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15 Easy International Travel Destinations For Your Next Vacation

While some people are willing to travel anywhere in the world, many would-be travelers aren’t so willing. I’ve always been an adventurous traveler, but the rest of my family doesn’t share my excitement.

When it comes to traveling, they worry about how difficult it may be to get there and how hard it will be to get around with the language barrier and unfamiliar customs. These fears keep them from going anywhere other than Hawaii for vacation.

Toronto's skyline - easy International travel destinations

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Why Try an “Easy” Destination

These are all legitimate concerns, but there are plenty of locations outside the U.S. where none of these concerns apply.

I mean, let’s face it, my parents aren’t going to be convinced to travel to far away countries like India or Japan , but I do think they can be convinced to travel outside the country if the location is close to home and easy to navigate.

If you’re been avoiding vacationing outside the U.S. due to travel fear, consider one of the easy International travel destinations listed here for your next trip. And if you’re willing to travel a bit farther than 5-6 hours, a whole other set of possibilities open up for leery travelers like my parents.

Melbourne - easy international travel destinations

The criteria used to select these locations was:

  • Easy to get to (no more than a 6-7 hour, direct flight from most major cities)
  • English is the primary language used at the destination (on a resort, especially — everyone will speak English)
  • A lot of planning and organizing is not required. In fact, at the beach locations you can sit back and relax and never leave the resort if you don’t wish to.
  • Customs and practices are very similar to the U.S. so you won’t feel out of place or nervous.

15 Easy International Vacation Ideas

1. cancun, mexico.

Valentin Imperial Maya Resort in Playa de Secreto, Mexico

Cancun is the #1 travel destination for U.S. travelers abroad. This can be attributed to a number of reasons, all of which also make it a very easy place to visit. It’s close, so the flights are short and often cheap — good deals crop up regularly to Cancun.

It can be an enticing vacation option because of the alluring clear, blue waters and year-round warm weather. While we love that about Cancun, we also love all the incredible outdoor activities, day trips, and tours in the region.

Amazing all-inclusive resorts line the stretch of white sandy beach, and stretch down the coast into the Mayan Riviera . You might need to be a bit careful while traveling around the area (I wouldn’t recommend renting a car and trying to get around on your own).

There are plenty of reputable companies that will cart you around to see the archeological sites and to take a dunk in a cenote — which was one of the most amazing things I’ve done on any vacation. You can also get a real taste for the Mexican culture outside of the resorts in Cancun, if you want to.

Try one of these tours:

  • Chichen Itza, Cenote and Valladolid All-Inclusive Tour
  • Reef and Shipwreck Snorkeling Tour in Cancun
  • 3-in-1 Street Food Tour with transportation (food stalls + local market+ murals)

2. Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico

Technically, it’s a U.S. territory, not another country, but that just makes it even easier. San Juan , the main city, with its cobblestone streets and vibrant nightlife, has a laidback feeling that contributes to a relaxing vacation, and golden-sand beaches are not far away.

While you’re there, why not learn how to salsa dance? It’s a highly popular activity, with many nightclubs hosting dedicated salsa nights. Take a walk through the cobbled streets of Old San Juan and explore its colonial architecture, vibrant art, and delicious food. Explore El Yunque National Forest , one of the most lush tropical rainforests in all of Puerto Rico! This stunning park features waterfalls, trails, and plenty of wildlife to take in.

Tour one of the island’s 3 rum distilleries. Casa Bacardi offers three tour options to choose from. Sip your welcome cocktail while you decide between the founder’s experience, the legacy tour, rum tasting tour, and the mixology class.

There are dozens of comfortable resorts in the city and directly on the beach that will cater to all your vacation needs and make sure you feel right at home. The only thing you’ll need to worry about is what cocktail to order.

  • Flavors of San Juan Food Tour
  • Puerto Rico Guided Adventure in El Yunque Rainforest
  • Old San Juan City Walking Tour

3. Toronto, Canada

Toronto Skyline

A very modern city along the shores of Lake Ontario, Toronto is the fifth-largest city in North America and feels quite a bit like New York or Chicago. If you enjoy city life — bustling markets, a vibrant restaurant scene and world-class museums — this is a great, and easy destination to enjoy without the hassle of language issues.

The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) has an impressive display of meteorites, including three from Mars. Another must-see attraction is the Distillery Historic District, a pedestrian-only neighborhood that once housed the largest distillery in Canada dating back to the 1830s. Many tourists and locals have reported ghost sightings in the area.

For the best views of Toronto, head to the CN Tower, the tallest building in the city at 1,815 feet tall. Thrill-seekers can experience the EdgeWalk , the world’s highest full-circle hands-free walk around the tower. Hockey fans won’t want to miss the Hockey Hall of Fame , where they can even practice their slapshot on an immersive model rink complete with virtual goalies.

Getting to Toronto, Canada from the United States is easy, as there are direct flights from key destinations, with just one stop-over from secondary markets. The flight is just 6 hours from Portland, Oregon , and an hour and a half from New York .

  • Niagara Falls Day Tour from Toronto
  • Toronto walking tasting tour with Secret Food Tours
  • Show me the City! Toronto Walking Tour

4. Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic at sunset

There are a couple of great beaches in Dominican Republic — Punta Cana and Santa Domingo — where both European and U.S. travelers flock to relax in the sun. It’s easy to get to — a quick flight from Miami — can be inexpensive and provides luxury resort accommodations with all-inclusive options.

While the resort offers plenty of entertainment, there’s also a lot to explore in the surrounding areas. Take a leisurely stroll through the charming town of Santa Domingo , once the capital of the Hispanic Americas. The Museum of the Royal Houses is a treasure trove of cultural history. Don’t miss Los Tres Ojos National Park, an impressive limestone cave system with crystal-clear water.

Experience over 40 miles of uninterrupted beach views along the Costa del Coco (Coconut Beach), or venture to Cap Cana to witness the natural beauty of Hoyo Azul . Take a dip in the 45 ft deep cenote full of turquoise spring water, located inside Scape Park which offers unique adventures such as ziplining, snorkeling, and splash hammocks.

  • Look for hotels in Punta Cana
  • Look for hotels in Santo Domingo
  • Small Group: Saona Island Full Day Tour
  • 4×4 Dominican Adventure with Chocolate and Coffee Tasting from Punta Cana
  • Small-Group Cruising and Snorkeling Catamaran Tour

5. Grand Cayman Island

grand cayman islands

Miles of pristine beaches and an impressive food scene make Grand Cayman a great location for relaxation and indulgence. The island is only 22 miles long, so you can easily drive from Seven Mile Beach on the west side of the island to the East End on a day trip.

I hesitated to add Grand Cayman to the list because they drive on the left and that can be intimidating to some travelers, but you don’t have to drive in order to get around the island.

Visit the Cayman Turtle Centre where you can experience turtles up close and the islands ecosystem. While away the entire afternoon watching shark feedings, splash around with green sea turtles, and hike the Blue Hole Nature Trail.

Visit and tour the Cayman Spirits Co. which is the only distillery on the island. Scuba divers, beginners and veterans, will delight in the Kittiwake shipwreck and artificial reef. Explore the US Navy submarine that has been turned into an artificial reef for a variety of sea life.

There are also a number of great resorts where you can hang out for a week without ever needing to leave. Just choose a hotel on Seven Mile Beach and you’ll have everything you need within walking distance or rent a bicycle and see the sights.

» Look for hotels in Grand Cayman

  • Starfish Point, Stingray City and Coral Garden (3-Stop Adventure)
  • Small Group E-Bike Grand Cayman Ecological Half-Day Tour

6. Luxury Barge Cruising in France

Inside the Finesse hotel barge

If you’ve never looking into barge cruising before, you absolutely should. One the list of easy travel experiences, taking a barge cruise is perhaps one of the easiest there is. Not only is the entire itinerary planned out for you, you will also have a driver and tour guide with you at all times.

So even in France , where the language and customs might be a bit different than the U.S., you don’t have to worry about it for a second. You will always have an English-speaking guide with you.

A luxury barge cruise is one of the best ways to have a completely relaxing vacation. The boat meanders slowly down the canal, passing through some of the most beautiful and lush countryside. You stop every day for excursions to nearby vineyards and museums.

All of your meals are prepared and served for you by a professional chef. You can take leisurely walks or bike rides down the canal, alongside the boat. Or you can just sit back and watch the scenery pass by.

Check out European Waterways – they’re the best! You can also read the full review of our barge journey through Burgundy, France.

iceland

Absolutely packed full of a natural wonders and stunning beauty, Iceland is a perfect destination for leery travelers. The tour companies have worked out a brilliant system where you can sign up for everything you want to do all in one place. With so much to see check out our 7-day Iceland Itinerary and 12 Incredible Things to do & See in Iceland.

The Golden Circle tour is a highly scenic drive with many photo-ops. Stop at the Kerid Crater, where you’ll view a volcanic crater lake, the stunning Gullfoss Waterfall, and see the spouting hot springs in the Geysir area. The last stop is the historic Thingvellir National Park, where you can walk through and see the stunning geology of Iceland .

A stop at the Blue Lagoon , a geothermal spa in Iceland is a popular place to stop for a long soak in the warm waters. It is a man-made “hot spring” tucked among the low hills near Grindavík, just 20 minutes southeast of the airport.

A Northern Lights tour is a must while you are there. The best time to see them is in the winter. These tours go from September 1st and April 15th.

You can book round-trip airport transfers, and most of these tours you can do all with one company, you’ll pay just once and have all of the details of your excursions taken care of by one tour company. It doesn’t get any easier than that.

While Icelandic is the main language, English is spoken everywhere in Reykjavik and where ever tourists might be found. If you are a foodie or just love to travel for food make sure to check out our guide on where to eat in Reykjavik and what to order.

  • Golden Circle, Blue Lagoon Including Admission & Kerid Volcanic Crater
  • Reykjavik Food Walk – Local Foodie Adventure in Iceland
  • Ice Cave by Katla Volcano Super Jeep Tour from Vik
  • #1 Northern Lights tour in Iceland from Reykjavik with PRO photos

Ireland road trip

One of the easiest countries to travel around is Ireland . Most tourists take advantage of the beautiful countryside by renting a car and driving from place to place. Start out by flying into Dublin and spending a few day seeing the city and trying to Irish food.

Then take a car around to the west side of the country, which they have dubbed the Wild Atlantic Way . This includes many of the most popular areas of Ireland to explore, like Donagal, counties Clare, Galway and Kerry. Here are 13 amazing Ireland road trips you’ll love.

Some of our favorite areas to explore are part of  Ireland’s Ancient East, which includes Tipperary and the adorable town of Kilkenny , plus Kildare. While you are there stay in one of these fairy tale castles.

English is the official language in Ireland. The roads are a bit narrow in places, but well marked, and most hotels offer free parking. It’s very easy to drive around , with the exception of driving on the left. Also be sure to note that you MUST add the extra insurance to any car rental in Ireland. It’s mandatory.

  • Cliffs of Moher Tour Including Wild Atlantic Way and Galway City from Dublin
  • Northern Ireland Highlights Day Trip Including Giant’s Causeway from Dublin
  • Fast-track Easy Access Book of Kells Tour with Dublin Castle
  • Irish Food Trail – Walking Tour of Dublin
  • Wicklow Mountains, Glendalough and Kilkenny Day Tour from Dublin

9. Scotland

The Royal Mile in Edinburgh

Aside from the sometimes hard-to-understand accent, a trip to Scotland is like visiting an unspoiled, natural paradise. Most travelers start in Edinburgh or Glasgow and then start driving north into the wild and beautiful countryside.

To see what you’re missing in Scotland, check out our guides to Edinburgh where you should plan to visit the Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace which is the official residence of the British royal family. Scotch whisky is Scotland’s national drink so you may want to take a tour or two on the Scotch Whisky Trail , and explore the lovely area of Fife while visiting St. Andrews and see the ruins at Inchcolm Island . There is incredible food in that area, and it’s definitely fit for foodies .

We also highly recommend visiting some of the isles, like Isle of Skye and Islay (particularly if you’re a fan of peaty whisky!).

See our 7-day itineraries that are perfect for exploring the west of Scotland and the east of Scotland and the hotels to look out for .

  • Loch Ness, Scottish Highlands, Glencoe & Pitlochry Tour from Edinburgh
  • Edinburgh Castle Tour: Fast-Track Guided Tour in English
  • Hogwarts Express and the Scenic Highlands Day Tour from Inverness
  • St Andrews & the Fishing Villages of Fife Small-Group Day Tour from Edinburgh
  • The Isle of Skye & Eilean Donan Castle from Inverness

10. New Zealand

Auckland

In New Zealand , you can rent a car and travel throughout either the North or South Island easily. A quick flight between the two Islands will likely be needed though, due to distance, unless you have at least two weeks and don’t mind lots of driving.

We spent some time in Auckland, with amazing wine tasting on Waiheke Island , before heading to the fun and quirky Rotorua area. You might also want to visit Hobbiton, if you’re a Lord of the Rings fan, and the nearby glowworm caves . Here’s our 7-day itinerary for the North Island, which is a very nice trip, and easy to do.

You might also want to check out our post with 9 romantic destinations to visit in New Zealand.

  • Hobbiton™ Movie Set 2-Hour Walking Tour from Shires Rest
  • Cruise Milford NZ Small Boutique Cruise Experience
  • Mitai Maori Village Cultural Experience in Rotorua

11. Australia

Sydney, Australia

In Australia , though you can drive from town to town, getting between the bigger cities will require flights. It’s one VERY large country. You can visit Sydney , which is bustling with things to do like great beaches and cafes, or spend some time in the wine country of South Australia ( Barossa , McLaren Vale and Adelaide ), our personal favorite.

We also really enjoyed Melbourne and the Yarra Valley wine region just an hour away. Of course, you can also arrange a tour to the outback or the Great Barrier Reef, if you want to see something completely unique to Australia. Consider taking a look at some of the Australia’s most scenic road trips to see what is off the beaten path .

For travelers, Victoria is quite accommodating, offering numerous outdoor activities, wineries to visit, and open roads to explore. While you’ll likely want to base yourself out of Melbourne, be prepared for a bit of driving.  The sun-soaked beach town of Byron Bay is worth a visit for it’s friendly people, arty culture, and awe-inspiring nature.

English is the official language of Australia and the people are very nice and accommodating. Enjoy one or all of these classic Australian dishes while you are there.

  • Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling and Diving Cruise from Cairns
  • Sydney Opera House Official Guided Walking Tour
  • All Inclusive Small-Group Blue Mountains Day Trip from Sydney with Scenic World
  • Great Ocean Road and 12 Apostles Day Trip from Melbourne

12. London, England

Millennium bridge in London

Another great place to vacation with ease is London and the surrounding English countryside. Since England speaks English and has many of the same customs as the U.S, it’s an easy travel destination that won’t put you too far outside your comfort zone.

There are tons of great things to do in London so you won’t even have to leave the city if you don’t want to drive on the left. If you love food, be sure to check out London’s food markets , especially our favorite Borough Market . Here are all the top iconic landmarks to check out, and a guide to see all the top sights along the Thames in one day.

There are also great train systems that can take you to places like Stonehenge , Windsor , Bath , and even the Harry Potter Studio Tour outside of London without having to get in a car.

With so many diverse and unique neighborhoods we suggest staying in different areas of London  while you visit. There are fun and unique dining opportunities in London you can even have dinner on a double decker bus , which we highly recommend.

  • Westminster to Greenwich Sightseeing Thames Cruise in London
  • Downton Abbey Village, Blenheim Palace and Cotswolds Day Trip from London
  • The Tower of London – Small Group Tour with a local expert
  • Original Harry Potter Locations Tour – London
  • Stonehenge, Windsor Castle and Bath with Pub Lunch in Lacock

13. Madeira, Portugal

Madeira harbor

Madeira, Portugal is a stunning island located in the Atlantic Ocean known for its lush forests, beautiful beaches , and incredible hiking trails. There are plenty of activities to enjoy while visiting this paradise, from exploring the charming city of Funchal to taking a dip in the crystal clear waters of Porto Santo Beach. One must-try activity while visiting Madeira is to take a cable car ride up to Monte, which offers breathtaking views of the city and at the top visit the Monte Palace Tropical Garden, which is home to an impressive collection of exotic plants and waterfalls.

Another must-do activity while in Madeira is to take a Levada walk. Levadas are man-made irrigation channels that run along the mountainside and are surrounded by beautiful flora and fauna. One of the most popular Levada walks is the 25 Fontes Walk, which leads you to a stunning waterfall and natural pool. There are plenty of activities you keep you busy.

Finally, no trip to Madeira would be complete without trying the local food and wine. Madeira is known for its unique cuisine, which is heavily influenced by Portuguese and African flavors. Be sure to pair your meal with a glass of Madeira wine , which is produced on the island and has been famous for centuries. Whether you prefer a dry or sweet wine, there is a Madeira wine for everyone to enjoy.

  • Around The Island – Two Days Tour From 9am to 5pm (each Day)
  • Madeira Dolphin and Whale Watching on a Ecological Catamaran
  • Madeira Best of the West Day Tour
  • Porto Moniz – Enchanted Terraces: Open 4×4 Full Day Tour

14. Bruges, Belgium

Bruges, Belgium

Bruges, Belgium, is a beautiful and charming city known for its well-preserved medieval architecture and canals. There is no shortage of things to do while visiting this picturesque city. One of the must-see attractions in Bruges is the Belfry of Bruges, which offers stunning views of the city from its top. You can also take a boat tour along the canals to get a unique perspective of the city’s architecture and scenery.

Another great activity while in Bruges is to visit its many museums and art galleries. The Groeningemuseum is one of the most popular museums in the city and houses a vast collection of Flemish and Belgian art. The Memling Museum is located in the former hospital of St. John and contains a collection of medieval medical instruments and artwork.

No trip to Bruges would be complete without sampling its famous cuisine and chocolate. Belgian chocolate is known for its high quality and rich flavor, and you can find a variety of chocolatiers and shops throughout the city. Be sure to also try some of the local specialties, such as Flemish stew, moules frites (mussels with fries), and waffles. Pair your meal with a Belgian beer, which is also renowned for its quality and variety, and you will have experienced some of the best of Belgian cuisine.

We’ve stayed at a few great hotels in Bruges and enjoyed each experience for different reasons. If you pick a hotel in the historic center, it will be very centrally located and within easy walking distance of the things in the center of  Bruges  that most tourists intend to do. If you have more time to spend make sure to visit the medieval town of Ghent. This itinerary will help you see everything with some pointers on where to stay .

  • Belgian Chocolate Workshop in Bruges
  • Love, Architecture & Art of Bruges
  • Best of Bruges: History, Chocolate & Beer Tour

15. Munich, Germany

Old Town Munich

Munich, Germany, is a vibrant and historic city known for its beer, culture, and architecture. One of the must-see attractions in Munich is the Marienplatz, which is the central square of the city and home to the famous Glockenspiel clock tower.  If you’re close enough to visit Neuschwanstein castle , you absolutely should make the effort.

The Alte Pinakothek is one of the most popular art museums in the city and houses a vast collection of European art from the Middle Ages to the Rococo period. The Deutsches Museum is also worth a visit, as it is one of the largest science and technology museums in the world and contains a variety of interactive exhibits and displays.

Finally, no trip to Munich would be complete without experiencing its famous beer gardens and festivals. The Oktoberfest is one of the most famous beer festivals in the world and attracts millions of visitors each year. Be sure to try some of the local specialties, such as pretzels, sausages, and Weisswurst, which is a traditional Bavarian white sausage served with sweet mustard.

  • Neuschwanstein and Linderhof Castle Small-Group Premium All-Inc Tour from Munich
  • Bavarian Beer and Food Evening Tour in Munich
  • Munich Old Town Small-Group Walking Tour

Before You Go

Since you made it to the end of this article, you’re probably pretty interested in other travel destinations. Here are a few more articles we think you might enjoy.

12 Exciting Travel Destinations in Asia

21 top foodie destinations around the world.

  • 10 Off-the-Beaten-Path Destinations
  • 10 Most Romantic Destinations in the Mediterranean

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the easiest countries for a first-time international traveler to visit.

Mexico, Canada, Dominican Republic, Grand Cayman Island, Iceland, Ireland, Scotland, New Zealand, Australia, England, Portugal, Belgium, and Germany are all very easy first-time travel destinations. These countries have robust tourist infrastructures, widely spoken English (or high English proficiency in the case of Japan ), and relatively easy-to-navigate public transportation systems. Countries within the European Union such as France, Italy , and Spain also offer many conveniences for first-time travelers with rich cultural experiences.

What should I keep in mind when planning my first international trip?

First, consider the language spoken in your destination – it may be helpful to learn basic phrases if English is not widely spoken. Second, look into visa requirements; some countries may require you to secure a visa before your trip. Third, consider your destination country’s cost of living and exchange rates to budget accordingly. Fourth, research about the culture and customs to respect local traditions and norms. Lastly, be aware of the country’s safety level, public transportation options, and the availability of health care facilities.

What are the must-haves I should pack for my first international trip?

First, your passport and possibly a visa, depending on your destination. Keep digital and physical copies of these documents in case of loss. Second, adaptors for your electronics, as plug types vary around the world. Third, a basic first-aid kit with essentials like band-aids and medicine for common ailments. Fourth, a cell phone with international capabilities and possibly a local SIM card for data usage. Lastly, clothes are appropriate for the climate and respectful of the local culture.

See how easy it is to travel internationally? There are many easy international travel destinations to go to where you won’t feel overwhelmed or unsafe. The pleasure of traveling doesn’t have to be scary or inconvenient. Get out there and see the world!

Be Prepared For Travel

Planning is the most important part of any successful trip. Do it the easy way:

🧳 Travel Packing List | ✔️ Why You Need Travel Insurance | ✈️ What to Do Before You Leave Home

  • Find and book the best hotel (our favorite booking site is Expedia)
  • Research flight options (our favorite tool is Skyscanner )
  • Book a tour (we always use Viator to find the best tours)
  • Rent a car through Discover Cars (they search the best deals for you!)

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Laura

Laura Lynch, creator and writer of Savored Journeys, is an avid world traveler, certified wine expert, and international food specialist. She has written about travel and food for over 20 years and has visited over 75 countries. Her work has been published in numerous guidebooks, websites, and magazines.

7 thoughts on “ 15 Easy International Travel Destinations For Your Next Vacation ”

Thanks for sharing. Some great tips. We went to Puerto Rico last year and it was amazing. Although from California it’s about 9 hours of flying! But it was still worth it.

If only there was a way to make flights shorter. Puerto Rico is worth it though, like you said!

Great information you shared in the blog post. I will add your blog to my wish list and explore all these information in future. Thanks a lot for this share…

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How can you get to either New Zealand or Australia in a 6 or 7 hour flight from the US?

Hi! I really appreciate this list. Well assembled. I would enjoy a list as well that indicates the same sort of easy cities with the exclusion of the 6-7 hour flight criteria. We are cut visiting Sweden and it’s so easy. Looking forward to more of your articles.

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  • Travel Resources

crowd of beachgoers at devils beach rio de janeiro

  • Weekend Getaways

Pack Your Passport for 16 International Trips Perfect for a Long Weekend

You don't have to go far to go big..

Updated on 10/24/2022 at 4:52 PM

Usually, getting out of town for a long weekend —at least without chewing up all your precious PTO —means a quick and easy trip. Some of us will happily head to some idyllic small town during a three-day federal holiday, or take advantage of a summer Friday by jumping in the car and hitting the nearest city that’s not our own. But why do any of that when you can plunk down on a white-sand beach in the Caribbean , island-hop through Latin America, or explore an overseas metropolis?

Look, nobody’s telling you to bounce off to New Zealand or the Maldives on President’s Day and be back for work on Tuesday. But that doesn’t mean coming home with a fresh tan and a new passport stamp is out of the question thanks to these 16 prime vacation spots, each an easy jump from some of America's biggest airports .

From European gems to slept-on cultural hubs, they’re all within reach. Duck out a couple hours early if you can, hop on a red-eye, and enjoy the exhilaration of a trip abroad. We’ll see you on Monday.

town of nordeste san miguel island azores

São Miguel, Azores, Portugal

Travel time: Bostonians, rejoice! The quickest way to this lush island in the middle of the Atlantic is a less than five-hour red-eye with Azores Airlines from Logan International (depending on the wind, don’t be surprised if you find yourself in Portugal 30 minutes ahead of schedule). You can also fly direct from JFK in under six hours. For both, expect to shell out around $700 for a roundtrip ticket during peak travel times, but by late September, airfare dips to around $500.

Why you’ll love it: Hip, ever-trending Lisbon is less than seven hours from New York, but for a truly dreamy escape, São Miguel is unmatched. The largest of nine islands that make up the Azores , this naturalist’s dream combines fog-crowned lakes and relaxing hot springs along with slender waterfalls and colorful, Hydrangea-lined roadways.

To make sense of it all, sign up for a full-day tour with Holistika Azores , which takes a more contemporary, off-the-beaten-path approach to its itineraries. The eight-hour excursion might have you taking in eye-popping views of the Sete Cidades volcano, swimming under hidden waterfalls in Furnas, or hiking through the oldest areas of the island. Lunch, perhaps of lapas (a local shellfish delicacy best eaten with loads of butter) and beer in full view of the ocean, is included in the £80 price tag.

Fill out the rest of your stay eating anything and everything you can: Visit pineapple green houses at Plantações de Ananases A. Arruda , which also sells addictive pineapple chili oil as a must-have souvenier; learn about one of Europe’s only tea plantations ; and then tuck into a bowl of meaty cozido, a stew that’s cooked for hours underground by the steam of the hot springs in Furnas. — Chadner Navarro

hotel resorts lining a beautiful island shore

Cayman Islands

Travel time: You’re in Miami? Great! A direct flight for you is just an hour and a half. From Chicago or New York, it’s still under four hours. A roundtrip will run probably $300 to $550 if you aim for March or April, the sweet spot when hotel rates drop but the rainy season hasn’t quite yet kicked in.

Why you’ll love it: The Caymans span three islands, each with a different vibe. On a short trip, you’ll get the most out of your time on the biggest of the three, Grand Cayman. Spend your time swimming among and learning about sea turtles and other marine life at the Cayman Turtle Centre . For an absolute stunner of a shoreline—we’re assuming this is a high priority—head a few minutes south to Seven Mile Beach. And maybe feed a stingray while you’re there.

Not really an ocean person? Weird choice of vacation spots, but that’s cool—consider going to Hell (no, seriously), a surreal little whistle-stop village drenched in black limestone. It’s free, though it’s worth paying a small fee (meaning a gratuity) for a guide to give you a more thorough experience. Then keep walking, if you must, onto the renowned Mastic Trail , which cuts through a gorgeous nature preserve.

If you can make it down during the first week of May, you can catch the raucous annual Carnival festivities, known here as Batabano . And definitely don’t go back home without sampling the world-class jerk chicken. It’s ubiquitous, but East Ender’s is a cut above. — Kastalia Medrano

diver swimming alongside a whale shark

Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Travel time: You can fly from LA to Cancún in about four and a half hours, or from Houston or Miami in just two hours. A roundtrip will probably run you $250-$400, and the ferry from Cancún is only a few bucks.

Why you’ll love it: This island right off the tip of the Yucatán Peninsula is an excellent place to enjoy the best things about Cancún, without actually having to interact with the kind of people who frequent Cancún . In other words, this is where you go not to party for a weekend, but to laze. For a day at the beach , head to Playa Norte, where the waters stay waist-deep for probably as far out as you care to walk anyway. Jaunting around Isla Mujeres via golf cart is a popular move, but if you’re willing and able, rent a bike or moped. At four miles long and just less than half a mile wide, the island is small and relatively car-free, so you shouldn’t have to worry about the roads.

Don’t miss the Underwater Museum of Art , which comprises more than 500 statues and sculptures that are, as the name suggests, underwater. You can either view them from a glass-bottomed boat, snorkel, or scuba dive your way through the collection.

Visit during the summer, and you’re in the planet’s optimal time and place for snorkeling with one of the most noble and mysterious creatures: the whale shark . These gentle, school bus-sized creatures aren’t actually sharks, but rather the world’s largest fish. Though their migration patterns have stumped marine biologists for years, Isla Mujeres is where they’re most reliably known to turn up. — Kastalia Medrano

Hamilton, Bermuda

Travel time: Bermuda is an easy flight from the East Coast: two hours from New York, DC, or Boston, and about three from Miami or Atlanta. The quick flight and small price tag—you can often fly direct for under $300—makes it the stuff of weekend getaway dreams .

Why you'll love it: Bermuda is a strange bird. It’s not tropical, but it is warm and sunny and has pink-sand beaches and sunsets over the North Atlantic. You can horseback ride on those colorful beaches, or even ride a jet ski into the Bermuda Triangle (don’t worry, it’s totally chill these days ). Visit the historic The Swizzle Inn (est. 1652) for an iconic rum swizzle, and then seek out authentic local fare in St. George’s, where the signature wahoo fish sandwich on raisin bread is the way to go.

Bermuda’s tax status means there’s quite a bit of wealthy expats combing its shores, but even if you can’t spend hedge fund-manager dollars, you can enjoy the same beaches as the yacht crowd. Consider cruising the bicycle trails, trying a stand-up paddleboard, and walking around Hamilton’s Downtown. It’s quiet, relaxing, and a shorter flight home than some New Yorkers’ morning commutes. — Emily Zemler

crowd of people at open-air concert at jazz festival montreal

Montréal, Quebec, Canada

Travel time: Montréal is easy to travel to from just about any major US city, with New York, Chicago, Philly, and Washington, DC clocking the most flights per week and flight times lasting three to five hours.

Why you’ll love it: There’s a saying that Montréal is the closest you can get to Europe without leaving North America, but we call BS. It’s its own thing, and should be celebrated as such. Sure, there’s a certain je ne sais quoi to charming cobblestoned Old Montréal, but the modern city is not content to stay in a single lane. Old and new combine here in fascinating ways , from the Mile End neighborhood, home to a large traditional Jewish population (not to mention the best bagels in town) to the edgy Gay Village near the city center.

The cultural soul of Quebec , Montréal is a city of festivals, hosting everything from international jazz fests to spectacular circuses—Cirque du Soleil may have gotten its start here, but it’s far from the only game in town. It’s also a food lover’s dream. International year-round markets like Atwater and Jean-Talon offer the best in cheese, pastries, and more, while world-renowned restaurants Joe Beef and Au Pied de Cochon elevate elk, venison, and boar to soaring heights. Of course, you could always settle for a fried bologna sandwich from Schwartz’s Deli or Canada’s national dish, poutine.

Canada also offers legalized recreational marijuana , so if weed is part of your travel agenda , you’re in luck. Montreal’s laws are pretty straightforward, with cannabis stores now open for interested parties 18 and older. — Joseph Hernandez

palacio de bellas artes mexico city

Mexico City, Mexico

Travel time: Direct flights from most major US airports will get you into CDMX pretty quickly: two and a half hours from Dallas, three from Miami, four from LA, and five from NYC. Roundtrip fare usually ranges from $300-$500.

Why you'll love it: Anything feels possible in these parts. Spend an afternoon wandering the tree-lined streets of super-trendy La Condesa or La Roma, and sip artisanal coffee while eavesdropping on local slang (no mames guey!). Get cultured in the Centro Historico, where grand colonial buildings and churches tower over the electric, modern murals that illuminate the thronged alleys. The top draft choices among the 150 museums in the city are the stunning Museum of Anthropology and the Casa Azul of Frida Kahlo . Then hit the city’s bustling markets to experience some of the best street food on the planet while surrounded by glorious buzz.

At night, Mexico City truly comes alive—as will you, when you sample pulque (a traditional, fermented agave drink, flavored with strawberry or celery) and befriend the mariachi band busking on the sidewalk. Grab some mezcal and a midnight snack of tacos al pastor, then stumble off to dance until sunrise. Don’t forget a day trip to the epic, pre-Hispanic city of Teotihuacan, where climbing the steep steps of the ancient pyramids will leave you eager for a long lunch in a restaurant in the desert, right next to a cactus farm. — Laura Yan

Turks and Caicos

Travel time: A direct flight from Miami will put you there in less than two hours; from Chicago or New York, it’s less than four. You should be able to get a roundtrip ticket for under $500 (half that from Miami).

