55 Life-Changing Trips And Destinations Around The World That Are Worth The Hype
It's said that traveling is the only thing we buy that makes us richer. Not in the sense that traveling adds extra zeros to our bank balance; quite the opposite, actually. But spontaneous or long-awaited escapades often become life-changing trips that very moment we realize how much they add to our lives once we return home and start unpacking. While we believe that any experience is a good experience (hence any destination is worth traveling to), our resources, both time- and money-wise, are often limited. Thus it's essential to identify what our hearts gravitate toward the most.
And while everyone's travel bucket list should be individual, certain top travel destinations make it almost to every other bucket list. Most commonly, it's the natural wonders, historical heritage sites, architectural landmarks, or geographical locations of historical or popular events. And while some of the popular travel destinations will probably be known to you, you will also likely discover something new as unique travel destinations span all seven continents (and oceans!)
Below, we've compiled a list of the best travel destinations and what many travelers agree to be trips that change your life. Have any popular tourist destinations listed below also made it to your travel bucket list? Let us know by giving them an upvote. Also, have you ever gone on a trip that has shifted your perspective and how you view things? Let us know in the comments!
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See The Northern Lights (Iceland, Northern Parts Of Sweden, Finland, Norway, Russia, Canada, And Alaska)
No matter your interest in astronomy (or lack thereof), you can't help but geek out when you watch the magenta, violet, and green colors dance around one another. Due to its proximity to the "Auroral Oval," a ring zone enclosing the Arctic North Pole where aurora activity is concentrated, Fairbanks is one of the best places in the USA to observe the Northern Lights.
We were in Iceland this past summer. Northern Lights start happening up there in October so plan accordingly
Drive The Ring Road In Iceland
The ten-day trip around Iceland's Ring Road will make you feel like you're on another planet as you pass hot springs, volcanoes, waterfalls, fjords, and glaciers. Hiking, mountaineering, caving (including ice-caving!), whale watching, and other activities are also something you can do while on a trip. Also, if you go at the right time, you may see the Northern Lights!
Visit The Ancient City Of Petra In Jordan
Several remarkable buildings, notably the well-known Al-Khazneh, were carved into the sandstone rock cliffs to form the magnificent ancient city of Petra. Since the city is thousands of years old, history buffs must visit this UNESCO World Heritage site.
Go On A Safari Game Drive In Tanzania, Kenya, Or South Africa
The epitome of #travelgoals and #nomadiclife is a safari game drive. Expect scenes straight out of National Geographic whether you decide to go on a game drive in South Africa, the Serengeti, or any other location that offers one. Right in front of your eyes, elephants will stop for a refreshing drink at a watering hole as leopards chase gazelles over the savanna. You might have to pinch yourself to ensure this is not just a dream!
Travel Through Europe By Rail
Traveling by rail from London to nearly everywhere, including Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Greece, Prague, Helsinki, etc., is surprisingly simple, quick, and comfortable. Finding out how to do it and where to get tickets is the challenging part.
Hike Machu Picchu In Peru
It's no surprise that Machu Picchu is a popular tourist destination, given its renowned agricultural terraces and mortar-free construction. The Lost City of the Incas is still fascinating today even though it dates all the way back to the fifteenth century. The journey to this ancient highland site will take your breath away. Hopefully, not because of the change in altitude!
Doing the main 'Inca trail' is a 4 day trek and is limited to the number of people that can do it. It was 500 people when I did it and 300 of those places were reserved for porters and guides, (so 200 people). There was about 60 tourists in our group, but each day more dropped out, so only 15 of us finished. It was well worth doing it that way, you get a real sense of discovery almost like you were the first people to find it.
Bike Through Amsterdam, Netherlands
Everyone rides a bicycle in the Netherlands, from 3-year-olds to 93-year-olds; thus, that is one of the country's most distinctive features for most people (the Red Light district is also one of them). Hence, if you are a cycling fan, Amsterdam is definitely the city for you. Also, while there, you can visit the Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House or take a canal tour to rest your legs.
