If D&D and related games are about exploration how about players earning experience points for characters based on Exploring? Here are a few suggestions to meet that end:
Dungeon Exploration Experience Point Awards-
Surviving a Descent Into a Dungeon Level or Sublevel- the first time a group penetrates the depths of a dungeon during a campaign the party gains 250exp per dungeon level which is split up among survivors of the expedition. Three (or more) keyed encounter areas must be discovered to qualify for this exp bonus.
No yo-yo descents allowed, if the campaign is the same no exp are earned for a different group penetrates a dungeon level for the first time.
EXP per Encounter Area Mapped- for each keyed encounter area a party maps with a degree of reliability and accuracy the party earns 10 exp/dungeon level of said chamber.
A Friendly Encounter with a New Group- for a friendly encounter with a new group of NPCs/monsters the party earns 50-300 exp per dungeon level.
For Curiosities Donated- the party will earn 2 exp per gp value for curiosities fetched from the dungeon depths and delivered to a museum, sages collection, university or Wizard's Guild upon acceptance.
Monsters Captured- the party will earn 200 exp per HD for monsters caught and returned alive from a dungeon to a zoo, hunting preserve, for a sage's inspection or a Wizard's Guild upon acceptance.
Documents- ancient and or obscure documents delivered to a sage, university or appropriate guild will fetch 5 exp per page of text upon acceptance.
Surviving Hirelings- for each hireling a party enters a dungeon with and leaves with the party earns 50 exp.
Outdoor Exploration Experience Point Awards-
Per Hex Explored- 10 exp per mile across a hex shall be awarded to the party exploring and mapping unknown territory.
Friendly Groups/Curiosities/Captures and Documents- as per dungeon exploration exp above.
Visiting a Noted Wonder of the World- 100 to 600 exp to each member of an expedition that visits a place of note for the first time.
Nature's Bounty- finding a grove, vegetable patch or plot of ground where a natural resource may be found and harvested by others is worth 3 exp per GP value that could be collected in a year split among all in the discovering party.
A fishing spot or game trail discovered is worth 1.5 times the value of defeating a single member of that species.
Visiting Temples/Churches- visiting temples, churches and shrines of one's faith for the first time earns the visitor 25 exp.
Attending Temples/Churches- attending a rite or sermon at a church or temple of ones faith (or friendly faith) earns the worshiper 50 exp.
Witnessing a Relic- witnessing a genuine relic of ones faith for the first time earns the witness 1% of the gp value in exp.