(Off-The-Grid)

Get Lost & Found With These Remote Travel Destinations

It’s time to truly unplug.

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obscure travel destinations
Well Traveled

While iconic cities like Paris, Rome, and London will always have their appeal, as well as a steady influx of crowds each year, data is revealing a very prominent pivot in travel behaviors of late. With work-related stress and burnout on a continuous rise, the resulting need to be alone and in a quiet environment during one’s off-hours is dictating the travel trends for the year. In its 2024 Travel Report, social platform Pinterest noted “quiet life travel” as a standout, with searches for the term increasing by a staggering 530%. “Pinners are searching for digital detox travel, many sought-after nature destinations offer a respite from the constant buzz of connectivity and digital distractions, providing a much-needed break,” explains the report.

Michael DeLucca, founder and CEO of travel app Otsy, corroborates with these findings, noting that categories like “good for avoiding crowds” and “digital detox” are trending among users. “We're seeing a lot of shore excursions and mountain trips and self-guided things that we weren't really seeing before,” he explains.

This desperate need for disconnection is putting more obscure, middle-of-nowhere properties and destinations at the forefront of the industry. Vacation rental company Airbnb reported some of its most wish-listed stays for this year have included off-the-grid treehouses in North Carolina, volcano-perched houses in Mexico, nature lodges in Portugal, and vineyard-surrounded estates in Italy. Travelers still want luxury and and a unique experience, but they don’t want to deal with the crowds.

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“I think it’s overstimulation, right?” reasons DeLucca. “We're just on our devices all the time. You [have your] emails, you're on your iPad, you're with your cellphone. Now we have Vision Pros and Meta Quests that are augmented reality, and I think it kind of hit that pendulum tipping point that people are like, ‘You know what? Maybe a treehouse in a small mountain town is more appealing than a city trip walking around Chicago.’”

The beauty of some of these more obscure stays is that they can still provide you with luxe amenities. Villa Ardore in the small and peaceful region of Chianti, for instance, comes equipped with an on-site spa and gourmet chef to cook up authentic Tuscan meals. The historic Mountbatten Lodge in Rajasthan, India, places visitors on an opulent sprawling four-suite estate that invites guests to “experience the true essence of Rajasthan,” horseback riding, and safaris to epic mountain sunsets.

Perhaps the only caveat to booking a remote vacation is, well, its remoteness. As appealing as a quiet, crowd-free locale sounds, it may be a bit of a shock to the system once you’re in the thick of it. “I think quiet travel is just as much a mindset as it is a destination, and that's cheesy, but it's true,” says Annie Greenberg, executive creative director at Lonely Planet. So you have to be kind of willing to go there mentally before you can go there physically, and really commit to your surroundings.”

The travel expert recommends doing your due diligence in researching the area. This is something one may not prioritize as much in a more well-known, traffic-heavy region like Paris or London as you’ll have locals, fellow tourists, guides, and the trusty internet at your disposal once you arrive to help navigate your trip. This will not always be readily available if you go somewhere truly off the grid with limited human interaction and Wi-Fi. “I trust experts, whether they're friends or trip outfitters, because once you're there, you're not going to be able to Google anything,” says Greenberg. “I think there are certain trips where improvisation and riffing and the unexpected are part of it, but just be prepared to really be off the grid and trust your experts and do your research.”

DeLucca seconds this notion, adding that prioritizing disconnection is important to fully bask in the benefits of a remote vacation. That includes learning about the best spots for immersing oneself in the natural wonders of the region. “It's just finding out what's local, where are the small places to go to, what does the area have to offer as far as hiking trails and excursions and tours,” he says. “So it's really just finding the time to plan and then find the time to disconnect.” As a personal rule, the travel guru says he sticks to a daily goal of being without his phone for four to five hours. “I try to make sure all my emails are answered, that I've written to everyone, loved ones, and say, ‘Hey, I'm going to be off the phone for the next few hours,’” he says. “I'm going to try to be a part of what I'm doing and be really immersed in it."

Bolt Farm Treehouse: Whitwell, Tennessee

Bolt Farm Treehouse

Find peace among the trees in this forest-encased property that doesn’t scrimp on luxury amenities. Hot tub, electric shades, and heated shower floors (both indoor and outdoor) will establish your physical comfort levels while the stunning natural views and landscapes will cater to your mental health like a well-oiled machine. If a treehouse isn’t your speed, the company also offers equally special curated stays in domes and mirrored cabin properties throughout Tennessee and South Carolina.

Villa Ardore: Tuscany, Italy

Villa Ardore

Enjoy the splendor of an Italian vacation sans the pushing and shoving through crowds and tourist-packed piazzas. Book a stay in a luxury villa in one of the country’s quieter towns or regions. Many, like Villa Ardore in Tuscany’s Chianti region, come with all the makings of an opulent resort stay: infinity pool, on-site spa and sauna, and resident chef and wine connoisseur. If a true escape is what you’re looking for, the historic estate allows for complete peace and solitude — and you don’t need to leave the property to get a fully authentic Tuscan experience.