Why you’ll love it: Yes, Turks and Caicos (and its $33,000-per-night hotel ) is a hotspot for celebrities. But just because you don’t have an agent doesn’t mean you should write it off as too exclusive or too expensive. There are hotels in the $200-$300 per night range that will feel luxe enough to scratch the vacation itch. And if you go during Hurricane Season—roughly June through November—they’re even cheaper and less crowded… provided there’s no actual hurricane approaching.

As activities go, there’s a beach full of puppies you can play with , which is a really good start. A massive barrier reef makes the waters ideal for swimming and snorkeling. Set aside at least one lazy morning on Providenciales to lounge around Grace Bay Beach , a stretch of white sand spanning more than three miles that has the unnerving, blemish-free aesthetic of a high-quality stock photo.

If you get there on a Thursday night, you can hit the weekly fish fry , where dozens of local artisans and food vendors collide alongside live, local music. For an even quieter, off-the-grid weekend than what you’ll find on Providenciales (often called Provo), catch a ferry to the North Caicos or Middle Caicos islands, or—where you conceivably might not run into a single other person— Salt Cay , the smallest of the main islands at around 100 residents. — Kastalia Medrano

banff avenue with cascade mountain in the background

Banff and Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada

Travel time: You can fly direct into Calgary from New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, or Chicago, often for under $300 (sometimes even less, depending on season and departure city). It’s a two- to five-hour flight there, then a one- to two-hour drive into the mountains to get to Banff—all worth it the second you glimpse the views.

Why you’ll love it: Visitors of all stripes converge on this beloved mountain town—burly motorcycle dudes, international tourists, ski bums, grandmas, 20-somethings in toques (that’s Canadian for “beanies”)—to get a whiff of clean alpine air while gazing starry-eyed upon the preposterously scenic Canadian Rockies .

In town, folks fuel up on bison short ribs and cured steelhead at Bison Restaurant and sip housemade gin at Park Distillery , but the siren call of Cascade Mountain, which frames Banff Avenue as you look north, beckons adventurers away from the fireplace. UNLTD will outfit you for snow, and have you on the back bowl at Lake Louise , Sunshine , and Mt. Norquay lickety-split with the SkiBig3 pass. Mid-January brings the Ice Magic Festival to the grand Fairmont Lake Louise , where you can cozy up at the ice bar or slide across the most glorious ice rinks with a killer view of Victoria Glacier as a backdrop.

Or, you could come in the summer and drive the Icefields Parkway between Banff and Jasper; the highway offers sublime, unobstructed views of the craggy Rockies. Taste a bit of the Athabasca Glacier at the Columbia Icefield Adventure , hike into Banff National Park , or go waterfall trekking into Johnston Canyon and Ink Pots. Most importantly, don’t forget your bear spray, especially in spring and summer when the wild berries are ripe for eating. —Keryn Means

two people paddle boarding on turquoise waters of caye caulker belize

Belize City, Belize

Travel time: Flights to Belize City are quicker than you realize from hubs like Dallas-Fort Worth, Atlanta, and Miami (three hours) or Houston (two and a half hours). And ticket prices from those cities can sometimes get down to under $300 roundtrip.

Why you'll love it: Lush tropical rainforest? Check. Ancient Mayan ruins? Not too bad. Those cayes? Spectacular. This little Central American country covers more than 200 small islands rolling out into some of the clearest turquoise waters and blindingly white sand you’ll ever see. And for roughly the cost of your flight, you can even rent an entire island for the weekend . It’s that kind of place.

If you’re into mingling with locals over endless daiquiris, the most popular islands are Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker. From there, you can take a short boat ride out to the world’s second-largest barrier reef to snorkel with a mind-boggling variety of stingrays, sharks, and fish. Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is bigger , but I can tell you from experience that Belize is better. Close the day with Caribbean vibes, jerk chicken, and coconut rice on the beach, and ask yourself how you’ve lived this close to paradise without ever finding time to visit before. — Katie Lockhart

Travel time: Florida to Costa Rica clocks in at just under three hours. California and New York? About five. With two international airports, two coasts on two oceans, and a capital city in the thick of it all, Costa Rica’s pura vida is blissfully accessible. What’s more, flights can dip as low as $200 in the off season, which runs from May through November.

Why you’ll love it: Costa Rica is the epitome of a peaceful haven: The country disbanded its military back in 1948, and the government doesn’t view its abundant natural resources as something to be capitalized on. Costa Ricans embrace pura vida holistically.

Fly into bustling San Jose and you’ll be central to everything: wild, verdant forests, swoon-worthy beaches, wildlife, and stunning resorts and hotels. Everyone’s Costa Rica trip is whatever they make it, whether that’s hanging poolside or trekking through the rainforest. Make life easier by renting a car: In Costa Rica, you can watch the sunrise over the turquoise Caribbean Sea, then see it set over the deep blue Pacific Ocean—all in one day, since the drive from the east to the west coast only takes about six hours.

Affordable and quick, chartered puddle jumpers are also available if you want to get further from civilization. Costa Rica boasts an incredible amount of biodiversity, so be prepared to see animals like hatching baby turtles make their way to the ocean, or even elusive ocelots. To the north, you’ll find the active El Arenal Volcano—the area, La Fortuna, is known for its rustic hot springs and chic spas.— Liv Lawson

aerial view of beach in bavaro, punta cana

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Travel time: You can find regular direct flights to DR from a ton of American cities, including Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Orlando (two to two and a half hours); Charlotte (about three and a half hours); or DC, Philly, and New York (under four hours). Even better? Prices can drop as low as $190 roundtrip.

Why you’ll love it: Home to pristine white-sand beaches, gorgeous villages, and the tallest mountain in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic is the perfect place to spend some time exploring its unique island culture and dense jungle ecology. It’s also a fantastic place to simply plop down in the sun with a refreshing mamajuana and toil a weekend away… especially if you fly into the Caribbean paradise of Punta Cana.

No, this isn’t some hidden Caribbean gem shrouded in jungle, but there is a huge variety of activities here to help you maximize your time. Be pampered at an all-inclusive resort like Iberostar Grand Bávaro or Eden Roc at Cap Cana , or opt for an ultra-affordable hotel. Regardless, you’ll spend most of your time kicking it on golden sands or wading into crystal-clear waters. You’ll have the option to hike, snorkel, windsurf, kayak, golf, and more, but honestly, those beaches are pretty damn comfy, so you’d be forgiven for spending your entire day sprawled out in anticipation of a evening full of great music, strong drinks, and incredible Dominican cuisine. — Andy Kryza

Victoria, British Columbia

Travel time: Get there direct from Seattle for less than $300 and under an hour. Or, fly into Vancouver (YVR) and then hop across the Strait of Georgia to Vancouver Island (a bit confusing, but it’s where you’ll find Victoria, not Vancouver) via commercial flight, seaplane, or ferry. The whole trip will take you four and a half hours from LA, or six hours from Houston or Chicago. Or, drive and ferry from Seattle in about five hours.

Why you'll love it: Vancouver —so sexy, so filmable—overshadows this smaller, harder-to-reach provincial capital. But the Garden City offers a mix of the bold and the British that makes its tourist-friendly yet genuinely cool Downtown one of the chillest little vacation nooks on the West Coast.

Stone-clad buildings like the grandiose Empress Hotel and British Columbia’s Legislature loom over seals splashing happily amid houseboats in the harbor nearby. Red Fish Blue Fish , a harborside fish-and-chips shack housed in a renovated shipping container, has eats that justify what will likely be a lengthy wait in line. And if the view inspires you to get out on the water, hop in a speed boat and chase some orca, taking a second to notice the snow-splattered Olympic Mountains rising in Washington State, still visible to the south. — Lewis Kelly

colorful buildings lining a narrow street in cartagena

Cartagena, Colombia

Travel time: Three hours direct from Miami and Fort Lauderdale, or five hours direct from New York, with flights starting at around $250 roundtrip. Alternatively, you’ll find lots of connections through Bogota .

Why you'll love it: You’d be forgiven if you forgot that Colombia is in the Caribbean—but it’s one of the area’s gems, with white beaches cushioning blue waters and all the ceviche, cocktails, champeta, and cumbia you could possibly want. Still retaining some fantastical charm, Cartagena’s Old Town is riddled with tropical food spots, with plenty of opportunities for drinking rum and dancing exclusively with your hips in the local taverns. This is where romance seeps through the city’s historical walls, exuding warm, tropical beauty in every corner. And should that not be enough, there are boats waiting to take you to any spot within the nearby Islas del Rosario—otherwise known as paradise.

Though, you better hurry—in the past decade, Colombia has seen a huge spike in visitors, yet prices haven’t quite caught up. You can still eat fabulously well for under $20, with equally acceptable rates for lodging. All of this perched on the exquisite Caribbean coastline makes for the ideal sanctuary to find your 100 hours of solitude. — Daniel Cole

campus of trinity college dublin

Dublin, Ireland

Travel time: If you want to play hooky in Europe but only have a long weekend, this is one of the closest and most manageable destinations. Direct flights from New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and other major East Coast cities run about six and a half hours—and can be as cheap as $300.

Why you'll love it: Dublin’s hardly a secret, but it’s one you can easily browse past if you’re planning a Euro trip. Look, it’s dense, walkable, culturally rich, and full of folks who will drink you under the table day or night—don’t overthink this. For a blowout three-day weekend, it’s ideal .

On these cobbled streets, you’ll meet street performers doing magic and making dog sculptures out of sand. Skip the tourist-choked joints around Temple Bar (but make a stop in the legendary bar itself) and instead hit up the art scene at the Irish Film Institute or The Temple Bar Gallery + Studios . Pop by the Leprechaun Museum and sit in a giant chair 10 times your size (best after pints and drams at the Guinness Factory and the Jameson Distillery ). If you prefer to eat your alcohol, try some Guinness stew or stop in at Murphy's for a rotating menu of ice cream flavors that includes Irish coffee.

Then, keep the party going. Hit the Brazen Head for live music or a pub on Harcourt Street. Your new friend (what’s their name, again?) might lead you into a bleary made-up game like "good bottle, bad bottle." (Hint: It always ended in bottles breaking.) After two days soaking up the culture, history, and ethanol, head out for a tour of the stunning countryside and the cliffs to clear your head and lungs before heading back home to real life. — Hannah Friedman

Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico

Travel time: Mexico's northwesternmost state is a 20-minute drive from the San Diego airport, so all you need to do is grab a cheap flight into California and tack on a car rental. Or, hell, just take the trolley into Tijuana, where the local airport is best accessed via a connection in Latin America.

Why you'll love it: Butting up directly to the US-Mexico border and the Pacific Ocean, Baja California is a neighboring destination that will leave you feeling like you just got off a 10-hour plane ride (minus the 10-hour plane ride, of course). Tijuana, situated on la Frontera, is both safer and more dynamic than you might expect—a magnet for art, design, and, like its sibling San Diego , craft beer. The city's also home to boutique hotels, alongside a glut of fine and upscale-casual dining restaurants serving internationally lauded Mexican cuisine.

Down the coastal highway is the port city of Ensenada, known for its second-to-none fresh seafood and the Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico's version of wine country. With more than 150 architecture-forward wineries, inventive hotels, and restaurants helmed by Michelin-starred chefs, this less-explored food and drink oasis is a side of Mexico most people outside of Southern California haven't yet experienced. —Jackie Bryant

people kayaking along toronto islands

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Travel time: It takes under two hours (and between $200-$300) to get there from New York, Chicago, DC, and Atlanta, but Toronto’s status as a huge international city means getting here from most anywhere is easy. Even better? If you’re in Buffalo or Detroit, you can drive.

Why you’ll love it: Home to Ramona Flowers , Drake, The Weeknd, and, sigh, Barenaked Ladies, Toronto has long flown under the radar. Canadian haters have written it off as a wannabe NYC. Americans have written it off as Montreal’s uncool cousin (again, Barenaked Ladies). But in the past few decades, something miraculous has happened: Toronto became cool as hell.

It’s not just the fact that Toronto is one of North America’s most diverse cities, a place where more than 230 nationalities come together to inform the culture, music, and exquisite culinary scene . And it’s not just the intensely awesome art scene that thrives from the shores of Lake Ontario to the alleys beneath the skyline, where street murals, world-class galleries, and cutting-edge venues routinely drop jaws. And it’s definitely not just the nightlife, which ranges from mixology-intensive cocktail bars to thumping clubs throughout one of the continent’s most LGBTQ-friendly cities . Taken on their own, any one of those factors would make Toronto worth a visit. Together, they represent a close-to-home international destination you really, really need to show some attention. — Andy Kryza

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Where to travel in 2024, without crowds

12 destinations across italy, japan, mexico and more to add to your travel wish list.

We made it through January, which means it’s time to put away resolutions you won’t keep and nurture the habit that will stick: more travel.

Health and wellness experts have determined that taking multiple vacations a year is beneficial to your overall well-being. To actually decompress, though, you’ll want to go somewhere with room to breathe. Crowds have clogged up Paris , Rome and Tokyo , especially in the high seasons.

To plan a trip away from the pack, we asked industry experts for their favorite under-the-radar destinations. We also considered our collective travels, putting a premium on opportunities to spot wildlife, sample local cooking, relax by the water and commune with nature.

overseas trip ideas

(Shutterstock)

overseas trip ideas

Bracciano, Italy

Italy remains one of the most desirable destinations for Americans, meaning popular spots (Rome, the Amalfi Coast, Lake Como) will stay crowded and expensive. Enter Lake Bracciano, a picturesque place that has fallen off Americans’ radars since Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes got married there in 2006. “You have this really, really rich medieval and Renaissance history, but nobody goes there,” said Rome-based cookbook author and tour guide Katie Parla . You can get to Bracciano easily from Rome in about an hour and change.

Don’t miss: Viterbo, another overlooked gem, is about 30 miles north of Bracciano — or take a direct train from Rome in two hours or less. “It is just a vast, beautiful, haunted, magical, medieval city,” Parla said.

A sunny day on Lake Bracciano near Rome.

Fukui , Japan

If the past few months are any indication, tourism in Japan could surpass pre-pandemic levels in 2024. To escape the urban sprawl and see one of the most spiritual parts of the country, go to Fukui. Naomi Mano, president and chief executive of the Tokyo-based travel company Luxurique , says the city is a destination for temples , onsens (hot spring baths), art and food (specifically Echizen crab ). With a new bullet train line set to open in March , travelers can get to Fukui from Tokyo in about three hours.

Don’t miss: Mano sends visitors to Eiheiji Temple , one of the most important sites for Zen Buddhists. “It’s the temple where all of the Zen monks go to train to become higher monks,” she said.

Eiheiji Temple is an important site for Zen Buddhists monks in training.

Asheville, N.C.

Asheville has achieved the tricky balance of staying down to earth while catering to refined tastes. Restaurants in the western North Carolina city are regulars on the James Beard Awards circuit. Two of its breweries medaled in last year’s World Beer Cup . Independent hotels in repurposed buildings, such as Zelda Dearest , the Radical and the Flat Iron , are opening at a steady clip. Yet, whenever you wish to return to Asheville’s roots, take a walk in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Don’t miss: The mile-long Asheville Black Cultural Heritage Trail , which encompasses three neighborhoods, introduces visitors to pillars of the community, such as Alderman Newton Shepard, a formerly enslaved man who in 1882 became the city’s first Black person to win an election .

Diners and tourists outside the French Broad Chocolate Lounge near Pack Square in Asheville.

Dhërmi, Albania

Over the past few years, Albania has been quietly heating up as Europe’s next big beach spot. Clear water, rugged coast and affordable accommodations all call out to tourists. And unlike some of its Balkan neighbors, “it is untouched,” said Ema, the anonymous Albanian travel journalist who runs the award-winning magazine and Instagram account Ema’s Light . Rent a car and head to the Albanian Riviera, where you’ll find a constellation of small towns with perfect beaches, such as Dhërmi.

Don’t miss: The capital city of Tirana is a must-visit worth at least two to three days of your trip for its restaurants and history, Ema says.

The Dhërmi Beach at Dhërmi, Albania.

Popayán, Colombia

This UNESCO City of Gastronomy is full of restaurants, outdoor markets and street vendors. Two points of pride in the traditional cuisine are empanadas stuffed with pipián — a puree of potatoes, peanuts and spices — and desamargado valluno , a dessert made from candied fruit peels. The capital of the Cauca state is also known as “La Ciudad Blanca” because of its bone-white buildings.

Don’t miss : Daniel Buitrón Jaramillo of Colombia Ecotravel recommends Mora Castilla , a small cafe in the historic center, for classic empanaditas and champús, a drink made of pineapple, maize and tart lulo fruit.

View of the Cathedral Basilica Our Lady of the Assumption in Popayán, Colombia, in the morning.

overseas trip ideas

(Martin Zwick/Getty Images)

overseas trip ideas

(Robert Harding/Shutterstock)

Orkney Islands, Scotland

The Orkney Islands are more uninhabited than occupied, at least by humans. Of these 70 isles off the northern coast of Scotland, less than two dozen are developed. Gray seals outnumber people by several hundred, and flocks of puffins, guillemots and seaweed-grazing sheep dot the rocky coastlines. Papa Westray , one of the smaller Orkneys, boasts some 60 archaeological sites, and North Ronaldsay lights up at night as a Dark Sky Island .

Don’t miss: The Heart of Neolithic Orkney , part of Scotland’s UNESCO Trail, is a collection of ancient sites that includes a domestic settlement with stone furnishings and the Stones of Stenness, a henge of upright monuments standing nearly 20 feet tall.

Standing Stones of Stenness, part of the UNESCO World Heritage site Heart of Neolithic Orkney.

Isla Holbox, Mexico

Holbox heals what ails so much of Mexico’s resort-heavy Yucatán Peninsula. The 26-mile-long island north of Cancún does not have traffic, because of a car ban, or high rises, because of building height restrictions. The main form of transportation is bike or golf cart on dirt roads. To cross from the mainland, visitors must take a 25-minute ferry from Chiquilá (or a private jet). Holbox, which means “Black Box” in the Mayan language, is part of the Yum Balam reserve. One of its biggest return guests is the whale shark.

Don’t miss : On moonless nights, head to Punta Cocos Beach to swim or paddle with bioluminescent plankton that illuminate the water like hundreds of fairy lights.

No cars are allowed on Isla Holbox in Mexico.

The S chist Villages , Portugal

Tucked into mountainsides, through scenic valleys and snaking rivers, the Schist Villages (or Aldeias do Xisto, in Portuguese) is a network of 27 quaint towns. The villages — which date back to the 12th century and are named after the stone with which they were built — are particularly popular with hikers , bikers and nature lovers. You’ll find accommodations for all budgets, with luxury properties, such as the Casas do Côro in Marialva, and the Cerdeira Home for Creativity , a collection of nine restored Schist houses for rent.

Don’t miss: Lisbon-based journalist and food researcher Miguel Andrade says Talasnal is a highlight in the lush Lousã mountain region. Try one of his favorite Portuguese dishes, chanfana, a goat stew traditionally cooked with red wine in a clay pot over an open fire.

The view over the Piodão schist medieval mountain village in Portugal.

Tairawhiti Gisborne, New Zealand

Destination: Gisborne, the largest town in the North Island’s Tairawhiti Gisborne region, is advertised as the first spot in the world to greet the sunrise. No wonder so many surfers rise early to catch some of the best waves in the country. The East Coast area is steeped in Maori culture. The Tairawhiti Museum holds a vast collection of Indigenous art, including stonework, textiles and painted panels. The 2.5-mile Tupapa Heritage Trail is paved with history, landmarks and legends that Maori storytellers summon to life on the Tupapa app.

Don’t miss: Start the day atop Maunga Hikurangi, the sacred mountain of the Ngati Porou people where nine wood carvings of Maui and his whanau (family) bear witness to the rising sun.

Wood carvings of Maui and his family stand on the sacred mountain Maunga Hikurangi in Gisborne, New Zealand.

overseas trip ideas

(Jennifer M. Ramos/Getty Images)

overseas trip ideas

(Christine Wehrmeier/Getty Images)

overseas trip ideas

(Afriandi/Getty Images)

Fredericksburg, Tex.

Swimming holes. Wide-open spaces. Funky towns and burgeoning wineries. The Texas Hill Country screams road trip. Consider Fredericksburg for its German-Texas heritage (with beer gardens and Bavarian fare galore), says Austin-based travel journalist Pam LeBlanc. The town is known for its peaches and its National Museum of the Pacific War , plus a slew of mom-and-pop boutiques and restaurants. The chic Albert Hotel is opening this year, or you can camp in Pedernales Falls State Park, where LeBlanc loves taking a dip in the cypress-lined river.

Don’t miss: Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is 17 miles north of Fredericksburg, “where you can hike to the top of a huge dome of pink granite or go rock climbing,” LeBlanc said in an email.

The pink dome of Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is a draw for hikers and climbers.

Toledo District, Belize

For a Caribbean escape far from crowds, head to the southernmost district of Belize. “There is a lot to do,” Belizean birding guide Roni Martinez said, such as exploring waterfalls, caves and large rainforest reserves, and learning about the mix of people who have made Toledo home, including Maya and East Indian communities.

Don’t miss: As most of Toledo has rocky shores, Martinez recommends taking a boat tour to nearby islands — such as the Port Honduras Marine Reserve — for “picture-perfect” white-sand beaches.

A waterfall in Rio Blanco National Park in the Toledo District of Belize.

Sumba, Indonesia

Bali may be the most well-known of Indonesia’s thousands of islands, but it’s not the only one worth visiting. With new hotels and a population of wild horses that gallop across golden beaches, Sumba comes highly recommended by Catherine Heald, chief executive of the Asia-focused luxury tour operator Remote Lands . Beyond Sumba’s lush hillsides and surfable turquoise water, the island boasts beautiful thatched-roof architecture.

Don’t miss: Consider a side quest to Komodo National Park , home to some 5,700 of its titular dragons as well as world-class scuba diving. You can fly or sail to the UNESCO World Heritage site.

An aerial view of Wainyapu village in Sumba, Indonesia.

About this story

Editing by Gabe Hiatt . Design and development by Katty Huertas . Design editing by Christine Ashack . Photo editing by Lauren Bulbin . Copy editing by Jamie Zega .

Where to go

Our favorite destinations: In 2023, we explored an Alaskan bear paradise, Brooklyn’s famous pizzerias and a hidden gem in Italy, among other highlights . Traveler extraordinaire Rick Steves gave us this hot tip: don’t skip Europe’s second cities .

Travel like a local: Residents share their favorite places in our top city guides: New Orleans , Rome , Tokyo and Mexico City .

National parks: This comprehensive guide has details on all 63 U.S. national parks. For a deep dive into five of the most well-known, you can listen to the Field Trip podcast . Then explore tips from locals for visiting Yosemite , Glacier and Everglades .

Tales from the road: Dolly Parton has opened a new resort at her theme park complex in Tennessee, while “Fixer Upper” stars Chip and Joanna Gaines have a new hotel in Waco . Road-trippers may be just as excited to see the cartoon beaver at Buc-ee’s , and bargain-hunters should consider a stop at the Unclaimed Baggage store in Scottsboro, Ala.

Here's what you need to know to plan a trip around the world

Dec 29, 2021 • 7 min read

Cenote Suytun at Valladolid, Yucatan - Mexico

Don't start planning your round-the-world trip without reading this guide © Getty Images

In 1924, a team of aviators from the USA successfully completed the first-ever circumnavigation of the globe by airplane, a feat that took 175 days, 76 stops, a cache of 15 Liberty engines, 14 spare pontoons, four aircraft and two sets of new wings. This achievement ushered in an era of international air travel, and nearly a century later, travelers are still creating their own round-the-world itineraries. 

You might not have the same worries as those early aviators, but planning a round-the-world trip has never been a more complex process. As COVID-19 continues to alter world travel , heading out on a multi-country trip might be more complicated than it has been in decades. While it might not be the right time to hit the road, luckily it's never too early to start figuring out the logistics of a trip around the globe. After all, who doesn't have a lot of pent-up wanderlust at the moment? 

When it comes to booking your trip, there are several options for booking your airfare, as well as flexibility on timing, destinations and budget. But don't let that overwhelm you – start here with our handy guide on how to plan that round-the-world trip you’ve always dreamed of.

Where and how to get a round-the-world plane ticket

The most economical way to circumnavigate the globe is to buy a round-the-world (RTW) plane ticket through a single airline alliance. These are confederations of several different airlines that make it simple to maximize the number of places you can travel and pay for it all in one place or with points. There are three primary airline alliances to choose from: Star Alliance, OneWorld and Skyteam.  Star Alliance is a coalition of 26 airlines that fly to 1300 airports in 98% of the world’s countries.  OneWorld includes 14 airlines traveling to 1100 destinations in 180 territories.  Skyteam is made up of 19 airlines that serve 1000 destinations in 170 countries.  

Read more:   How to save money when you're traveling

Once you pick an airline alliance, whether because of a loyalty program you’re already a member of or because you like its terms, conditions and destination list, you can purchase a single RTW airline ticket made up of several legs fulfilled by that alliance’s partners. The RTW ticket rules vary between each of the airline alliances, with particulars like Star Alliance’s rule that a RTW ticket can include two to 15 stops. But there are some general principles that apply to most RTW tickets, no matter which airline group you go with. 

You typically must follow one global direction (east or west – no backtracking); you must start and finish in the same country; and you must book all your flights before departure, though you can change them later (though this could incur extra charges). Typically you have one year to get from your starting point to the finish line.

How long do I need for a round-the-world trip?

You could whip around the world in a weekend if you flew non-stop, especially with the advent of new ultra-long-haul flights that can clock in at 20 hours of flight time. However, the minimum duration of most RTW tickets is 10 days – still a breathless romp. To get the most out of your round-the-world ticket, consider stock-piling vacation days, tagging on public holidays or even arranging a sabbatical from work to take off at least two months (but ideally six months to one year). Because most airline alliances give you up to a year to use your ticket, you can maximize your purchase if you plan well.

A hiker approaching an archway on a mountainous trail in Nepal

When should I travel on a round-the-world trip?

The weather will never be ideal in all your stops, so focus on what you want to do most and research the conditions there. In general, city sightseeing can be done year-round (escape extreme heat, cold or rain in museums and cafes), but outdoor adventures are more reliant on – and enjoyable in – the right weather.

Research ahead of time if any must-see destinations or must-do activities will mean facing crowds. For example, if you’re hoping to be in Austria for the famous Salzburg Festival, you’ll want to plan ahead and book your tickets months in advance. If you’re hoping to fit a shorter thru-hike into your round-the-world trip, you’ll want to make sure you’re going in the correct season and starting in the right spot. You won’t get far or have as enjoyable an experience if you’re, say, attempting the Tour du Mont Blanc during the dates of the annual winter marathon or headed northbound on the Pacific Crest Trail in July, missing most of the warmer months. 

Accept youʼll be in some regions at the "wrong" time – though this might offer unexpected benefits. For example, Victoria Falls has a dry season each year , which means a slightly less thunderous cascade, but it does open up rafting opportunities and a chance to swim right up to the lip of the falls in The Devil’s Pool. Going to Venice in the winter might mean grayer skies but fewer crowds. Heading to Kenya and Tanzania in April is likely to mean fewer humans, but not fewer chances to spot wildlife, all while saving money on safari.  Also keep in mind that mom-and-pop locations have their downtime and holiday seasons as well; don't be too surprised if your local bakery in Paris is closed for a holiday week or two in August.

Where should I go on my round-the-world trip?

The classic (and cheapest) RTW tickets flit between a few big cities, for example, London – Bangkok – Singapore – Sydney – LA . If you want to link more offbeat hubs ( Baku – Kinshasa – Paramaribo , anyone?), prices will climb considerably. The cost of the ticket is also based on the total distance covered or the number of countries visited.

A train crossing a bridge curves through lush green hillsides in India

Remember, you donʼt have to fly between each point: in Australia you could land in Perth , travel overland and fly out of Cairns . Or fly into Moscow , board the Trans-Siberian railway  and fly onwards from Beijing.  Pick some personal highlights and string the rest of your itinerary around those. For instance, if youʼre a keen hiker, flesh out a Peru ( Inca Trail ) – New Zealand ( Milford Track ) – Nepal ( Everest Base Camp ) itinerary with stops in Yosemite , Menz-Gauassa and the Okavango Delta .

If budgetʼs an issue, spend more time in less expensive countries and plan budget city breaks along the way. You’ll spend more in metros like Paris, Dubai and San Francisco than in Nusa Tenggara , Budapest  and Buffalo . 

Tips, tricks and pitfalls of round-the-world tickets

Talk to an expert before you book a round-the-world ticket: you may have an itinerary in mind, but an experienced RTW flight booker will know which routes work best and cost least. A few tweaks could mean big savings in time and money. Hash out a budget well ahead of time, not only for your RTW ticket, but also for the whole trip. Reach out to friends or travel bloggers who have done a round-the-world trip or are full-time travelers because they can offer tips on how to budget for a trip around the world .

Be flexible: moving your departure date by a few days can save money. Mid-week flights are generally cheaper, as are flights on major holidays such as Christmas Day. Avoid days and times popular with business travelers to escape higher prices and more crowded cabins.

Think about internal travel: it can be cheaper to book internal flights at the same time as booking your RTW ticket, but with the global increase of low-cost airlines, you may find it better (and more flexible) to buy them separately as you go.

Be warned: if you donʼt board one of your booked flights (say, on a whim, you decide to travel overland from Bangkok to Singapore rather than fly it) your airline is likely to cancel all subsequent flights.

You might also like: 10 destinations perfect for solo travel Can visiting lesser-known places offer a better travel experience? 6 things I learned from flying 6 days in a row

This article was first published March 2012 and updated December 2021

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100 Travel Bucket List Ideas

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Are you looking for travel bucket list ideas for your next trip? Running out of ideas or looking for fresh ones? From epic classics to exciting newcomers, we have selected the 100 best places to visit all over the world.

Where will 2024 lead you? 🙂

1. Get stunned by the Great Pyramid of Giza

The Great Pyramid - Bucket List Ideas

The Great Pyramid of Giza defines bucket list goals. Built over 5000 years ago, it’s the oldest and the biggest of the pyramids, the last structure of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World that survived.

It is a marvel of human engineering and construction, and a defining symbol of the Egyptian world.

Read more: Things to do in Cairo

2. Walk along the Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China -Bucket List Ideas

The Great Wall of China is a good reason for the existence of the Bucket List! It’s an astonishing relic of China’s history, and it’s a must for many travelers and tourists around the world, in fact, it is considered as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Identified as one of the most important symbols of China, it consists of numerous walls and fortification, many running parallels to each other for a measure of 8,850 km. The Great Wall can be visited from Beijing .

3. Explore Petra

Petra in Jordan - Bucket List ideas

Jordan’s rose-colored sandstone city is an extraordinary experience. On the border of the Arabian desert, hidden in the mountains of the Dead Sea, Petra is one of the most notorious archeological sites in the world.

The city’s architectural beauty comes from the fact that it was directly chiseled from the sandstone mountains. Temples, tombs, and monastery that you cannot miss!

4. Visit the Colosseum

The Colusseum - Bucket List Ideas

Recognized as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Rome’s great gladiatorial arena is the most exciting of the city’s ancient sights. Also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, the Colosseum is the perfect example of Roman engineering and architecture.

It’s the largest amphitheater in the world and the site of some of the bloodiest and most brutal contests in history.

Read more how to book Colosseum tickets and the best things to do in Rome

5. Walk to Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza in Yutacan, Mexico - Bucket List Ideas

Located in the Yutacan state of Mexico, Chichen Itza is the best place to visit in the world if you are interested in an ancient Mayan city featuring ruins and architectural wonders that captures the culture and history of the people from the past.

For a cultural experience and a chance to discern a significant part of Mayan heritage, this is the right trip.

Read more: Things to do in Cancun

6. Trek to Machu Picchu

Trek to Machu Picchu in Peru - Bucket List Ideas

A trip to Incas’ lost city in Perù is a dream trip for many travelers. Machu Picchu is an Inca citadel situated on a mountain of 2,430 meters above sea level, that can be reached by a hike on mountain trails or a train trip through the valley of the Urubamba River.

As one of the best places to visit in the world and most visited tourist destinations in South America, Machu Picchu is sure to fill travelers with high expectations.

