Have you ever stopped to marvel at how vast and varied our planet is? From the savannahs of Africa to the peaks of Mount Everest, from the cathedrals of Europe to the ancient ruins of Peru, one could spend an entire lifetime exploring the world and barely scratch the surface. It’s hard to not feel exhilarated when thinking about all of the travel destinations that await you, but if you’re looking for that extra spark of inspiration, here are six travel ideas you’ll be eager to add to your bucket list.
Traversing Argentina’s Viedma Glacier on foot (photo credit)
Go Island Hopping in Greece
For whitewashed towns, panoramic views of the Mediterranean, and unforgettable sunsets, there’s nowhere better to head than the Greek Islands. World-famous Santorini and Mykonos top most travelers’ wishlists, but did you know that Greece contains over 200 inhabited islands and as many as 6000 in total? Go check out that Santorini sunset and party until dawn on Mykonos, but, for a real treat, spend some time hopping around Greece’s less visited islands.
Magnificent beaches, delectable cuisine, unique architecture,cheap last-minute hotels, non-stop sunshine, and millennia of history await you in Greece’s various archipelagos. Each island has its own specialties and vibes, so do some research and determine which ones best suit your interests and travel style. Ferries and flights run between the islands, so you can pack as many stops into your itinerary as you desire. Who knows what hidden gems you’ll find?
If you’re visiting the Cyclades Archipelago, consider checking out the island of Tinos. (photo credit)
Explore Japan by Bullet Train
Extending more than 3000 kilometers (nearly 2000 miles) and with a population of 127 million, it should come as no surprise that Japan is brimming with cities and sights to discover. A visit to Tokyo alone could keep you entertained for eternity, but the rest of the country’s fascinating cities and stunning landscapes deserve exploration too.
Fortunately for visitors, Japan’s bullet trains – the Shinkansen– make it quick and easy to travel far and wide. The trains reach up to 320 kilometers (200 miles) per hour, which means you can traverse the main island of Honshu in a matter of hours. Though bullet train tickets can be pricey, a JR Pass will give you unlimited travel throughout Japan for a fixed price. Hop on board the trains and experience all of the amazing places Japan has to offer.
Sleek and speedy: Japan’s bullet trains are a fantastic way to zip around the country (photo credit)
Walk Across Glaciers in Patagonia
Travel to the end of the earth and be stunned by the natural beauty of Patagonia. This region at the southern end of South America, divided between Argentina and Chile, offers some of the world’s most remarkable landscapes. Visitors will find themselves gazing out over snow-capped mountains and shimmering lakes, many of which can be thoroughly explored on rewarding single or multi-day hikes.
Some of the planet’s most intact and accessible glaciers can be found in Patagonia. Hikes and boating excursions will give you unbelievable views of the ice, but for a truly out-of-this-world experience, join a tour that will allow you to walk right on the glacier. Perito Moreno is one of Patagonia’s most-visited glaciers due to its proximity to the Argentinean town of El Calafate, and several tour companies will take you onto the glacier for a hike unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Bundle up and enjoy every moment of this breathtaking journey into a winter wonderland.
Argentina’s popular Perito Moreno Glacier (photocredit)
Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef
From feeding kangaroos to catching a show at the Sydney Opera House, Australia has a multitude of experiences worthy of your bucket list. But if there’s one you really can’t miss, it’s a tour of the Great Barrier Reef. Running along Australia’s northeastern coast for over 2300 kilometers (1400 miles), the reef is one of the most biodiverse spots on the planet.
More than 1500 species of fish, 411 types of hard coral, 215 species of birds, 134 species of sharks and rays, and six species of sea turtles – just to name a few – inhabit the Great Barrier Reef. If you’re fascinated by colorful flora and fauna, you need to snorkel or scuba dive here. You’ll be blown away by the plants and animals with which you come face to face. And if you’re still getting your sea legs, Tropical North Queensland is also home to comparably biodiverse rainforests like the Daintree.
The Great Barrier Reef’s Heart Reef is also worth exploring by air (photo credit)
Go Hot Air Ballooning Over Cappadocia
You’ll find it hard to believe you’re on Planet Earth once you finally arrive in Cappadocia, Turkey. This region in Central Anatolia ischaracterized by its bizarre, moonlike landscape, historical cave dwellings, underground cities, and rock formations known as “fairy chimneys.” The area has been inhabited since prehistoric times and today is best known as one of the world’s premier destinations for hot air ballooning.
Cappadocia’s striking desert scenery can – and should! – be explored on foot, but for the best views of the area, jump on board a hot air balloon and drift peacefully over its surreal geological features. Look out over the fairy chimneys and houses built into the rocks, float over valleys and ravines, and admire the historical significance of the region. It’s bound to be one of the most unforgettable flights you’ll take in your lifetime.
Hot air balloons floating over surreal Cappadocia (photo credit)
Experience Mardi Gras in New Orleans
New Orleans is a non-stop party no matter what time of year you visit, but if there’s one time you should visit Louisiana, it’s during Mardi Gras. What the Catholic Church calls Shrove Tuesday and what some countries celebrate as Carnival has been lighting up the streets of New Orleans as Mardi Gras for over three hundred years.
Dozens of parades pass through the city’s French Quarter in the weeks leading up to Mardi Gras, with celebrations culminating that Tuesday. Catch beaded necklaces, score invites to masquerade balls, and sip on mint juleps while surrounded by more than a million festive partygoers. It’s a wild event, and it’s something each person should experience at least once in his or her life.
Mardi Gras decorations adorning New Orleans’ French Quarter (photo credit)
Here’s a phenomenon that all travelers can attest to: as soon as you get a taste of travel, you’re struck by an insatiable hunger to see as much of the world as you possibly can. The more items you check off your bucket list, the more you find yourself adding to it. Experienced travelers are by no means lacking in destination ideas, but for just a bit more inspiration, consider these six outstanding experiences. What’s at the top of your bucket list?
Kirstie Jeffries is a travel blogger and digital marketer from Pasadena, California who has seen 72 countries and counting. She lived and worked in Madrid and Sevilla, Spain and Sydney, Australia before embarking on a round-the-world adventure, which she blogs about at Venga, Vale, Vamos. Kirstie currently works as an independent digital marketing specialist.