As borne and raised in Amsterdam, Tourist, DO NOT RIDE A BIKE in Amsterdam. You get stuck in the tram rail and fall. You get hit by a car because you ARE following rules of the law and not of the street. Groups of "rent a bike" cyclists are dangerous as h*ll
Hit The Streets Of Rome, Italy
Go to Rome and embrace your inner historian. Discover all the historical sites transformed into lovely Instagram backdrops, like the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and the Colosseum. Don't forget to reward yourself with some delicious pizza and creamy gelato. Mamma mia, che bello!
Pickpocket capital of Europe. I do not mean to be negative. Rome is fascinating and has great food. Just watch your pocketbook
Unwind In Beautiful Bora Bora (French Polynesia)
Whoever mentions a dream vacation spot also mentions stunning scenery, a warm climate, a white sandy beach, and turquoise water. All of this and more are promised by Bora Bora. Travelers are drawn to this idyllic island in the South Pacific tucked away in a gorgeous lagoon's warm waters, which offers much more than just a picture-postcard setting.
Every traveler should make a trip to Southeast Asia, especially foodies who enjoy street fare. A journey to Vietnam will be fascinating and full of beautiful scenery, interesting cultural experiences, and mouthwatering cuisine. In addition, Vietnam is also known for its rice terraces, floating marketplaces, coffee, and motorbikes (86% of households own one).
Best advise: Fly to Tan Son Nhat International Airport, get a cab into town and buy a few mopeds/scooters. Travel roughly north, stopping wherever you want (especially if you see a roadside food vendor!) for however long you want. There is a fantastic number of national parks/nature reserves and a gazillion miles of beaches. Keep going north and notice the subtle changes to the food. When you get to Vinh start heading North-west to fit in Pu Mat National Park before heading to Hanoi, Spend a few days in the city, sell your moped and jump on a flight home.
Explore Bagan In Myanmar
A Southeast Asian dynasty that ruled over this metropolis 1,000 years ago displayed its wealth by building 10,000 Buddhist temples along the Irrawaddy River. More than 2,000 still exist. In contrast to Cambodia, where massive groups of tourists visit Angkor Wat, Bagan is still a tranquil destination where locals in longyis and sandalwood makeup showcase the attractions. Small groups of fellow travelers climb the temple terraces around sunset to observe the sky illuminated by hundreds of spires. There aren't any mega-hotels or expansive resorts here, though. All that's left is a trip back in time to an Asia that's long gone in many other areas.
See Moai Statues On Easter Island In Chile
Easter Island has long been a destination for tourists intrigued by the massive moai statues. The lengthy journey to this remote Polynesian island is well worth it for tourists eager to see these magnificent human figures and take in some breathtaking coastal vistas.
Get Lost In Bali, Indonesia
With good reason, the phrase "tropical paradise" is frequently used to describe the island. Artists and authors have sought sanctuary in Bali for many years because of the inspiration there. Bali is the genuine deal: it has a breathtaking landscape, fantastic food, vibrant nightlife, and tranquil retreats. This is still a place of retreat even if it is frequently flocked by tourists. Bali offers visitors a chance to reevaluate by providing its own living model, whether camping in a backpacker hostel or spending a week in a resort.
Bali is great...I wasn't a fan of the beaches though...lots of trash and tourists. Up in the mountains is a paradise by comparison. Lush, green, and quiet.
Hot-Air Balloon In Cappadocia, Turkey
Although there are many breathtaking locations for hot-air balloon rides, few of them, if any, can compare to Cappadocia. Think of hovering above fairy chimneys, pinnacles, hills, valleys, and churches hewn out of the rock. An aerial adventure of this nature will undoubtedly alter your perspective forever!