Read more about how to visit Machu Picchu

7. Discover the Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India - Bucket List Ideas

An enormous mausoleum of white marble, built in Agra between the 1631 and 1648 by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Janan in memory of his beloved wife, the Taj Mahal is the jewel of Muslim art and one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Nowadays, the Taj Mahal is one of the best places to visit in Agra , attracts over 3 million visitors each year and has become an unmissable attraction for anyone traveling in India.

Read more about Taj Mahal tickets price and timings .

8. Hike to Christ the Redeemer

Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Bucket List Ideas

Situated at the top of Mount Corcovado overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro, the statue of the Christ the Redeemer not only captures tourists’ attention with its breathtaking views but also with the imponent statue of the Christ, considered as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Standing with his arms open, the Christ is one of the most recognized and photographed monuments in Brazil.

Read more about the best Rio De Janeiro tours and the best things to do in Rio de Janeiro .

9. Be intrigued by Stonehenge

Stonehenge in Salisbury, England - Bucket List Ideas

One of the wonders of the world and best-known prehistoric monument located near the city of Salisbury, England.

The structure that we call Stonehenge was built between roughly 5,000 and 4,000 years ago and was one part of a most extensive sacred landscaped.

10. Discover the Amazon Rainforest and River

Amazon rainforest and River - Bucket List Ideas

Also named “lungs of the world”, the Amazon rainforest produces an important share of the oxygen for the entire planet and is made up of a mosaic of eco-system and vegetation types.

Live an experience in the Amazon rainforest and its River is to experience a lifetime of moments in one single trip.

It is difficult to find another place in the world as rich in adventures and unique experiences as the Amazon. You can visit the Amazon from Manaus (Brazil) or Iquitos (Peru) .

11. Sail on Ha Long Bay

Halong Bay

The ethereal beauty, Ha Long Bay is located in the area of the Gulf of Tangkia, in the north of Vietnam.

Frequently included in lists of natural wonders of the world, Halong Bay is famous for its scenic ocean karst topography and its crystal waters.

Read more: Best Halong Bay luxury cruises

12. Discover the Milan Cathedral

Milan Cathedral - Bucket List Ideas

Standing proudly in the main square of the city center, Milan’s Duomo is decidedly the most impressive structure and the emblem of the city of Milan.

Stay speechless in front of the majestic and Gothic style of the church and admire the breathtaking views of Milan (and on clear days, the snow-capped peaks of the Alps) from the rooftop of the Church.

Read more: Things to do in Milan

13. Visit Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre-Dame de Paris - Bucket List Ideas

One of the major attractions in Paris , the Notre Dame Cathedral is known as one of the most notorious of the Gothic cathedrals of the middle age and is distinguished for its size, antiquity and architectural details.

Its stained glass windows and sculptures show the influence of naturalism that serves to contrast the Romanesque architecture. It’s also said that the cathedral’s tower has one of the best views of the city.

Read more: Things to do in Paris

14. Drink wine under the Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower in Paris - Bucket List Ideas

The Eiffel Tower was the principal exhibition of the Paris Exposition of 1889. It was constructed for the commemoration of the centennial of French Revolution and to demonstrate France’s industrial power to the world.

Nowadays is the emblem of the city of Paris and it’s considered an architectural wonder of the world, in fact, each year attracts more visitors.

Read more how to book Eiffel Tower tickets

15. Enjoy the view from Marina Bay Sands rooftop

Marina Bays Sands, Singapore

Visit Singapore’s best luxury attraction and soak in the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool with the glittering expanse of the city.

For the ultimate experience, head to Ce La Vi and dance all night long with your friends.

Read more: Fun things to do in Singapore , Best things to do in Sentosa

16. Visit the Acropolis of Athens

Acropolis in Athens - Bucket List ideas

The Acropolis of Athens and its monuments are the universal symbol of the classical spirit and civilization and form the most significant architectural and artistic complex of the Greek antiquity.

The Acropolis in Athens was a military fortress during the Neolithic period, due to its position which offers a great view of the land and sea. Now it’s one of the most important ancient monuments in Europe.

Read more about Acropolis tickets price or the best things to do in Athens !

17. Visit Easter Island

Easter Island in Polinesia - Bucket List ideas

Who wouldn’t want the opportunity to visit one of the most isolated and mysterious islands on Earth?

You can not miss the enormous volcanic craters, preserved stone villages, beaches and, in particular, 900 Moai giant stone figures. You should definitely add The Easter Island to your bucket list.

18. Enjoy yourself at Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House - Bucket List ideas

Opened in 1973, the Sydney Opera House is a multi-performing art center in Sydney and great architectural work of the 20th century that is synonymous with creativity and innovation.

Set in a remarkable waterscape, these shell-structures are nowadays a world-famous icon of architecture.

Read more: Things to do in Sydney , Top tourist attractions in Sydney

19. Discover the magnificent Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is the ultimate expression of the genius of Khmer, an impressive temple that is stunning for its grand scale and its incredible details.

One of the most important archeological sites in Cambodia, the Angkor Wat is considered the largest religious monument in the world.

Read more: Things to do in Siem Reap

20. Visit the Summer Palace in China

The Summer Palace in Beijing - Bucket List ideas

The Summer Palace is a vast conjunction of lakes, gardens, and palaces in Beijing and is said to be the largest and most well-preserved royal park in China.

Known for being the playground for emperors during the summer of the old imperial city, the Summer Palace is a marvel of design and offers an exciting escape into the traditional Chinese landscape.

21. Visit Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia in Turkey - Bucket List ideas

The most important Byzantine structure and one of the world’s great monuments. This church was built at Constantinople (nowadays Istambul) in the 6th century under the direction of the Byzantine emperor Justine I.

Hagia Sophia , that means “Church of Holy Wisdom”, each year attracts over 3 million visitors. The monument, which is now a museum, once was a church and then a mosque.

Read more: Things to do in Istanbul

22. Dive on the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef - Bucket List Ideas

Located on the coast of Queensland in Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is famous for being the world’s largest coral reef system.

Viewing it from a greater distance, you can understand why it is considered as one of Australia’s most remarkable natural gift and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

Due to its natural beauty, the Great Barrier Reef has become one of the most touristic destinations to enjoy many experiences, including scuba diving; it is definitely one of the best things to do in Cairns !

23. Participate in a hiking tour in the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon - Bucket List ideas

As one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon , located in the high desert of northern Arizona (USA) will take your breath away with its ever-changing scenery of enormous proportions.

Thanks to its forest, painted deserts, sandstone canyons, to the Colorado River and the waterfalls, Grand Canyon is one of the most beautiful sceneries in the world. Grand Canyon helicopter tours are an amazing way to visit the impressive scenery of the national park.

Around 5.5 million of people visit the Grand Canyon each year and its 277 miles of superlative beauty, making it the most visited National park in the United States, and also one of the top tourist attractions in the US .

Due to the vicinity to Las Vegas, it can be easily visited through day tours from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon .

Read more: Things to do at the Grand Canyon

24. Sail to the Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty in NYC - Bucket List ideas

Inaugurated in 1886, the sculpture stands at the entrance to New York Harbour and from the beginning has welcomed millions of immigrants to the United States.

For this reason, the Statue of Liberty  more than a monument is a symbol of freedom to millions of people around the world and a point on your bucket list that you cannot miss!

Read more: Things to do in New York City

25. Visit the city of Lhasa and the Potala Palace

Lhasa in Tibet- Bucket List ideas

In the center of Lhasa (Tibet), literally “Land of the Gods”, you can find the Potala Palace, that once was the principal residence of the Dalai Lama.

If you want to live a spiritual experience, this is the right place because you can chat with monks, learn more about Tibetan culture and experience the mystical atmosphere of Lhasa. Setting eyes on Potala Palace for the first time is a moment you’ll never forget!

26. Climb the Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro - Bucket List ideas

The Kilimanjaro is famous for being the highest mountain in Africa and the tallest freestanding mountain on earth. It is a possible bucket list option for most people and 20.000 people every year climb it.

The Kilimanjaro is an extraordinary experience if you want to stand on the roof of Africa.

27. Discover the Wailing Wall

Wailing Wall in Jerusalem - Bucket List ideas

Erected initially as part of the expansions of the second Jewish temple begun by Herod the Great, it’s one of the holiest sites in the world.

The Western Wall is a surviving trace of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, which was destroyed by the Romans.

The Temple was the center of the spiritual world, the primary conduit for the Godliness. For this reason, the Wall is the holiest place where Jews are permitted to pray.

Read more: Things to do in Jerusalem

28. Admire Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore - Bucket List ideas

Attracting approximately 3 million of tourists from all over the world each year, Mount Rushmore is one of America’s most important attractions. Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a large-scale mountain sculpture created by the artist Gutzon Borglum.

On it, you can admire America’s most prominent U.S. presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.

29. Swim in Palawan, Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park

Palawan, Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park - Bucket List ideas

It’s not complicated to understand why Palawan , in Puerto Princesa National Park, was chosen as one of the New Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

This park features a spectacular limestone karst landscape with an underground river, it’s considerate one of the world’s most impressive natural place. Famous because its lower portion is subject to tidal influences, emerges directly into the sea.

Read more: Fun things to do in Puerto Princesa

30. Visit St. Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter's Basilica in Rome - Bucket List ideas

Located in the Vatican city, the center of Christianity, St. Peter’s Basilica is Italy’s largest, most luxurious and most spectacular basilica. One of the largest churches in the world, St. Peter’s Basilica, was built during the Italian Renaissance and it’s located in the Vatican.

The imposing structure was built over a span of more than one hundred years by the most excellent Italian architects of the period. Learn hot to skip the line to enter the St. Peter’s Basilica .

31. Admire an aurora borealis in Norway

The Northern Lights in Norway - Bucket List ideas

Every traveler’s bucket list should include viewing the Northern Lights , one of the most naturally spectacular phenomena that have the power of taking your breath away.

The Northern Lights are a natural light display in the sky, and Norway with its open spaces and little light pollution is one of the best places to try to see the most impressive lights show. So try to discern the Northern Lights!

32. Search for Nessie in the Loch Ness

Lake of Loch Ness - Bucket List ideas

Located in the Great Glen which stretches from Inverness, Loch Ness is the longest and deepest of all the loch in the area.

One of the best ways to enjoy the beauty of Loch Ness is by taking a boat cruise or a kayaking trip on the water of the lake where you’ll be able to appreciate the surrounding landscapes and villages and, who knows, maybe even catch a glimpse of Nessie.

In fact, this is the place, if rumors are to be believed, where Nessie the Loch Ness monster resides.

33. Explore the Incredible Temples of Bagan

Bagan temples in Myanmar - Bucket List ideas

Built between 1057 and 1287 by a series of kings, this massive expanse of thousands of temples (estimates over 2.000) is one of the most precious archeological sites in Asia. Bagan’s Temples are the key to experiencing authentic Myanmar’s life and understanding the religious devotion of its people.

The most exciting way to see the temples is doing a hot air balloon trip. With over 2000 pagodas and temples spanning across 40 miles of land, it is truly magical to stand in a hot air balloon and to look out over the countryside and the entire complex of Bagan.

34. Discover the Iguazu Falls

Foz de Iguazu - Bucket List ideas

Recognized worldwide as natural beauties and one the best places to visit in the world, the Iguazu Falls are located on the border between Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay.

If you are searching for an immersive experience in nature, this is the right place thanks to the possibilities to walk into the woods and to the proximity of the immensity of the Iguazu waterfalls in the Iguazu River. Iguazu Falls is one of the 100 best national parks in the world .

35. Tour in Patagonia

Tour Patagonia in Argentina - Bucket List ideas

Wherever you visit, Patagonia maintains an exclusive, secretive charm. Well known for its picturesque mountains, grassland and windswept coastlines, Patagonia is famous for its precious wildlife that never fails to astonish.

It is the perfect bucket list material, including watching the Perito Moreno ice dam break, the whale watching or biking the Torres del Paine Circuit.

36. Watch whales at Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park

Whale Watching at St. Lawrence Marine Park in Canada - Bucket List ideas

Do you dream of seeing whales? The Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park in Québec (Canada) is one of the best whale-watching sites in the world.

Not only you can admire these magnificent animals, but you can also see Québec’s famous coastal landscapes.

37. Trek through the Himalayas

Trek through the Himalayas - Bucket List ideas

The Himalaya is the world’s mightiest mountain system, containing nine of world’s ten highest peaks and stretching more than 2,500 km across India, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, and Tibet.

Associated with high adventures and mountaineers, this place is like no other, with its remote and majestic scenery.

38. Get splashed at the Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls in Zambia, Zimbabwe - Bucket List ideas

Commonly referred to as “the smoke that thunders” due to the columns of spray that can be seen from miles away, the Victoria Falls are one of the greatest attractions in Africa and the most spectacular natural beauty on the Zambezi River.

Considered as the largest fall in the world, is a point on your bucket list that you cannot put into consideration!

39. Skydive the Great Blue Hole

Great Blue Hole in Belize - Bucket List ideas

A giant underwater sinkhole off the coast of Belize, the Great Blue Hole is one of the most famous destinations for scuba divers that are attracted by the chance of diving in crystal-clear waters and see millions of species of marine life including spectacular coral formations and tropical fish.

40. Participate in a wild safari at Serengeti National Park

Serengeti national Park in Tanzania - Bucket List ideas

Experiencing a safari in Africa has to be one of the points of your bucket list. Here, you have a lot of places where you can see an abundance of wild animals. Serengeti is one of the most famous national parks and is synonymous with wildlife and outstanding African scenery.

It’s Tanzania’s oldest park and a Unesco World Heritage Site. Furthermore, it’s home to the spectacular wildebeest migration and offers wildlife viewing throughout the year. Serengeti National Park is one the best places to visit in the world if you are interested in African wildlife safaris.

41. Be amazed by the Great Geysir in Iceland

Great Geysir in Haukadalur, Iceland - Bucket List ideas

Iceland is a magnificent country and one of the most spectacular and breathtaking geysers in Iceland is the Great Geysir.

It’s fairly active and erupts on a daily basis. See the mighty geyser erupt and send a spectacular water and stream column into the air have to be on your bucket list.

Iceland is the best place to visit in the world if you are interested in geological formations, geysers, volcanos, glaciers, etc.

Read more: Best things to do in Iceland

42. Admire Big Ben’s mighty clock

Big Ben in London - Bucket List ideas

The Elizabeth Tower, known as the Big Ben, is one of the best tourist attractions in London ! Big Ben is the name of the impressive bell inside the clock tower, which weighs more than 13 tons.

The clock tower looks spectacular, in particular during the night when the four clock faces are illuminated. When you see Big Ben, it feels like you are in London.

Read more: Fun things to do in London

43. Visit the Louvre Museum

Louvre museum paris - Bucket List ideas

Unquestionably one of the most excellent art galleries in the world, the Louvre Museum contains thousands of classic and modern masterpieces.

As a symbol of the French culture and a testament to European art history, it’s not surprising that it’s also the most visited art gallery in the world. Every trip to France’s capital deserves a visit to the Louvre to discover the wealth of treasure it contains.

Read more how to book Louvre Museum tickets and discover the best museums in Paris .

44. Relax at Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon in Grindavìk,Iceland - Bucket List ideas

Surrounded by fantastic nature, the Blue Lagoon is an oasis of relaxation set in the pure heart of the Icelandic landscape. It is one of Iceland’s most popular attractions, and it’s not hard to understand why.

The beautiful milky-blue opaque water contrasts with the surrounding black lava field covered with green moss. Combined with its excellent location and its relaxing pools with their rich skin nourishment, the Blue Lagoon quickly became one of Iceland’s most visited attractions.

Read more: Fun things to do in Reykjavik

45. Walk around on Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre in Italy - Bucket List ideas

A century ago the Cinque Terre (Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore) were merely five fishing villages on an unforgiving stretch of the Ligurian coast.

The vibrant color of the Mediterranean, the wild coastline with the tiny towns placed like puzzle pieces on the cliffs make the Cinque Terre a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Read more: Fun things to do in Cinque Terre

46. Visit Pompeii

Pompei, Italy - Bucket List ideas

Famous for being the Roman city that was destroyed by the Vesuvius eruption in 79 a.C. Two thousand people died, and the town was abandoned for many years. When a group of explorers rediscovered the site in 1748, they were surprised to find that Pompeii was practically intact under a layer of dust and debris.

Thanks to the buildings, artifacts and skeletons found in the buried city we were able to discover a lot about everyday life in the ancient world.

Read more: Pompeii skip the line tickets , Best Pompeii tours , Things to do in Naples, Italy

47. Visit the Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel - Bucket List ideas

The Sistine Chapel is a chapel in the official residence of the Pope and one of the greatest treasure of the Vatican city. Not only it is known for its decoration, but also for being the temple in which popes are chosen and crowned.

What captures the attention of the Sistine Chapel is not only its architecture but in particular the frescoes that completely cover the ceiling and the walls. All the frescoes of the roof of the Sistine Chapel are the work of Michelangelo. Read our guide about the Vatican Museums .

Read more: Best museums in Rome

48. Discover Venice on a Vaporetto

Venice - Bucket List ideas

Italy is full of charm, but nowhere can be compared to Venice, the floating city. Not only it is known for its canals, its art and its rich cultural heritage, but it’s one of the world most romantic destinations.

Take a gondola ride through the canals of Venice is a point on your bucket list that you cannot miss.

Read more: Best things to do in Venice

49. Visit the mighty Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia in Barcelona - Bucket List ideas

The basilica Sagrada Familia is one of Barcelona’s most famous tourist attractions . One of the world’s most prized architectural marvels, despite the fact that the Gaudi’s construction has not yet been completed.

This Church will leave you breathless, not only because of its giant size but primarily because of its pioneering architecture, which perfectly shows off the genius of Antoni Gaudì.

Although the outside is a work of art, the interior of Sagrada Familia is inspired by nature. The columns seem tree trunks, giving the idea of being in a forest instead of inside a Church.

Read more how to book Sagrada Familia tickets and the best things to do in Barcelona .

50. See your reflection at Salar de Uyuni

Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia - Bucket List ideas

It’s the world’s most significant and most unusual surface area. One of the things we insist you get on your bucket list is the stunning Salar de Uyuni salt flats in Bolivia.

A salt flat is an expanse of ground that is covered with salt and other minerals that make incredible patterns and visual wonders. The Bolivian salt flats are just fabulous, and they need to be discovered to be believed.

51. Walk in the Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park in California - Bucket List ideas

Known as “Giant Forest” the Sequoia National Park preserves the landscape that still resembles the Southern Sierra Nevada.

You’ll find yourself gazing by the towering, majestic and picturesque stretch of trees of the beautiful Sequoia National Park, located just next to the Yosemite National Park .

52. Ride through the Sahara

Sahara desert - Bucket List ideas

There are only a few places in the world that can be compared to the incredible landscape of the Sahara Desert, the most extensive hot desert in the world. Its landscape is so vast that it’s impossible to judge the distance.

The color palette makes it difficult to distinguish specific forms, and the intense sunlight that reflects on the sand will show you things that don’t exist. In Morocco, you can visit the Sahara Desert from Marrakesh .

53. Hike through the Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon in Arizona - Bucket List ideas

The unbelievable beauty of Antelope canyon waits for the adventurous traveler who wants to discover one of the most spectacular attractions.

These impressive caves, the spiral rock arches, and stunning colors make the caves look seriously of another planet. It’s a canyon of thousands of years just outside of Page, in Arizona.

Read more: Best Antelope Canyon tours

54. Explore Bali island

Bali, Indonesia

Famed for its island vibes, stunning beaches and of course, its epic surf breaks, Bali is a must-visit destinations.

Go scuba diving, visit amazing temples, climb a volcano, enjoy the crazy nightlife, there is so much fun things to do in Bali .

Don’t miss to explore the Monkey Forest. Make sure to check out our list of activities in Ubud .

55. Climb the Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji in Japan - Bucket List ideas

Mount Fuji is one of Japan’s pride that you should never let go when you visit this country. A beautiful snow-capped rising from the earth, it’s the highest Japan’s mountain.

The mountain may seem more beautiful seen from a distance, but the views on clear days and the experience of climbing it during the early morning hours it’s an experience that you won’t forget.

Read more about the best Mount Fuji tours and fun things to do in Tokyo .

56. Visit the British Museum

British Museum in London - Bucket List ideas

The British Museum is the house of a vast collection of world art and artifacts. Its collection includes fabulous Egyptian sarcophagi and mummies, hard of treasure from British archaeological digs, and Roman antiquities.

Furthermore, the museum is a Greek revival building designed by Sir Smirke.

Read more: Best museums and art galleries in London .

57. Explore the Moma Museum

Moma Museum in NYC - Bucket List ideas

The Museum Of Modern Art of New York is one of the largest and most influential museums of modern art in the world, in fact, it’s presenting one of the best in contemporary art.

It has been influential in developing and collecting modernist art, including artists such as Van Gogh, Cézanne, Dalì, Monet or Andy Warhol.

Read more: Best museums in New York City

58. Walk along the Canals of Amsterdam

Canals of Amsterdam - Bucket List ideas

A visit to Amsterdam isn’t complete without enjoying its canals. In fact, Amsterdam is famous for having more than one hundred kilometers of canals and wandering through the city along the canals is one of the favorite activities of the tourist.

The main canals, laid-out in a pattern of concentric half-circle, chronicle the growth of the city of Amsterdam. For this reason, they are considered as a symbol of the town!

Read more: Best Amsterdam canal cruises , Best things to do in Amsterdam

59. Discover the remains of the Berlin Wall

Berlin Wall - Bucket List ideas

One of the most potent and strongest symbols of the Cold War, for 28 years the Berlin Wall sliced the city.

The construction of the wall began in the summer of 1961 by the authorities of the Communist East German that were trying to stop people from escaping to the Westside.

Read more: Best things to do in Berlin , Best tourist attractions in Berlin

60. Visit Versailles

Versailles - Bucket List ideas

Versailles is best known for being the site of the vast royal palace and gardens built by King Louis XIV on what had been the grounds of a royal lodge.

The Palace of Versailles has been the scene for several historical events, and it’s today inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage List. Versailles is definitely amond the best palaces in Europe .

Read more how to book Versailles tickets

61. Explore the Glowworm Cave

Glowworm Cave in New Zealand - Bucket List ideas

The Glowworm Caves include a labyrinth of limestone caves and formations which began developing about 30 million years ago. Thousand of tiny, glittering glowworms inhabit these subterranean caverns, making a light show that’s memorable.

62. Walk on Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco - Bucket List ideas

The Golden Gate Bridge that connects the city of San Francisco to Marin County (in California) is an architectural emblem nad one of the most famous SF tourist attractions .

It is stretching on over two miles across the Golden Gate river, and it’s a must-see iconic architectural marvel of the city of San Francisco.

Read more: Fun things to do in SF

63. Visit the Great Mosque of Cordoba

Great Mosque of Cordoba in Spain - Bucket List ideas

The Mosque of Cordoba is the most important monument of all the Western Islamic world, and one of the most amazing in the world.

A great symbol and reminder of the golden civilization that Muslims did in Europe over one thousand years ago, it’s now the symbol of Cordoba.

Read more: Fun things to do in Cordoba

64. Walk around on Mont Saint-Michel

Mont Saint Michel in France - Bucket List ideas

On a rocky island in the middle of vast sandbanks between Normandy and Brittany stands Mont Saint-Michel, a gothic style abbey dedicated to the archangel St Michael and the village that grew up next to its great walls. In 1979 was classed by Unesco as a world heritage.

Read more: Best places to visit in Normandy , Best Normandy tours from Paris

65. Enjoy yourself at Las Vegas Strip

Las Vegas - Bucket List ideas

Las Vegas Strip offers so many gambling, restaurants and entertainment options, that you can take a trip there and never get bored.

A Las Vegas ‘ trip is one of the principal American experiences. From the Strip’s bright lights to the world-class museums, this little Nevada city is everything you’d expect it to be and much more.

Read more: Fun things to do in Las Vegas

66. Admire the Forbidden City

Forbidden City China - Bucket List ideas

Located in the center of Beijing, the Forbidden city it’s the world’s largest and best-preserved palace complex. This palace served as the home of two Chinese dynasties and can give you an idea of the Chinese history.

The name is referred to the fact that no one could enter into the palace without the emperor’s permission.

67. Get splashed at Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls - Bucket List ideas

Six million cubic feet of water flows over Niagara Falls every minute, offering what is considered one of North-America’s most spectacular views. In fact each year around 28 million people visit the Canadia-US border.

It consists of three distinct waterfalls: Horseshoe Falls, American Falls and Veil Falls, that functions as one of the primary power providers to the state itself.

Read more: Best things to do in Niagara Falls

68. Climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa

Leaning Tower of Pisa - Bucket List ideas

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is the campanile of the cathedral of the Italian city of Pisa, known worldwide for its unintended tilt. Humans make mistakes, and one error was made in the XI century with the tower of Pisa.

This calculation error would later become a symbol of civic pride. This tower represents an advanced understanding of weight and load characteristics, showing the Italian knowledge in architecture.

Read more: Things to do in Pisa

69. Walk on Giant’s Causeway

Giant's Causeway in Northern Irland - Bucket List ideas

The Giant’s Causeway is a beautiful, mysterious geological formation on the Ireland’s North East. This formation it’s steeped in myths and legend.

The setting is a spectacular, dynamic coastal landscape of Atlantic waves, cliffs, fascinating geographical antiquity, bays, and magnificent views.

70. Visit the White House

White House - Bucket List ideas

Often seen as a symbol of American power and splendor, the official residence of the President of the United States of America, also known as the  White House  is a point of reference for all the American citizens.

So join the over 70.000 people who visit the White House each month, one of the best Washington DC tourist attractions .

Read more: Best things to do in Washington DC

71. Snorkel on Komodo Island

Komodo Islands - Bucket List ideas

One of the islands that compose the Republic of Indonesia, Komodo Island is a place with unique fauna and flora, beautiful from the bottom of the sea to the top of the mountains.

This island is also known as the “dragon’s Island” since the world’s biggest lizard lives here.

72. Times Square

Times Square - Bucket list ideas

Square in Midtown Manhattan, formed by the intersection of Seventh Avenue, 42nd Street and Broadway, Times Square is one of the most tourist places in New York City .

Let yourself be conquered by the flashing neon lights and giant digital billboards, the brilliant Broadway marquees, the costumed characters and musicians. Times Square is big, bright and unforgettable.

Read more: Fun things to do in Times Square

73. Drive through the Black Forest

Black Forest - Bucket List ideas

A different holiday destination , the Black Forest gets its name from its dark, slightly sinister canopy of evergreens.

With its mountains located in the southwest corner of Germany, the Black Forest has never been a distressing place, only enchanting and is an opportunity to tick this very picturesque place off your bucket list.

74. Climb the stairs at Tianmen Mountain

Tianmen Mountain in China - Bucket List ideas

Has been defined one of the most beautiful mountains in the world by many travelers who have been in China.

The Tianmen Mountain is famous for its stunning views that include the “heaven’s door”, 99 bends, vertical cliffs, the thrilling cliff-hanging walk away, the glass skywalk and the world’s longest cable car ride.

75. Visit London’s Warner Bros Studio

Warner Bros Studio London - Bucket List ideas

At Warner Bros. Studio Harry Potter fans could experience the magic of the films and discover the real magic that brings the movies life.

The Harry Potter Studio Tour offers to its visitors the unique opportunity to explore the original sets, to see the animatronic creatures and the breathtaking special effects. Step into the world of everybody’s favorite boy wizard.

Read more about Harry Potter Studio Tour London Last Minute Tickets

76. Admire the view from Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa in Dubai - Bucket List ideas

Dubai takes pride in having the tallest building in the world. Standing at 829,9 meters tall, the Burj Khalifa with its 360 degrees view on the 124th floor is one of the best tourist attracitons in Dubai . Get ready to enjoy the highest observatory in the world.

Read more how to book Burj Khalifa tickets and other 100 things to do in Dubai !

77. Explore the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park

Lencois Maranhenses national park in Brazil - Bucket List ideas

It’s a vast area of undulating sand dunes between which are formed rainwater lakes at certain times of the year. The result is blue lakes surrounded by brilliant white dunes.

Stretching on for miles upon miles, the dunes in Brazil are so vast and so blindingly white that it’s easy to understand where the park got its name, Lençóis Maranhenses in Portuguese, that means “bedsheets of Maranhão”.

78. Admire The Great Sphinx

The Great Sphinx in Egypt - Bucket List ideas

The first truly colossal royal sculpture in Egypt, and one of the oldest, largest and most mysterious monuments ever created by man.

The Great Sphinx with the lion’s body and the human’s head offers us an invaluable glimpse into the past.

79. Hike on the Rainbow Mountain

Rainbow Mountain in Peru - Bucket List ideas

The Rainbow Mountain , otherwise known as Vinicunca Mountain, is about three hours away from Cusco. Towering at 6.000 meters, it’s coat of many colors is attributed to its sedimentary layers exposed for years to environmental conditions and mineralogy.

Hiking the colored mountain is no joke, due to the combination of the weather and the high altitude.

80. Sandboard at Huacachina

Huacachina in Peru - Bucket List ideas

The natural oasis of Huacachina inside the expansive sand dunes, is a desert paradise with a dreamy lagoon surrounded by palm trees.

The perfect place for doing sandboarding and dune buggies, the most famous activities there.

81. Visit Quito

Quito - Bucket List ideas

Quito , the Ecuadorian capital, is not only the largest and best preserved colonial center in Latina America but also the first Unesco World Heritage City. If you want to stand with one foot in each hemisphere, there you can find a monument and a museum marking the general location of the Equator.

Know as “The Middle of the World” because is located about 25 kilometers south of the equator and the city extends about 1 kilometer of zero latitudes.

Read more: Best things to do in Quito

82. See the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

London’s magnificent Buckingham Palace is more than just the home of the British monarchy, it’s one of the most visited attractions in London. It’s possible to visit this grand mansion and it’s over 700 rooms including 19 staterooms and 78 bathrooms.

You can also enjoy the Changing of the Guard ceremony, a unique celebration of British pageantry and the major event happening all year in front of the Palace that attracts the biggest crowds.

Learn how to book Buckingham Palace last minute tickets .

83. Take a boat to Jeju Island

Jeju Island in South Korea - Bucket List ideas

With breathtaking natural wonders and hundreds of unique attractions, Jeju Island is one of Korea’s best travel destinations.

Korea’s largest island offers many attractions, including a volcanic Hallasan commanding the Island from the center, a 224 km semi-tropical forested national park, a wild coastline dotted with waterfalls and the most extended lava tube in the world.

84. Admire the Zocalo

The Zocalo in Mexico - Bucket List ideas

The Zocalo is the center of Mexico City and one of the Mexican capital’s most well-known landmarks and squares. Formally known as Plaza de la Costituciòn, this grand square once constituted the ceremonial hub of the Aztec city.

Measuring 220 m from north to south, and 240m from east to west, it’s one of the world’s largest city squares. It’s undoubtedly one of the city’s most historically and culturally exciting destinations.

Read more: Best things to do in Mexico City

85. Enjoy a bath in Pamukkale

Pamukkale

You can now relax and bath at Pamukkale so it should definitely figure on your bucket list.

86. Hike to the Vesuvius

Vesuvius - Bucket List ideas

Located on the Gulf of Naples, Mount Vesuvius is the only active volcano in Europe. It’s best known because of the eruption in 79 a.C. that destroyed the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Seen as one of the most dangerous Volcanoes in the world, is the emblem of the city of Naples!

87. Admire the Ganges River in Varanasi

Ganges River in Varanasi in India - Bucket List ideas

Varanasi is a city on the banks of Ganges, the largest river in India who basin is the most populated river basin in the world, with over 400 million people.

Varanasi is the holiest of the seven sacred cities in Hinduism and Jainism, for this reason, many Hindus believe that death at Varanasi brings salvation.

Furthermore, there is a spectacular Hindu ritual called “Ganga Aarti” (consisting in a ceremony that dispels darkness) which takes place in the banks of the Ganges River.

88. Discover Al-Masjid an-Nabawi

Al-Masjid an-Nabawi in Medina - Bucket List ideas

Also known as Prophet’s Mosque, it’s a grand mosque in Medina and the second holiest mosque in the world. Built by the Prophet Muhammad, the construction stands on the site of a mosque and contains the tomb of the same Prophet.

One of the holiest sites in Islam and one of the principal destinations for religious pilgrimage.

