blurb head: Eleanor Barker answers your travel questions.
What are some travel destinations that aren't affected by mass tourism?
There are places in the world that have great potential but relatively very few foreign visitors. I could certainly keep going with this topic, if you have a specific part of the world that you want me to focus in on, drop me an email.
In terms of my own travels, I would wholeheartedly recommend the islands of Tonga. I visited Tongatapu in 2016 and had an absolutely wonderful time at the International Dateline Hotel. Make some friends and ask the locals where the best beaches are and you may not see another palangi for some time. My beach visit featured Stan Walker, but you'll have a lovely time too. The untouched beaches are bright with jewel tones from those gorgeous shells.
Another such country is Mozambique. Despite the beautiful nature, wildlife and wide sandy beaches, the country remains a hidden gem. South Africans come across the border in high season, but throughout the rest of the year, you may see almost no other tourists.
In Europe, over-tourism is widespread, but if you get away from the well-trodden paths you can still find an authentic experience. Of course, you may still be unlucky, but travelling in shoulder seasons can help. It helps if you avoid the most famous tourist draws/cities to avoid choke points. Never heard of a particular city? Great start!
In Portugal, the Areias do Siexo is a great beach for surfing and Cumbria is a beautiful little university town with an unbelievable library. Cumbria is fairly busy but not over-run. Visitors report having the Roman site at nearby Conimbriga almost to themselves on a hot October day. In Caldas da Rainha and Viana do Castelo you can enjoy the authentic Portugal.
In Italy, the Aeolian Islands off the north coast of Sicily are mostly visited by locals, and the much-desired "Italian experience" can be found elsewhere. Slovenia and northern Italy are similar, but Slovenia is less affected by mass tourism. The distinction between being received as a desired guest or a necessary evil is a desirable one.
Northern Iceland suffers from the same problem plaguing large parts of Ireland: people only think of the big tourist draws and ignore everything else. Southern Iceland's Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir and Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon are only the beginning. Surprise, surprise, northern Iceland is also spectacular.
Former Soviet republics such as Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan and Armenia have shot up my list of places to go. There are so many options.