Are you a serial bucket lister?
Do you have notebooks full of half-finished lists of places to go, mountains to climb, cities to explore, languages to learn?
Or is that just me?
For those nodding your heads in agreement, you’re probably forever searching for new and exciting destinations to add to your ever-growing travel bucket list. South America, Asia, Europe, you want to see it all!
How do you make your travel bucket list a reality?
It’s easy to make a bucket list sitting in your bedroom, but it’s much more difficult to actually tick those activities off that list.
There are often various obstacles in your way. Maybe you don’t have enough time. Or enough money. Or enough knowledge about where you want to go or how to get there.
But don’t worry! Not only am I going to share 10 amazing travel activities with you, I’m also going to tell you exactly where, when and how you can accomplish them. And I’ll throw in a few money saving tips to make these goals even more achievable.
Without further ado, here are 10 travel bucket list items that will have you reaching for your passport!
Calling All Travel Addicts! Here Are 10 Epic Adventures to Add to Your Travel Bucket List
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1. Learn a language in a new country
One of the best ways to make the most of any trip is to genuinely connect with local people. And what better way to do that than by learning the language?
You can find loads of amazing programs to go and learn languages abroad. These are perfect for people who want to fully immerse themselves in another language and culture over an extended period of time.
But even on shorter trips, simply speaking basic phrases will encourage you to interact with locals, find out more about the culture, go on adventures and have a more authentic experience.
I know, learning a new language seems hard.
But with the help of language learning apps and resources, language learning can actually be fun!
Try FluentU free for 15 days to prepare for your time in a new country.
FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons. And authentic videos don’t just teach you the language… they also teach you about the culture!
You can even download FluentU files for offline use. This way, you can keep watching fun videos abroad, even if you’re in a place without Wi-Fi.
When you arrive at your destination, try meeting locals by attending Meetup events or staying with them through Couchsurfing. Then you’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice your language skills and make new friends.
2. Go on a camel safari in the Thar Desert in India
If you’re planning a trip to India, you can’t miss a foray to the glittering Thar Desert of Jaisalmer, close to the Pakistan border. Ride off into the dunes on a camel to experience authentic desert life. Sleep on the sand under a canopy of sparkling stars and try home-cooked desert chapati!
The best time to go is between September and March, as the desert becomes blisteringly hot after March, followed by monsoon season. You can find countless companies offering camel safaris from Jaisalmer.
However, I recommend taking the local bus from Jaisalmer to the nearby desert town of Khuri. From there you can book a camel safari from the Badal Guest House for half the price of those offered in Jaisalmer. The two-night safari I went on was incredible!
It all depends on your priorities. Booking in Jaisalmer will be less of a hassle because this town is already in the Thar Desert. But booking in Khuri and commuting will be more affordable.
3. See marine life on the remote West Coast of Australia
Backpackers in Australia usually flock to the beaches and tourist attractions of the East Coast in Australia. However, the lesser-traveled West Coast is definitely the hidden gem of the country.
The scale and emptiness of the scenery will take your breath away. But one of the biggest draws is the range of unbelievable marine life out in the wild.
See dolphins at the Monkey Mia reserve and snorkel in the diverse Ningaloo Reef, which rivals the more touristy Great Barrier Reef. You can catch a glimpse of manta rays, turtles and humpback whales in the small town of Coral Bay. And from March to August, you can swim with the mighty whale shark, the biggest fish in the ocean, in Exmouth.
You can go it alone in a car or camper, but for a cheaper alternative book a tour with Why Not Bus Adventure Tours. Camp under incredible stars all the way up the coast with this intimate, relaxed, great value tour.
4. Trek to Everest Base Camp Nepal
For the ultimate mental and physical challenge, head to the Himalayas in Nepal. There’s a number of treks you can embark on, but the most popular is the two-week Everest Base Camp trek.
Walking in the shadows of the tallest mountains in the world, the region offers unrivaled scenery, from sweeping valleys, to snow-capped peaks, to vast glaciers, to stunning lakes.
As weather conditions are tough at the best of times, trek from February to May, or late September to November.
G Adventures offer a high-quality tour. You know you’ll have a great experience with professional guides and fellow trekkers. Alternatively, it’s easy to book yourself a personal guide and porter from countless local companies in Kathmandu once you arrive.
You can also fly solo to the starting point, Lukla, and finish this trek without a guide and porter. But if so, make sure you do your research and go prepared!
5. Abseil into glowworm caves in Waitomo, New Zealand
After a 100-meter abseil into the depths of a dark cave in Waitomo, New Zealand, look up to see what looks like a star-speckled night sky. Only what you’re seeing aren’t stars. They’re glowworms!