89. Bath in the Dead Sea

The Dead Sea in Jordania - Bucket List ideas

Salty lake located on the lowest place on the face of the heart, the Dead Sea (431 m below sea level) is a breathtaking natural beauty surrounded by the stunning landscape of the Negev Desert.

Takes its name from the saline water of the lake because no fish can survive in the salty waters. The other result of the salty water is their renowned health and healing properties and the unique feature that one can float naturally in them.

90. Admire the blue flames at Ijen Volcano

Admire the Blue flames at Ijen Volcano – Bucket list Ideas

Indonesia’s Kawah Ijen Volcano , on Java’s Island, has two of the most unusual occurrences on the hearth. The first is electric blue flames, difficult to see during the day but illuminate during the night.

This is possible because the sulfur combusts on contact with the air creating stunning blue lava. The second occurrence is the Kawah Ijen Crater acid Lake, at the top of the volcano, filled with blue water. In fact, it’s due to the acid that the water assumes this strange color.

91. Visit Meiji Jingu Shrine

Meiji Jingu Shrine in Tokyo - Bucket List ideas

It’s a large Shinto shrine in Tokyo, built in 1920 in memory of Emperor Meiji and his wife Empress Shoken, under whose reign Japan became a modern state. T

his shrine, surround by a vast forest, it’s the most visited religious site in Japan.

92. Ride a horse in Mongolia

Horse riding in Mongolia - Bucket List ideas

It’s typical say that “a Mongol without a horse is like a bird without the wings”. Immerse yourself in the Mongolian nomad’s timeless way of life. You’ll ride through the vast, treeless steppes of Mongolia with the largest herds of horses the world has ever seen.

Enjoying a Mongolian ride means choosing to experience nomad’s life and experiment a way of life so different from ours.

93. Explore Sensoji Temple

Sensoji Temple in Tokyo - Bucket List ideas

Sensoji Temple, founded in 628, is the oldest and most visited temple in Tokyo. Many people believed that the temple brings good luck, happiness and make all wishes come true.

In front of the principal hall of the temple, you will see many people covering themselves with smoke. This because the smoke they are covering themselves with, is believed to make the part they covered better.

94. Visit the Grand Palace

Grand Palace in Bangkok - Bucket List ideas

Located in the heart of Bangkok, the Grand Palace is one of the most famous landmarks of the country. And offers spectacular sacred sites and buildings. This Grand Palace served as the official residence of the Kings of Siam since 1782.

Nowadays the Palace is used for many Royal rituals and other official functions. The Grand Palace is one of the best places to visit in the world and must-do in Thailand.

Read more: Best things to do in Bangkok

95. Walk on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Hollywood Walk of Fame - Bucket List ideas

One of Los Angeles’s most famous tourist attractions, attracting 10 million visitors each year. The Hollywood Walk of Fame is the stars embedded in the sidewalks of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine St. in Hollywood.

The name on each star is the people in the field of television, music, drama, radio, and film that influenced the entertainment industry. Visiting the Walk of Fame is one of the most emblematic things to do in Los Angeles .

Read more: Fun things to do in Hollywood, California

96. Hike on Trolltunga

Trolltunga in Norway - Bucket List ideas

After an arduous hike, that takes 10-12 hours, there is a breathtaking view over lakes and snow-capped mountains, ending at the Troll’s tongue, a thin sliver of rock.

97. Visit Bourbon Street

Bourbon Street in New Orleans - Bucket List ideas

If you’re looking for a street with lots of people, bars, and live bands, you are in the right place. Welcome to Bourbon Street in the famous French quarters of New Orleans.

Read more: Fun things to do in New Orleans

98. Visit the Paricutin Volcano

The Paricutin Volcano - Bucket list ideas

Located in the state of Michoacan (Mexico) near the city of Uruapan, the Paricutin Volcano is considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Famous for being the youngest volcano formed in the Northern Hemisphere, developing in a farmer’s cornfield.

The eruption of the Paricutin scoria cone from 1943 to 1952 marks the first time that scientists have been able to observe the complete life cycle of a volcano, from birth to extinction.

99. Shop at Tsim Sha Tsui

Tsim Sha Tsui in Hong Kong - Bucket List ideas

Situated in the south of Kowloon Peninsula, Tsim Sha Tsui is known as the shoppers’ paradise thanks to its malls and colorful shopping streets. It’s a giant world bazaar, where Hong Kong ’s Harbour meet stands, shops, markets and malls.

Take a walk for Canton Road where you’ll see the best the world has to offer in luxury designer goods.

Read more: Fun things to do in Hong Kong

100. Admire the Golden Temple

Golden Temple in Amritsar, India -Bucket List ideas

The Golden Temple in India is not only a central religious place of the Sikhs but also a symbol of equality and human brotherhood and one of the oldest worship places in the Indian Sikh.

The Temple takes its name from the fact that the entire top of the temple is made of pure gold. Sikhs all over the world would like to make a visit and to pay obeisance at the temple. In fact, the tank is said to have healing powers, and pilgrims come from across the world to bathe in its sacred waters.

Hopefully, you could do most of them! Do not hesitate to tell us in the comments below which one you have already done and which one you recommend to us!

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Bucket list ideas

Where to go in 2024: The 16 best places to travel

topdestinations2024-featuredimage-BCD

This past year has been a time of regeneration, renewal and reckoning for travelers and the travel industry alike.

Travel has certainly resurged since pandemic-related restrictions were lifted ... but it is different from before.

Travelers faced new frustrations, whether it was higher prices, longer wait times or more crowds. Destinations eager to welcome back waves of visitors were confronted with obstacles like unprepared infrastructure, the impact of inflation on local populations and unforeseen environmental calamities. Hotels and airlines continued to struggle with staffing shortages, operational challenges and supply chain issues.

And yet, despite those hurdles, the desire to travel has never shone brighter. Intrepid adventurers journeyed to new (to them) corners of the globe in search of unique experiences. Folks who had perhaps put off a trip or two found reasons to take them. And all of us discovered the joy of reconnecting with loved ones near and far.

As we look ahead to next year, we are excited to share our list of the best places to go in 2024, drawing from our own editorial team's expertise and also that of our outstanding group of contributors from around the world.

We thought long and hard about things like new airline routes , fabulous hotel openings and events set to take the world stage by storm. But at The Points Guy, we also think why we travel is as important as where we travel.

Maybe you want to use your hard-earned points for an over-the-top flight in Singapore Airlines' Suites or just to get the family together at Grandma's house for an overdue visit. Perhaps you want a carefree all-inclusive beach vacation , or to get firsthand insights into a destination at the forefront of sustainability .

From the thrill of Olympic competition in France to the otherworldly landscapes of Bolivia, the wildlife-rich Bissagos Islands of Guinea-Bissau and the exciting design developments taking place in both San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico — whatever your travel goals or preferences, we've got an incredible roster of places just waiting to be explored next year.

Get ready for a few surprises, a dash of inspiration and a healthy helping of wanderlust as we share our most exciting places to travel to in 2024.

— Eric Rosen

overseas trip ideas

Best for experiencing once-in-a-lifetime events on the world stage

Whether it's high fashion or haute cuisine, France is known for creating creme-de-la-creme experiences. But the sheer number of special events and exciting new developments expected to take place there in 2024 will have even the French exclaiming, "Sacré bleu!"

The marquee happening, of course, will be the 2024 Summer Olympics from July 26-Aug. 11. The opening ceremony will take place along the Seine in the heart of Paris , but showstopping venues will include the magnificent grounds of Versailles for the equestrian events, various stadiums throughout the country, and even French Polynesia for the surfing competition. The stage is set for a truly spectacular set of games.

The Olympics have even displaced the Tour de France from its normal final stage along the Champs-Elysees in Paris. The alternate is, thankfully, a sun-splashed finish line along the Cote d'Azur in Nice . That's within easy driving distance of the relatively new Carlton Cannes , a luxurious reimagining of one of France's most iconic hotels courtesy of IHG. Hilton is also planning a vast French expansion with various branded properties in cities including Cannes, Dijon, Bordeaux and Marseille.

On a more somber note, June 6 will mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, and the region is planning over 100 special events to commemorate this historic event, including a June 1 sound-and-light show using 2,500 drones over the five landing beaches. From March 22-Sept. 22, the region will also host the Normandy Impressionist Festival, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the first Impressionist exhibition. Events will include a major show of James Abbott McNeill Whistler at Rouen's Fine Arts Museum, while the Musee d'Orsay in Paris will host the "Paris 1874: The Impressionist Moment" showcase of 130 masterpieces of painting, sculpture, photographs and more.

In the east, Strasbourg will be UNESCO's 2024 World Book Capital, with events organized around various themes like poetry, refuge, debate and more. The Alsatian capital is also home to one of Europe's most charming Christmas markets in the month leading up to the holiday , which is well worth a visit.

Wine lovers should head to Bordeaux for its famous Fete le Vin from June 27-30 to enjoy the region's famous vintages and gourmet delicacies, along with live music and other performances. They can even put their Accor points to use with a stay at a new Philippe Starck-designed, 97-room Mondrian constructed around a historic 19th-century building right in the city center, complete with an expansive open-air terrace. Now that's something worth toasting to.

TPG tip: Hotel reservations around the Olympics can be notoriously hard to confirm and Paris is cracking down on short-term rentals, so if you plan to attend the Games, prepare to pay high prices for an official package ... or take your chances trying to book something at the last minute.

San Diego, California & Tijuana, Mexico

overseas trip ideas

Best for art and design lovers who appreciate cross-cultural collaborations

In a first, two neighboring cities in two different countries have been designated the World Design Capital for 2024: San Diego, California, and Tijuana, Mexico. The World Design Organization accolade recognizes cities that effectively utilize design to enhance their residents' economic, social, cultural and environmental quality of life. San Diego and Tijuana will celebrate the designation through unique experiences, from events and festivals to exhibitions and summits.

Community events scheduled throughout 2024 include Tijuana's World Design Street Festival (April 28), where travelers can attend concerts, public design workshops, exhibitions and design studio open houses. The Mingei International Museum in San Diego and the Centro Cultural Tijuana will simultaneously host an exhibition called "Frontera," focused on jewelry design. In September, both cities will host an interactive World Design Experience.

Aside from its WDO duties, San Diego has a lot going on. One of the West Coast's largest adaptive reuse projects, the 10-acre, sustainably designed Horton Campus , set for completion at the end of 2023, has transformed a former downtown shopping mall into a chic development with white-and-glass structures, parks, shops and lab space, each with either a green roof or solar panels.

San Diego's white-hot culinary scene continues to heat up, with Valle winning Oceanside's first Michelin star earlier this year. Restaurant openings to look forward to in 2024 include all-day cafe Wildflour from award-winning chef Phillip Esteban, the farm-and-vine-to-table Cellar Hand , and chef Brian Malarkey's highly anticipated French-inspired steakhouse, Le Coq, in the tony coastal enclave of La Jolla.

San Diego's hotel roster is also growing. The new owners of the historic Lafayette Hotel in North Park, which had fallen into disrepair, unveiled a stylish $31 million renovation this summer, and the bucolic Inn at Rancho Santa Fe will celebrate its 100th anniversary following the completion of multimillion-dollar renovations in 2024. The iconic Hotel del Coronado is in the throes of a wholesale revamp. The Beach Village at The Del will unveil a full makeover at the end of 2023, while its Victorian section will be renovated in 2025. A new 39-room boutique hotel in Coronado called The Bower is also slated to debut in fall 2024.

Tijuana got its own new hotel in 2023: Hotel Brecha , a boutique hotel with art-filled walls and nine sleek rooms. Recent bar and restaurant openings across the city's diverse culinary scene include the speakeasy-style Border Saloon and seafood spots Don Vergas Mariscos Tijuana and Don Timon .

TPG tip: Tijuana, which has been sorely lacking in green space, will have a new eco-park by the end of 2024, Parque Esperanto . The 320-acre plot will involve the reforestation of 15,000 trees and feature amenities like an open-air gym, sports fields, zip lines, children's play areas and a bicycle path.

— Devorah Lev-Tov

Assam, India

overseas trip ideas

Best for lovers of tea and tigers keen to explore one of India's hidden corners

Home to a fascinating blend of Indigenous tribes, awe-inspiring landscapes, traditional mountain villages and UNESCO-inscribed national parks, the eastern Indian region of Assam has cultural and natural wonders just waiting for travelers to explore — without the crowds you might find in better-known South Asian destinations.

The region's main artery, the mighty 1,800-mile-long Brahmaputra River, runs from the Himalayan highlands of Tibet to Assam's wildlife-rich floodplains, bordered by lush, terraced tea plantations, ornate temples and riverside villages.

Even with just a week or 10 days for your journey, you can learn about tea cultivation in Jorhat (Assam produces over 50% of India's famed tea), marvel at imposing Ahom temples in bustling Sivasagar — the sacred former capital of Assam's Ahom kings — and learn about the socially inclusive religion of neo-Vaishnavism on Majuli, one of the world's largest river islands and a haven for birdlife.

Straddling the border with Bhutan, UNESCO-listed Manas National Park is a biodiversity hot spot known for its sightings of buffaloes and rhinoceroses that graze in forests that surround the Manas River. The highlight of any visit, though, is a Jeep safari to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Kaziranga, which provides sanctuary to endangered one-horned rhinoceroses, Asian elephants, Bengal tigers, panthers, bears, gaurs (Indian bison) and myriad other species.

Next year, several new cruise itineraries will make the region more accessible to travelers keen to get off the beaten path without sacrificing creature comforts. Banyan Tours will operate four-, seven- and 10-night Assam cruises from Kolkata aboard the luxurious ABN Charaidew II and the more intimate 12-cabin ABN Sukhapa . Both ships feature spacious, beautifully appointed cabins, large sun decks, small spas, a library, gourmet cuisine and onboard naturalists. Guests can spend time in between excursions scouring the waters for species such as the endangered Ganges river dolphin and the smooth-coated otter.

TPG tip : For travelers looking for rare tiger and mammal encounters across several Indian regions, in January, andBeyond will offer a 16-day limited-edition Project Tiger Expedition that will celebrate the 50th anniversary of India's renowned tiger conservation initiative. The itinerary begins in Delhi before visiting three of India's most iconic national parks: Kanha, Kaziranga and Ranthambhore.

— Caroline Lascom

overseas trip ideas

Best for an affordable Mediterranean beach getaway

Turquoise Mediterranean waters lapping beautiful beaches? Check. Picturesque hilltop villages? Check. Forest-covered mountains and mouthwatering food and wine? Check and check. Albania has all the attributes of more popular Southeastern Europe destinations like the Greek islands but without the crowds and the high price tag.

Begin your adventure in Tirana, the capital city, where Brutalist architecture blends with charming, tree-filled neighborhoods. Take a cable car ride up Mount Dajti for panoramic views of the city and stay at the sophisticated Tirana Marriott , though IHG loyalists might want to hold out for the opening of the InterContinental in 2025.

Just an hour southwest from Tirana International Airport (TIA), check in to the newly opened Melia Durres Albania, a luxurious beachfront retreat in a dreamy beach town offering stunning Adriatic Sea views and an opportunity to unwind.

Heading south along the coast, enjoy picturesque beaches while exploring charming towns like Dhermi and Jale, and savor the local cuisine, renowned for its fresh seafood and Mediterranean spices.

Then, immerse yourself in the country's vibrant summer music scene . The weeklong Kala Festival in early June features house, disco, soul and funk music across five intimate stages along the pristine shores of the Ionian Sea.

Back in the hinterlands, you can delight in mouthwatering delicacies at the AgriTourism Huqi farm located a short drive from the capital, like slow-cooked lamb (mish ne pus), and sample a variety of flavorful cow and goat cheeses. Don't forget to try local wines like the tangy white ceruja and full-bodied red kallmet at the family-run Nurellari Winery, less than a half-hour from the 13th-century fort city of Berat.

For an even deeper glimpse of the country's rich heritage and archaeological sites, wander its many ancient settlements, like Butrint, which played host to the Greek, Roman and Byzantine civilizations. Even with all that history, Albania feels exciting and new once again, and you won't have it to yourself for much longer.

TPG tip : Fly into a major European gateway like Frankfurt or Paris and then connect to Tirana via air. From there, book a one-way car rental to the port city of Sarande so that when your time in Albania is over, you can catch a 30-minute ferry to Corfu, Greece, where you have even more history and beaches to explore, and many low-cost flight options to major European airports.

— Matt Moffitt

overseas trip ideas

Best for epic wildlife and sustainable travel

One of the most biodiverse places on Earth, framed by rugged Pacific and Caribbean coastlines and home to magical cloud forests, picture-perfect volcanoes and extraordinary marine reserves, Costa Rica has long captivated wild-at-heart travelers.

An eco-tourism pioneer in the 1990s, and dubbed the "Switzerland of South America" due to its mountainous green landscapes and political stability in a sometimes volatile region, Costa Rica continues to raise the bar with its commitment to environmental protections; over 25% of its land is national parks and reserves.

For travelers looking to combine sustainable outdoor adventures with sumptuous accommodations, 2024 is when it all comes together. A flurry of exciting new hotels are set to debut, including Nekajui, just the sixth of Marriott's ultraexclusive Ritz-Carlton Reserves . Designed with a light environmental footprint on a pristine swath of the Papagayo Peninsula, the 107-key resort takes inspiration from a traditional stone Costa Rican hacienda surrounded by treehouse-style buildings tucked discreetly into steep hillsides.

Nearby, the luxurious Waldorf Astoria Residences Guanacaste will be the brand's first Costa Rican outpost, embodying the "pura vida" lifestyle with a holistic wellness center and cenote-inspired spa. Elsewhere, the Four Seasons Resort Peninsula Papagayo comes back online following a multimillion-dollar renovation with a new beach club and expanded wellness offerings.

For travelers looking for a low-key retreat with easy airport access, as well as proximity to San Jose's cultural attractions, the new Hyatt Centric in Escazu — another brand first for Costa Rica — will offer World of Hyatt loyalists an ideal bookend to a Costa Rica road trip.

The wildlife-rich Osa Peninsula is more accessible (and especially alluring to points enthusiasts) these days thanks to the recent opening of Botanika, part of Hilton's Curio Collection. The eco-chic property places travelers within striking distance of Corcovado National Park, one of the best places on the planet to view sloths, toucans, giant anteaters, howler monkeys and ocelots.

Visit the region from August through December to witness one of the world's greatest natural attractions: humpback whales migrating to Golfo Dulce, one of just four tropical fjords on the planet. The habitat, critical for the survival of the whale species, was awarded Whale Heritage Site status in 2023, one of only eight such sites worldwide.

TPG tip : U.S. airlines are adding new flights to Costa Rica, including Delta Air Lines, which will boost its service from Atlanta with three additional flights per week to both San Jose and Liberia (for Papagayo) from Jan. 13. Flights on the Liberia route are currently available this winter starting at 26,000 Delta SkyMiles or $421 round-trip.

South Korea

overseas trip ideas

Best for glimpsing the future while exploring the past

The "Korean Wave" — a tide of global popularity the country's cultural economy has created thanks to K-pop music, K-dramas on television and movies — has swept the world in recent years. In fact, youth tour company Contiki has announced the first K-Wave trip to South Korea to showcase local pop culture.

However, South Korea's entertainment culture is just one of a long list of reasons this Asian sensation should be on your 2024 travel list.

Four distinct seasons provide stunning backdrops year-round, so there's no wrong time to visit. Spring brings the magic of Jinhae's cotton candy-pink cherry blossoms while crimson and cadmium foliage frames the historic temples of Naejangsa and Taeansa during fall.

The past and the future intersect in the capital, Seoul, where heritage sites like the 14th-century Jongmyo Shrine coexist with futuristic architecture, including the Zaha Hadid-designed Dongdaemun Design Plaza and the striking Seoul City Hall, with its seven-story vertical garden and prismatic glass facade.

Set to open in late 2024, the Seoul Robot and Artificial Intelligence Museum will showcase science and technology through interactive exhibits featuring AI and virtual reality. Robots aided in the museum's construction and will participate in its day-to-day operations, including welcoming guests and leading tours.

New spaces and exhibitions await visitors at the Busan Museum of Art, which showcases modern Korean artwork. Renovations begin in 2024 and will add high-tech features like evolving 3D projections.

A luxury clifftop island retreat overlooking the East China Sea, the stunning JW Marriott Jeju Resort & Spa, designed by Bill Bensley, debuted in 2023. And though it will be a while, in 2025, the luxury chain Capella Hotels and Resorts is set to open its first Korean property, Capella Yang Yang, near Songjeong Beach in Yangyang, Gangwon Province, where travelers can explore the region's famous pine forests and enjoy its ultrafresh seafood.

TPG tip: Travelers eager to explore South Korea's assorted allures can take advantage of increased airlift from the U.S. United Airlines has upped its frequencies between Incheon International Airport (ICN) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to 12 flights weekly. By the end of 2023, Air Premia will add flights between Seoul and Honolulu, too.

— Kristy Tolley

Eclipse path, United States

overseas trip ideas

Best for travelers who want to see a rare total solar eclipse in their own backyard

On April 8, some 31.5 million Americans will be able to witness a total solar eclipse from their doorstep when the moon passes between the sun and the earth, completely blocking the sun's face. The heavenly event will cut its way across North America, passing through Texas, the Midwest and some Eastern states. It's a sight you won't want to miss — the next total solar eclipse won't be visible from the contiguous United States for another 20 years.

Parts of San Antonio will experience about two minutes of midday darkness, making it the largest U.S. city along the path of totality. The 15-mile-long San Antonio River Walk is just south of the path, so visitors there will only see a 99% partial eclipse. Nevertheless, many hotels and restaurants are hosting viewing events, including a Solar Brunch at The Moon's Daughters , where guests and locals can see the eclipse unfold from the indoor-outdoor perch on the 20th floor.

An hour northwest of San Antonio, the town of Kerrville, Texas, one of NASA's Primary Eclipse Partners, will have over four minutes of darkness. The Texas Hill Country community's Schreiner University will host a weekendlong festival with celestial yoga, trail walks and observatory tours.

With renowned institutions known for cutting-edge research in space science and technology — and expecting four minutes of totality — Dallas will be one of the best eclipse destinations. At the Perot Museum of Nature and Science , 20 astronomers will answer questions. The city's many hotels, meanwhile, plan to offer stylish viewing, like Virgin Hotels Dallas, which will host a lively rooftop pool party.

This will be Indianapolis' first total solar eclipse in more than 800 years, and the town is going all-out with a citywide party to celebrate its 3 1/2 minutes of totality, including events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (NASA will broadcast live from the venue) and the Indianapolis Zoo.

In Cleveland, another NASA partner city, a natural phenomenon known as a lake effect (where cool air blows away clouds from the shoreline of Lake Erie) will allow visitors to view the eclipse for nearly four minutes. Downtown, The Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland is offering a solar eclipse package with club-level accommodations for two and celestial-themed cocktails. The Great Lakes Science Center and NASA's Glenn Research Center are hosting Total Eclipse Fest from April 6-8, with science activities for kids and a classical music concert.

Buffalo will experience just under four minutes of totality, with the best vantage points found inside Niagara Falls State Park, while the Sheraton Niagara Falls is offering a two-night package , including eclipse viewing glasses and breakfast.

In Vermont, Stowe Mountain Resort will whisk skiers and snowboarders via gondola to the top of Mount Mansfield, Vermont's highest peak, for high-altitude views during the nearly three minutes of totality the town is set to experience.

TPG tip: Holland America has put together a 22-day Solar Eclipse cruise , where guests will depart from San Diego and experience the eclipse off the coast of Mexico.

— Casey Hatfield-Chiotti

Bissagos Islands, Guinea-Bissau

overseas trip ideas

Best for intrepid naturalists seeking an under-the-radar destination

Sandwiched between Guinea and Senegal, Guinea-Bissau is one of West Africa's lesser-visited destinations, but that's what has helped keep the 88-island Bissagos archipelago 31 miles off its coast so untouched.

This astonishingly wildlife-rich island chain — often dubbed the Galapagos of Africa — is an idyll of empty white-sand beaches, thick mangroves, teeming lagoons and dense palm and cashew forests. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996, the Bijagos (as they're also known) are home to thriving populations of saltwater hippopotamuses, manatees, dolphins, green sea turtles, flamingos, rays, sharks and around 175 fish and 500-plus bird species.

And you won't be vying for sightings with other safari vehicles or Zodiac boats. These paradisiacal islets are home to just 33,000 or so residents who hew to their traditional matriarchal society, and there are no formal resorts or ecolodges.

The archipelago has also been quite difficult to reach. However, a handful of luxury and small-ship cruises have begun to call at the islands. Ponant Cruises has just opened sales for its first dedicated nine-day "Adventure in the Bissagos Islands" itinerary (April 7-15, 2025) on Le Lyrial, which starts and ends in Dakar, Senegal. During the journey, guests can expect to spy towering baobabs and flocks of migratory birds, playful vervet monkeys and vividly colored lizards, and take part in ancient ceremonies alongside the Bijago people.

On board MS Spitsbergen, Hurtigruten now offers a 14-day "West Africa Archipelago" cruise (paired with Cape Verde), which includes four days of deploying small rigid inflatable boats and sea kayaks to navigate the islands and channels for awe-inspiring wildlife sightings. The line also arranges encounters with the islanders, who have acted as custodians of this wonderfully biodiverse and pristine part of Africa, and who dedicate some 100 days per year to sacred rites and ceremonies such as fanado and difuntu .

Swan Hellenic's Ghana-to-Senegal "Crucibles of West Africa" trip, on the new 152-guest SH Vega, has two days scheduled in this off-the-grid sanctuary, where shore excursions include explorations of Orango National Park's mangrove thickets and savannah as well as trekking through traditional villages on Canhabaque.

As with many of the world's island paradises, the clock is likely ticking down on the Bissagos remaining immaculate and undeveloped, so if you hope to see them as they are, 2024 is the year to go.

TPG tip: Non-cruisers can visit the islands by first flying into the capital, Bissau, from Lisbon with TAP Air Portugal. Alternatively, Delta Air Lines has daily direct flights from New York to Dakar, from which there are daily connections on Air Senegal to Bissau. From Bissau, hire a speedboat for the hourlong journey to Bubaque, where the affordable Saldomar guesthouse and Hotel Kasa Afrikana make great home bases for daytrips to islands like Rubane, Orango and Canhabaque.

— Kathryn Romeyn

Quebec, Canada

overseas trip ideas

Best for pristine landscapes and rich Indigenous cultures

Quebec has long attracted travelers with its cosmopolitan towns , distinctly French flair and untouched wilderness. Thanks to a bold commitment to supporting Indigenous tourism, in 2024, the Canadian province will also provide new and meaningful ways to experience its natural beauty, its people and its culture.

Travelers can take in the aurora borealis while learning about Inuit traditions in Quebec's Arctic region of Nunavik, scan for beluga and blue whales with an Innu guide in Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park, or forage for mushrooms and berries in the Laurentian mountain range. Across Quebec, there are now abundant opportunities to delve deeper into the ancestral traditions of the area's First Nations, Innuit and Metis people.

The recent addition of Anticosti Island to Canada's cache of UNESCO-protected heritage sites will draw wilderness seekers to its otherworldly canyons, primordial forests and cascading waterfalls. The island's 1,440 known fossil species offer the most "complete and best preserved paleontological record of the first mass extinction of animal life, 447-437 million years ago," according to UNESCO, providing a unique window into our planet's past.

For urbanites, Quebec City's lamplit, cobblestone streets have never been a hard sell for a weekend getaway, but now there are even more reasons to linger. Join one of Cicerone 's locally led walking tours, shop for regional artworks along Rue du Tresor, see Inuit art at the Musee National des Beaux-Arts du Quebec (a new exhibit starts in February) and then dine on inventive boreal cuisine at Indigenous-owned restaurant Sagamite, whose owners have added two boutique hotels to their portfolio and will open a new microbrewery in 2024.

Head just outside the city's 400-year-old walls to Canada's only recognized Huron-Wendat community. Here, the superb First Nations-owned Hotel-Musee Premieres Nations was recently revamped with luxe suites and rooms appointed with Indigenous artworks and textiles with First Nations motifs. The hotel's restaurant, La Traite, helmed by much-lauded chef Marc de Passorio, provides a magical initiation into ancestral flavors with standout dishes like local tomatoes with sage and Quebec buffalo mozzarella and hearty bison medallions with beet puree and thyme juice.

TPG tip : Bookend your trip with a stay in Montreal , where the hotel scene is buzzing. There's the new art deco-inspired Honeyrose Hotel, Montreal, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, where Marriott points will come in handy, and the iconic Vogue Hotel Montreal Downtown, an elegant retreat on Montreal's Golden Square Mile which has been revamped and is now part of Hilton's Curio Collection.

Queensland, Australia

overseas trip ideas

Best for travelers Down Under looking for the right mix of urban and wildlife adventures

Best known for one of Earth's natural wonders, the Great Barrier Reef , there's a lot more to this northeastern Australian state (though a visit to the reef is still top of the list while you still can — climate change and other factors are having increasingly adverse effects on much of the aquatic ecosystem).

In the capital, Brisbane , once-gritty environs like Howard Smith Wharves have been revitalized with trendy bars and restaurants. However, one of the biggest redevelopments is still on the horizon. The $2.6 billion Queen's Wharf precinct is nearing completion on 30 acres of prime riverfront land with not one but three hotels planned, plus over 50 dining and drinking venues, a huge footprint for retail and tons of outdoor spaces like a 100-meter-high sky deck with 360-degree views. In October, the city will also host the first annual Melt Open festival celebrating queer art and culture.

Down south in the blingy surfer haven of Gold Coast, travelers will be able to check in to a sleek new twin-towered Mondrian hotel and residences, while north along the Sunshine Coast, the tourism industry is taking the lead in regenerating bush once used for cattle grazing with native subtropical rainforest, which visitors can enjoy by staying at the avant-garde new Kurui Cabin at the base of the Cooroy Mountains.

In an effort to cultivate Indigenous-owned and -operated tourism businesses, the state has already invested 7 million Australian dollars in the Growing Indigenous Tourism in Queensland Fund. What's more, UNESCO World Heritage-listed Fraser Island — the world's largest sand island and a habitat for diverse wildlife where you can also swim with migrating humpback whales — has officially reverted to its traditional Butchulla name, K'gari.

Speaking of islands, luxury travelers can have an entire one to themselves along the Great Barrier Reef thanks to the November opening of Pelorus Private Island in the Great Palm archipelago off the Townsville coast. The nearly 1,000-acre paradise has just a single four-suite residence designed in a traditional, breezy Queenslander style, where guests can customize their entire experience from days out yachting between islands or exploring the island's teeming fringe reefs to enjoying leisurely meals prepared by a private chef.

TPG tip: It's getting even easier to travel from the U.S. directly to Queensland since United increased its frequencies between San Francisco and Brisbane from three times per week to daily in October and will launch three weekly nonstops between Los Angeles and Brisbane in December.

Train travel

overseas trip ideas

Best for high-velocity thrills or romantics looking to slow things down

Trains revolutionized travel in the 19th century, but 2024 might just be a rail renaissance thanks to new, thrilling high-speed routes, plush overnight sleepers and lavish itineraries on par with the world's best hotels.

Global developments in high-speed rail are coming to a pitch, with various highly anticipated routes finally entering operation. In Florida, the long-awaited Brightline has opened up an efficient new corridor between two major U.S. cities that are favorites with tourists. The service, which tops out at 125 miles per hour, connects Orlando International Airport (MCO) and Miami in just three hours (with 15 daily departures) and also courses between Miami and West Palm Beach via Aventura and Fort Lauderdale.

In Europe from late 2024, the ultraquiet Frecciarossa train will zip from Paris to Barcelona in just seven hours, shaving two hours from current travel times. In time for the Summer Olympics , Spanish rail company Renfe also plans to extend its daily Madrid-Marseille service through to Paris.

If you're craving tropical surroundings, Belmond's Eastern & Oriental Express returns to Southeast Asia in February after a pandemic hiatus. The restyled trains feature eight sleeper cars, two restaurant cars, a piano bar and an open-air observation car. The three-night "Essence of Malaysia" itinerary will operate from November to February from Singapore to Penang, with stops in Kuala Lumpur and the island of Langkawi (via private boat). Operating from March to May and August to October, the "Wild Malaysia" experience steams from Singapore along the eastern side of the Malay Peninsula, with stops to spot wildlife at Taman Negara National Park and Penang before returning to Singapore.

