Once-In-A-Lifetime Travel Experiences for Your 2024 Bucket List

Once-In-A-Lifetime Travel Experiences for Your 2024 Bucket List

New Year, Once-in-a-Lifetime Travel Experiences!

2023 is just around the corner and we can’t wait to see where you will explore next year. 

Are you looking for travel inspiration for your 2023 travel bucket list? 

What life-changing travel experience do YOU want to have in 2023? We’ve chosen the top locations to travel to all around the globe in 2023, from well-loved attractions to unique travel experiences. The new year is almost here and the world is your oyster!

When you’re ready to plan your vacations for the new year don’t forget to contact a TierOne Travel Consultant to help you with all the details.


Best Bucket List Travel Ideas for 2023

Europe Bucket List

Admire the Stunning Northern Lights in Lapland

In Finland’s north, the northern light season lasts for months beginning in September and lasting until April. During this time, you can see the aurora borealis at their most spectacular!

Statistics show that the aurora borealis can happen in Lapland basically every other night if the sky is clear; those are great odds! You can even stay in a glass cabin for an opportunity to enjoy the vibrant lights all night long.

Travel Tip:  Pack for the cold as temperatures often dip to negative 30 during the aurora season.

Relax in the Warm Water of the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

The Blue Lagoon is an amazing outdoor spa that is located a little more than a half-hour south of Reykjavik. From massages to cocktails, this magnificent spa will provide you with the rest and relaxation you deserve. Take a soak in this gorgeous lagoon and relax in its therapeutic warm waters, treat your skin to mud masks and enjoy picture-perfect Icelandic surroundings.

Travel Tip: The Blue Lagoon is one of the most popular attractions in Iceland so plan to get there early or a few hours before the lagoon closes for fewer crowds.

Learn more about a trip to Iceland in our How Many Days Do You Need in Iceland? blog.


Hike In Between the Cinque Terre Villages

One of the most amazing things to do in Italy is hiking through the beautiful Cinque Terre villages. These hiking routes are some of the most picturesque in all of Europe and should be on every outdoor lover’s bucket list. Many hikers choose to spread the journey out over a few days to stop and admire the towns along the way, but you can complete the route in around six hours if you only take short breaks!

Travel Tip: The two popular trails from Monterosso to Vernazza and from Vernazza to Corniglia require a special ticket, the Cinque Terre Trekking Card.

Climb to the Top of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France

To take in some of the best views of Paris, climb up the 284 steps of the Arc de Triomphe. The views are absolutely amazing, and you can see basically all of Paris’ most famous sites from here!

From the Eiffel Tower, beautiful Parisian architecture, the Champs-Elysées to Montmartre and the brilliant white Basilica of Sacré-Coeur, these views of the City of Love are unmatched. The lines get long, so it’s best to get there early!

Travel Tip: To get to the Arc de Triomphe, don’t try to cross the street! To access the busy traffic circle’s center safely, use the underground passageway.


Visit Buckingham Palace for the Changing of the Guard in London

Watching the Changing of the Guard ceremony is a unique, must-see display of British tradition! This year-round event takes place in front of Buckingham Palace and draws tons of tourists, and for good reason. The beautiful Buckingham Palace in London serves as more than the residence of the British monarchy; it is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in London. The palace is open for tours, so you can explore this enormous palace’s 700+ rooms, including 19 staterooms, 78 baths and beautiful gardens.

Travel Tip: The Changing of the Guard normally takes place every other day. Make sure to check the ceremony scheduled on the Household Division website for the confirmed times.

Start planning your London trip with the help of our London Travel Guide!


Experience the Carnival of Venice in the Famous Piazza San Marco

During the Venice Carnival, Piazza San Marco has the highest concentration of masked people dressed up beautifully to celebrate! San Marco square is the central location for most carnival activities. It hosts costume parades and Flight of the Angel where an acrobat will leap off the San Marco Bell Tower, fly through the air, and land in the middle of the square.

From live music to theatre performances, parades, comedy shows, and even street parties and fancy balls in the evenings, there is so much to experience at the Venice Carnival!

Travel Tip: The 2023 Venice Carnival will begin on February 4 and ends on Tuesday, February 21. Make sure to book your trip far in advance!

