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My Clients' Top 5 Bucket List Destinations

Following up on my blog earlier this month on resolving to plan your bucket list trips in 2021, this week, I want to give you some bucket list destination inspiration. (As you might remember, you can get started dreaming up your travel goals today with Virtuoso’s fantastic tool called Wanderlist. Here’s a YouTube video that explains how it works.) But before we dive into the top five bucket list destinations, I see in working with my clients, I want to remind you how important it is to plan your bucket lists trips at least a year or more in advance. We tend to underestimate the amount of time it will take to plan and, without a clear sense of what the trip will cost, it’s difficult to know how much to save to make your dream trip come true.

Why Plan Now?

2021 is a particularly great year to get started planning your bucket list trips because most air carriers, cruise lines, accommodations, and tour companies have instituted flexible booking policies. I’m recommending that my clients make reservations now because availability will quickly decrease when pandemic conditions lift. Pent-up demand, as well as rescheduled trips, will mean less options for those who delay planning ahead. Finally, I always suggest getting started on the planning process as soon as possible so that you have time to research and plan with me, your travel advisor. Think of me as equivalent to your financial advisor but for travel: it’s my job to help you assess your travel goals and develop a plan and a budget to help you achieve them over the next three to five years and beyond.

My Top 5 Bucket list Destinations

With that in mind, here are my top five bucket list destinations. My clients dream of these fabulous destinations because they’re at the top of their class in natural and cultural beauty. I hope they give you a little inspiration in developing your own travel bucket list this year!

1. African Safari Getting up close and personal with animals in the wild is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many. If you dream of immersing yourself in a real world Lion King scene, then perhaps an African safari trip is for you. In countries like South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania, Zambia, and Namibia, you can find uncrowded private reserves with prime opportunities to see jungle cats like lions, cheetahs, and leopards as well as towering giraffes and elephants and even endangered species like rhinoceros. Because the very best lodges are small, sometimes with fewer than a dozen rooms, they book up well over a year in advance. So plan ahead, and consider joining me on a small group trip I’m leading there in the summer of 2022.

2. Western Europe

If you’re after a touch of Old World romance, look no further than western Europe, where cobblestone streets, gothic cathedrals, and charming cafés greet you on every corner. Travel seamlessly within the European Union by plane, train, boat, or car, venturing from major urban centers like Barcelona, Paris, and Berlin to the countryside charm of Tuscany and Provence to the natural wonder of the Alps. Along the way, sample some of the best wines and cuisines the world has to offer.

3. Alaska

Alaska’s state motto is “North to the Future,” and it’s easy to see why. Its natural beauty, from ice-capped mountains and Arctic plains to lush rainforests and tranquil lakes, is unmatched. Imagine yourself watching grizzly bears catching salmon swimming upstream, touching an ancient glacier, taking in the northern lights, or spotting orca whales swimming through coastal waters. Many of my clients prefer a land and sea tour, offering the best of “The Last Frontier” from two distinct and complimentary viewpoints.

4. Galápagos Islands

If you’ve always wanted to swim with giant sea tortoises and see penguins up close, you’re in luck! Because the Galápagos Islands lack animal predators, sea animals can be your new best friends. Located off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean, the Galápagos Islands are a World Heritage site perfect for diving, snorkeling, hiking, and surfing. There’s a reason Charles Darwin developed his theory of evolution here! Environmental protections of this important natural habitat mean reduced availability, so be sure to book your trip well in advance.

5. French Polynesia

More than one hundred islands in the South Pacific form the archipelagos of French Polynesia, the destination best known for the romantic over-the-water bungalows that travelers call home in this exclusive tropical paradise. I recommend the Tahitian islands of Bora Bora and Moorea in particular to my clients. Here you can take in green mountain peaks, gushing waterfalls, and scenic bays by catamaran, ATV, or foot. Adventure in French Polynesia need not be scheduled, however; when you want to swim or snorkel, simply emerge from your bungalow and hop right into the crystal blue water.

Wherever your bucket list takes you, I’m here to help. There’s a lot of world to see and so little time to see it in! Let’s get started making your travel dreams come true today.

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