Later in 2024, Orient Express will debut its opulent La Dolce Vita trains with lavish art deco cabins, haute cuisine and world-class bartending. The eight itineraries span one to two nights and include a Sicilian service starting and ending in Palermo via Agrigento and Taormina with a whiz-by of Mount Etna. Other standout itineraries include from Rome to Sicily (via a ferry) and a romantic circular route from Rome to Venice with a stop at Siena.

Finally, Europe continues its relative boom in new sleeper train services . Leading the way is Nightjet, which already connects major cities like Paris, Amsterdam and Zurich. In 2024, the Austrian train operator will expand its Belgian routes from Brussels to Dresden and Prague. Additionally, Deutsche Bahn and SNCF will introduce a high-speed seven-hour service between Paris and Berlin, including stops in Strasbourg on the night route.

TPG tip: Use a Eurail pass (from $208) to explore multiple European countries using rail operators like Deutsche Bahn, SNCF and Trenitalia. Note that high-speed or sleeper options like Nightjet and Eurostar have extra reservation fees (typically $10-$20), but it's still much cheaper than buying individual tickets.

— Jordan Waller

overseas trip ideas

Best for beach and nature lovers who want to avoid crowds

Many travelers make the trek to South Africa for its spectacular wildlife and vibrant cities, but few hop across the border to Mozambique. Though the country has experienced ongoing conflicts in the far north, the central and southern parts remain relatively insulated from internal struggles.

Getting there is easier than you might think, too — Airlink offers direct flights to Vilankulos along the coast from Johannesburg , and more recently, the airline launched a nonstop flight between Cape Town and the capital, Maputo. While some travelers tend to skip the city, if you do make use of that route, consider a layover for a night or two. Maputo is a hub of activity with oceanside restaurants serving ultrafresh seafood with icy 2M beers and bakeries proffering crispy, creamy pasteis de nata, a holdover from Portuguese rule. The city's music scene is also buzzing, with bars and clubs playing everything from reggaeton to marrabenta (a hybrid of Mozambican dance with Portuguese folk music).

The main reason people come to the country is for the untouched Indian Ocean beaches along its 1,700-mile coast, which are lapped by aquamarine waters that rival the Caribbean. Over the past few years, a cluster of hotels have opened along the coast, including Kisawa, a design-focused property with 11 villas on a 740-acre sanctuary on Benguerra Island in the ecodiverse Bazaruto Archipelago.

Around two hours from Vilankulos on the mainland and set on a peninsula along a sheltered saltwater lagoon, Sussurro is an intimate pared-back lodge whose sandy-hued rooms are filled with artisan-made baskets and wooden furniture. Next year, Banyan Tree is expected to open Banyan Tree Ilha Caldeira, which promises to be an uberluxury spot, on a private island north of Beira.

For safarigoers, Gorongosa, a national park that has been undergoing a two-decade-long rehabilitation, has become a beacon of regeneration and economic activity in an area where tourism was entirely decimated by civil war. This year, Muzimu Lodge, a tent camp, opened on the banks of the Mussicadzi River. Wildlife is not as abundant as in nearby Kruger National Park (though you can expect to see huge packs of wild dogs and teeming herds of antelope), but the biodiversity is some of the richest in the world, with nearly 500 species of birds. Indelible landscapes like chalky limestone gorges dotted with vegetation and inky caves, woodland savannah and giant "Jurassic Park"-like forests with sausage trees and native Borassus palms will leave you awestruck.

TPG tip : Ensure you allow ample time for your visa application. The process has moved online, which makes it infinitely swifter than previously, but the application time can still take up to a month and costs $160 or more depending on the type you apply for.

— Mary Holland

Note from TPG editors : Due to an ongoing terrorist insurgency in the far north of Mozambique, the U.S. Department of State has issued a Level 2 warning advising travelers to exercise increased caution when traveling in the Cabo Delgado province. The country also recently experienced some unrest following local elections, so be sure to investigate the current situation before booking a trip.

overseas trip ideas

Best for food lovers and thrillseekers looking for something out of this world

Arriving in Bolivia can feel like you've landed on the moon. Have you seen the magnificent Salar de Uyuni? It's a vast salt pan with 3,900 square miles of desertlike cracked earth punctuated by cactus-covered rock piles. Though this parched corner of the earth draws visitors from around the globe, high-end accommodations have been lacking, but that's been changing quickly. In 2022, the Chilean hospitality brand Explora unveiled an intimate six-room mountain lodge set in a slick, glass-fronted building with snug, wood-lined rooms overlooking the flats.

Guests can partake in excursions, but the property also forms part of a greater six-night odyssey: a nomadic expedition where guests journey from Chile's Atacama Desert to Salar de Uyuni, stopping off at Explora's other "Mountain Lodges" along the way. Loads of thrilling activities are on offer, such as biking explorations across the Salar, through quinoa fields and beyond, as well as hikes across the largest islands and up into a village to see ancient Andean burial sites.

Whether you decide to begin your journey in the Atacama or Uyuni, don't miss Bolivia's capital La Paz, which sits in a bowl at a (literally) dizzyingly high elevation of 11,975 feet. The city's restaurant scene is arguably one of the most exciting in South America. Make a reservation at Gustu and enjoy a multicourse extravaganza of local delights including alligator and creamy aged corn. Hailed as one of Latin America's best restaurants, it was founded by Noma's Claus Meyer and is now helmed by chef Marsia Taha Mohamed. Also snag a table at Ancestral, where chef Mauricio Lopez (former head chef of Gustu) roasts vegetables and osso buco over an open flame, served alongside Bolivian wines.

The same team that opened the design-driven Atix Hotel (long a favorite among international visitors) unveiled the new Met Hotel last year in a soaring charcoal building with traditional Bolivian arts and crafts highlighted throughout its interior spaces. If you're traveling after July 2024, be sure to check out Altu Qala, a hotel set in a restored neoclassical building with wood-paneled walls and handmade cabinets in upcycled wood. The owner is also behind The Writer's Coffee, a cafe serving artisanal brews in the city, perfect for combating altitude fatigue.

Finally, for the best views of La Paz, take a trip on Mi Teleferico, the cable car transit system that's been expanding its network with various routes and now has 30 stations and 10 lines. Climb into the plastic bubbles, filled with locals whizzing across the city, and head up to El Alto, which sits at a staggering 13,325 feet.

TPG tip: If you really want to soak up the food and wine scene in La Paz, add in an extra few days to acclimatize. It's the highest capital in the world (11,975 feet) and altitude sickness is a high probability, so whizzing in and out is not recommended.

Bali, Indonesia

overseas trip ideas

Best for sustainability searchers who also crave cultural connection

Bali is an island of contradictions. It's home to a majority Hindu population but part of predominantly Muslim Indonesia. Visitors in the millions come both to sunbathe and party on its beaches while also seeking spiritual awakenings through wellness retreats. After decades of overtourism, Bali is also pioneering responsible, lower-impact ways for visitors to enjoy its natural wonders and renowned hospitality.

In 2024, the government will levy a $10-per-person fee on international tourists that will directly fund cultural and environmental protection, such as waste management. It's an incremental but important step toward becoming a more sustainable destination.

Luxury resorts are also leaning into the trend. Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay recently debuted Telu, a bar constructed entirely of upcycled materials that serves cocktails made with sustainable ingredients. In early 2024, Ayana Estate will open Museum Saka, a breathtaking 50,000-square-foot gallery showcasing the work of Balinese artists, historians and scholars, all of which is meant to bestow guests with a deeper understanding of the community's vibrant heritage.

At Buahan, a Banyan Tree Escape , about an hour from Ubud, chef Eka Sunarya began experimenting with hypercreative and ultralocally sourced menus. He has since decamped to nearby Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve , where he continues to highlight seasonal Balinese cuisine with a no-waste philosophy.

Seminyak's Desa Potato Head — with its beach club and pair of striking, sustainably designed hotels that all together send just 3% of their waste to landfill — continues to be a regenerative tourism pioneer. In 2024, the resort is opening an ambitious Collective Waste Centre that will radically reduce landfill waste from eight nearby resorts, beach clubs and restaurants through high-efficiency sorting, processing and reuse practices.

A slew of exciting all-new hotels beckons design lovers and wellness seekers to Bali, too. Part of Hilton's LXR Resorts & Hotels, Umana Bali is expected to open in November 2023, a brand first in Southeast Asia. Guests will enjoy not only epic vistas from its 72 clifftop pool villas but also next-level cultural programming emphasizing legacy crafts and spa treatments utilizing ancient healing techniques.

Expected to debut in spring 2024, IHG's Regent Canggu will feature 150 suites and villas in one of Bali's hottest beach locales. Architecture by WATG and interior design by HBA will blend contemporary Indonesian fashion and cultural influences with traditional design motifs. Slated for late 2024, Kimpton Naranta Bali will bring boutique vibes to the Nusa Dua resort scene in the reimagined former Amanusa resort, designed by Kerry Hill.

TPG tip: Some of Bali's best points hotels offer deep cultural dives into Balinese village life. At Alila Manggis (from 3,500 World of Hyatt points per night), guests can take part in water purification rituals, visit the Indigenous Bali Aga tribe and trek to the "Gateway to Heaven" temple. At The Laguna, part of Marriott's Luxury Collection (from 33,000 Bonvoy points per night), exclusive experiences include lunch with the seventh generation of Kerambitan's royal family.

Cairo, Egypt

overseas trip ideas

Best for ancient treasures in a modern metropolis

Few destinations offer the same look at the mysteries of the past quite like Cairo. While this desert city has long been a magnet for those intrigued by the wonders of ancient Egypt and its former rulers, new attractions and highly anticipated hotel openings will draw even more travelers to this bucket list destination in 2024.

With that in mind, Cairo's most exciting addition will be the long-awaited reopening of the Grand Egyptian Museum, which, after years of delays , is on track to welcome visitors by early 2024. A colossal project that began more than 20 years ago, this massive repository — the largest archaeological museum ever built — will house over 100,000 Egyptian artifacts, including 5,000 relics found in famous pharaoh Tutankhamun's tomb.

Recently discovered artifacts from the Saqqara — an expansive necropolis located within Egypt's UNESCO World Heritage-listed ancient capital of Memphis — are also expected to be added to the museum's collection in due course. The treasures include multiple tombs, ancient workshops and burial shafts full of priceless antiquities, such as a mummy believed to be the most complete one ever found in Egypt.

To accommodate the influx of tourists expected in 2024, Cairo's hotel scene is rapidly expanding, too. Among the new properties currently in the pipeline are points-friendly accommodations like a Hyatt Centric, a Hilton and a Waldorf Astoria, plus the luxurious rebranding of the historic Shepheard Hotel into the Mandarin Oriental Shepheard, Cairo.

Unsurprisingly, Cairo's prime position on the Nile and proximity to other historic destinations also make it an excellent place to embark on a river cruise , especially in 2024. Several top river cruise lines offer itineraries that start or end in the city, making it possible to tack on visits to other ancient sites like Luxor and Aswan, Egypt. New standout ships to consider include Viking Aton (the fourth of six ships Viking expects to be sailing the Nile by late 2025) and AmaLilia (AmaWaterways' second ship devoted to Nile River cruises).

TPG tip: It should become easier than ever to reach this historic metropolis thanks to more nonstop routes from the U.S. to Cairo in the works. In addition to adding new nonstop flights from Newark to Cairo this past summer, Egyptair has filed a request with the Department of Transportation to launch service between Los Angeles and Cairo in the coming months. If approved, service on the Star Alliance carrier would give visitors yet another convenient way to reach the ancient city.

— Christine Gallipeau

Note from TPG editors : We want to acknowledge that all eyes will be on the widening conflict in the region as we end 2023 and look ahead to next year. Before planning your own trip to Egypt, stay up to date on State Department advisories , current events and the unfolding situation in neighboring Israel and beyond .

The Bahamas

overseas trip ideas

Best for rediscovering paradise right on our doorstep

Dazzling white- and pink-sand beaches; calm, clear seas shaded in myriad hues of blue; and easy access from various U.S. hubs have long made the Bahamas a top tourist destination. Expect 2024 to be an extra-buzzy year for this Caribbean nation, though, thanks to new hotels, exciting cruises and more flights from major airlines.

Goldwynn Resort & Residences on Nassau's famous Cable Beach was 2023's big hotel debut, offering 81 studios and one-, two- and three-bedroom suites just a short drive from the airport so visitors could be on the beach within an hour of landing. Set to open mid 2025, the ultraluxurious Montage Cay will occupy a 48-acre private island in the Abacos. The $352 million project will feature 50 oceanfront suites with private plunge pools and outdoor showers. The property will also comprise villa residences and a 47-slip marina for private yachts.

The Bahamas are drawing even more interest from major cruise lines, too. Norwegian Cruise Line christened its exciting Norwegian Viva megaship with a short cruise to its Bahamian private island, Great Stirrup Cay, in November 2023. The line's second Prima Class vessel, Viva, boasts the "fastest slides at sea," a three-level go-kart racetrack and millions of dollars of art on board. Royal Caribbean's new Oasis Class ship, Utopia of the Seas , is also set to start sailing short new cruises focusing on the Bahamas in 2024.

Cruise lines are adding new private-island experiences, too. Slated to open in summer 2024, Disney's Lighthouse Point in Eleuthera will offer amenities ranging from an adults-only beach to a family water play area and food hall-style dining. The destination is being designed with the environment in mind, too — about 90% of its electricity will be provided via solar panels.

TPG tip : Getting from the U.S. to the Bahamas will be easier than ever in 2024, especially from the West Coast. Alaska Airlines is adding seasonal nonstop flights from both Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) four times weekly and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) three times weekly to Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS). The services will run from Dec. 15, 2023, to April 9, 2024. JetBlue is launching its own new flight between Nassau and Los Angeles beginning in November 2023 that will fly once per week on Saturdays. Delta debuted a new nonstop from Miami International Airport (MIA) to Nassau this fall as well.

— Becca Blond

31 Winter Vacation Ideas for 2023: From Snowy Wonderlands to Faraway Beaches

By Caitlin Morton and Matt Ortile

31 Winter Vacation Ideas for 2023 From Snowy Wonderlands to Faraway Beaches

Sponsored by Visit US Virgin Islands

Whenever cold weather swings around, our travel daydreams tend to fluctuate between two very different types of winter vacation ideas: snowy wonderlands and tropical beaches . Some days, we envision a ski vacation or trip to a snow-covered European village , and other days we start planning our next beach trip while scorning the sub-zero temperatures. Repeat that cycle about 50 times, and that pretty much sums up what our lives look like from December through March every year.

If you experience these dueling pangs of wanderlust, then you’re in luck—we’ve rounded up 31 of the best winter vacation ideas, listed in alphabetical order and divided equally between cold- and warm-weather destinations, for you to dream about—and to plan—visiting ASAP. Because who says you have to choose just one?

There are winter wonderlands and then there is Antarctica. Lately it seems everyone is going to the seventh continent...

There are winter wonderlands, and then there is Antarctica. Lately, it seems everyone is going to the seventh continent , and the appeal isn’t hard to figure out: There are the otherworldly landscapes, the fearless and adorable penguins, and the opportunity to see one of humanity’s final frontiers. But tourism has an impact, positive or negative, wherever travelers go, and it’s important to learn more about how to take care of our planet as we bask in its glory.

Image may contain Human Person Festival Crowd Lighting Outdoors Nature Urban Architecture Building City and Town

There’s no better place to escape the winter cold than right on the equator, where perennial favorite destination Singapore sits. Inclement weather won’t stop you from visiting the city-state’s many hawker centers , museums , boutiques , and night markets . This city in a garden is a perfect way to relieve your eyes of the winter grays and give them some verdant life.

Fernando de Noronha Brazil

Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

If the famous beaches of Rio are getting too crowded for you, head 220 miles off Brazil’s northeastern coast to the breathtaking archipelago of Fernando de Noronha—voted one of the world’s best islands in our latest Readers’ Choice Awards. Here you can snorkel in crystal-clear waters, trek lush trails, and watch the moon rise over the ocean.

Whistler Blackcomb Canada

Whistler Blackcomb, Canada

In recent years, Whistler has become a beloved spot for high-quality ski and snowboard hills. With 8,171 acres of skiable terrain, there’s easily enough ground to keep you on new trails throughout the six-month regular season. Runs offer a wide range of difficulty levels, making this the perfect place for beginners, adrenaline junkies, and everyone in between .

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Charlotte Amalie St. Thomas USVI with Bluebeard's Castle

US Virgin Islands

Sitting pretty in the middle of the Caribbean, the US Virgin Islands consist of three islands: the bustling island of St. Thomas, where you’ll find the capital city Charlotte Amalie; the easy-going St. John, where Virgin Islands National Park takes up much of the area; and the largest of the three, St. Croix, with plenty of spots for scuba diving and historical towns. Dreaming of all three? Ferries and island hoppers make visiting each island easy and accessible, and US citizens can visit without a passport .

Aerial view of skyscrapers in Corniche bay in Abu Dhabi UAE. Turquoise water in the front and blue sky in the distance...

You’ve probably been on a layover in Abu Dhabi before, but now’s the time to make an actual visit. The history and luxury of the city are as inviting as ever , especially with pleasant temperatures from December to March. For the aviation geeks out there, the emirate’s new Midfield Terminal, now called Terminal A, will finally open this November, expanding passenger and cargo capacity in the Middle Eastern hub. Expect new lounges, retail stores, restaurants, and more, as one can naturally expect from the UAE’s capital.

Greenland

Icy and mysterious Greenland is one of the most naturally beautiful places on earth. The world’s biggest non-continental island is so much more than glaciers (but yes, the glaciers are spectacular). Think magnificent fjords, colorful villages, and fields of sheep. Throw in some northern lights appearances, and you have yourself one unbeatable winter destination .

This image may contain Vehicle Transportation Boat Outdoors Nature Ocean Water Sea Land Shoreline and Summer

Boracay, Philippines

Consistently voted one of the best islands in Asia in our Readers’ Choice Awards, Boracay is a perennial favorite of locals and tourists alike. The idyllic white sand beaches were so popular with visitors that, at one point, the authorities had to prohibit tourism for a while to let the land and community rehabilitate. But now it’s back in business, ready to welcome those looking to relax and unwind , or party the night away—or both.

Italian Dolomites

Dolomites, Italy

If the Alps is the destination for glitzy ski towns, then consider the Dolomites its chiller, cozier cousin . Also known as “the Pale Mountains,” its powdery slopes can be accessed via the 86-mile Great Dolomites Road, one of the world’s most beautiful alpine drives, offering beautiful views of Italy ’s best wintery landscapes.

Cape Town

From December to March, South Africa’s safari circuit takes a back seat to Africa’s most cosmopolitan city, thanks to prime weather conditions. During the Southern Hemisphere’s summer, Cape Town ’s restaurant, hotel, and nightlife scenes are at their best. Plus, it’s the growing season in South Africa’s winelands , from Stellenbosch to Franschhoek to Swartland, all of which are just a short road trip away.

Chiang Mai Thailand

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai in Thailand is surrounded by misty mountains, golden temples, and verdant rice terraces—all with a climate that rarely dips below 60 degrees. During the city’s Flower Festival, held annually on the first weekend of February, every street in the old city is covered in flowers and plants for three days.

Image may contain Antler Animal Wildlife Mammal Deer Elk and Antelope

Finnish Lapland

Imagine the most idyllic winter scene you can dream up, and Finnish Lapland will absolutely deliver. There aren’t many places where you can visit Santa Claus, take a reindeer sleigh ride, or sleep under the Northern Lights in a bubble sled—but Lapland lets you do all three.

It may seem counterintuitive to fly to an island for the cool weather its exactly that brisk and fresh feeling thatll...

It may seem counterintuitive to fly to an island for the cool weather, it’s exactly that brisk and fresh feeling that’ll enchant you in the Azores , an archipelago in the middle of the North Atlantic. All that lush greenery and pleasant chill will let you discover a new kind of sweater weather. And it’s just a five-hour flight from the US.

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

No matter the season, Yellowstone is always a good idea. Famous sites at the oldest of all US national parks (established in 1872) include the Old Faithful geyser and the Grand Prismatic Spring, but truly, every single acre of the park is worth seeing in person. Visiting in the winter is a good way to avoid the summer crowds; you'll be greeting by landscapes filled with steam from the thermal features.

Copenhagen

When you visit the birthplace of hygge (the Danish concept of “coziness”), you better believe your winter vacation is going to be aces. That feeling can be found throughout Copenhagen , from pastry shops to inviting hotels .

Navagio Beach Zakynthos Greece

Zakynthos, Greece

All Greek islands seem to be framed by that killer shade of emerald blue, but there’s something about the white sand beaches and brilliant waters at Navagio Bay in Zakynthos that will make your heart skip a beat. Maybe it’s the secluded location (it’s sheltered on either side by soaring cliffs) that keeps its aquamarine waters so perfect and pure—basically the exact opposite of winter grays.

Best Places to Travel in December Salzburg at Christmas

Salzburg, Austria

Classic Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart, sits divided by the Salzach River: Its pedestrian Old City lines the left bank, and the (slightly) newer side is on the right. For a hotel stay involving gingerbread cookies, fluffy beds, and views of falling snow, look no further than Hotel Goldener Hirsch .

Isla Mujeres Mexico

Isla Mujeres, Mexico

While often thought of as a side trip from Cancún, Isla Mujeres is a destination in its own right. The main beach of Playa Norte is made of crushed coral, has warm shallow waters, and is much quieter than the beaches across the bay. Scuba enthusiasts should take note: The island is home to the largest concentration of whale sharks on the planet.

Jackson Hole Wyoming

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

This Teton-ringed valley is a true winter wonderland. Of course, it helps if you want to spend most of your time skiing— Jackson Hole is known for its 3,000 acres of both accessible backcountry terrain and challenging vertical slopes. But even if you don’t want to hit the powder, you can still indulge in après-ski diversions in both Teton Village and the town of Jackson. And let’s face it: Any excuse to cozy up in Caldera House is valid.

This image may contain Monument

Luxor, Egypt

We haven’t invented time travel just yet, so the best you can do is visit one of the oldest cities in the world . Have you been to Luxor, home of Egypt’s most iconic destinations like the imposing Colossi of Memnon and the Valley of the Kings, where you can visit the tomb of King Tutankhamun. Granted, wintertime is peak season in Egypt; the cooler weather attracts more tourists, but it’s worth braving the crowds to avoid bursting into flames.

Four Seasons Nevis

Nevis (of the nation of St. Kitts and Nevis) is a Caribbean island with gentle slopes rising to the peak of its dormant volcano. It’s more low-key thanits sister island, and known for its historic inns. If you’re looking for a luxury hotel, stay at the Four Seasons Resort Nevis for easy access to Pinney’s Beach, a favorite for both families with kids, and travelers seeking a calm respite.

Roatn Honduras

Roatán, Honduras

The most developed of the Bay Islands, Roatán is mainly known as a diver’s paradise . Almost all of its 31-mile coastline is lined with biodiverse coral reefs, home to colorful fish, dolphins, and West Indian manatees. Even better? You can visit Roatán on one of Virgin Voyages’ Caribbean cruises , which counts the Honduran island among its many port stops.

Sheep at the Marlborough Sounds  South Island New Zealand

New Zealand

Thanks to new direct flights directly from the US mainland to cities like Auckland and Christchurch, heading to New Zealand is easier than ever. It’s a year-round destination, but Kiwi summer from December to February offers a nice change of season for those visiting from the Northern Hemisphere. Try Maori cuisine with a gourmet twist in Wellington , or slow-cooked New Zealand lamb in Sichuan sauce in Auckland .

A view of Dal Lake in winter and the beautiful mountain range in the background in the city of Srinagar Kashmir India.

Srinagar, India

To experience a winter wonderland on the Indian subcontinent, head to Srinagar, the most populous city in the Kashmir Valley. Thanks to cool new hotel openings and developing infrastructure in the region that make visiting much easier than ever before, Srinagar was on our international list of 23 Best Places to Go in 2023 . To keep warm, indulge in a multicourse wazwan feast and wash it all down with piping hot cups of kahwa, Kashmiri saffron tea.

Hotel Del Coronado San Diego California

San Diego, California

Welcome to the unofficial Christmas (merchandise) capital of the United States, where two megastores selling Christmas decorations draw holiday enthusiasts to San Diego year-round. Perhaps it’s the dissonance between the classic wintery aesthetics and the eternally sunny climes that make Southern California a perfect winter vacation idea, but who’s going to say no to pristine beaches and easy-luxury hotels any day of the year?

Hokkaido Japan

Hokkaido, Japan

The Japanese island of Hokkaido is blessed with myriad geological beauties (think volcanoes, national parks, and lakes)—most are even more stunning in winter. For example, the ethereal Shirogane Blue Pond wears ice beautifully, with its towering trees and azure waters coated in glimmering frost. Looking to ski? The slopes of Niseko are among the finest in the world.

Winter escapes Gran Canaria Canary Islands

Canary Islands, Spain

It’s not quite hot enough to swim off the white sand beaches of Spain ’s Canary Islands in the winter, but to make up for it, there are fewer crowds, ever-impressive views, and off-season prices on this cluster of volcanic isles. For what it’s worth, the island of Gran Canaria, just off northwestern Africa, is said to have the best climate in the world.

Zermatt Switzerland

Zermatt, Switzerland

Zermatt, surrounded by some of the Alps’ tallest peaks, has 223 miles of runs in four huge ski areas —some at an altitude of over 10,000 feet, meaning snow here lingers for a very long season. This enchanting Alpine village lies at the foot of the Matterhorn, Switzerland ’s most famous mountain, and has plenty of modern touches, like its state-of-the-art lift system and swanky après-ski diversions.

Whitsunday Islands Australia

Whitsunday Islands, Australia

Just off the coast of Queensland, Australia , you’ll find these 74 islands in the crystalline waters of the South Pacific. Fly into Hamilton Island, the largest of the archipelago; take to the sea on a yacht (warmer waters in Southern Hemisphere summer means whale watching season); explore the Great Barrier Reef , and learn about the traditional indigenous owners of the land, the Ngaro Aboriginal people .

Ski Slope in Park City Utah

Park City, Utah

The ski capital of Park City (and home to the Sundance Film Festival) is on our list of Best Places to Go in the US this year, with its iconic resorts like Montage Deer Valley , the Stein Eriksen Lodge , and the St. Regis Deer Valley offering comfy and chic digs for winter sports enthusiasts and those who love them. To see “The Greatest Snow on Earth” (the state of Utah itself has trademarked the phrase), swing by anytime between December and March.

New York City

New York City

Not many cities can compare to New York City during the holidays. Already experienced those classic traditions like the lighting of the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center , the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes , ice skating in Central Park , or The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center? Follow our guide to make a few unexpected ones of your own.

Cheap Flights, Hotels, Tours, Cruises and Holidays

Travel blog

The Ultimate Bucket List: Our Top 40 Travel Destinations

The Great Sphinx and Giza Pyramids in the twilight

10.65min read

Published 14 April 2022

Flight Centre Author

A bucket list can be a tricky beast.

40.  turkey , 39. denmark .

The Brandenburg Gate - Brandenburger Tor in Berlin illuminated at the Festival of Lights

38.   Germany 

37. cambodia , 36. south africa .

La Condamine, Monte Carlo

35. Monaco 

34.   sri lanka , 33. czech republic  .

32.  Austria 

Woman standing on the terrace on the background of Giza pyramids

31.     Egypt 

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30. Iceland 

29. dublin .

Tropical fish under waves on coral reef, Indian Ocean, Mauritius

28. Mauritius 

27.  switzerland , 26. philippines .

Aerial view of  the mangroves of New Caledonia form the shape of a heart

25.  New Caledonia 

23.  cancun .

Canal in Amsterdam

22.  Amsterdam 

21.  tahiti .

RELATED: What South Pacific Destination Is Calling Your Name?

Aerial view of the Muri beach and lagoon, in Rarotonga in the Cook Islands

20. Cook Islands 

19.  Vancouver 

18.  vanuatu .

17. New Zealand 

16.  Athens 

15.  kuala lumpur .

A daytime outdoor view of a Paris cafe

14.   Paris 

13. hong kong .

Traffic on the road at front of Ho Chi Minh City Hall

12.  Ho Chi Minh City 

Teenager walking, Akihabara electric town, Tokyo, Japan

RELATED:   Which Asian Destination Fits You Best?

10.  Dubai 

The Roman Colosseum

6. Singapore 

Woman on a skateboard chilling out in Venice beach

5. Los Angeles 

4. hamilton island .

Stand-up paddleboarding off Maui

So many places, so much to see and do, and one life waiting to be changed.

Begin planning your next holiday to the world here, site quick links, help & support.

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© Flight Centre Travel Group Limited. ATAS Accreditation No. A10412.

*Travel restrictions & conditions apply. Review any specific conditions stated and our general terms at Terms and Conditions . Prices & taxes are correct as at the date of publication & are subject to availability and change without notice. Prices quoted are on sale until the dates specified unless otherwise stated or sold out prior. Prices are per person.

  • Best of the World

20 of the coolest travel adventures for 2024

From a horseback safari in Kenya to river rafting in West Virginia, here’s our ranked list of the top travel experiences right now.

This page is a portal.  No, really, it is: Our annual Best of the World feature is a gateway to the streets of Paris , the snowy Caucasus Mountains of Georgia , the ancient rock art of Algeria . To help us engage with places more deeply and meaningfully, we drew on National Geographic’s global community of experts to create the following ranked list of 20 great adventures for 2024. Read on and you’ll discover that this page is also a celebration—of travel’s power to transform us and our connections with one another.

#1: Go on horseback safari in Kenya

A safari in Africa usually conjures an image of mud-spattered 4x4 vehicles bouncing through the bush. But there’s another way to travel: on horseback. 

Although horse safaris originated in Kenya in the 1970s, they’re a perfect fit for today’s growing number of travelers looking for more engaging, sustainable wildlife encounters. At the 32,000-acre Borana Conservancy , two stables house thoroughbreds and ex-polo ponies for riders of all skill levels. Visitors can book half-day, full-day, or overnight rides. July through September is the prime time to go.

Since wildlife perceive equines as just another animal, exploring the landscape atop a horse makes for an intimate experience. “To journey on horseback is to break down the walls—meant to protect but also to separate—between oneself and the natural world,” says Nichole Sobecki , a photographer and equestrian who’s ridden in Borana. “Your horse is a translator, responding to the low growl of the lion, the soft scent of a herd of elephants.” A horse’s ears are an advance warning system, she says, helping knowledgeable guides navigate routes.

#2: Run an Olympic marathon in Paris

For the first time, members of the public will be able to run their own marathon during the 2024 Summer Olympics , in Paris, France , just one initiative aimed at creating a more inclusive Games. 

Slated to be held the evening of August 10, between the men’s and women’s official races, the Marathon for All will allow 20,024 qualifying lottery winners on the 26.2-mile route that links Paris and Versailles , a loop beginning at the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) and passing through nine arrondissements before finishing at Les Invalides on the banks of the Seine. Before or after the big event, learn the route to follow in their tracks. 

#3: Ski tour UNESCO sites in Georgia

Long a means of transportation, exploration, and hunting, skiing is still a way of life in the mountainous republic of Georgia. Now visitors can enjoy some of the nation’s best backcountry skiing in the Caucasus with the help of outfitters such as Svaneti Ski and Georgia Ski Touring . In Svaneti, excursions may lead skiers through panoramic Gvibari Pass or to medieval Ushguli villages, among the highest continuously inhabited in Europe. The best times to experience this are December to April.

#4: Bear watch in Katmai National Park

Alaska ’s Katmai National Park is home to one of the highest concentrations of brown bears in the world. Far from the crowded viewing platforms of the Brooks Camp Visitor Center, a guided trip along the Katmai coast with outfitters like AK Adventures reveals a different side of the park.

Here, the bears feast on a diversity of foods: sedges, grasses, razor clams, salmon. “For me, seeing a single brown bear in the wild is meaningful because it is a sign that the landscape is healthy enough to support it,” says Alaska photographer Acacia Johnson , a frequent National Geographic contributor.

#5: Hear legendary live music in Kyoto

Guidebooks speak of Kyoto as frozen in time, with hushed temples and meditative gardens. But after hours, Japan ’s former imperial capital reveals a live music scene that can be loud and irreverent. At venues like Jittoku and Field , rock, swing, and even Irish music echo into the night. Whatever you’re into, from jazz to punk, there’s a community to share your jam. “This is what happens in Japan when the mask comes off,” says Kyoto guide Van Milton.