Saunter The Streets Of Paris, France
If you get the chance, dress up, don a beret, and munch on croissants while walking the streets of Paris. Few places do landmarks as well as the city of love with so many available to choose from, including the famous Eiffel Tower, the gothic Notre Dame, the Louvre, and gardens galore.
Visit The Holy Land In Israel
One of the holiest places on Earth is the city of Jerusalem, which is located in Israel. After all, that is where Jesus Christ spent a significant portion of his adult life. To understand the historical importance of this location, you don't need to be Christian or religious. Regardless of faith, it is still a sight to witness.
Wine Taste In Tuscany, Italy
French wine connoisseurs won't appreciate this one, but Tuscany is exceptionally wonderful with its rolling hills, olive groves, vineyards, and fairy-tale castles. You will become irrevocably hooked and spoiled if you have the opportunity to drink Chianti directly from the barrel.
Explore The Opulence Of Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok's mouthwatering cuisine, beautiful palaces, and revered temples bring culture and tradition to life. To really appreciate Bangkok's magnificent architecture, visit the Reclining Buddha, Grand Palace, or Wat Arun. Even though the capital of Thailand is known for its delectable street food, you should exercise caution when trying the local fare. If you're not used to eating it, some delicacies, such as luu moo, and larb leuat neua, both made with raw animal blood, could give you a bacterial illness.
Soar To The Top Of Table Mountain In South Africa
Stopping at Table Mountain, one of the New Seven Wonders Of The World, will perfectly round out your voyage across southern Africa. Table Mountain, South Africa's most popular tourist destination, offers a stunning view of Cape Town and is home to around 8 200 plant species. As it's an easy-moderate difficulty, a fit hiker could reach the summit in an hour. Yet, depending on fitness level and distance walked, it generally takes 1.5 to 3 hours one way.
Stroll Along The Great Wall Of China
The 13,000-mile Great Wall, which more than 2,000 years ago protected Chinese people from invaders and enemies from the North, particularly the Mongols, has undoubtedly been seen numerous times in photographs. Still, nothing compares to moving from watchtower to watchtower with your own two feet. The Great Wall of China can be explored in as little as one day because most trips only include strolling a short stretch. Only two or three hours are needed to walk each of the most well-known sections of The Great Wall — Badaling and Mutianyu. Still, many wonder how long it would take to hike the entire Great Wall. The answer is — too long — at least 17 months.
Most of the bits that you visit with a guide are restored, it gives you an Idea of what it might have been like to walk the wall all those years ago. But, if you get the chance, visiting the older sections put the history and age of the wall into perspective.
American National Park Road Trip
Many tourists' bucket lists always include the traditional American road trip, and for a good reason. The finest way to experience the nation's magnificent national parks, such as the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Yosemite, is on a road trip that includes stops at quaint small towns and kitschy roadside landmarks. Just pack many American snacks, and you are good to go!
Visit The Aussie Land
The Great Barrier Reef, one of the world's seven natural wonders, is a must-see for many nature enthusiasts. Of course, there are many more reasons to visit Australia, like its stunning coastline, the world-famous Sydney Opera House, and super cute animals like kangaroos and koalas (cute as long as you keep your distance, though).
Visit Tokyo, Japan
In the thriving capital of Japan, old and new coexist and thrive. Whatever your interests, Tokyo has something to offer you, from ancient temples and shrines to bustling retail areas, mouthwatering cuisine, and some of the world's top theme parks and attractions.
Sail In The Caribbean
You can be sure that sailing in the Caribbean will help you make memories that you'll cherish forever. The Caribbean is a serene paradise just waiting to be discovered with its lovely white-sand beaches, clean waterways, and lush green flora. Sailing in the Caribbean may provide you both a peaceful and restful vacation and an exciting journey.
The Caribbean is "waiting to be discovered"? Honey, it's been discovered.
