02/01/2017 9:40 PM AEDT | Updated 07/01/2017 1:08 AM AEDT

The 12 Types Of Trips You Should Take In Your Lifetime

Better than your average beach vacation, and cheaper too.

Ireland, County Mayo, Clare Island, sunset
Travelpix Ltd via Getty Images
Ireland, County Mayo, Clare Island, sunset

To some travelers, “vacation” means lying on a tropical beach or staying in an urban hotel, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But the start of a new year is time to think outside the box and start planning trips that help you both unwind and grow as a person.

In 2017, and for years to come, do yourself a favor and get creative with the types of trips you take. Of course, we don’t always have the time or finances available for regular getaways. But many of these unique trip ideas cost less than your typical beach break, which makes them easier to get on the calendar.

Which not-so-average experience will you have in 2017?

  • 1A solo trip
    A solo trip
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    Solo travel stretches you in ways that companion travel won't. Choose a destination where you feel safe but are still outside your comfort zone, and enjoy the rush of self-confidence along with new friends.
  • 2An ancestry trip
    An ancestry trip
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    Do you know where your family is from? Find out, then plan a journey to wherever that may be. If possible, ask relatives for personalized guides to their hometowns before you go.
  • 3A last-minute flight trip
    A last-minute flight trip
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    There are plenty of ways to find cheap last-minute flights, but are you willing to drop what you're doing and take advantage? Block a few days out on your calendar, then let an app like Get The Flight Out choose your destination at the last minute.
  • 4A digital detox
    A digital detox
    Martin Valigursky via Getty Images
    Try life with no phone, no computer and no TV for just a few days, to see what your creative mind does on its own. Of course, this is easier if you travel someplace where service is scarce. If an exotic island isn't in the cards, the small town down the highway works just fine.
  • 5A long-distance trek
    A long-distance trek
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    A trek is the ultimate way to clear your head, build quiet confidence and maybe even get a better picture of what you want to do with your life. Consider the Pacific Crest Trail in the U.S. and the Camino de Santiago in Spain for starters.
  • 6A homestay or couchsurfing trip
    A homestay or couchsurfing trip
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    There's no better way to understand a city than by living day-to-day life with the locals. Stay with a friend in their hometown, see if your destination has a homestay program, or couchsurf for free to get a taste of what it's like to "do life" somewhere completely new. 
  • 7A snorkel or dive trip
    A snorkel or dive trip
    Colin Anderson via Getty Images
    Research shows that preparing for a trip boosts happiness more than the journey itself. Work toward your scuba license at home, and then head to one of the world's best dive spots.
  • 8A volunteer trip
    A volunteer trip
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    Strong relationships, cultural understanding and a sense of accomplishment are just a few benefits of doing something valuable with your time away. Use a site like Go Overseas to find opportunities vetted by trustworthy travelers.
  • 9A U.S. road trip
    A U.S. road trip
    James O'Neil via Getty Images
    Too often, we take our country's huge variety of adventures for granted. Whether it's a trip to every national park, driving through the South or to 48 states in one fell swoop, a road trip is the hilarious journey you'll never forget.
  • 10A staycation
    A staycation
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    It's rare that we drop everything, forget our chores and simply enjoy our hometowns. A staycation -- think dinner parties, movie marathons and long, quiet days of reading -- is an easy, cheap way to relax and reset.
  • 11A river cruise
    A river cruise
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    While ocean cruises stop at major ports after long stretches at sea, river cruising lets you see lesser-known sites with much less lag time in between. River cruise boats are often smaller than ocean liners, letting you get to know everyone on board as you float down the Amazon or through Budapest.
  • 12A wine tasting trip
    A wine tasting trip
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    Besides the obvious benefit of copious sipping, a wine tasting trip can serve to bring old friends or family closer together: Nothing spurs conversation quite like a shared table, good cheese and endless hours without a care in the world.