Your husband's cousin's girlfriend won't stop talking about her fabulous vacay to the Maldives (automatic eye roll). And although it really does sound amazing, sometimes the best trips are the ones less traveled. Here are ten off-the-beaten-path getaways that make for way cooler stories. (Take those vacations days--it's for your health.)

travel Mauritius

MAURITIUS

Maldives, schmaldives. This tiny island just east of Madagascar is the new secret gem of the Indian Ocean.

travel aix2

AIX-EN-PROVENCE, FRANCE

Sure, Paris is great. But tacking on an extra couple of days (when the lavender is in bloom) to bike through Provence is très "you've got to be kidding me."

travel aeolian

AEOLIAN ISLANDS, ITALY

The Amalfi Coast is unbeatable (you know this), but it’s not the only chain of amazing islands in town. For a more under-the-radar Italian experience, visit the UNESCO-protected Aeolian archipelago--a cluster of seven small spots where you’ll find gorgeous terra-cotta guesthouses, sweet Malvasia wine and miles of undisturbed beaches.

travel kyoto

KYOTO, JAPAN

Tokyo is a given for any trip to Japan. But after you’ve taken in the bright lights, jet over to Kyoto (an easy three-hour trip on the bullet train). There you’ll find temples, cherry trees and a stunning bamboo forest.

travel colombia

CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA

If old-world cities like Barcelona are your style, this South American locale should be next on your list.

travel glacier

PERITO MORENO GLACIER, ARGENTINA

New Zealand is breathtaking; a 21-hour plane ride is not. Instead, jet south to Argentina to cruise through the 2-million-year-old glaciers of Patagonia.

travel boulders

BOULDERS BEACH, SOUTH AFRICA

Guys. You can be real-life friends with real-live penguins. Just outside Cape Town lies this little inlet where African penguins meander in droves.

travel jura2

JURA MOUNTAINS, FRANCE

Forget Burgundy and Napa--wines from this mountain region spanning France and Switzerland are on the upswing.

travel lagoon

THE BLUE LAGOON, ICELAND

Why dish out the big bucks for a luxury spa weekend when you can visit the world-famous Blue Lagoon for only $50? No matter the season, the geothermal water here (just outside Reykjavik) remains at 100 degrees year-round.

travels kenya

GIRAFFE MANOR, KENYA

Yep, you’re seeing that right. There is an actual hotel in Nairobi where resident giraffes get real friendly.