Stay At A Ryokan In Japan
A ryokan is a traditional Japanese guesthouse, and staying there is an immersive experience anchored in tradition and simplicity. Guests dress in yukata, unwind in onsens, enjoy kaiseki meals, and sleep on tatami mats. After such a peaceful overnight venture, you may start doubting whether modern comforts really are necessary!
We stayed at one in Kyoto. It was very enjoyable, from the food to the bath, to the service, and the room's furnishings. A unique experience we will never forget.
Stroll Bolivia's Salt Flats
Although you aren't walking on clouds, it will feel that way as you explore Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni, the world's largest salt desert. A tour of El Salar de Uyuni is a fantastic way to discover the vast diversity of landscapes and natural beauty that Bolivia has to offer.
Slow Down In Maldives
Unlike many adventure-filled travel destinations on this list, the Maldives is known for its luxury, romance, and relaxation. The ultimate getaway is a stay in an overwater bungalow over beautiful blue waters, making the lengthy travel and frequently expensive accommodations worthwhile.
Dogsled In Alberta, Canada
Dog sledding may appear to be a really unusual sport. It is, however, a rather typical form of entertainment in places like Alberta, Canada. This is a fantastic way to see some of Alberta's stunning views up close, from the crystal-clear skies to the sheet of immaculately pristine powder-white snow. One of the most exciting times to visit Alberta is during the winter when there is no shortage of things to do. There is a lot to discover, from ski areas to glacial lakes.
Hike The Switchbacks To The Top Of Wizard Island In Oregon, USA
Even just standing on the edge of the magnificent Crater Lake can be uplifting or even transformative. However, the 755-foot zigzag trek up to the summit after hiking down within the crater, taking a little boat ride to the volcanic cinder cone known as Wizard Island, and then hiking up there is pure, unadulterated enchantment. Bring a full water bottle with you for drinking on the ascent, and then fill it up with the pure, icy water from the lake.
See The Grand Canyon In Arizona, USA
Although a picture may be worth a thousand words, experiencing the Grand Canyon in person will leave you speechless. This breathtaking natural wonder and its sheer size are overwhelming at first. However, as you circle the perimeter, pausing at several vantage spots, you will witness the geological history unfold right in front of your eyes.
Visit An Active Volcano In Hawaii
One of those uniquely Hawaiian experiences is waking up early to witness the dawn from atop a volcano. Plan a guided excursion to Kilauea on the Big Island to increase your chances of seeing lava! Not much of a morning person? Book a trip for after dark!
See Victoria Falls (Border Of Zimbabwe And Zambia)
Victoria Falls, also known as "The Smoke that Thunders," is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. In addition to being a natural wonder, Victoria Falls is a hub of many activities. Everyone can find something to enjoy; white water rafting, kayaking, the 111-meter bungee jump, river surfing, gorge swings, and zip lines are open for thrill seekers.
I did a bungee jump there. It was the most terrifying moment of my life. Never ever doing a jump again
Cross Off Visiting Antarctica With A Cruise
Want to be able to brag about visiting every single continent? Take a cruise to check Antarctica off your bucket list. Several well-known cruise lines provide trips to Antarctica, providing breathtaking views of the ice and animals from the safety and comfort of a ship.
Explore The Forbidden City In Beijing, China
The Palace Museum, also called the Forbidden City, is something else. The world's largest and busiest palace complex functions on a scale that is difficult to grasp without actually traversing its numerous walkways and absorbing the layers upon layers of magnificence. This location may be the oldest you have ever visited, with more than 3000 years of history.
Get Your Sip On In Santorini, Greece
Advertised as the perfect romantic and honeymoon holiday destination, Santorini is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful, mesmerizing islands in the world. You haven't fully grasped the color blue until you've gazed out over the Aegean Sea at dusk while admiring Santorini's breathtaking beauty. Drinking a glass of the purest Assyrtiko this renowned Greek wine region has to offer only enhances the experience.