Enter the Vatican to see the Incredible Sistine Chapel

One of the most popular sights in Vatican City and all of Rome is the Sistine Chapel. The Sistine Chapel’s breathtaking frescoes on the walls and the ceiling will surround you as soon as you enter. The Sistine Chapel, a Michelangelo masterpiece and a place of tremendous religious significance for Catholics, is a must-see for art lovers.

Travel Tip: A strict clothing code is required since the Sistine Chapel is a sacred site. So be sure to dress in something that covers your shoulders and knees.

South America Bucket List

View Unique Wildlife in the Galapagos Islands

Where else in the world can you witness playful sea lions, watch gigantic big tortoises, and hang out with a marine iguana? These protected islands are a must-see for wildlife lovers and a paradise for these local animals. The creatures in the Galápagos Islands have almost no fear and are wonderfully unconcerned by the presence of boats and swimmers because humans have rarely threatened them. These islands are among the only sites in the world where it is possible to get so close to these unique animals!

Travel Tip: The Galapagos Islands are a very popular destination so book your vacation to the islands well in advance.


Trek to Machu Picchu via the Iconic Inca Trail

The Inca Trail is the most famous hike in South America and is hiked by thousands of people every year! Wind your way up, down, and around mountains on the ancient trail laid by the Incas from the Sacred Valley to one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu. Experience views of snowy mountain peaks, distant rivers, ancient ruins, and cloud forests during this four-day trek. The best part of your journey might be when you finally step through the Sun Gate and see the beautiful, forgotten city of Machu Picchu for the first time but you will always have fond memories of the journey it took to get you there!

Travel Tip: The best months to hike the Inca Trail are May and October since it’s dry and mild, and permits may sell out a little more slowly than during the busy months (July and August).

Learn more about traveling to Machu Picchu in our blog post: The Best Time To See Machu Picchu in Peru | 2023 Travel Guide


Hang Out With Giant Stone Figures on Easter Island (Rapa Nui)

Who wouldn’t want the chance to travel to one of the most secluded and mysterious islands on the planet? A six hour flight is required to travel the 3,750 kilometers from Santiago de Chile to the legendary Easter Island. It is well worth it to be able to experience the vast volcanic craters, preserved stone settlements, beaches, and, in particular, the 900 Moai. These colossal stone faces are what this island is famous for and it is definitely worth the journey.

Travel Tip: Not only is it forbidden but touching a Moai will get you into a lot of trouble and you could be fined!


North America Bucket List

Soak Up the Best Views of New York City

Rockefeller Plaza’s Top of the Rock Observation Deck offers the most incredible views of all of New York City. Admire the well-known sites of New York City, including the Empire State Building, Central Park, the Chrysler Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, and more, from three levels of indoor and outdoor viewing areas!

Travel Tip: Try to visit on a clear day for the best views. Sunset from Top of the Rock is spectacular and is a very popular time to visit.


Cross the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

An iconic piece of architecture is the Golden Gate Bridge, which links Marin County, California, with San Francisco. It is a must-see iconic architectural wonder of the city of San Francisco and spans the Golden Gate river for more than two miles. After you cross this famous bridge, there is so much to see and do! 

San Francisco has something to offer everyone, whether you’re a foodie hoping to indulge in world-class cuisine, a nature lover wanting to find incredible views, a museum hopper looking to experience some culture, a history buff excited to explore the infamous Alcatraz or a wine connoisseur who’s wanting to sample the freshest California wines.

Travel Tip: Some of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge are from Marshall Beach, Battery Spencer and Alcatraz.


Ogle the Natural Wonders of Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is among the best parks in the USA! At this UNESCO World Heritage Site, you will find all sorts of picture-worthy meadows, waterfalls, streams, mountains, and a variety of plants and animals. From the waterfall-striped granite walls, and the emerald-green Yosemite Valley to the giant sequoias at Mariposa Grove you will be amazing by all the amazing things to see in Yosemite.

The Half Dome, El Capitan, the mists of Yosemite Falls, the gemstone-colored lakes, and the glacial Hetch Hetchy valley are some of the highlights of this amazing National Park.

Travel Tip: Get a good paper map since GPS is pretty undependable within the park.


Get Splashed by Niagara Falls

Every minute, six million cubic feet of water rush over Niagara Falls, creating one of North America’s most breathtaking sights. In actuality, the Canadian-US border is visited by about 28 million people yearly. Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Veil Falls are three separate waterfalls that together serve as one of the state’s main power generators.

Journey behind the falls, ziplining and sailing are all amazing ways to see the famous Niagra Falls!