Mirrored House: San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

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Design enthusiasts will love this award-winning home, which has been featured in Architectural Digest and Vogue. The isolated mirrored residence places guests in a stunning mountain setting surrounded by pomegranate and olive trees on the slope of an extinct volcano, just 20 minutes away from the historic colonial-era city of San Miguel de Allende. Enjoy a private solar heated pool, exposed glass shower, private gourmet chef, and PVC shutters for ultimate security and privacy. If exploring is of interest, majestic hikes and horseback safaris are just some of the many options to fully immerse yourself in the natural landscape.

Song Saa Private Island, Cambodia

Song Saa Private Island

Tranquility meets opulence on this private island that is accessible by private jet. The floating villas plop guests in the center of the untouched beauty of the Koh Rong Archipelago. Depending on your selection, villas come equipped with private pools, hot tubs, outdoor showers, canopy beds, spacious kitchens, and dining areas for a true off-the-grid experience. The property also allows for cool activities like in-room movie experiences, traditional Buddhist blessing ceremonies, scuba diving, island safaris, and kayaking.

Deplar Farm: Troll Peninsula, Iceland

Deplar Farm

For true seclusion, Deplar Farm makes for the ultimate trip. Set in the heart of Iceland’s Troll Peninsula mountains, the authentic Nordic stay — which is a converted sheep farm — was voted one of 2023’s “Best Hotels in the World” on Condé Nast Traveler’s Gold List. The rural escape allows guests to basque in natural light and flawless views courtesy of floor-to-ceiling windows. While stunning year-round, the property comes alive in the summer with its endless list of outdoor activities that range from hiking and yoga to mountain biking and fly fishing. For those who prefer the great indoors, an on-site spa is available, offering a geothermally heated pool, cold plunges, saunas, and steam rooms.

Mountbatten Lodge: Rajasthan, India

Mountbatten Lodge

This natural four-suite hideaway, nestled in rural Rajasthan, is bordered by the Kumbalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary and adjacent to two of the country’s most historical sites: the Ranakpur Jain Temples and Kumbalgarh Fort (famous for having the second longest wall after the great wall of China). In addition to horseback riding, village tours, and Jeep safaris, this luxury lodge includes spacious, finely furnished suites that each include an entertaining area, private plunge pool, and built-in massage bed that can be found in every bathroom.

Explora: Sacred Valley, Peru

@exploratravel

This all-inclusive Explora Lodge immerses guests in the world of ancient Incan society, amidst the ruins of Cusco and Machu Picchu. While exploration is a given and obvious option, you can also find plenty of things to keep you busy indoors. Luxury dining courtesy of a gastronomic experience developed by world-recognized chef Virgilio Martínez is offered on site as is the property spa, the Pumacahua Bath House, where guests can recharge and rest after a long day of hiking and trekking.

Southern Ocean Lodge: Kangaroo Island, Australia

Southern Ocean Lodge

Designed to “blend seamlessly” with the wild clifftop landscape of Australia’s Kangaroo Island, Southern Ocean Lodge is an architectural marvel, not to mention ideal for those seeking seclusion. Depending on your needs for the trip, property staff curate personal itineraries for each guest to ensure a lasting connection to the land and destination. Excursions and activity options include epic island walks and hikes through limestone cliffs, barbecue lunches at a private bush camp, wildlife encounters with the island’s kangaroos, koalas, and sea lions, gin samplings at local distilleries, and so much more.

Fogo Island Inn: Joe Batt's Arm, Newfoundland

@fogoislandinn

Set on the Northeast coast of Newfoundland, Fogo Island Inn is an oceanside escape that has gathered awards and acclaim — for good reason. To ensure guests can only hear the sounds of the nearby waves, all 29 “handmade modern” rooms are expertly soundproofed and feature spectacular ocean views. Stays are all-inclusive and encompass all meals, nightly turn-down service and 24-hour room service, and full use of all the facilities on the property including the cinema screening room, rooftop sauna, tea room, art gallery, gym, and library.

Mirkella Villa: Hydra, Greece

The Thinking Traveler

This cliffside dwelling of Mirkella offers unrivaled privacy and solitude thanks to its distance from Hydra’s only small town. Guests can engage in restorative forest bathing by taking the winding path on the property that weaves around the surrounding pine trees and serene coast. Because the island is car- and bicycle-free and has very few roads, sea taxis will be your main mode of transportation, so keep this in mind when planning your trip as walking unpaved or wild terrain will be the norm. Indoors, you can expect a luxe and cozy experience with a daily cleaning service, on-site cook, wine delivery program, and a local specialist to help guide you throughout your stay on the remote paradise.