#6: Cruise an epic river in Colombia

About 80 percent of Colombia ’s population lives in the river basin of the Magdalena, which flows for nearly a thousand miles from the Andes to the Caribbean. AmaWaterways’ new cruises on the river—said to be the first by a major cruise operator—take seven-night trips from Cartagena via Mompós to Barranquilla. Stops at colonial towns, performances of vallenato  and cumbia music, and visits to a stilt-house village highlight the region’s culture along this mighty waterway.

#7:  Road trip Route 66 in New Mexico

For nearly a century, Route 66 has beckoned to travelers. A trip along the Mother Road through New Mexico hits timeless landmarks , such as quirky motels and curio shops in and around Tucumcari and symbolic etchings in Petroglyph National Monument . In Gallup—mentioned as one of the places to “get your kicks” in Nat King Cole’s 1946 hit song “Route 66”—you can take in performances featuring Zuni, Lakota, and Diné (Navajo) dancers. 

Some 18 miles of the highway traverse Albuquerque , the longest urban interlude of the route in the United States. And it’s getting a half-million-dollar glow-up with the ongoing restoration of vintage neon signs along Central Avenue. 

While cruising down the brightened strip, stop at the new West Central Route 66 Visitor Center , with its museum and outdoor amphitheater. The center will host events like lowrider car shows, drive-in movies, and artisan markets.

#8: Explore ancient art in Algeria

Algeria is home to Africa’s largest national park, which holds one of the world’s greatest concentrations of ancient rock art. Tassili n’Ajjer National Park is a geologic wonderland of sandstone towers, arches, and sculpted outcrops. But these rock forests are only half the story. 

Neolithic herders and hunter-gatherers carved 15,000 petroglyphs here, including images of elephants, giraffes, and rhinos. These animals are more commonly associated with sub-Saharan Africa—a hint that this arid wilderness was once a grassland crisscrossed by waterways. Five- to seven-day guided tours with Fancy Yellow take in the most spectacular works of Tassili’s art, like the “Crying Cows,” engraved at the base of a stone pinnacle 7,000 years ago. 

Travelers with more time might want to combine a trip to Tassili with a visit to the Algerian Sahara’s other great geologic marvel: the extraordinary mountain range of Ahaggar National Park .

#9: Dive with sharks in Western Australia

Stretching almost 700 miles along the Indian Ocean north of Perth, Western Australia’ s Coral Coast is studded with natural wonders. But Ningaloo Reef is the star. Here, you can dive with giants: Some 300 to 500 whale sharks ,  one of the largest congregations on Earth, gather along the reef each year between March and July. Ethical outfitters ensure divers give the sharks space and avoid feeding them or using flash photography. 

Even more megafauna abound from July to October, when about 40,000 humpback whales migrate along the Coral Coast. You can also commune with more than 10,000 dugongs in Shark Bay or swim with manta rays at Coral Bay. 

#10: Hike a volcano in Panama

A sustainability leader, Panama recently launched its “1,000 Kilometers of Trails” project , which seeks to bring outdoor recreation and green tourism to rural communities and protected areas.

First out of the gate is the Ruta de la Caldera , a system of five trails around the extinct Valle de Antón volcano . The treks take in waterfall-speckled landscapes, according to photographer Rose Marie Cromwell , who hiked sections of the Ruta de la Caldera over five days.

“There were some spectacular views on top of the volcanic crater—interesting land formations covered in so much green,” she says.

#11: Catch the eclipse at Niagara Falls

Directly in the path of totality, Niagara Falls will offer views of a total solar eclipse, which won’t occur again in the contiguous U.S. until 2044. For about three and a half minutes, beginning at approximately 3:18 p.m. on April 8, the sky will darken over the thunderous cataract as the moon crosses between Earth and the sun. 

On the U.S. side of the falls , Terrapin Point, Prospect Point, and the Observation Tower will be prime viewing areas (if clouds stay away). From the Canadian side, an excellent vantage point is Table Rock. A side bonus: The sunny-day rainbow that hovers above the falls will become pink. 

#12: Trek a glacier in Chile

In Patagonian Chile ’s Laguna San Rafael National Park , visitors can trek atop the Exploradores Glacier, taking in a panorama of pale blue ice massifs and glacial waterways. Some 17,300 glaciers still cover Patagonia’s ice fields, but rising temperatures are rapidly melting them. Climate scientists say sustainable tourism , such as hikes with outfitters like Turismo Valle Leones , supports local communities and inspires travelers to learn more about how to protect glaciers.

#13: Step back in time on Menorca

Spain ’s Balearic Islands are best known for the jet-set beach destinations of Ibiza and Mallorca . But quiet, less developed Menorca has a unique mother lode: The archipelago’s greatest repository of ancient architecture.

In an area of just 270 square miles, Menorca has a total of 1,574 inventoried archaeological sites , ranging from the foundation blocks of small dwellings to well-preserved village centers that existed long before the Roman Empire. Most striking are the navetas,  megalithic tombs dating back to 1600 B.C.; talayots, watchtowers built from mortarless blocks of limestone; and   taulas,   shrines exclusive to Menorca that evoke Stonehenge pillars. These remnants of the Talayotic Menorcan culture, the first civilization to inhabit the island, have now been inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List . 

The open-air monuments are easy to visit; the island’s Me-1 road passes by some of the best-preserved sites, including the settlements of Talatí de Dalt, Naveta des Tudons, and Taula de Torretrencada.

Reenter the 21st century at the new Hauser & Wirth gallery in the picturesque town of Mahón. Housed in repurposed 18th-century hospital buildings, the cultural venue presents contemporary art exhibits and has an outdoor sculpture trail with works by Louise Bourgeois and Joan Miró.

#14: Ride classic rails in Scotland

Exploring Scotland ’s wild, scenic Highlands doesn’t have to mean roughing it. The Royal Scotsman train glides among the moody lochs and dramatic peaks in style. New suites debuting in May 2024 sport interiors that reflect the compelling landscapes through dark woods, wool tweeds , and richly patterned bespoke tartans crafted by Scottish brand Araminta Campbell . After a day spent hiking to waterfalls or playing rounds of golf (a sport inextricably tied to the nation), guests can wind down with a massage at the onboard spa.

Departing Edinburgh ’s Waverley Station, the two- to seven-night rail journeys cross the heart of the Highlands, from Perthshire to Inverness to the rugged west coast. During stops guests can tour castles, stargaze in Cairngorms National Park , sample whisky at revered distilleries, and even take a dip in a loch.

#15: Find authentic flavor in Thailand 

The Isaan region in northeastern Thailand is known for its distinctive cuisine that reflects influences from bordering Laos and Cambodia. “Isaan is a hidden gem of Thailand,” says Weerawat “Num” Triyasenawat, the chef at Samuay & Sons , a Michelin Guide -recommended restaurant in the Isaan city of Udon Thani.

One key ingredient of the region’s delicious food is pla ra, a fermented-fish seasoning that boosts umami flavor. Local dishes include laab  (minced meat salad), traditionally served during celebrations.

#16: Wander tea trails in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is virtually synonymous with tea. The island nation is one of the world’s top producers of tea leaves. British colonists introduced the first bushes about 200 years ago. Now visitors can trace the footsteps of historic planters on the new, nearly 200-mile Pekoe Trail , the country’s first long-distance walking route. 

Starting just outside Kandy, the trail follows the 19th-century tracks upon which workers and horse-drawn carts transported freshly plucked leaves. Hikers pass through hill towns and tea estates and can stop to take a cooking class or savor a cup of aromatic Ceylon tea.

#17: Gallery hop in São Paulo

São Paulo, Brazil ’s largest city, is an art lover’s paradise, home to numerous galleries, exhibitions, and street murals. The crowning jewel is the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP), which is expanding to showcase more of its 11,000-plus artworks, from pre-Renaissance paintings to contemporary sculptures. Departing from the usual model of exhibiting works on walls, MASP hangs some pieces against clear panels, allowing visitors to view the art from all angles.

#18: Raft the rapids in West Virginia 

Despite its name, West Virginia ’s New River is actually one of the oldest on Earth, perhaps as old as 360 million years. The river falls 750 feet in only 50 miles between sandstone cliffs. It eventually merges with the Gauley River.   Outfitters such as ACE Adventure Resort can arrange whitewater rafting trips here on Class III to V rapids through the longest and deepest river gorge in the Appalachians. 

#19: Go antiquing in Hudson Valley

The bucolic Hudson Valley is booming, thanks to an influx of New York City residents during the pandemic. But it’s long been a mecca for creatives: Its landscapes inspired America’s first artistic fraternity, the Hudson River School. Antique collectors will be drawn to the hundreds of stores, boutiques, craft shops, and flea markets that sell everything from colonial furniture and rare books to mid-century modern decor. For vintage finds, head to the Antique Warehouse in Hudson, Sister Salvage in Catskill, and Opera House Co. in Athens.

“There’s a common denominator here—the charming historic villages,” says Sarah Gray Miller, owner of Coxsackie antique store UnQuiet . From Stuyvesant to Saugerties, these towns “share a strong commitment to preservation.”

#20: Sleep on the water in British Columbia

The newly reopened Tofino Wilderness Resort , owned by the Ahousaht First Nation, is an idyllic base from which to explore the western coast of British Columbia ’s Vancouver Island. In the heart of Clayoquot Sound, the luxury floating lodge was renovated with lumber cut from timber which fell on-site. Through guided whale-watching trips or visits to the Freedom Cove artists’ sanctuary, the Ahousaht share with guests their philosophy, hishuk ish tsawalk (“everything is one”), celebrating the interconnectedness of people and nature in a land they’ve occupied for thousands of years.

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Travel Better, Cheaper, Longer

Cheap Holiday Ideas: 8 Budget Vacation Deals

Visiting beautiful Zion National Park in the USA on a bright and sunny day

While many of us dream of traveling the world (or at least taking a few months off from work in pursuit of adventure), it’s not always feasible — even for those with the best of intentions. A lot of things can get in the way.

I frequently talk about long-term travel and round-the-world trips , but I know that realistically, not everyone can take those kinds of trips — or wants to. I don’t think traveling the world as a digital nomad is hard , but I also know that what I do isn’t for everyone.

Some people just want to go on a cheap vacation for a few weeks. Not everyone has the time or interest in taking an extended trip.

And that’s perfectly ok!

So, what do you do when you only have a short amount of time and a limited budget? What are some budget vacation ideas that  aren’t about traveling the world?

Even if you don’t want to backpack Cambodia for three months or walk the Camino de Santiago , there are many ways to get on the road and see the world without breaking the bank!

Here are eight cheap travel ideas if you are cash-strapped and/or time-poor:

Table of Contents

1. Be a Local Tourist

2. travel regionally, 3. go to national (and regional) parks, 4. book a last-minute cruise (or book far in advance), 5. think outside the box, 6. book a last-minute tour, 7. become a house sitter, 8. grab a cheap flight, want more cheap vacation ideas.

The towering Statue of Liberty in New York City on a bright and sunny day

We’re all guilty of this. It took me five years to see the Jim Thompson House in Bangkok (even after living there), and I’ve still never been to Bunker Hill in Boston despite spending the first 24 years of my life there.

We always put it off until tomorrow , because when we live in a city, we think there is always a tomorrow.

We get so caught up in our daily lives we forget that we can have a cheap vacation in our own city. We don’t have to go anywhere!

If you’re short on time and money, there’s no better way to spend some free time than to wander your own city. No matter what its size, it has a number of wonders that you’ve never seen or even known about because you just haven’t explored it like you would somewhere far-flung and “exotic.”

Explore your city the way you would explore it if it were half a world away. Be a traveler in your own town and look at it with new eyes. You might just be surprised!

Check and see what unique activities you can do that you wouldn’t do otherwise. To see what fun activities are available near you, check out Get Your Guide .

EatWith can also be found in cities all around the world, offering unique, locally-created culinary experiences. You’ll get to try new food and meet new people — all while staying in your own backyard!

Additionally, check and see if there are any walking or cycling tour companies in your city (or nearby cities). Take Walks runs fun, detailed, and insightful tours in cities all around the world. I always book a tour with them when I want to get beneath the surface of a destination!

Moreover, if you live in a large city, be sure to go to your local tourism office and get a city tourism pass. These cards allow you to see a wide range of local attractions for free or reduced prices and can be your way to see your local sites on a budget. They aren’t just for outsiders!

Important Tip: When you become a local tourist, check out of your house and into a hotel, hostel, or guesthouse. It’s important to get out of your familiar environment because if you stay home, you’ll find something to do around the house and create excuses for why you can’t sightsee.

To find accommodation, Booking.com is the best place to start. It has an easy-to-use interface and generous cancellation policies should you change your mind.

Moving to a different location can help give you that feeling of adventure, excitement, and unfamiliarity.

LEARN MORE :

  • Staycations: 5 Ways to Embrace Your Next Holiday at Home
  • How to Find Cheap Accommodation in 7 Easy Steps
  • My Favorite Hostels Around the World
  • How to Find the Perfect Airbnb

Lighthouse in Portland, Maine, at sunset

But I could say the same thing as my Aussie friends.

I grew up in Boston , and from there, I could road-trip New England and visit New Hampshire, the woods of Maine, the bed-and-breakfasts of the Berkshires, or the farms of Vermont. New York was a four-hour car ride from home.

How often did I do that? Not often enough!

Exploring your own region is an underrated and often overlooked aspect of travel. It gets the occasional lip service in magazines, but driving across the United States made me realize how much our own countries have to offer us and how often we overlook that for some foreign place.

There’s something special about being a stranger in your homeland and realizing you really don’t know as much about it as you thought.

We think because we’re born in a place we understand it but every country has regional differences that make it unique and, unless we travel to see and experience them, we’ll never fully understand the place we call home.

Driving across the US taught me a lot about this . It gave me a deep appreciation for the country, the people, and the diversity within its borders. It broke down stereotypes and misconceptions I had about the different regions in the US.

My time exploring my own backyard was just as important to my growth as any trip to a foreign country.

If you’re on a limited budget, can’t afford a flight or a trip to exotic lands, or just want to do something different, don’t forget that you can always travel around your own country. It can be just as powerful as going abroad.

Budget-friendly bus companies like FlixBus can help you travel your region on the cheap. They have routes around Europe and the US, with tickets starting at just $5 USD!

  • The Great American Road Trip: A 4 Month Itinerary
  • How to Road Trip Across the USA on a Budget
  • A 21-Day Road Trip Itinerary Around the Deep South
  • A 7-Day Southern California Road Trip Itinerary

Bison in the foreground with mountains in the background in Yellowstone National Park

In many countries, particularly in Europe (especially Scandinavia), you can camp on public lands for free. In the United States, you can camp on undeveloped BLM (Bureau of Land Management) lands for free, provided the spot you choose is a sufficient distance from established campgrounds and you follow local restrictions.

Additionally, you go camping stocked with all your own supplies and accommodation (i.e., a tent), so you don’t have to worry about spending lots of extra money once you have the gear. Your food bill can be whatever you spend on groceries and nothing more. Just be sure to leave no trace of your stay at your campsite and pack out anything you brought with you.

You don’t need to love camping to spend time in the national parks, either. Personally, I hate camping. I’m not the camp-in-a-tent kind of guy; I need toilets, beds, and hot water. Luckily, many parks provide cabins for rent. While hiking the Grand Canyon, I stayed at a national park lodge at the bottom. I had a room in a dormitory, but for a few nights, it was the cheap accommodation I needed.

And while national parks are impressive, state or provincial parks can be just as spectacular, but with fewer crowds, and easier to access. There’s almost always a park nearby and spending a few days with nature is not only good for your wallet but also good for your mental health.

Looking for a more unique experience? Campspace is a website that lets people camp in someone’s backyard, garden, parked camper, or private land for a small fee. It’s like Airbnb but for unique camping spots.

Want to do a mini road trip around your region? Use RVShare to rent an RV from a local for cheap!

And if you’re looking to rent a car, use Discover Cars to find the best rental car prices.

  • Hiking the Grand Canyon
  • The Girl’s Guide to Hiking Solo
  • How to Plan a Successful RV Trip

Cruise deck with people lounging on chairs next to a pool as the ship pulls into the bay of Kotor with green rolling mountains in the background

But, if you’re the last passenger running onto that ship, you can find some sweet deals.

Cruise lines always offer incredible last-minute deals. No cruise company wants to leave with half the cabins empty. If you wait until a few weeks before departure, you can usually find some really amazing deals as cruise lines scramble to find passengers. Plus, cruise operators always throw in some onboard amenities, free upgrades, and cash vouchers to sweeten the deal.

The website CruiseSheet often has cruises as low as $50 per day! (It’s the best cruise booking website in the world!)

Conversely, if you book over a year in advance, cruise lines also offer amazing low fares for early birds.

Cruises are the one form of travel for which I recommend visiting a travel agent if you’re part of a big group. They have wonderful working relationships with the operators and can score better packages than booking online.

After you book, keep an eye out on prices, because if they drop, you can often call your travel agent or the cruise company itself to get a partial refund or vouchers to use for dining and alcohol on the boat.

The cruise industry was drastically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Most cruise lines lost billions of dollars, which means there are some amazing deals out there if you’re looking to plan a cruise.

That said, lots of passengers ended up stuck in quarantine on cruise ships as well. Cruise ships, while fun, can easily turn into floating petri dishes, so make sure if you book a cruise that you have comprehensive travel insurance that covers cruises in case you get sick.

  • How to Find a Cheap Cruise
  • The Best Cruise Travel Insurance
  • The 20 Best Tropical Islands in the World

Cityscape of Antigua, Guatemala with brightly colored houses and a mountain rising through the clouds in the background

The list goes on and on. There are countless cheap alternatives and budget destinations around the world!

Travel counter to the prevailing trend.

Zig when everyone zags.

If people are going in the summer, you go in the spring or winter. Skip the popular destinations and head off the beaten path a bit.

Contrarian travel will save you a bundle of money. It’s like reverse commuting. While others heading into the city in the morning for work are stuck in traffic, you breeze the opposite way hassle-free. The same is true for travel.

The more you are a contrarian in where — and when — you go, the better off your wallet will be. Plus, you’ll enjoy destinations more because there will be fewer crowds. No one loves a crowd!

LEARN MORE : 

  • 10 Destinations to Visit on a Budget
  • Cheap Places to Visit on the US Dollar

Group of people on a TNN tour in Morocco

Why are tours so cheap last-minute? Well, think about how people plan vacations. You get the time off work, you book your vacation, you buy your flight, and you go. Since people pre-book, prices are higher in advance because these companies understand booking patterns and then price accordingly.

As departure time nears, companies know people aren’t likely to turn up and book on departure day, so they sweeten the price to increase bookings. So take the time off work, wait until the week before, see what’s cheap, and then go.

My favorite company, Intrepid Travel , often offers 15–30% discounts on last-minute tours.

  • How to Choose the Perfect Tour Company
  • The Best Tour Companies in Europe
  • The Best Tour Companies in Costa Rica

A dog and a car chilling in a cozy living room together during a house sit

A way around that is to stay somewhere for free.

While I like Couchsurfing , it’s hard to do that for two weeks without annoying your host. A unique way to overcome this is to housesit for someone while they are on vacation. You get free accommodation, a kitchen to cook in, and the chance to explore a destination in depth. It’s a pretty unique way to travel and one that I know a lot of world travelers take advantage of. You can even do this in your own region too, to cut down on transportation costs.

The best way to secure housesitting gigs is to build up your portfolio of reviews on a site like Trusted Housesitters by starting small. Find opportunities near you so secure a few reviews before you start competing for housesitting gigs in popular places like NYC or Paris (since those are more competitive). If you’re willing to do housesits in “less popular” destinations you can easily find opportunities.

  • How to Become a Housesitter
  • How to Start House Sitting

Rows of seats in an airplane

With those sites, you can type in “(the closest airport to you)” for your departure city and “everywhere” for your destination. Then a list of the cheapest flights appears in front of your very eyes, so you can choose where to go within your budget. This is how I decide where to go when I don’t have a specific place in mind. It’s a great tool!

The website Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights) is another great way to find rock bottom flight prices. They scour the web daily and send the cheap flights they find directly to your inbox, saving you hundreds of dollars – as well as the time spent to find those deals!

The key to finding the best deals is to be flexible — with either your dates or your destination (but ideally both). The more flexible you are, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to snag a great deal.

  • The Ultimate Guide to Finding a Cheap Flight
  • Going (Scott’s Cheap Flights) Review
  • How to Buy A Round-The-World Ticket

Not everyone can jump overseas at the drop of a hat or spend six months backpacking around Europe or Asia . A fancy vacation to Mexico may be out of your reach.

But while you might not have a lot of time or money, there’s more than one way to see the world.

After all, travel is simply the art of going somewhere new and different and exploring everything the place has to offer. It doesn’t matter if you have two days, two weeks, or two months. Use these cheap vacation ideas and go explore on a budget. You might just be surprised what you discover.  

Here are a few more posts that can help you plan an epic trip without breaking the bank:

  • Ten Destinations Under $50
  • 10 Best Places to Travel on a Budget
  • The Ultimate Guide to Traveling When You Have No Money
  • How to Travel the World on $50 A Day

Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner . It’s my favorite search engine because it searches websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is being left unturned.

Book Your Accommodation You can book your hostel with Hostelworld . If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as it consistently returns the cheapest rates for guesthouses and hotels.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

  • SafetyWing (best for everyone)
  • Insure My Trip (for those 70 and over)
  • Medjet (for additional evacuation coverage)

Want to Travel for Free? Travel credit cards allow you to earn points that can be redeemed for free flights and accommodation — all without any extra spending. Check out my guide to picking the right card and my current favorites to get started and see the latest best deals.

Need Help Finding Activities for Your Trip? Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace where you can find cool walking tours, fun excursions, skip-the-line tickets, private guides, and more.

Ready to Book Your Trip? Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use when I travel. They are the best in class and you can’t go wrong using them on your trip.

Got a comment on this article? Join the conversation on Facebook , Instagram , or Twitter and share your thoughts!

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I recommend only products and companies I use and the income goes to keeping the site community supported and ad free.

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30 adventure trips around the world that you definitely should try

If you love adventure trips, in this article you will find 30 ideas to inspire you around the world.

overseas trip ideas

Jessica Jessy Around The World

Nov 16, 2023

adventure-trips

Not everyone dreams about relaxing when going on holiday. Some of us need adventure and adrenaline.

If you are one of those travelers, you are in the right place. In this article I will talk about 30 adventure trips that you should definitely try once in a lifetime . 

Adventure trips: 30 experiences for your bucket list 

If you have a bucket list (and you should have it, because you are a traveler!), take it and get ready to write down these 30 adventure trips experiences , because you will want to try them all once you finished reading this article.

Let me also tell you that you can try a lot of adventure trips without spending tons of money, even for free sometimes. How is it possible? Thanks to Worldpackers. 

Worldpackers is a platform where volunteers can apply to positions all over the world. They just have to do some hours of work per day and in exchange they get free accommodation and sometimes free board.

In this way, traveling becomes so cheap. And of course, a lot of hosts listed on Worldpackers are close to perfect destinations for adventure trips.

Whether you are an ocean lover, a mountain lover, or have a fancy for extreme sports and national parks, there is a great adventure trip waiting for you out there.

Best adventure trips to do in the USA 

Let’s have a look at the best adventure trips you can do in the USA, there is a lot to do in this big country, full of national parks, deserts, amazing islands and nature everywhere.

1. Explore the adventure island of Kauai, Hawaii 

If you wish to live an adventure, Hawaii islands offer the perfect adventure trip for you. For example the island of Kauai, also known as the island of flowers , is a great destination if you are looking for adventure.

Full of canyons, beautiful beaches and forests to explore , you would need a month to live all the experiences it has to offer.

I know Hawaii can be expensive, but don’t worry. You can use Worldpackers, contact hosts and volunteer for them in exchange of free accommodation. In this way you won’t spend anything to sleep, which is great in a country like that!

For example, you can have a look at this host in Kauai , they are looking for help in their hotel. You will meet a lot of people from all over the world, just work few hours and enjoy the adventures of the island in your free time.

2. Have an adventure in the Arizona Desert

Arizona Desert is one of the most visited attractions in the South of the US. Everyone dreams about having a road trip there. It is one of the wildest adventures you can do in the US.

And if you find a volunteer position there, you don’t even have to worry about accommodation. You just have to plan the adventures you want to have in the desert, in your free time.

Have a look at this host , the position is about a handyman to help in the place. it is very close to the desert, in a very wild location. The perfect place for all the adventure travelers.

3. Visit the Niagara Falls

Usually all the adventure travelers love waterfalls. And visiting one of the most famous waterfalls in the world must be on your bucket list, if you love them. I am talking about Niagara Falls, in the North of the United States.

Visiting Niagara Falls is one of the best adventure trips you can have in the North of USA. Seeing them, getting wet, having a boat ride on the river. All of this is of course a bit pricey, but you can save in the accommodation cost if you use Worldpackers.

Check this position in hospitality , they need help with housekeeping and running the place in general, and they are so close to Niagara Falls that you can visit it a lot of times, until you get sick of it (if it is possible).

overseas trip ideas

4. Live an adventure trip in California, near Los Angeles

For the travelers looking for adventure, a city like Los Angeles doesn’t seem so attractive, but in its surroundings you can have a lot of adventure trips, such as hiking in the mountains and visiting beautiful lakes.

And don’t be afraid of the cost of accommodations, because if you go volunteering there, it won’t be your problem.

Mountain Adventure Lodge (the name tells a lot about the place, doesn’t it?) is looking for helpers. The location is outside LA, next to a beautiful lake, in the mountains, with amazing views and a lot of adventures waiting for you.

Best adventure trips to do in Costa Rica 

Costa Rica is the land of adventure par excellence. There is no other place on earth so full of waterfalls, volcanos, forests and national parks. Everything in Costa Rica is surrounded by nature.

If you are looking for an adventure trip, you have to pick this destination. And I know it is famous to be a bit expensive, but remember you can save a lot of money if you use Worldpackers while traveling.

Let’s see together the best adventure trips you can have in Costa Rica.

5. Explore Monteverde National Park

Monteverde is a famous national park in Costa Rica, and one of its best attractions are the amazing hanging bridges.

Monteverde is surrounded by a forest called Cloud Forest. Hiking there is such a great adventure and a lot of travelers dream about it.

Of course this place is completely natural and full of plants and animals. The best way to explore it is by helping a local activity . 

6. Visit Corcovado National Park, one of the most biodiverse parks in the world

In terms of biodiversity, Corcovado National Park, in the extreme South of Costa Rica, is the best place to see.

Visiting this park is a real adventure trip. It is a very remote area, full of u nique animals such as tucans, jaguars, monkeys, and other special bird species.

If you want to have the perfect local adventure, you can volunteer in a lodge  close to the park. Learn a lot about the local culture and have a great time both during work and during your free time.

7. Experience the best of Costa Rica’s nature at Arenal National Park

Arenal National Park is one of the most beautiful places in Costa Rica. If you look for adventure, it’s the right place for you.

You can find everything there: waterfalls, hanging bridges, natural hot springs, local fauna, and the huge Arenal Volcano.

It’s a must for all the adventure travelers. And if you want to have a complete experience, volunteer in a hostel there , meet a lot of friends and enjoy nature everyday.

overseas trip ideas

8. Surf and enjoy the ocean in Tamarindo

Ocean and surf are a perfect way to have an adventure trip in Costa Rica . And this country is one of the best places in the world to try this sport.

Tamarindo, on the Pacific Ocean, is the best spot you can find to surf. The beach is amazing and full of high waves.

It is quite pricey, but don’t worry, you can volunteer in a hostel in exchange of free accommodation , and surf the waves in your free time. You will become a professional surfer in a week!

Best adventure trips to do in Brazil 

Brazil is such a huge country, full of beaches, colonial cities, and of course, touched by the unique Amazon rainforest. If you have a desire for adventure trips, this land has something for you.

9. Explore the wonderful Amazon rainforest from Manaus

If you want to explore the Amazon rainforest and live this great adventure, the best city to start is Manaus, just behind the corner of this amazing ecosystem.

And you can do it easily and for free, if you volunteer there. Check positions like this  in Manaus, they are looking for help in their hostel.

Best adventure trips to do in Peru

Peru is the land of the Andes and the beautiful Inca ruins. If you like hiking adventures, you have to visit this country.

10. Go to Cusco and explore the real Peru

Cusco is the best spot to take base in and explore the surrounding areas. From there you can hike to Macchu Picchu , definitely one of the best experiences to have around the world , or hike to the Rainbow Mountain if you prefer nature views.

You won’t get bored, this is for sure. And you can stay a lot of time if you volunteer in a hostel  and get in exchange free accommodation.

overseas trip ideas

Best adventure trips to do in Canada

Canada is an amazing place full of forests, immense nature, national parks and mountains. If you love adventure trips, you should go there once in your life.

11. Go hiking in Canada

Nature in Canada is stunning, everywhere you can find a national park or a place to go hike, with unique views in the world.

Canada is huge and it can be very expensive, you could spend a lot of money and lose yourself in its immensity, but not if you let Worldpackers help you.

If you check volunteer positions in Canada, like this one , you could have a real local full experience and save a lot of money in accommodation, which is a great thing in a country like this.

overseas trip ideas

Best adventure trips to do in Mexico

Mexico, a colorful land full of Maya ruins, amazing colonial cities and delicious food , is waiting for you to make you live your best adventure trip.

12. Stay in Merida and explore all the wonders around the area

Merida is one of the nicest cities in the Yucatan peninsula, and from there you can explore all the area and have a lot of adventures.

Yucatan peninsula is full of things to see and do , so the best thing to do is taking your time and travel slow, Try  volunteering in a hostel  for a while and exploring everything in your free time.

More adventure trips around the world: Europe

Europe, the old continent, must not be underestimated in terms of adventure trips. Let’s list together some of the best.

13. See the northern lights in Norway

One of the adventure trips of a lifetime is going to hunt the northern lights in Northern Europe. Norway is one of the best place you can go to see them, and you can volunteer in a hostel  to avoid very high cost of accommodations there.

overseas trip ideas

14. Explore the best beaches in Portugal and enjoy the ocean

Beaches in Portugal are amazing and you can spend weeks there to see them all. If you love surf , they are perfect for you. Find the best location like Albufeira  and stay there to enjoy the ocean as much as you can.

15. Island hopping in Canary Islands

Canary Islands are so wild and are a place to visit if you are heading to Spain. If you want to have an adventure trip in their amazing beaches and do great hikings , visit them all and go island hopping.

There are a lot of hostels there looking for help and letting you stay longer than you expected. 

Adventure trips in Africa

16. hike kilimangiaro.

If you love adventure and hiking, you can’t miss the chance to climb the high Kilimanfiaro Volcano, in Tanzania.

And in the meantime, try to teach a language to the local people  in exchange of free accommodation.

overseas trip ideas

17. Enjoy Cape Town amazing sceneries

Cape Town is unique in terms of views, like the Table Mountain, that you can also climb, and the surroundings along the coast.

Perfect place for adventure, and you can volunteer in a hostel to have free accommodation.

overseas trip ideas

18. See the amazing Victoria Waterfalls

Victoria Waterfalls can be compared to Niagara for their beauty. They are located in Zambia, and you can’t miss them if you love adventure.

Try to volunteer there to meet a lot of locals and enjoy your trip even more.

19. Explore Sahara Desert

Africa is the land of Sahara Desert and Morocco is one of the best and easiest places to go for the visit.

You can even volunteer in the desert  to better understand people’s culture and life there.

overseas trip ideas

20. See the famous Pyramids

For all the adventurer out there, a visit to the Pyramids in Egypt is a must.

And as you can see, Worldpackers has a volunteer position  in which you have pyramids as your view everyday!

overseas trip ideas

21. Explore traditional Japan and Mount Fuji

Japan is on every traveler’s bucket list , and see the Fuji is a dream.

You can wake up every morning and try to spot it, if you volunteer in a hostel there. Helping just 4 hours per day there, you get free accommodation and get to see Mount Fuji and other cool places around.

22. Go deep into Thai culture in Bangkok

Have you ever considered Thailand for you next adventure trip?