Travel Tip: The Canadian side of Niagra Falls is much nicer than the United States side!


Party During Mardi Gras in New Orleans

A one to three-month period of the year known as Mardi Gras sees the streets of New Orleans come alive with music, art, and costumed revelers. The party begins on the Twelfth Night, January 6, when king cake, bead-tossing, and iconic parades start and the events only get better as it gets closer to Mardi Gras Day on February 21, 2023, the Mardi Gras season is a long one!

Travel Tip: Reserve your hotel room far in advance. During Mardi Gras weekend, keep in mind that many hotels need a minimum stay of three nights, and pricey special-event rates may be applied.


Take a Roadtrip Down Pacific Coast Highway

More than 900 kilometers of California’s rocky and stunning coasts are hugged by the unforgettable Pacific Coast Highway. One of the most breathtakingly beautiful roads in the world is best driven slowly while taking in the views of the mountains, tall trees, beautiful beaches, and infinite sky. If you’re looking for an incredible road trip to go on in 2023, this might be the perfect option!

Travel Tip: take as much time as you can and make as many stops as possible to fully enjoy this journey.


See Humpback Whales in Maui, Hawaii

In order to reproduce, give birth, and raise their young, thousands of humpback whales migrate to the warm, shallow seas of Hawai’i every winter. These whales and their environment are protected by the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.

You can see Humpback Whales in Hawaii right from the beach, but going on a whale-watching tour will make for an unforgettable experience! You can go whale watching in Maui using a boat, kayak, outrigger canoe, or stand-up paddleboard.

Travel Tip: Make sure to choose a responsible whale-watching company that complies with regulations intended to preserve wildlife and the ocean.

Maui Travel Update: Due to the wildfires that started on August 8, 2023, all unnecessary travel to West Maui (including Lahaina, Napili, Kaanapali, and Kapalua) is highly advised against until October 17, 2023. The other Hawaiian Islands, such as Kauai, Oahu, Lanai, and Hawai’i Island, as well as other parts of Maui (such as Kahului, Wailuku, Kihei, Wailea, Makena, and Hana), are still open. We ask all visitors to the islands to exercise extra caution and respect as the community recovers from this tragedy. Find the official travel advisory here.

Take a Helicopter Tours over the Grand Canyon

Your breath will be taken away by the Grand Canyon, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, which is located in Northern Arizona’s high desert and is constantly changing and of gigantic proportions. Grand Canyon National Park is known as one of the most beautiful places on earth because of its forest, painted deserts, sandstone canyons, the Colorado River, and waterfalls. Helicopter tours of the Grand Canyon are a fantastic opportunity to see the national park’s breathtaking scenery. Because it is so close to Las Vegas, day trips to the Grand Canyon are an easy way to visit.

Travel Tip: The best time of day to go on a helicopter tour of the grand canyon is the morning. There is less turbulence, lower temperatures, and stunning views!

Asia Bucket List

Take a Sunrise Ride in a Hot Air Balloon Over Cappadocia, Turkey

These fairytale landscapes will truly blow your mind! Cappadocia is one of the best destinations to experience a hot air balloon ride. See the iconic “fairy chimneys” as you soar high above the strange terrain and dive down into the valleys to get a close-up glimpse of cave homes while being surrounded by hundreds of other balloons. Stay in cave hotels for a truly unique travel experience in Cappadocia! 

Travel Tips: The town of Goreme is one of the best to stay in for your trip to Cappadocia. Many hotels have outdoor patios, the perfect place to watch the hot air balloons at sunrise.

Walk Along the Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China offers a compelling justification for the bucket list’s existence. It is a breathtaking example of Chinese history and a popular destination for tourists from all over the world and it is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It is considered to be one of China’s most significant symbols and is made up of several walls and fortifications, many of which run parallel to one another over a distance of 8,850 kilometers! Travelers can easily access the Great Wall from Beijing.

Travel Tip: The best way to see the Great Wall of China is on a hiking tour! 


See the Symmetry of the Taj Mahal in India

The Taj Mahal is one of the world’s most stunning structures and one of the Seven New Wonders of the World. It is a massive mausoleum made of white marble that was erected in Agra between 1631 and 1648 on the orders of the Mughal emperor Shah Janan in memory of his beloved wife. The Taj Mahal is now a must-see destination for anybody visiting India, drawing over 3 million visitors annually!

