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Noticed how all your favourite holiday spots have started to become swamped with other travellers? We have too — and there’s a good reason for it. According to a recent report by the Global Wellness Summit, more people than ever can afford to travel. And they are, with 1.3 billion of us jet-setting overseas annually, up from 500 million trips in 1995. No wonder the world is suffering from over-tourism.


Of course, we’re here with a solution. Next time you go to book a trip, skip the usual list of suspects and head to these still-unspoilt places to visit instead.

hotel san cristobal mexico todos santos

1. Instead of Cabo, try Todos Santos


Backed by the Sierra la Laguna mountain range, Todos Santos is an hour’s drive from Mexico’s tourist magnet, Cabo. The sleepy town is mostly populated by surfers who come to catch the strong waves of neighbouring San Pedrito and Los Cerritos beaches, and bohemians enjoying a slow-paced lifestyle (ask one where you can might find a phone charger and you’ll likely be laughed at). On first arrival, it doesn’t look like it holds much more than a few quaint hotels and side-of-the-road trucks serving fish tacos that — while incredibly delicious — aren’t out of the ordinary to find in Mexico’s off-the-beaten-track towns. What makes Todos Sanos stand out is that it’s starting to show its first signs of gentrified luxury, meaning if you go right now, you’ll have a holiday that gives you the best of both worlds. New highlights include a tiny hip coffee shop that makes a cup to rival Melbourne’s cafes, and a fancy new five-star hotel by famed Texan hotelier Liz Lambert that’s so incredibly photogenic you can’t help but start snapping its prettily patterned tiled floors and bright woven cushions as soon as you arrive. A few influencers have already started catching on, so go soon.

The beach in Antiparos

2. Instead of Mykonos, try Antiparos


A ten-minute ferry ride from neighbouring Paros, and just an hour further to Mykonos, Antiparos has all the hallmarks of a Grecian getaway — but without the pretentiousness, traffic jams and hefty price tags of some of the country’s more famous islands. The town centre is filled with plenty of places to stop for tourist-favoured gyros and ice cream, but the whole vibe and clientele feels far more local. And if you want a little of that Mykonos glamour, you can still get a fix at the Beach House — a chic hotel-restaurant-beach club hybrid where you can watch the in-the-know style set enjoy fresh grilled octopus and chilled wine under shaded lounge chairs. The sunset viewed from Sifneiko beach rivals Santorini — sans crowds. If you need more swaying that Antiparos is one of best secret spot across all of Greece’s 227 inhabited islands, just ask Tom Hanks — he and his family have been holidaying here every summer unbothered for the last 15 years.

Burleigh Heads beach

3. Instead of Byron Bay, try Burleigh Heads


Ask any Byron Bay local what they think of the bucketloads of tourists arriving to their small Australian seaside town, and most will be quick to tell you they don’t like it one bit. In peak season, you’ll struggle to get a park anywhere near the beaches and you’ll be waiting hours to be seated for brunch at local cafes. While it should be said that even with these setbacks, Byron Bay still holds a lot of charm, it can make for a less-than-ideal holiday situation for those who want to avoid the masses. Instead, take your trip an hour further north and settle into Burleigh Heads, a quainter, quieter version of Byron but with that same bohemian costal charm and plenty of great cafes and restaurants, and enough hotel and rental accommodation options (albeit not as luxurious as those just across the border). One for the ‘must list’ that rivals Byron’s dining scene? A buzzing, scenic pan-Asian restaurant called Rick Shores where the sea literally laps at the windows. Order the bug rolls and thank us later.

The view in Shelter Island

4. Instead of the Hamptons, try Shelter Island


The summer playground of wealthy New Yorkers, The Hamptons swells in population in summer with both extended holidayers and daytrippers. The solution? Make like an in-the-know New Yorker and opt for Shelter Island instead. A five-minute ferry trip from nearby North Haven, Shelter Island has managed to sidestep the pretentious character, crowds, traffic and prices of the Hamptons (although locals have voiced their concerns about it turning that way — which is exactly why you should go soon). If you’re looking for a ‘sceney’ brunch filled with Instagram models you’re on the wrong island, but if you’re looking for a relaxed, lingering breakfast with ocean views, you’ll find it at local organic market and cafe Marie Eiffel Market. With only a couple of thousand people living there, it does come with a set of small-town challenges (there’s no hospital, for example, and if you get caught speeding, your name goes in the local paper) but for a taste of the quintessential life in upstate New York it doesn’t get any better — and you’ll save yourself a pretty penny too.

The beach in Comporta

5. Instead of Lagos, try Comporta


Lagos on Portugal’s Algarve coastline is packed with sunburnt tourists fighting over space to roll out their towels on beachy enclaves. But drive a couple of hours north towards Lisbon and instead settle into Comporta, Portugal’s achingly sophisticated best-kept secret. A beach town beloved of the country’s elite, it’s home to long stretches of empty sandy shores and a sprinkling of uber-chic beachside restaurants and bars. Even the local supermarket is elevated — with more gourmet, artisanal delicacies than commercial or processed choices. (For those who appreciate a beautiful accessory, look up at the roof while you’re buying your milk — it’s covered with handcrafted basket bags, also for sale.) You only need to spend a couple of hours in this town before you’ll be asking yourself why everyone is holidaying in the Algarve instead. The answer might be, at least in part, that accommodation in the area is still fairly limited and not particularly cheap — at least by Portuguese standards. And while there are sure to be sophisticated dinner parties happening in the private residences in the area, the isn’t much of a nightlife in the town. But do keep your eyes peeled for famous faces — the likes of Madonna and Elle McPherson are said to have homes in the area. And why not? With the beach basically to themselves, it’s the perfect place for holidaying under the radar.

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