You can start from its amazing capital Bangkok and find some gigs through Worldpackers there to live it like a local.   

23. Enjoy beautiful sea adventures in the Philippines

The Philippines are some of the best islands for snorkeling and enjoying sea life.

Try with your own eyes and try to live it as a local volunteering there . 

24. Get lost in Indonesia

Indonesia is full of things to see and do, full of islands ready to be explored , like classic Bali but also national parks and volcanos.

You can have a look to volunteer positions there , Worldpackers has a lot of them. 

25. Go off the beaten path and visit South Korea

South Korea is still an off the beaten path destination. Take this chance and visit it, you will be surprised by how many adventurous things you can do there, like visiting ancient temples, volcanos and beaches.

Try to apply to one of the volunteer positions there to meet a lot of friends and have free accommodation.

26. Visit the greatest temples in China

China is not only famous for the Great Wall, but also for its amazing temples , like the ones located in Guilin.

Visit them and live them like a local volunteering in the rural area surrounding them . 

27. Learn Laotian culture and try tubing

Laos is a small Asian country, famous for its great culture and for adventurers going to try tubing.

You can do both, and you can also make the difference as a traveler teaching English to the community . 

28. India: the land you hate or love

They call India like that, and the reason is that it’s so stunning and overwhelming.

It is not easy to visit it, but it’s worth it. Full of nature, history, pieces of art, India is perfect for an adventure trip.

And let the locals help you, maybe if you volunteer there you can make a difference and learn a lot of things you didn’t know about this huge country. 

overseas trip ideas

29. Have an adventure in the land of kangaroos

Australia is the land of unique fauna in the world, Great Barrier Reef and Outback. You can live a lot of different adventures in a single travel.

Accommodations are expensive, but you can volunteer there and have a free bed. 

30. Hike in amazing New Zealand mountains and nature

If you love nature and mountains view , there is no place like New Zealand.

It could seem a bit remote, and not easy to reach, but once you are there, you will want to stay forever.

Try to volunteer there to meet locals and learn more about Maori culture, and to have a free bed, which is not bed in such an expensive country.

overseas trip ideas

I hope you liked this list about the best adventure trips to do all over the world. Subscribe to one of Worldpackers plans and start planning your next adventure!

Maybe you could find more inspiration in these other articles from Worldpackers community :

Overseas adventure travel 2022: top destinations

  • 13 bucket list adventure ideas around the world
  • Adventure planning: the best guide for your backpacking trip
  • 13 best places to spend this New Year’s Eve
  • 20 tropical islands to visit around the world

Your essential beach packing checklist: 12 things you can’t forget

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Jessica Lazzarini

Jessy Around The World

an Italian full time traveler. After years planning my full time travel, I finally quit my 9 to 5 job to start exploring the world with a one way ticket. My goal is to visit as many countries as I can and to work as a digital nomad while I am traveling, but also to challenge myself doing travel jobs in the places I visit. I really want to live a lot of different experiences in a way only a real traveler can do.

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Everest Base Camp Trek in Nepal should including in this article. Thanks for sharing amazing places https://www.discoveraltitude.com/everest-base-camp-trek

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More From Forbes

Bucket list travel: the top 50 places in the world.

  • What's on your travel bucket list?
  • No matter how many places are on your bucket list, this ranking will get you dreaming of places near and far.
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According to a new survey, Bali is the top bucket list destination in the world.

What's on your travel bucket list? If you're like most people, the more you travel, the more places you add to your bucket list. So when the editors of the website Big 7 Travel announced the list of the world's top 50 bucket list destinations, we stopped in our tracks and started checking off the boxes.

The website surveyed its 1.5 million-strong social audience  in order to determine the best bucket list places around the world. According to Sarah Clayton-Lea, head of content with Big 7 Travel, this is the first time the site has assembled this list. "Bucket list travel was a trend that popped up again and again in previous surveys when asking our readers what sort of travel content they most enjoyed consuming," says Clayton-Lea. "So, our curiosity got the better of us and we wanted to know which destinations people are dreaming of for 2019/2020."

READ MORE: "Why You Should Skip Iceland And Go To These 9 Under-the-Radar Places"

The results of the world’s top 50 bucket list destinations include some of the most beautiful places on earth. "White sandy beaches are still a must-visit for many, with vibrant cities also making an appearance on a lot of people’s bucket lists," says Clayton-Lea. Countries with naturally beautiful scenery and world-famous landmarks came out on top: 22% of the destinations on the list have white sandy beaches, while 52% are iconic cities.

The famously colorful Bo Kaap neighborhood in Cape Town, South Africa.

In the study, Big 7 Travel found that people were also more likely to add a destination to their list if they had seen it on social media, and 33% of people research vacation destinations on their Instagram feed. "With over one-third of our readers saying they look to Instagram for travel inspiration, it makes sense that cities with colorful neighborhoods (such as Cape Town’s Bo Kaap) made the cut," says Clayton-Lea.

Bali topped the list of the 50 most popular bucket list destination on earth, but there were also some unexpected picks. "The top 10 list has a lot of the expected dream destinations, but there are a few surprises on the list: Paro Valley in Bhutan, for example, or Virunga National Park in the Congo," says Clayton-Lea. "I think this shows a great appetite for a need to get off the grid and can only assume that social media (and Netflix, in the case of Virunga!) is responsible for spreading the word of these amazing places."

An interesting factoid uncovered in the study: Most people have an average bucket list of just 11 places, with the hope of visiting seven of those locations during their lifetime. No matter how many places are on your bucket list, this ranking will get you dreaming of places near and far. Read on for the top 50 bucket list destinations in the world and what Big 7 Travel had to say about each one.

Overlooking the jungle on one of Bali's highly Instagrammed swings.

1. Bali, Indonesia:  "You’ll find beaches, volcanoes, Komodo dragons and jungles sheltering elephants, orangutans and tigers. Basically, it’s paradise. It’s likely you’ve seen an image of Bali on social media at least once in the past seven days, as it’s such a popular bucket list destination for 2019."

2. New Orleans: "The lively city known for its street music, festive vibe and a melting pot of French, African and American cultures is well worth the trip. NOLA is a city packed with adventures at every turn and should be on everyone’s must-visit list."

3. Kerry, Ireland: " All the way west in Ireland is one of the country’s most scenic counties. Kerry’s mountains, lakes and coasts are postcard-perfect, and that’s before you add in Killarney National Park. The unique small towns such as Dingle add to its charm."

El Badi Palace in the Marrakesh medina.

4. Marrakesh, Morocco:  "This ancient walled city is home to mosques, palaces and lush gardens. It’s known as The Red City thanks to the color of the brick walls surrounding the city. The medina is a UNESCO World Heritage Centre."

5. Sydney: "Sydney is known around the world as one of the greatest and most iconic cities on the planet. Amazing things to do aren’t hard to find; the city has gorgeous beaches, great cafes and world-class entertainment on offer wherever you look."

6. The Maldives: "This tropical nation in the Indian Ocean is made up of more than 1,000 coral islands. It’s home to some of the world’s most luxurious hotel resorts, with white sandy beaches, underwater villas and restaurants and bright blue waters."

Paris, France.

7. Paris, France: "One of the most iconic cities in the world, Paris tops many people’s bucket lists. You’ll see so many famous landmarks here: the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame cathedral—the list is never-ending."

8. Cape Town, South Africa: "Cape Town is a dream location to visit: endless natural beauty and clifftop views, pastel pink neighborhoods and turquoise waters."

9. Dubai, U.A.E.: "The high-flying city of the U.A.E, Dubai is one of the most glamorous destinations you’ll ever visit, and is particularly popular with Big 7 Travel readers."

Sunset In Bora Bora, French Polynesia.

10. Bora Bora, French Polynesia: "Bora Bora is Tahiti's most famous island. How do overwater bungalows and underwater adventures sound to you? To us, it’s everything we could want from a bucket list destination."

11. New York: "New York is one of America’s most exciting states. With charming upstate scenery, world-class cuisine and culture and more things to do than you could fit in one lifetime. The city’s five boroughs all have special features; it’s almost impossible to narrow it down"

12. Dubrovnik, Croatia: "As George Bernard Shaw once said, 'Those who seek paradise on Earth should come to Dubrovnik.' With its winding streets, cliffside beach bars and UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Old Town, it’s no wonder Dubrovnik is such a popular spot."

Carlton hill in Edinburgh, Scotland.

13. Edinburgh, Scotland: "With the historic Edinburgh castle looming over the city, culture in spades and wonderfully friendly locals, this is one of the world’s greatest city breaks."

14. Rome, Italy: "Whether it’s your first time in Rome or your 50th, the best thing about this city is that you’ll always discover something new each time you stroll the scenic streets."

15. Paro Valley, Bhutan:  Paro Valley is known for its monasteries, fortresses (or dzongs ) and dramatic landscapes. Tucked between China and India, Bhutan is a mysterious country that prides itself on sustainable tourism. You’ll find Paro Taktsang here, a Himalayan Buddhist sacred site."

At the Jal Mahal Palace at sunset in Jaipur, India.

16. Jaipur, India: "Jaipur is known as the ‘Pink City’ for its pale terracotta buildings. This was originally done to impress the visiting Prince Albert during his 1876 tour of India by order of the Maharaja (Sawai Ram Singh). Even today, it’s illegal to paint buildings any other color."

17. Waikato, New Zealand:  "Waikato, a region in New Zealand’s North Island, is home to massive underground caves, lush rainforest and the buzzy city of Hamilton. But the area’s main attraction? A Middle-earth adventure on the film set of  Lord of the Rings. Hobbiton Movie Set still has the original Hobbit holes from the making of the films."

18. Havana, Cuba:  "Cuba’s capital is almost 500 years old and a riot of color. Brightly painted buildings and vintage cars make Havana a photogenic dream."

A view of Tokyo Skytree and the city skyline from the Tobu Levant Hotel.

19. Tokyo, Japan: "Visiting Tokyo is like visiting the future—flashing neon lights, incredible technology—yet there’s still a rich sense of culture and history."

20. Antarctica:  "Earth’s southernmost continent, Antarctica is a once-in-a-lifetime destination. Nowhere else can compare with the extreme remoteness of this snowy place. It’s not an easy trip to make, but you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the white wilderness, icy sea kayaking and whale sightings."

21. Vancouver, Canada: "Vancouver is surrounded by water yet close to the mountains and has world-class art, restaurants and heaps of other attractions to keep you entertained."

22. Los Angeles: "In a city with year-round sunshine, glam bars, beaches and hikes, there are endless incredible experiences to enjoy in Los Angeles. It’s no wonder there are almost 5O million ‘LA’ hashtags on Insta."

In Kruger National Park, South Africa.

23. Kruger National Park, South Africa:  "The Kruger National Park is a vast space in northeastern South Africa that is home to a huge array of wildlife. The park has safari experiences of all kinds, allowing you the opportunity to escape busy city living and get back to nature."

24. Santorini, Greece: "Santorini is actually a group of islands; Thíra, Thirassiá, Asproníssi, Palea and Nea Kaméni. Beaches with volcanic black or red sand and clear blue waters make this an ideal holiday spot. With its famous Santorini sunsets, it’s no wonder that it’s one of the most popular bucket list destinations."

25. Moscow, Russia: "Russia’s cosmopolitan capital, Moscow is a beautiful destination to visit in any season. Colorful domes and bell chimes ring out from over 600 churches in the city, and the sense of history is immense. Culture lovers will be impressed with the museums and ballet."

26. Singapore : "Singapore is a small island city-state off southern Malaysia which punches way above its weight on a global level. It’s a modern city with colorful buildings, futuristic bridges and a cloud forest."

London's Westminster Bridge.

27. London, England: "Pretty pink restaurants, futuristic space-age toilets and jungle skyline views are just some of our favorite things about London. And of course, all the classics: Big Ben, red phone boxes and world-class museums and galleries."

28. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil:  "Rio de Janeiro has always been one of the most iconic cities in the world with instantly recognizable landscapes and landmarks."

29. Petra, Jordan: "The ancient Nabatean city of Petra in southern Jordan is surrounded by beautiful red rocks and steep gorges. The world wonder is without a doubt Jordan’s most valuable treasure and greatest tourist attraction."

30. Hong Kong:  "Famous for its skylines and vibrant food scene, what most people  don’t  know is that 70% of Hong Kong is mountains and lush parks. Colorful playgrounds and sci-fi apartment blocks give HK an enviable edge."

Beach and sea waves shot from above in Barbados.

31. Barbados: "Barbados is one of those magical holiday destinations that everybody dreams about visiting. Who  wouldn’t  put this on their bucket list? Nestled in the south of the Caribbean, it offers stunning beauty and wonderful local culture and is the perfect place to unwind."

32. Amsterdam: "Forget about cliched images of smoke shops and gaudy red lights. From floating flower markets to bohemian neighborhoods, this city has it all."

33. Santiago, Chile: "Santiago is a cosmopolitan city with the very best of Chilean culture; art galleries, design shops and handicraft markets, as well as lively Latino nightlife. You’ll stroll through historic neighborhoods with pretty winding streets and charming bars and cafes."

34. Cairo, Egypt: "Cairo is one of the most ancient cities in the world. Sitting on the Nile river with wonderful museums, vibrant culture and friendly locals, it makes for a great holiday."

Biking in Copenhagen.

35. Copenhagen, Denmark: "Copenhagen’s rustic fishing ports, modern graffiti and winding red brick streets are just some of what makes it such a beautiful bucket list destination. It oozes Scandi cool from every corner, with top-notch food, stylish design and an always hip atmosphere."

36. Seoul, Korea: "Seoul is a vibrant metropolis where old-meets-new, with pop culture (K-Pop!) alongside Buddhist temples.

37. Laucala Island Resort, Fiji:  "Laucala Island Resort is a private island in Fiji, in absolute paradise. It is one of three small islands off the northeast coast of Taveuni in Fiji. There are coconut trees, a sustainable farm and miles of beach, as well as coral reefs, postcard-perfect beaches and lush rainforest."

38. Providencia, Colombia: "The Colombian island of Providencia is the perfect combination of South America and the Caribbean. It’s best known for Crab Cay: an unspoiled little island where all there is to do is snorkel and lie on the beach."

Photographing Machu Picchu, Peru.

39. Machu Picchu, Peru: "The best way to get here? Arrive at Machu Picchu in style on the 360° Train that will bring you through the Peruvian countryside to the lost city. The wide, panoramic windows are perfect for soaking up the view, plus they serve Pisco Sours on board."

40. Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo: "Virunga National Park is one of the most biologically diverse areas on the planet and home to the world’s critically endangered mountain gorillas. It’s full of lush rainforest and has received even more attention since the documentary  Virunga."

41. Lisbon, Portugal: "Lisbon, the hilly capital of Portugal, is postcard-perfect with its cobbled streets, pristine waters and local Atlantic beaches."

42. Hanoi, Vietnam: "Hanoi—the capital of Vietnam—is known for its rich history, busy street life and centuries of French, Asian and Chinese influences all blended into one bustling city. It’s a wonderful base from which to explore the North of Vietnam, including Halong Bay and Sapa, while also enjoying the comforts of a modern vibrant city."

A view of Honolulu's Magic Island And Waikiki Beach.

43. Hawaii: "From the hustle and bustle of Oahu to the romance of Maui and off-the-beaten-path adventures on Lanai and Molokai. The Hawaiian Islands are pure paradise. Explore colorful canyons and waterfalls and eat your body weight in fresh poke."

44. Ibiza, Spain: "While you’ll have your fair share of techno club experiences, Ibiza is also one of the most beautiful Spanish islands, with a pretty Old Town and scenic beaches. Spend the day on the beach and the nights in legendary clubs."

45. Beijing, China: "Beijing is China’s political, economic, and cultural center, with six Unesco World Heritage Sites in this city alone. Discover Forbidden City, street food dishes of Peking duck and of course, the Great Wall of China."

46. Budapest, Hungary: "The capital city of Hungary, Budapest is a fairytale city in Eastern Europe. The city itself is separated by the 19th-century Chain Bridge that connects the hilly Buda district with flat Pest—hence the name Budapest."

Photographing Vernazza in Cinque Terre.

47. Cinque Terre, Italy: "Is there anything prettier than this area of centuries-old seaside villages on the rugged Italian Riviera coastline? The five towns (Manarola, Riomaggiore, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare) are made  for bucket lists."

48. Buenos Aires, Argentina: "Bookstores set in palatial theatres, tango dancing in the streets and brightly painted neighborhoods. These are just some of what makes Buenos Aires so beautiful."

49. Las Vegas: "With the bright lights, party atmosphere and endless things to see and do, it’s no wonder that Las Vegas has become a glittering global tourism destination. Take a chance in the casinos until the early hours or see world-class entertainment."

50: Matterhorn, Switzerland: "The Matterhorn is one of the world’s most iconic peaks—the pyramid-shaped mountain, which is very difficult to climb, is said to be the most-photographed mountain in the world."

READ MORE: •  "Ranked: The 20 Most Dangerous Places to Live" •  "Bucket List Travel: The Top 50 Places In The World" •  "Why You Should Skip Iceland And Go To These 9 Under-the-Radar Places" •  "23 Surprising Things That Will Get You In Trouble In Italy"

• "Bucket List Travel: Top 10 Places In The World And Top 29 In The U.S."

Laura Begley Bloom

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  • Best Family Vacations

10 Best International Family Vacations for 2020

family discovery Ayers Rock with Outback Cycling Ride along Uluru Base Walk in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park; Courtesy of Benny Marty/Shutterstock

Dec 18, 2018

See recent posts by Judy Koutsky

Want to venture somewhere new—perhaps outside of the U.S.—in 2020? We know kids like active adventures like ziplining and kayaking (think Belize), but we also know parents want them to try new foods (like wasabi-infused specialties in Japan). Throw in some great tour leaders (we’re looking at you, Adventures by Disney) and some under-the-radar destinations (like Guyana) and you have tons of vacation options across the globe. These are the best international family vacations for 2020.

(Looking for some great vacation ideas closer to home? Check out the 10 Best U.S. Family Vacations for 2020 .)

Belize’s Lodge at Chaa Creek  is a 400-acre eco lodge specializing in adventure, with dozens of different activities offered each day. Be sure to go on a bird watching tour—this area has some of the best bird watching in the country—or take a tubing excursion deep into the jungle, where you can see plenty of beautiful toucans, the national bird of Belize . Zipline among the trees and see a view of the jungle from above. Naturalist guides will take guests horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking through the dense jungle while travelers take in the diverse flora and fauna of the region. Be sure to take a canoe trip down the Macal River to see birds, howler monkeys and other wildlife.

Next, head to the second largest barrier reef system in the world. Victoria House Resort & Spa , located on Ambergris Caye, features spacious villas, a gourmet restaurant with freshly-caught seafood, two beachfront pools and a dive shop where charter boats can be arranged for exhilarating adventures such as scuba diving in the world-renowned Great Blue Hole or snorkeling in Shark Ray Alley. Then head to Naia Resort and Spa  in Placencia, the southern part of Belize, where the family can go on leisure bike rides or spend the day on kayaks or SUP.

Recommended Belize Hotel: The Lodge at Chaa Creek

2. Curtain Bluff Resort in Antigua

Families looking for all-inclusive fun on the island of Antigua should look no further than Curtain Bluff Resort . Located on 20 acres of landscaped land nestled between two sandy beaches, the resort features one of the highest repeat guest ratios in the Caribbean. For families looking to have many options—without having to check the price constantly—this all-inclusive resort is just the ticket. From snorkeling trips to Cades Reef to water-skiing, paddle boarding, kayaking and windsurfing, kids will have plenty to keep them busy. Plus, the outdoor kids’ club—with feeding and playing with turtles, colorful paint projects, and coconut arts and crafts—will have the kids begging to go back each day.

Recommended Antigua Resort: Curtain Bluff Resort 

3. Adventures by Disney Iceland 

Adventures by Disney  has been leading tours since 2005, and has more than 50 itineraries on six continents, with Iceland being one of their newest (and, rapidly, most popular) tours. The  eight-day Iceland tour includes Reykjavik, Vik, Akureyri, Húsavík, and Lake Mývatn. While those names might not be overly familiar, the attractions in those towns are—namely hiking on a glacier, going to the Blue Lagoon, and visiting geysers and waterfalls. In Grindavík, about an hour by car from Reykjavik, the thermal waters of the Blue Lagoon—as well as the accompanying lava mud masks—are the perfect antidote for jet lag on the first day.

The second day is action-packed, covering the Golden Circle—one of the most popular routes that takes visitors from geysers to craters. Plus, there’s plenty to keep everyone active, including riding Icelandic horses; hiking down into Kerio Crater, a volcanic crater that was formed more than 6,500 years ago; and exploring the bubbling hot springs and geysers at Strokkur Geyser.

Other highlights include hiking on the Skaftafell glacier, going behind the waterfalls at Seljalandsfoss (which seems otherworldly), and whale watching (and being mere feet away from them) in Iceland’s longest fjord. There’s also whitewater rafting in Skagafjorour in the north (a part of Iceland that rarely gets explored), as well as visits to the lava labyrinths in Dimmuborgir.

UnCruise Adventures to Costa Rica; Courtesy of Uncruise

4. UnCruise Adventures to Costa Rica and the Panama Canal

For families who want a truly unique adventure, consider a visit to Costa Rica and the Panama Canal with  UnCruise Adventures . Uncruise is so named because it’s unlike any other cruise line—it’s all about active adventure and interaction in the destination. Each day, familes will have the option to hike, snorkel, kayak, SUP and do skiff tours to see monkeys, sloths, iguanas, hummingbirds, toucans, howler monkeys, scarlet macaws, white-faced capuchins and whales.

Families also get to visit San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, before sailing to Curu National Wildlife Refuge, where a hike to Finca de Monos trail will let kids get up close to monkeys and sloths. Next up is the Osa Conservation Area, home to the country’s largest national park, Corcovado. Here, there’s a good chance to see tree frogs, caimans, anteaters, scarlet macaws, coatis, and 16 different species of hummingbird. In Panama, sail through the islands of Coiba National Park, making a stop at the postcard-perfect Granito de Oro islet for snorkeling, kayaking and relaxing in the sand. Then transfer from ocean to ocean via the world-famous Panama Canal.

5. Australia’s Outback 

The Outback of Australia, located in the Northern Territory, is famous for its Red Center desert landscape. Home to the iconic sandstone monolith Uluru (formerly known as Ayers Rock), the red-rock domes of Kata Tjuta and the sculpted cliffs of Kings Canyon in Watarrka National Park, this area offers plenty of adventure activities for families—including camel safaris into the desert and canyon hikes where kangaroos can be spotted.

For your home base, Sails in the Desert Hotel is ideal in terms of location and activities it offers. Kids can learn about the aboriginal people by taking part in the resort’s cooking class, where they’ll be taught about the native foods and seasonings—and how certain plants, fruits and grains are used in traditional cooking methods.

In Kings Canyon, there are amazing hikes including the Kings Canyon rim walk. Kings Canyon Resort  is a true family resort and a good place to stay. In Alice Springs, be sure to visit the Kangaroo Sanctuary. You’ll get a chance to get up close to these beautiful creatures and learn all about their habitat. The 188-acre wildlife sanctuary was opened in 2011 for rescued baby and adult kangaroos. It’s a great way to end your bucket-list family trip .

Recommended Australian Outback Resort: Sails in the Desert Hotel

For families interested in eco-tourism and adventure activities, Guyana is a great place to visit. It was recently named one of the top ecotourism destinations in the world by travel industry insiders, which isn’t surprising for those familiar with this under-the-radar country. Reachable via non-stop flights from New York, Miami and other U.S. hubs, this small nation is located in the northern part of South America, bordering Brazil, Venezuela and Suriname. Guyana is the only country in South America whose official language is English.

Direct flights and the absence of a language barrier aside, what really attracts people to this country are its truly unique nature and wildlife offerings. The country is often referred to by travelers as the “Land of the Giants” since people come here to see the giant river otters, giant South American turtles, giant anteaters, jaguars (considered the largest in South America), the Harpy eagle (the largest eagle on this continent and one of the world’s most powerful birds of prey), and the giant Victoria Amazonica water lily (Guyana’s national flower and the world’s largest lily). Here, the hyperbole lives up to the hype.

Be sure to visit the Rupununi region—where savannah, mountains and rainforests meet. This area is home to many endangered and protected species. We also recommend a stay at Karanambu ranch, where you’ll get to see the giant otter rehab project, which helps rehabilitate injured and orphaned otters and re-introduce them to the wild. Spend some time with the otters during the day before partaking in the caiman project once night falls. The giant black caiman is the one of largest freshwater crocodiles on the planet, and the Caiman House has been conducting research on these amazing creatures for more than 10 years. They take guests out in the dry season to catch the caimans and record data—you’ll witness them weighing, measuring and then tagging the caimans before releasing them back into the water.

Recommended Hotel: Karanambu Lodge

7. G Adventures Japan Family Journey

Hot on the heels of hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2019, Japan has no plans to slow down in 2020, as it’ll be hosting the Summer Olympics. Want to go? Consider a trip with G Adventures , which recently teamed up with National Geographic to launch family-specific itineraries. G Adventures’ travelers to the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’ have been steadily increasing, with an additional 23 percent growth in the past year.

Its 11-day Japan Family Journey starts in Tokyo, where families explore the dazzling uniqueness of this bustling city before heading to Kyoto and the mountain city of Nagano. Activities for families include practicing sumo wrestling and samurai swordplay and sampling a variety of wasabi-infused culinary delights (don’t worry, there are plenty of options, even for the pickiest eaters). This intimate experience means there won’t be more than 20 people in a group, and activity levels are appropriate for kids.

 people are inside the car while they enjoy safari trip in the serengeti; Courtesy of zrivoic/Shutterstock

8. Tanzania

Africa for kids? Yes! Travel agents and African specialists agree that a safari can be the ultimate family vacation and no place does it better than Tanzania. The Elewana Collection camps and lodges have been designed to offer the whole family a comprehensive safari experience with an inspiring and educational slant. Each property offers specific activities geared toward families.

Of course, game drives are the big draw for all ages while on safari, but guides also love imparting knowledge and a love of Africa in the younger set, encouraging them to become the next custodians of this fragile area of the planet. Activities include village and school visits (where your kids can interact with the local children), conservation programs (chatting with anti-poaching teams to learn more about conservation), and learning about the traditional food and culture of the Tanzanian community.

At each camp, there’s also specific activies geared toward kids. In Elewana Manor at Ngorongoro, kids can go biking, go on farm visits to see local African animals and tour a coffee plantation to see how this valuable export is made. At Serengeti Pioneer Camp , kids can play safari bingo—going on game drives and walking safaris and crossing off the animals they see for a prize. At Serengeti Migration Camp , kids will learn traditions of the local people by making masks and jewelry .

Recommended Hotel: Elewana Manor at Ngorongoro

If the movie Frozen hasn’t already inspired your kids to visit Arendelle (which is based on the real Arendal in Norway), then the sequel definitely will. But beyond Frozen -inspired adventures , there are plenty of other kid-friendly destinations in Norway, such as the town of Hallingdal, which is located between Oslo and Bergen in Eastern Norway and has become a top location for family holidays. Here, the kids will love the Bjørneparken (“the bear park”), where families can get close (in a safe way, of course!) to bears, elk, lynx and even crocodiles. The nearby nature park at Langedrag allows kids the opportunity to see wolves, lynx and moose, and feed reindeer. Plus, nearby playgrounds and activities include a zipline and a brand-new water park for children.

Want an unusual place to play? Head to Gardnos meteorite park where a geologist will show you a real meteorite crater and talk about the rocks and nature that make up the area. Do you have little kids? Go to the town of the area around Lillehammer, less than two hours by train from Oslo Airport. At the Lilleputthammer miniature town in Hafjell, activities have been designed for children between 1 and 8 years old. Think small buildings perfect for the little ones to dress up in costumes , take part in arts and crafts activities, climb small towers and ride a miniature roller coaster and Ferris wheel. The little cars are also made for the junior set to cruise around.

Recommended Hotel: Scandic Hafjell

10. Fiji 

Fiji is a great beach destination for families. At the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa , kids can take part in the Planet Trekkers Kids Club, which has pitch and putt, beach football, cricket, volleyball sessions and beach games .  The Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa has the Niu Beach Club for kids, which has lots of fun choices including a wet and wild splash area, an artist in residence with whom kids can tap tap into their creative side, and a climbing wall and trampoline area on the beach. Shangri-la Fijian Resort & Spa has a large floating water park and a “Kids Eat Free” program (for kids under  age 12), as well as kayaks, paddleboards and a variety of water sports for the whole family to enjoy.

Bonus: It just became easier for families to get to Fiji. Fiji Airways , Fiji’s national airline, has two new Airbus A350 XWB aircraft. If you’re lucky enough to fly business class, that means fully lie-flat beds. But even if you’re flying economy, the seats are ranked among some of the most comfortable long-haul economy class seats available. Plus, the kids will love the seemingly endless entertainment options, fast Wi-Fi and the Fijian hospitality, with some of the friendlies flight attendants in the sky.

Recommended Fiji Resort: InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa

Judy Koutsky is an award-winning writer and editor and her work has appeared in more than 30 publications including Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Redbook, Parents, WebMD, Prevention and Scholastic. Her article topics include health, parenting, lifestyle, psychology and travel. She also works on custom publishing projects and has worked with a variety of Fortune Five Hundred companies including Enfamil, Pampers, and Procter & Gamble. You can view her writing at JudyKoutsky.com and on Instagram @JudyKoutsky .

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32 spring break ideas for families that want to get away

Relaxed mid adult parents spending playtime at the beach with 4 year old son and 6 year old daughter

Wondering if it's too late to take a vacation with the whole family during spring break? You aren't alone. Spring break travel is one of the most popular times for families to get away, according to travel agents.

Of course, the ideal way to guarantee options is to plan in advance. "The best time to plan a spring break trip is to do it right after spring break," says Carli Fernandez, founder of The Concierge Travel Group . "Rates should be available for at least 11 months ahead, and planning in advance will give you the best price and availability."

But don't stress! Fernandez tells TODAY.com that she has plenty of clients still booking trips for spring break 2024, and many of those clients are finding the most success booking travel that's "outside the box."

"Spring break is trending toward shorter European flights," Fernandez tells TODAY.com, mentioning Ireland, Scotland, England, Portugal and Italy as popular destinations.

Before planning a spring break trip, decide what is important for your family.

"I think it is important (for families) to decide if they want to stay domestic or go international," says Nicole Gerber, a SmartFlyer  travel advisor.

She also recommended parents ask themselves:

  • How much do we want to spend?
  • Are our passports up to date?
  • What type of trip are we looking for — sightseeing, history and culture? Adventure? Or relaxing beach and pool time?

“The best defense for a seamless trip is a well-organized itinerary,” says Amy Annis, a Ciao Bambino family travel advisor.

More family travel ideas!

  • Best Hawaii family vacations for every type of traveler
  • 22 best hotels with water parks that guarantee a fun time for all
  • 9 best family beach vacations that are also affordable
  • Best family vacation destinations for when you want to get away

32 Spring Break Ideas For Families

Spring break ideas for families in the u.s..

National Parks

While some families may seek a seaside destination for spring break, others are opting for national parks like the Grand Tetons or Yellowstone in Wyoming, Glacier National Park in Montana or Zion in Utah.

Disney World is an obvious Florida destination for families, but parents seeking a vacation to the Sunshine State without Mickey Mouse might consider Hawks Cay Resort, which features an on-site dolphin facility, or a home rental along Rosemary Beach on Florida's panhandle.

Home to some of the world's most beautiful beaches, the Hawaiian Islands has plenty to offer families from the southernmost point in the U.S. on Hawaii Island to Disney's Aulani Resort on Oahu.

Whether you're road-tripping along the Pacific Coast Highway, hiking through Yosemite or set on staying at one of many resorts along California's coast, there is something for everyone in the Golden State.

Destination Resorts

Annis recommends destination resorts, like Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa in Tennessee or Big Cedar Lodge in Missouri.

"Somewhere where the family has a multitude of activities to choose from onsite," she says.

Big City Trips

Ciao Bambino family travel advisor Kiki Humes recommends New York City, Boston, New Orleans, Washington D.C. or Charleston for spring vacations for families.

Destinations like Sedona and the Grand Canyon may be ideal for travelers looking for adventure, while resorts like the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess offer family travelers multiple swimming pools and a dedicated kid's club for those seeking respite in the sun.