Travel Tip: Every Friday, the Taj Mahal is closed so that practicing Muslims may enter and worship in its mosque.


See Dragons on Komodo Island

Komodo Island, one of the islands that make up the Republic of Indonesia, is a destination with unique flora and wildlife, stunning from the ocean floor to the summits of the mountains. This island also goes by the name “dragon’s Island” because it is home to the largest lizard in the entire globe, the Komodo Dragon! Relax on a Pink Sand Beach! Enjoy clear waters, a reef packed with tropical fish, and pale pink sand.

Travel Tip: You should never visit Komodo National Park by yourself, always go with a group of friends or a guide/ranger because Komodo Dragons can be aggressive around animals that are alone, including humans.

Hike to Mount Everest Base Camp

Trekking to Everest Base Camp is a bucket list item for a lot of people, and for great reason. Now is a great time to book the trek and start training for this adventure of a lifetime to the highest mountain in the world!

Aside from breathtaking scenery, travelers can experience unique local culture by visiting monasteries and admiring Buddhist stupas. The day’s trekking is filled with passing colorful prayer flags and traversing metal bridges strung across deep canyons. Evenings reward you with delicious Nepali food, chai, and bonding with fellow trekkers and local guides at a teahouse. You will never forget the time you spend on your way to Mount Everest base camp.

Travel Tip: Although trekkers of all ages and physical capabilities can reach Everest Base Camp, you’ll feel considerably more comfortable if you’re in peak physical shape. 


Wander the Ancient Temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia

 Angkor Wat is one of Cambodia’s most significant archaeological sites and is regarded as the greatest temple complex in the entire world. There are around 70 temples in the area, with Angkor Wat, Bayon, Ta Phrom, and Angkor Thom being the most popular ones.

Since they were rediscovered in the 1840s, the temples have been a famous tourist destination. The temple complex is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and despite the constant flow of visitors, the landscapes and ruins are still amazing to see and should be on every history/architecture buffs bucket list.

Travel Tip: Visit Angkor Wat for more than one day. Three different ticket options are available in Angkor Wat: one day, three days, and one week. 


Float in the Dead Sea

The Dead Sea, a salty lake 431 meters below sea level and the lowest point on Earth, is a beautiful natural wonder encircled by the Negev Desert’s breathtaking scenery. The sea’s salty water is known for its therapeutic and health benefits as well as being able to float effortlessly in the water.  The mud from the sea is great for your skin! Travelers can spread the magical mineral-rich Dead Sea mud on their body until it dries, then take a dip into the sea to wash it off.

Travel Tip: Travelers are lucky to see the Black Sea. According to scientists, it might be completely gone in 50 years. The water comes from the Jordan River which has been dramatically shrinking every year.


Visit the World’s Tallest Building – Burj Khalifa in Dubai

Dubai takes pleasure in owning the world’s highest building. One of Dubai’s most beautiful locations is the Burj Khalifa, which is 829,9 meters tall and offers a 360-degree panorama from its 124th floor. There are two observation decks: At The Top, which is located on the 124th and 125th floors and At The Top Sky, which is located on the 148th floor. The Dubai skyline can be seen from as far away as the eye can see from the Burj Khalifa’s decks, providing a breathtaking view.

Travel Tip: Plan to arrive early to ensure you get a good spot if you’re interested in seeing the sunset from the top, the best time to see Dubai from above.


Discover the Lost City of Petra, Jordan

Petra, the great Ancient City that lies half-hidden in the wind-blown landscape in southern Jordan, is one of the world’s most treasured UNESCO Heritage Sites and is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. The stunning sandstone city of Petra was built in the 3rd century BC by the Nabataeans, who carved palaces, temples, tombs, storerooms, and stables from the soft stone cliffs. The elaborate construction of this world-famous site is the reason it is on so many travelers’ bucket lists!

Travel Tip: The entire site cannot be seen in a single day. Most tours simply take guests to the Treasury for a photo opportunity but there is so much more to see that local guides inside Petra can show you.


South Pacific Bucket List

Explore the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is known for being the world’s largest coral reef system in the world, and it is situated off the coast of Queensland in Australia. From a distance, it is clear why it is regarded as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and one of the most magnificent coral reefs in the world! Scuba diving is one of the most fascinating things to do in Cairns, and the Great Barrier Reef has become one of the most popular tourist destinations because of its natural beauty.