Visit The Taj Mahal In India
Like the other countries on this list, India has innumerable places worth seeing. Still, the Taj Mahal is one of the most well-known sights that tourists long to experience for themselves. Visitors have long been drawn to Agra by this white marble mausoleum from the 17th century. The pinnacle experience for affluent travelers may be a journey on the Maharajas' Express with a stop at the Taj Mahal.
There’s so much more than just the Taj Mahal. I reccomend a visit to the Red Fort that is close to the Taj Mahal
Visit The Denali National Park In Alaska
The 92-mile route through Denali National Park winds through unmatched subarctic terrain in North America. Caribou climb ridges, grizzlies trudge across the tundra, and golden eagles soar overhead. The sole road that runs through the park makes it difficult to get lost, and because campsites are so sought after, the park has a reservation system. But in a setting that has not changed over time, it is simple to lose yourself in an extensive area that would make anyone feel small.
Visit Drakensberg In South Africa
If Drakensberg had its own Instagram account, every image would have the hashtag #nofilter. There is no need for filters and editing apps to convey the surreal beauty that the mountain range evokes. With trails for all skill levels, Drakensberg is renowned for its hiking routes. There are also magnificent prehistoric rock art sites in Southern and Central Drakensberg that depict the beliefs of the indigenous San people.
Get Passionate In Buenos Aires, Argentina
There is no other city in the world like Buenos Aires. The Argentine capital stands out due to its blend of European elegance and South American flair. The contemporary city offers quite a unique cultural experience, from the Spanish-inspired picada starter dish served at practically every restaurant to the French-influenced tango music. Vibrant and passionate, this lovely city gets under your skin.
Discover The Islands Of Tahiti
Sometimes all you want to do is travel to a place where you can unwind, lie on the beach, and feel peaceful. And there are also times when you want to travel and explore amid hilly sites. Tahiti is the ideal location to do both because of its breathtaking mountains and pristine waters. The relaxed island lifestyle and way of life will win you over.
Trek To Mount Everest Base Camp
Unlike climbing to the peak of Everest, hiking to base camp doesn’t require much technical gear or exceptional skills. However, it requires preparation beforehand, primarily for cardio and strength endurance. But even so, this journey of almost two weeks to the base of the world’s tallest mountain is impressive in and of itself.
Visit Sedona's Red Rocks In Arizona, USA
Sedona is a very picturesque location — beautiful red rock formations are probably its most notable and dramatic aspect. Hence, hiking (or, in some cases, scrambling) is at the top of our list of must-do activities in Arizona. Some of the world's most renowned healers, psychics, and spiritual guides have traveled to this location because of its reputation as a major power center and a spiritual Mecca.
If you go, take one of the Jeep tours. It's awesome, you go rock crawling all around and to some amazing vantage points; really fun. Also, lots of cool rock formations, like "Snoopy" rock. We saw another one that looked like E.T. but I forget if that one was also Sedona
See The Pyramids Of Egypt
Bring out your inner Lawrence of Arabia and ride a camel into the desert to visit the Great Pyramid of Giza. The oldest wonder of the ancient world is this 481-foot structure, constructed in 2560 B.C.E. by a Fourth Dynasty pharaoh. Just let that sink in.
Morocco is unlike any other place on Earth thanks to its bustling medinas, exquisite architecture, and unusual fusion of cultural elements. A journey to Morocco will surely be one to remember, whether you visit bustling Marrakesh, charming seaside cities or lonely desert towns (even better if all three).
Go On A Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip
A road trip is one of the most recognizable types of American travel, and there are few more beautiful routes to pick from than U.S. Highway 1 up the California coast. The entire road from San Diego to the north of San Francisco is about 600 kilometers long. However, plan to take your time and don't rush, as there will be numerous stops along the journey.
Go Gorilla Trekking In Rwanda, Uganda, Or Congo
There are other options besides a safari for getting your animal "fix" when in Africa. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda is the place for a primate-focused excursion you won't forget anytime soon. However, the trek is costly. The price may be over $1,500 per person. But can you put a price on seeing endangered apes up close? Priceless.