Explore the mystical habitat of these fascinating creatures in a labyrinth of underground caves and waterfalls.
There’s a variety of tours to choose from. But the most exciting is the five-hour Black Abyss tour. Abseiling, swimming, floating on rubber rings, waterfall climbing and ziplining. All in a cave in New Zealand!
The best time to visit is between November and April because the caves can get cold, and you’ll be getting wet!
6. Go to a music festival in Europe
During European summers, the sun comes out and the continent comes alive with music festivals. Regardless of your music genre of choice, there really is something for everyone.
For the biggest and best rock artists, pack your rain boots and head to the epic Glastonbury Festival in England.
Or if it’s a stunning location you’re after, how about the Meadows in the Mountains festival, set high up in the jaw-dropping mountains of Bulgaria?
If you love electronic music, the colorful madness of Tomorrowland in Belgium could be for you.
Or if you prefer to combine music with sightseeing and the beach, head to Primavera Sound, set in the heart of Barcelona, Spain.
Festivals are expensive, but you can usually sign up as a volunteer and swap a few shifts for a free ticket. Check out festival websites for details, or for U.K. festivals, volunteer through companies such as Oxfam.
7. Dance salsa in Cali, Colombia
If you find yourself on the ultimate South America trip, you might be tempted to give salsa a try. I’m talking about dancing, not that stuff you dip your tortilla chips in.
Getting a feel for local rhythms can be a great way to immerse yourself in a culture. What better place to try it than in Cali, the salsa capital of the world?
The city produces some of the world’s best dancers and has developed its own distinct salsa style, salsa caleña.
Cali has a whole host of salsa bars, clubs and schools. Whether you want to enroll in formal classes or just dance the night away with the locals and some aguardiente (Colombia’s national drink), Cali has something for you.
Why not give budget- and foreigner-friendly classes a try at Manicero Sabor Dance Academy? You can practice your Colombian slang with the locals while you’re at it.
8. Spot lions on a safari in Tanzania
Were you a fan of the movie “The Lion King” as a child? (Come on, who wasn’t?) Well, now your childhood dream of seeing Simba can come true!
The open planes of East Africa are home to a vast array of wildlife, including elephants, giraffes, rhinos, hyenas, leopards and lions. The rivers are also regularly frequented by hippos and crocodiles. It’s no wonder that African safaris have become a bucket list activity for adventurous travelers from around the world.
Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is a great place to spot wildlife. Check out Makasa Tanzania Safaris to book your tour.
9. See the northern lights in Lapland, Finland
A sky of swirling greens and blues. You’ve probably seen the aurora borealis in pictures, but it looks a hundred times better in real life.
The Finnish region of Lapland, which sits in the Arctic Circle, is a great place to catch the northern lights because they’re visible more days per year than in most other places. The best time to catch them is from mid-August to early April.
The stunning natural beauty of Finland’s forests and lakes provide a stunning backdrop for the spectacle. You could combine your holiday with skiing, riding in a husky sled, warming up in a sauna or visiting Santa Claus in his hometown.
To view the northern lights in style, why not sleep in a glass igloo at the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in Napapiiri?
Or for those on a budget, travel up to the city of Rovaniemi. When the lights are visible, you don’t have to walk far out of the city center to catch an amazing view.
10. Road trip across the United States of America
What’s more epic than being out on the open road, eating pecan pie in roadside diners and stopping at different jaw-dropping sights every few days?
In one trip, you could sunbathe on the beaches of Miami, drink at a honky-tonk bar in Nashville, stand at the edge of the Grand Canyon and see bears in Yellowstone National Park.
If you’re from the U.S. and have a vehicle, all you need to do is plan your route and head off. But everyone else has two choices: buy a car and sell it to someone at the end of your trip or rent a vehicle.
Personally, I’d recommend renting a car or campervan. Although buying one and selling it later may seem cheaper, you’re likely to encounter loads of extra costs with breakdowns and technical issues. Check out Escape Campervans to rent a camper for your epic road trip.
As avid travelers, there will always be more places we want to explore. By the time we proudly cross an item off our travel bucket list, we’ve probably added 10 more.
The bad news is that we may never reach the end of our travel bucket lists. But the good news is that nothing will stop us from doing everything we can to finish them. And from having a blast along the way!
What other places are on your travel bucket list?
Hanna Greeman is a language lover and global traveler. After graduating in Spanish and Italian from the University of Bristol, she has lived in Colombia, Peru, Italy, Australia and Thailand, and traveled across four continents. When not working as a freelance writer, catch her salsa dancing, reading or seeing live music.
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