itineraries, and hidden gem recommendations specifically catered to families.  Discover incredible destinations you never knew existed and get valuable insights from other families who have successfully navigated them with kids.

Finding Travel Buddies

Craving some adult conversation on your trip, but worried about finding activities that appeal to both adults and kids?  Travel communities can help you connect with other folk with similar interests and age groups.  This allows you to explore together, share meals, and create lasting friendships for both parents and kids.

Travel Resources and Tips

 Many family travel communities offer valuable resources and tips tailored to the specific needs of families on the go. This could include information on child-friendly accommodations, packing hacks for families, kid-approved restaurants, and recommendations for family-friendly activities in your destination.

Black Travel Groups

Worried about race-related issues.  Concerned about safety for Black travellers.  Connecting with Black groups in particular is a great way to get on-the-ground knowledge as to what to expect when you’re anxious about travelling to a new destination.  

Beyond Online Forums: Building In-Person Connections

Travel communities aren’t limited to the Internet! Many cities and regions have local chapters that organize family-focused events, meetups, and even group travel excursions. This allows your family to build connections in person, share local recommendations, and create lasting memories with other families who love to explore.

Connecting with Expat Families:

Taking your travel support a step further? Consider reaching out to expat families living in your chosen destination.  They can offer invaluable insights into daily life, family-friendly activities, and hidden gems that may not be readily apparent to tourists.  Many expat communities are happy to connect with newcomers and share their experiences.

By tapping into the resources and support offered by travel communities and residents, you can elevate your travel experience.  You’ll feel more informed, connected, and empowered to explore the world with confidence, knowing you have a network of support and inspiration at your fingertips.

Family Travel Communities to Explore:


Family travel doesn’t have to be a solitary adventure. Building a travel community provides support, inspiration, and lifelong connections that will enrich your family’s adventures and create lasting memories for everyone.

Beyond the Hacks: Making Memories

Travel hacks are great for saving money and maximizing your experience, but ultimately, the most important aspect of travel is creating memories that last a lifetime. Here are some tips to focus on the heart of travel:

  • Be Present: Put down your phone and soak in the sights, sounds, and smells of your destination.
  • Embrace New Experiences: Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and try new things.
  • Connect with People: Talk to locals, fellow travellers, and anyone who crosses your path. You might be surprised by the connections you make.
  • Focus on the Journey: It’s not just about the destination. Enjoy the process of getting there and the unexpected detours along the way.
  • Travel with Purpose: Volunteer your time, learn a new skill, or simply appreciate the beauty of a different culture.

These underrated summer travel ideas are so much more than just ticking destinations off a list. It may be peak season in many places but it doesn’t have to feel like it.  Embrace the unexpected, chase the deals, and create memories that will last a lifetime!  Whether you’re testing the waters of living abroad, embarking on a surprise adventure, or simply exploring new a national park,  summer offers endless possibilities.  So pack your bags, unleash your spirit of adventure in new destinations around the world, and get ready to make this summer truly epic!

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