Explore The Big Apple
As the saying goes, "A bad day in New York City is still better than a good day anywhere else." Even a week spent in this bustling city will make you feel on top of the world. Experience the dizzying lights of Times Square, take a ferry to the Statue of Liberty, and embrace your inner Jay-Z by going to Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Observe Endemic Species In The Galapagos Islands In Ecuador
Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution was influenced by a volcanic archipelago that lies in the eastern Pacific Ocean, 621 miles off the coast of Ecuador. Where else can you see some of the rarest animals, like the marine iguana, besides there? The Galapagos Islands still draw researchers and nature enthusiasts today. Also, you may now visit the Galapagos in style thanks to the option of sea glamping!
Savor The Serenity Of Niagara Falls (Border Between New York, USA And Ontario, Canada)
Go to Niagara Falls to escape the busy and loud New York City. There, experience a natural wonder of the world, explore miles of unspoiled hiking trails and picturesque landscapes and engage in outdoor adventure. Regardless of the stunning sights, the main reason you should visit Niagara Falls is that you can get up close to something so breathtaking and powerful, all created by momma Nature.
Chillax In Tulum, Mexico
There is more to Tulum than beautiful shores and mojito bars. Although it's already worth visiting just for these two reasons. In addition to having fantastic beaches, this town on the Yucatán Peninsula also features lush jungles, Mayan ruins, cenotes (caves or sinkholes with crystal-clear waters), lovely lagoons, and posh nightlife. And if you are into fitness, you must visit arguably the world's best beach gym, which is located in Tulum!
Isn't there some sort of unrest going on in parts of Mexico right now?
Attend Holi Festival In India
Hindus have been celebrating the holiday of Holi since the beginning of time. Participants at the Holi Festival hurl powdered dye into the air, dousing everyone in bright hues. For Hindu people, it's a way to celebrate the arrival of spring and a chance to start over and let all the inhibitions go.
Wear your old clothes you are planning to throw out when celebrating. Also, try having some powerful body wash availible for after you’re done. I once played so much in Holi that I had to walk around with colour stained hands for a week
Visit The Windy City
Chicago may be known as the "Second City," but it is in no way second to anyone. Thanks to its gorgeous architecture, top-notch museums, art galleries, and thousands of restaurants serving award-winning food, Chicago is a fantastic destination for a weekend of culture, gastronomy, and history any time of year. Chicago, though, shines brightest in the summer. From June through September, when inhabitants shake off the winter doldrums and make the most of the rest of the summer sun, the Windy City is one of the most picturesque destinations to visit.
Attend New Orleans Jazz Fest In Louisiana
The Jazz Festival is the best place to experience New Orleans' cuisine and music since it attracts both well-known artists and gospel choirs from tiny towns. Gumbo, strawberry lemonade, softshell crabs, and boiling crawfish are served in food areas spread across the grounds. In the best way possible, it can be a little gluttonous for the stomach and the ears.
Attend Wimbledon In London
Wimbledon is unquestionably one of the finest athletic events in the world because it is the oldest and perhaps most prestigious of tennis' Grand Slam competitions. Wimbledon is a prime example of a particular brand of traditional Britishness because of its steadfast adherence to tradition, which includes its freshly cut grass courts, all-white player uniforms, and ivy-covered walls. Yes, some pomp can be unnecessary. However, no one can argue against a glass of Pimm's or strawberries and cream. This is, truthfully, a nirvana for tennis fans.
Visit Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul is a city full of mesmerizing landmarks. Thankfully, despite its old age, the many remains are still intact. History practically pulls away layer by layer at the Hagia Sophi, a mosque and an important cultural and historical site in Istanbul. At the Blue Mosque, a warm representation of Islam greets guests. The city's historic district gaily coexists with contemporary cuisine, buzzing nightlife, and cutting-edge architecture and art.