Travel Tip: Go on multi-day expeditions to allow time to travel to the Great Barrier Reef’s furthest and most amazing reaches.

Check out other Must-See Australia Landmarks for Your Bucket List and get inspiration for an Australian adventure!


Explore the Gorgeous Beaches of French Polynesia

Most people undoubtedly picture honeymoon-favorite Bora Bora and its overwater bungalows situated over a sparkling lagoon when they think of the French Polynesia islands. But there is so much more to French Polynesia! From Tahiti’s world-famous surf breaks and legendary scuba diving with sharks in the Tuamotu Archipelago to the remote islands of the Marquesas with its rich culture and unique tattoo traditions. You can find a French Polynesian island to fit anyone’s vacation needs.

Travel Tip: The best months to visit French Polynesia is from June through August. The weather is perfect but this is peak season so lodging and travel costs are more expensive.


Take a Tour of the Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House is one of the most recognizable buildings in Australia. You could easily spend a whole day around this iconic structure. Enjoy the beautiful harbor view and wander down the Western Boardwalk. Take a tour to learn all about the history of the Oprea House, and have a delicious meal before seeing a show.

Travel Tip: For the best views of the Oprea House, see it from the Royal Botanic Gardens or hop on a harbor cruise and take pictures while floating in the water past.

Get inspiration for a trip to Australia in our Must-See Australia Landmarks blog!

Photo courtesy of Shaun Jeffers

Explore the Glowworm Caves in New Zealand

Climb over boulders, wade through freshwater streams, explore unexplored limestone caves, and go through lovely native New Zealand forests. In privately owned caves that are undisturbed by walkways or electric lights, take in the stunning glowworm displays.

The Waitomo caves are one of the most popular places to see the glowworms. These 30 million-year-old caves are only three hours from Auckland and provide you with a glimpse into the fascinating underground world of the South Island. Other great glowworm caves include Te Anau caves, Hokitika’s glow worm dell, Waipu caves, and Tauranga.

Travel Tip: The months of November through April are the ideal times to visit the caves, since they can get quite chilly in other months.

Explore our Ultimate Two-Week New Zealand Itinerary blog!

Africa Bucket List

Climb Mount Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro is well known for being both the tallest freestanding peak on Earth and the highest mountain in Africa. Trek across glaciers, through lush rainforests, and high-altitude deserts while at night sleeping beneath stars. If you wish to stand on the top of Africa, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is an incredible experience!

Travel Tip: Hikers might experience altitude sickness when hiking through the moorland region, usually on the second or third day of the climb.

See Wildlife on a Safari in South Africa 

One of the most stunning destinations on earth is South Africa and going on an African safari in Kruger National Park is on so many people’s bucket lists. In the national park, you can see the Big Five (elephant, lion, leopard, rhinoceros, and Cape buffalo), over 500 species of birds, as well as impala, zebra, and more!

There are so many exciting experiences to have! The city of Cape Town and the surrounding areas are brimming with amazing adventures, from scaling Table Mountain to swimming with penguins and indulging in wine tasting on a stunning vineyard in the middle of nowhere.

Travel Tip: Kruger Park is open all year round, and each season brings its own highlights. During the dry season, animals are easier to spot and they tend to gather around watering holes. In the wet months, animals are harder to see but there are more baby animals and migrant birds.

Enjoy the World’s Largest Waterfall

Victoria Falls, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Africa and the most breathtaking natural wonder on the Zambezi River, are sometimes referred to as “the smoke that thunders” because of the columns of spray that can be seen from miles away. Regarded as the world’s largest waterfall, it’s one destination that definietly should be crossed off your bucket list.

Travel Tips: From January to June is the best time to see the falls.

Be Amazed By The Great Pyramids of Giza

The Great Pyramid of Giza provides a list of desirable outcomes. The oldest and largest of the pyramids, and the final survivor of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World, it was constructed more than 5000 years ago. It is a masterpiece of human engineering and building and serves as a defining image of Egyptian culture.

Travel Tip: Winter is always the best season to visit The pyramids because it’s not as hot! 

Which of these travel experiences are on your bucket list? 

When you’re ready to start planning your next trip don’t forget to contact us.


When you’re ready to start planning your next trip, contact one of our TierOne Travel consultants. They have extensive experience in life-changing travel experiences and will be able to craft something incredible that is suited to your unique needs!

One call; endless experiences!

“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” – Anonymous

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