Late-Season Ski Trip

"Depending on when the break falls, it could be right at the tail end of ski season as well," Gerber says.

Family-friendly ski resorts include Smuggler's Notch Resort in Vermont and Steamboat Grand in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Fernandez fields many requests for Deer Valley in Utah, too.

Other areas to explore:

  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • New Jersey Shore
  • An indoor water park resort, like the Great Wolf Lodge

Spring Break Ideas For Families Outside The U.S.

"Somewhere with a nice, swimmable beach like Turks & Caicos or The Bahamas," Annis suggests.

Costa Rica or Belize

"(Both) would be a trip combining activity in the jungle with time on the coast at leisure," Humes says.

"In Italy, Rome, Florence and Venice or in Spain — Madrid, Andalusia and Barcelona," Annis says.

All agents agreed that big city combination trips are a popular choice. Top cities include London, Paris and Lisbon. Combinations include: London and Paris, Amsterdam and Copenhagen, Prague and Vienna

Mexico is a top destinations for families looking for fun in the sun at resort destinations like Bahia Principe Grand Coba, which features more than 1,000 guest rooms and a water park for children.

  • The Swiss Alps
  • The Greek Islands

Spring Break Ideas For Families Looking for a Big Adventure

From visiting the world's highest building to riding a camel in the desert, Dubai has a ton of different (and spectacular!) activities for families to enjoy together.

Animal-loving families will adore the opportunity to go on a safari and see wild creatures in their natural habitat. You might want to double check the age requirements on this one to make sure the whole family can participate.

The Maldives

If you want gorgeous scenery and a relaxing beach vacation, the Maldives might be perfect for your family. Many islands have activity schedules for kids with outdoor adventures.

The dramatic landscapes of Iceland make for an adventurous family trip for those seeking outdoor fun. Make sure to visit iconic destinations like Diamond Bech and Skógafoss waterfall.

  • New Zealand
  • Cook Islands
  • Banff National Park, Canada

Cheapest Spring Break Ideas for Families on a Budget

Nashville, Tennessee

Free or low-cost museums and music halls make Nashville a popular domestic destination for families. Kids (and parents) will love the availability of fried chicken and mac and cheese.

Boston, Massachusetts

If you stay outside the city center, Boston can be very affordable, especially since the Freedom Trail provides 2.5 miles of free adventure. And if you happen to have a late April break, tickets for the iconic Swan Boats in Boston Public Garden are only $4.50.

Outer Banks, North Carolina

Especially if you are within driving distance, the Outer Banks is a terrific low-cost trip filled with beaches, fishing and mini-golf. Large parties can often find well-priced vacation rentals.

  • South Padre Island, Texas
  • Key West, Florida
  • Baltimore, Maryland

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Kait Hanson is a lifestyle reporter for TODAY. A graduate of Penn State University, she began her career in collegiate sports communications.

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  • Adventure Travel

10 Best Adventure Vacations Around the World

From cage diving with sharks to jumping out of a plane, these adventure vacations are guaranteed to break you out of your comfort zone.

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After a year of indoor activities (and far, far too many Zoom meetings), it's finally time to break out. If you're anything like us, you've got plenty of energy to burn — and a long list of places you want to explore. Adventure vacations, like the 10 we've listed below, offer a fantastic way of getting to know a destination while also testing your own physical limits. So, whether you're diving with great white sharks or jumping out of a plane, you'll leave with a closer understanding of that part of the world, not to mention a rich repertoire of stories to share with your friends back home.

Not usually the daredevil type? Not a problem. We've curated these adventure trip ideas to be beginner-friendly, accessible, and most importantly, fun. Now, what are you waiting for? Go out there and ride that adrenaline high.

Paragliding in Umbria

The town of Castelluccio, in Italy's Umbria region, sits three hours from Rome. Perched high on a grassy hill, it's known for stunning views over the Piano Grande, a valley that comes to life with thousands of tiny red, white, and purple flowers every spring (there's even a festival honoring the floral event that takes place in June). It's the perfect place to soak up fresh mountain air while indulging in the region's notable pecorino cheese.

It's also a paraglider's dream.

At 8,123 feet in the air, Monte Vettore is the typical jumping-off point for a 20-minute tandem glide with Fly the Appenines . (If you're hungry for more air time, you can also sign up for longer 90-minute cross-country flights.) Piano Grande's year-round mild weather makes it ideal for this activity, so even if you show up after the flowers have faded, you'll still be in for a treat. Once you're back on the ground, there's still the rest of Umbria to explore by foot, car, or even horseback .

Heli-skiing in The Alps

It's no secret that the Alps are home to world-class skiing. But for those who want exclusive access to untouched powder and secluded wilderness, there's nothing like a heli-skiing trip to make you feel like the world's your own private playground. At the northern edge of Piedmont, Val Formazza offers all the isolation you'll need.

The protected valley is surrounded by three majestic peaks: Ofenhorn, Blinnenhorn, and Basòdino. And because it's so high up (the highest landing spot available is around 10,500 feet), the area receives an average of 4 feet of snow per year. To access all that unspoiled backcountry, Heli-Guides.com maintains a fleet of Airbus AS 350 BE helicopters, and the menu of options — from easy day trips to full-week packages — means travelers can spend as much (or as little) time in the valley as they like.

Of course, some prior skiing experience is needed, but you don't have to be a pro. Guides choose from a wide range of landing spots, meaning they can customize the trip to match your exact level of ability. And one thing's for sure: wherever you choose to land, the views aren't likely to disappoint.

Shark Diving in South Australia

Off the coast of Port Lincoln in South Australia , the Neptune Islands are home to Australia's largest colony of long-nose fur seals. And while those cuties are worth a visit themselves, what interests thrill-seekers are their top predator: the great white shark.

Little is known about the migration habits of great white sharks, which is what makes this site so exciting for adventure travelers. Thanks to a mingling of cold and warm currents merging from the Indian and Southern Oceans, the islands offer an incredible diversity of wildlife, hence the appeal for blood-thirsty sharks.

Humans aren't on the menu, of course. Safe inside a steel cage or what's known as an "aqua sub" (essentially a reverse aquarium, where the fish are outside the glass), you'll be free to marvel at these 19-foot-long beasts as they swim mere inches from your face. To add to the novelty, tour companies like Adventure Bay Charters use sound — not live bait — to attract the sharks. For some reason, heavy metal seems to get the job done. So what are you waiting for: Pull up your favorite AC/DC track, climb into the cage, and let the gasps begin.

Hut-to-hut Hiking in Colorado

Little known fact: Colorado is home to more huts and yurts than any other state in the U.S. And that's not by accident: Back in the 80s, members of the 10th Mountain Division of the US Army decided to recreate the huts they'd encountered while on duty in the Alps. And so the 10th Mountain Division Hut System was born.

Today, the network of 36 huts spread across a 350-mile route is a fantastic way for travelers to connect with the Colorado wilderness. Just don't come expecting turn-down service. The huts are rustic — you'll have snowmelt for water, a bare bed, and basic cooking utensils, and that's about it. But for all the austerity, the huts have a zen-like appeal (and they're very affordable). Some are close to popular trails, while others are miles (and we do mean miles) from civilization.

Best of all, you can go any season. Just be prepared to sweat. In winter, it'll be 6-7 miles of cross-country skiing to get from one hut to the next. (Intermediate skiing skills are required.) And in the summer, it's the same distance for hiking and mountain biking — just without the snow. However you do it, make sure at least one person in your group has wilderness experience, not to mention avalanche safety training for winter visits. As the website states: "Route finding may be the most important skill you'll need."

Seeing Red-hot Lava in Hawaii

On the Big Island of Hawai'i, a December 2020 eruption of Mount Kilauea, the most active of the island's five volcanoes, had residents worrying they'd have to relive the devastation caused by the last eruption in 2018. Luckily, the damage this time was minor. But it's been a boon for visitors to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park .

While eruptions are ongoing, it's entirely safe to view the lava — from a distance, of course.

Each day, hundreds of people show up to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to witness the plumes of gas and steam; by night, the phenomenon is even more spectacular, as you'll see red-orange lava glowing from inside the rim of the caldera. The sight is enough to make you realize the sheer geological power of Hawaii's subterranean stirrings. And the trip is entirely family-friendly: On a 12-hour guided tour with Hawaii Forest & Trail , you'll embark on a 3-mile hike around the park, go romping through a dark lava tube, and enjoy views of the flowing lava from several key vantage points. Nature doesn't get any more thrilling.

Snorkeling in Belize

Taylor McIntyre/Travel + Leisure

Belize's Great Blue Hole is not only one of the most mysterious — and beautiful — sites on earth, it's also a must-visit destination for divers. Venturing all the way down is recommended for experienced divers only. But that doesn't mean the rest of us can't go exploring, too.

Snorkeling is a fun, beginner-friendly way to glimpse life below the surface. On Belize's largest island, Ambergris Caye, an area called Tres Coco is a wonderful place to start. Here, snorkelers benefit from large brain and elkhorn coral in waters that only go 6 to 8 feet deep. You'll see not only tropical fish like yellowtail snapper and rainbow parrotfish, but also conch, banded shrimp, sea urchin, and stingrays.

A few miles off the southern tip of Ambergris Caye, you'll find Hol Chan Marine Reserve , another excellent destination for underwater thrills. The protected reserve is teeming with wildlife, including a sandy-bottom area that's become a gathering place for nurse sharks, hence the name: Shark Alley. Don't worry, though. Despite the sharks' intimidating appearance and rows of serrated teeth, they're harmless to humans, and will only respond aggressively if provoked.

Canopy Tour in Guatemala

If you're not afraid of heights, a visit to Guatemala's Tikal National Park might be in order. The UNESCO World Heritage site is home to a thrilling canopy tour that takes place each morning in the park at 9 a.m.

On the tour, you'll be able to soar through the trees via zipline. The route connects 10 platforms built 100 feet above the forest floor, and it offers an impressive bird's eye view of the flora and fauna. Along the way, a staff of naturalist guides will be able to identify any creatures — Howler monkeys, ring-tailed coatimundi, jaguars, and toucans, to name a few — that catch your eye.

While you're here, stick around to explore the park's impressive Mayan ruins. Scattered throughout the park is a network of 3,000 ancient temples, monuments and dwellings — the largest excavated site in the Americas.

Hiking Half Dome in Yosemite

Valerie de Leon/Travel + Leisure

America's national parks are full of enchanting scenery, but nothing quite compares to the magnificent peaks of Yosemite Valley. The sheer granite cliffs appear to poke the heavens, while the gently cascading 2,400-foot waterfalls will make you think you've wandered straight into Neverland. For a truly unforgettable panorama, try hiking Half Dome, the park's most recognizable monolith.

Only 300 hikers are allowed to climb its surface each day. And when you start making your way up the near-vertical rockface, you'll understand why. A steel cable acts as a handrail, with a series of wooden slats for your shoes to grip onto. Due to the treacherous nature of the climb, things move very slowly, as folks do their best to advance up the rock without tumbling into the valley below. (Don't forget: The route is two-way, so you'll also have to navigate sharing the cables and foot rests with all the folks climbing down, too!)

To apply for a climbing permit, simply log onto the park's website in March to enter a lottery for the upcoming season. A limited number of permits are available on a first-come, first-serve basis; those can also be secured through the website. And don't forget to drink water — lots of it.

Trekking to Machu Picchu

If the idea of trekking through a stark landscape of craggy mountains and lush jungle sounds appealing, then maybe it's time you finally crossed Machu Picchu off your bucket list.

A colorful mix of landscapes awaits hikers on the Salkantay trek, a pleasantly crowd-free alternative to the popular Incan Trail that leads to the archaeological wonder. The classic 5-day itinerary begins with scaling Salkantay Mountain, the 12th highest in Peru. It's hard work, but the endorphins greeting you at the top of the pass — not to mention those views — will be reward enough. From there, it's onto the delights of the Sacred Valley's "cloud forest," where you'll cross under waterfalls, go ziplining, and sleep in simple yurt-like tents with all meals catered by a team of hard-working guides.

By the time you finally reach Machu Picchu (at sunrise, no less) on the fifth day, it'll feel less like a bucket-list item, and more like the natural continuation of a landscape which, after sleeping outdoors and sharing meals with locals, you'll feel intimately connected to. Enjoy the view from the top, you've earned it.

Skydiving in Dubai

Dubai might not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of adventure. The desert metropolis is typically associated with glamorous hotels, gold, and its iconic skyscraper, Burj Khalifa . But for those looking to skip the malls, skydiving is a fun way to see another side of Dubai — literally.

Picture this: You're freefalling at 120 miles an hour, having been dropped out of a plane 13,000 feet over Dubai. Below you, the iconic Palm Islands are spread out like a painting made of sand. From above, you'll be able to make out the turquoise Persian Gulf, the symmetrical "fronds" of the islands, and, yes, the famous spiraling skyscraper.

You'll be strapped to an instructor, of course. (Someone's got to make sure that parachute deploys!) After freefalling for 60 seconds, you'll float slowly over the city for 5 minutes, and between the views, the howling wind, and the pleasant feeling of weightlessness, the sensory overload will leave you grinning ear to ear. By the time you touch down, you'll probably want to toast your bravery with a glass of champagne. Looks like that hotel bar will come in handy, after all.

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What vacation ideas are trending in 2024

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From nature-bonding eco-tours to illuminating culturism trips there are myriad options that cater to the diverse tastes of global travelers.

Welcome to the new era of travel. Becky up, because we’re about to dive into mind-boggling and heart-stopping vacation trends shaking up the traveler’s world in 2024. Brace yourself; these experiences are nothing like you’ve seen before.

Eco-friendly travel escapades Eco-friendly travel has become increasingly popular. This allows travelers to visit breathtaking natural landscapes while preserving the environment. These trips aim to minimize the environmental impact travel causes. This is done through the use of solar-powered resorts, zero-emission vehicles, plastic bans, and organic food.

Travelers can experience adventurous activities like mountain tracking and underwater exploration without causing harm. The locals also benefit from the tourism dollars these trips bring in.

Everglades holiday park experience The Everglades aren’t your conventional national park visit. A sprawling wetlands preserve, dominated by wild untamed grassland stretching as far as the eye can see – there’s nothing else quite like The Everglades Holiday Park .

Look beneath the water’s surface at schools of fish, rare birds in the sky or encounter an alligator up close in their natural habitat whilst air boating. You’re not just seeing the sights; you’re part of it now – Prepare to feel a ripple through your being.

Anchored in the South Florida wilderness, this vast and varied landscape is ingrained within America’s unique historical narrative, making it an exciting journey not just metaphysically but historically too.

Unique camping visions Ever dreamt about sleeping under the northern lights in a transparent igloo? Or waking up to serene forest sounds in a tree house? How about star gazing from your rooftop tent amidst mountains? They’ve all come true!

Moreover, camping is becoming more sustainable and inclusive. Eco-friendly equipment and accessible facilities are increasingly common, making these unique visions an adventure that leaves no carbon footprint behind.

Vacations for wellness Wellness tourism is booming , and there’s plenty of choice. Recharge your battery in a Himalayan wellness retreat. Experience the wisdom of Ayurveda, practise yoga, meditate amidst nature, and satiate your soul with organic meals prepared lovingly by locals.

You can also choose destinations famous for hot springs or healing centers. Such vacations are more than a break; they’re a path towards holistic well-being – An opportunity to let go, cleanse, and breathe energy into every vein.

Sports-oriented vacations If the thrill of the game is what fuels your passion, then sports-oriented vacations won’t disappoint! Envision waking up to tennis coaching sessions on grass courts or scuba diving into the deep blue sea.

Paintball adventures in lush forests, learning martial arts in Asian countries, or hiking in hilltop retreats; an array of options are available to suit every taste. These vacations encourage both physical fitness and a sense of camaraderie making them perfect for groups and families.

You can even cover seasonal events such as the Tour de France or World Surf League by planning your travels accordingly. Combining sports with tourism not only offers exhilarating experiences but also introduces you to diverse cultures and traditions.

Long-distance train trips Eager to traverse incredible landscapes without the strain of driving for long hours? Take a long-distance train trip and essentially let the world come to you.

Nostalgic rides of yore like The Orient Express have inspired a whole world of luxury rail journeys across towering mountains and endless plains. Traverse across Europe, Asia or the Americas without having to worry about check-ins or transfers.

Lounge in opulent cabins inspired by vintage aesthetics with gourmet dining and personal butler service. Let the picturesque panorama unfolding right outside your window delight you through day and night.

Sky-high city tours Imagine exploring awe-inspiring landscapes from „above the clouds”. Thanks to sky-high city tours, you can add a unique perspective to your travel diary while enriching your soul with beauty seen only from great heights.

Hot-air balloon rides over Cappadocia’s magical terrain, paragliding through the Alps, or helicopter expeditions across vibrant cityscapes; all assure indelible experiences. Each trip leaves behind its unique mark on you – paint strokes of immeasurable beauty etched across the canvas of your memories.

Such sky-high escapades also present rare opportunities like watching sunsets from towering heights or moonlit landscapes stretching over miles – each bound to leave you speechless with their stunning allure.

Glowing forest getaways Dreamlike scenes await you in tours around glowing forests where magic meets reality. Imagine navigating murky woods dotted with bioluminescent organisms casting otherworldly hues under an ink-black sky.

Experiences like night hikes through Australia’s glow-worm laden caves, New Zealand’s Waitomo Glowworm Caves and Japan’s fox-fire season offer unforgettable spectacles. Each visit transports you into a world where fantasy comes to life – a realm where stars fall to earth and light up the woods.

Whether camping amid these glowing landscapes or stargazing in silent serenity, forest getaways provide an ideal respite from the grinds of everyday life while offering an intimate encounter with Mother Nature at her most enchanting.

The rise of culturism Increasingly, travelers are gravitating towards cultural immersion. Soaking up local customs and traditions, tasting regional delicacies and participating in traditional activities are gaining prominence as more than just a pastime.

This is ‘culturism’ – a rise in travelers keenly interested in understanding the diverse cultures of the world.

Encounter cultural traditions unchanged for centuries or learn a local language – each experience adds to the richness of your journey.

Travel destinations that showcase art, history, heritage, and food culture hold immense appeal for those intrigued by different lifestyles making every trip an enlightening journey into humanity’s vast cultural library.

Thrilling airboat tours Adventurous travelers eager for exciting airboat tours through remote wetlands and marshes can experience these thrilling rides across Florida and beyond. Zooming across shallow waters in shallow-bottomed airboats allows close-up sightings of local wildlife in their natural habitats at exhilarating speeds.

Knowledgeable guides adeptly navigate wetlands ecosystems while educating passengers about the native species and preservation efforts vital to these unique landscapes. Airboat trips in destinations like the Florida Everglades, Louisiana swamplands or even Minnesota’s scenic network of over 10,000 lakes promise memorable, breathtaking encounters with nature and wildlife.

With the wind rushing through your hair as flocks take flight across endless wetland vistas, these electrifying airboat tours deliver adrenaline-pumping exploration opportunities.

Virtual reality breaks Imagine an escape from reality without leaving your home–thanks to VR technology. Virtual reality breaks allow you to immerse yourself in any environment of your choosing – ancient ruins, far-off galaxies or even undersea landscapes – all from the comfort of your couch.

The thrill of adventure is amplified with interactive elements that include narrations, games, quizzes and real-time guidance. Providing experiences that seem tangible while being entirely simulated breaks away conventional barriers and offers new entertainment avenues.

While certainly a departure from traditional vacations, VR breaks might just fulfill those travel dreams that seem implausible – making them an enticing prospect for novelty-seekers and thrill-lovers alike.

In closing The world of travel has greatly evolved. From nature-bonding eco-tours to illuminating culturism trips, technology driven VR breaks to energizing sports vacations, there are myriad options that cater to the diverse tastes of global travelers.

At its core, travel is all about new experiences that widen your perspective, challenge understanding and instill people with a sense of appreciation for this wonderful world. As you embrace these emerging vacation trends, you open yourself to a universe of discovery and joy that truly enriches lives.

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8 Affordable US Trip Ideas So You Can Finally Plan That 2024 Getaway

Posted: November 9, 2023 | Last updated: November 9, 2023

<p>When you plan your <a href="https://www.gobankingrates.com/category/saving-money/travel/?utm_term=incontent_link_1&utm_campaign=1197723&utm_source=msn.com&utm_content=1&utm_medium=rss" rel="">budget for traveling</a>, you have to decide whether you're going to allow for eating out every meal, every day, or whether you're going to try and make some of your food yourself. Sometimes eating out is part of the joy of travel, but tourist destinations always pump up prices, making the same meals you might find in a different part of town significantly pricier. Not everyone wants to cook on vacation, either. </p> <p><strong><em>Find Out: <a href="https://www.gobankingrates.com/saving-money/shopping/costco-brand-items-not-worth-the-money/?utm_term=related_link_1&utm_campaign=1197723&utm_source=msn.com&utm_content=2&utm_medium=rss" rel="">9 Costco Brand Items That Aren't Worth the Money</a></em></strong><br><strong><em>More: <a href="https://www.gobankingrates.com/credit-building-steps-you-cant-afford-not-to-take-during-inflation-1466021/?utm_source=msn.com&utm_term=related_link_2&utm_campaign=1197723&utm_content=3&utm_medium=rss" rel="">3 Easy Tips To Turn Your Credit Woes Into Wows</a></em></strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.gobankingrates.com/saving-money/food/10-easy-ways-to-save-on-food-while-traveling/?utm_term=incontent_link_2&utm_campaign=1197723&utm_source=msn.com&utm_content=4&utm_medium=rss">To save money on food while you travel, these experts weigh in with their tips.</a></p>

If you have been aching to get away , now is the time to start planning your 2024 vacation. While international travel may still cost an arm and a leg, flights within the U.S. are pretty affordable. If you plan now, you may be able to sneak away for a long weekend for less than ever.

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At GOBankingRates, we asked travel experts from around the country where the best and most cost-efficient destinations will be next year. Here are 8 affordable trip ideas so you can finally plan that 2024 getaway.

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Miami or Sarasota, Florida

Molly Egan, a travel and hospitality expert and founder of themollyegan , recommended Florida as an inexpensive destination.

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She stated, "For a beach getaway in Florida, such as Miami or Sarasota, plan a visit in October or early May to avoid peak times. You will avoid the snowbird crowds, spring breakers and heat, and best of all, snag a great lodging and flight deal!"

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<p>Egan noted that for western adventures, she would suggest, "Bozeman, Montana, in June and October, which are slow times for the city, so that you can snag an affordable deal! The same timing goes for Western Colorado towns such as Vail, Colorado."</p> <p>She continued, "The beginning of October is a great time to see the leaves changing, go hiking, feel like you have the whole mountain town to yourself and find the best lodging deals. If you are interested in skiing, the best time is late November or early December and early to mid-April (the skiing conditions vary, but the deals are the best)."</p> <p><strong>See: <a href="https://www.gobankingrates.com/saving-money/travel/expensive-destinations-that-will-be-cheaper-in-2024/?utm_term=related_link_5&utm_campaign=1251033&utm_source=msn.com&utm_content=7&utm_medium=rss" rel="">11 Expensive Vacation Destinations That Will Be Cheaper in 2024</a></strong></p>

Bozeman, Montana

Egan noted that for western adventures, she would suggest, "Bozeman, Montana, in June and October, which are slow times for the city, so that you can snag an affordable deal! The same timing goes for Western Colorado towns such as Vail, Colorado."

She continued, "The beginning of October is a great time to see the leaves changing, go hiking, feel like you have the whole mountain town to yourself and find the best lodging deals. If you are interested in skiing, the best time is late November or early December and early to mid-April (the skiing conditions vary, but the deals are the best)."

See: 11 Expensive Vacation Destinations That Will Be Cheaper in 2024

overseas trip ideas

Savannah, Georgia

Tracy Kennedy, an experienced travel advisor at Tasmania , noted, "If you're eyeing an affordable yet enriching U.S. trip for 2024, Savannah, Georgia, should be high on your list. The city is a perfect blend of traditional Southern charm and modern allure, and it's an ideal destination for a 2-3 day weekend getaway. Flights to Savannah are usually economical, with multiple carriers offering competitive rates."

She added, "Once there, you can enjoy quintessential forms of tourism such as exploring the historic district, strolling through Forsyth Park, and taking a riverboat cruise. The culinary scene is exceptional but won't break the bank, offering classic Southern dishes that are rich in flavor but easy on the wallet."

She also stated, "However, what sets Savannah apart is its unique offerings like the Sorrel Weed House Museum. This historic haunted house provides an unforgettable experience, especially if you're planning a trip around Halloween. Not only does it offer a glimpse into 19th-century life in the South, but it also has its share of ghost stories and paranormal activities, adding a thrilling element to your visit."

<ul> <li><strong>Average monthly rent: </strong>$1,873.33.</li> <li><strong>Monthly total cost of living:</strong> $3,660.97.</li> <li><strong>Livability index:</strong> 84.</li> </ul> <p>Black Mountain, located 15 miles from Asheville in the Blue Ridge mountains, is well known to the arts crowd. The town was once home to Black Mountain College, one of the most innovative experimental art colleges in the United States. Today it remains a popular destination for artists and art lovers while also offering scenic views and small-town charm.</p>

Asheville, North Carolina

Adrian Todd, an outdoor and travel expert, hiking coach and owner of Great Minds Think Hike , said, "One of my favorite places to go to is Asheville. Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville is a great destination with various things to do."

He continued, "Asheville has some of the most breweries in and around than most places East of the Mississippi. You can hike in the nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park, visit the Biltmore Estate, or explore the artsy downtown area."

<p><strong>Worst place to retire:</strong> South Valley</p> <ul> <li><strong>Percentage of population over 65:</strong> 16.1</li> <li><strong>Average home value:</strong> $165,010</li> <li><strong>Annual expenditures:</strong> $43,409</li> <li><strong>Livability score:</strong> 56</li> </ul> <p><strong>Where to retire instead:</strong> Alamogordo</p> <ul> <li><strong>Percentage of population over 65:</strong> 17.4 </li> <li><strong>Average home value:</strong> $135,883</li> <li><strong>Annual expenditures:</strong> $38,288</li> <li><strong>Livability score:</strong> 72</li> </ul>

Santa Fe, New Mexico

"Santa Fe is a really neat place," Todd also noted. He explained it is "full of neat adobe style houses and architecture. I recommend going to the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, but to make sure to book way ahead in advance."

He also suggested, "Check out the oldest house and church in the US near the downtown area. Be sure to visit the Loretto Chapel to see the mysterious staircase and head to the downtown area during the market when all the natives come by to sell handcrafted items."

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<p>For fishing and outdoor activities, Todd recommended Stanley, Idaho. He said it is "a small town located to the East in Idaho. It is a beautiful mountain time hugged by the Sawtooth Mountains. I highly recommend checking this place out during the summer months when it is a lot warmer."</p> <p>He continued, "Go fishing along the Salmon River, hiking to Sawtooth Lake, and camping near Redfish Lake. There is so much to do for all outdoor lovers in this destination."</p>

Stanley, Idaho

For fishing and outdoor activities, Todd recommended Stanley, Idaho. He said it is "a small town located to the East in Idaho. It is a beautiful mountain time hugged by the Sawtooth Mountains. I highly recommend checking this place out during the summer months when it is a lot warmer."

He continued, "Go fishing along the Salmon River, hiking to Sawtooth Lake, and camping near Redfish Lake. There is so much to do for all outdoor lovers in this destination."

Nashville skyline with river and sunset

Nashville, Tennessee

"Nashville is historically known for its live music scene and offers a vibrant atmosphere and many free or affordable activities," stated Todd. "You can explore the city's music history, visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, and enjoy live music in honky-tonks," he said.

The hiking enthusiast added, "There are also a lot of things to do out in nature in Tennessee if the city life isn't your cup of tea. Check out the Great Smoky Mountains to visit the most popular and visited national park in the US."

overseas trip ideas

Loveland, Ohio

"Loveland, Ohio, is known as the 'Sweetheart of Ohio,'" explained Krista Rose, marketing and communications coordinator for the City of Loveland. "We are the perfect destination for a Midwest trip on a budget! We are often told Loveland feels like a 'resort town' and 'time slows down here.'"

She continued, "Loveland is located about 15 miles north of Cincinnati and close to major highways including I-75 and I-71. We are known for our river and trails, making us a favorite trip for outdoor enthusiasts."

For outdoor adventure seekers she recommended, "the Little Miami Scenic Trail is an 80-mile bike/pedestrian trail across Ohio. This trail runs through the center of Loveland. Visit for a day of canoeing, kayaking, and outdoor adventure! After you explore the trail, explore Historic Downtown Loveland's unique shopping and dining. There are quaint AirBNBs and a boutique hotel in town."

You can learn more about the city by visiting LovinLifeLoveland .

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COMMENTS

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    11 Dream International Vacations That Are Surprisingly Affordable From Portugal to Panama, here's where you can get the most bang for your buck. By Cailey Rizzo Updated on June 15, 2023 Photo:...

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    Base your stay in London and you can visit iconic attractions in the city like the Tower of London, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey, as well as enjoy day trips to places like Windsor, Bath and St. Albans, all within an hour's reach. Check out these top places to stay in London for first-time visitors. Credit: Dingle Peninsula, Ireland by bigstock.com

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    Fredericksburg, Texas. Swimming holes. Wide-open spaces. Funky towns and burgeoning wineries. The Texas Hill Country screams road trip. Consider Fredericksburg for its German-Texas heritage (with ...

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    To get the most out of your round-the-world ticket, consider stock-piling vacation days, tagging on public holidays or even arranging a sabbatical from work to take off at least two months (but ideally six months to one year). Because most airline alliances give you up to a year to use your ticket, you can maximize your purchase if you plan ...

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    Guillaume Picard - January 2, 2024 Are you looking for travel bucket list ideas for your next trip? Running out of ideas or looking for fresh ones? From epic classics to exciting newcomers, we have selected the 100 best places to visit all over the world. Where will 2024 lead you? 1. Get stunned by the Great Pyramid of Giza

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    Bonus International Family Vacation: Antarctica Travel Tips for Planning an International Family Vacation FAQs About International Vacations for Families Final Thoughts: International Family Vacations Top International Family Vacations in North America 1. Canadian Rockies

  14. Where to go in 2024: The 16 best places to travel

    In the east, Strasbourg will be UNESCO's 2024 World Book Capital, with events organized around various themes like poetry, refuge, debate and more. The Alsatian capital is also home to one of Europe's most charming Christmas markets in the month leading up to the holiday, which is well worth a visit.

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    If the famous beaches of Rio are getting too crowded for you, head 220 miles off Brazil's northeastern coast to the breathtaking archipelago of Fernando de Noronha—voted one of the world's ...

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    Our top 40 best travel destinations for 2022 are: 40. Turkey. Turkey provides you a unique meeting point between Asia and Europe. For centuries, cultures of both continents have found a way of living and thriving in this land of myriad experiences. From the sandy beaches of Antalya on the Mediterranean coast, to the ski fields of Anatolia and ...

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    Camping, after all, costs very little money. Camping fees in national parks are as little as $15-20 USD per night in the United States, 15-40 CAD in Canada, 10-60 AUD in Australia, and 20-30 NZD in New Zealand. In many countries, particularly in Europe (especially Scandinavia), you can camp on public lands for free.

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    14. Rome, Italy: "Whether it's your first time in Rome or your 50th, the best thing about this city is that you'll always discover something new each time you stroll the scenic streets." 15 ...

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    From snorkeling trips to Cades Reef to water-skiing, paddle boarding, kayaking and windsurfing, kids will have plenty to keep them busy. Plus, the outdoor kids' club—with feeding and playing with turtles, colorful paint projects, and coconut arts and crafts—will have the kids begging to go back each day.

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    7. Prague, Czech Republic. Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers. The Czech Republic is one of the top cheap places to travel in Eastern Europe. It offers many options for activities, making it a great place for all kinds of travelers, from solo backpackers to those on a family vacation.

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    Boston, Massachusetts. If you stay outside the city center, Boston can be very affordable, especially since the Freedom Trail provides 2.5 miles of free adventure. And if you happen to have a late ...

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    Canopy Tour in Guatemala. If you're not afraid of heights, a visit to Guatemala's Tikal National Park might be in order. The UNESCO World Heritage site is home to a thrilling canopy tour that ...

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