The Getaway
Essential Trips to Take Before You Die

The world is full of exciting places, unfamiliar cultures, and phenomenal natural wonders you never knew you wanted to see. Traveling is fun, but that's not the only reason why people visit new places. It's exciting to step into an exotic locale, far from the well-beaten path. Seeing these places in photos is nothing like experiencing them in person. People often put off traveling for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they worry about the cost or being away from home or work obligations for too long.

Traveling provides you with experiences that probably aren't available in your normal, day-to-day life. Consider making a travel bucket list that's full of places that you'd like to visit before you die. Look into cultures, cuisines, or landscapes that interest you. There's an entire world out there for you to discover and thousands of opportunities for adventure. If you're concerned about cost, you don't necessarily have to travel thousands of miles from home. There are unique experiences everywhere in the world, and some may be closer than you think.


01 Glacier National Park, Montana

If you enjoy the great outdoors, you'll find your Nirvana in Glacier National Park. Hike the 700 miles of well-maintained trails. Experience the magnificent vistas, filled with alpine meadows, translucent-blue lakes, and 70 species of wildlife. While you're there, take the 50-mile Going-to-the-Sun Road scenic drive for breathtaking views of mountainous landscapes, cascading waterfalls, and glaciers.

Glacier National Park Photo by Justin Kauffman on Unsplash

02 The Great Wall, China

This centuries-old behemoth is the world's largest military structure. Not only is it significant in its history, but also in architectural significance, according to UNESCO. The Great Wall of China is 13,170 miles long. Researchers say it would take about 18 months for the average human to walk its length, but most visitors prefer to take selfies with the ancient structure and the surrounding majestic landscape.

Section of Great Wall near Beijing - China Hung_Chung_Chih / Getty Images

03 Golden Circle, Iceland

This Nordic island country has some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world. One of the best ways to see the country's natural wonders is to travel the Golden Circle Tour. This popular route loops from Reykjavík to Iceland's southern uplands. Glaciers, volcanoes, majestic waterfalls, and the geothermal area of Haukadalur with its active geysers are just a few of the sites you'll see.

Natural stone arch. Scenic landscape of Dyrholaey Nature Reserve, south coast of Iceland, Europe. eugenesergeev / Getty Images

04 Bora Bora, French Polynesia

When people daydream about the perfect island paradise, the vision likely resembles the tropical Shangri-La of Bora Bora. Instead of a hotel room, try one of the glass-floored overwater bungalows. Spend your days relaxing under the sun, shopping the local boutiques, or exploring the waters around the island in an underwater safari. Join a 4X4 guided cultural tour around the island for amazing views of famous sites like Maupiti Island and Teavanui Pass.

Lone Person Standing on Pier in Tropical Resort DNY59 / Getty Images

05 White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad, Alaska

Train travel was once a popular way to travel from one destination to another. Today, more people fly, but traveling by rail is a unique experience, especially if you travel along this scenic route through the Klondike country of Alaska. You'll climb 3000 feet in just over 20 miles in a vintage train car built in 1898, traveling between Skagway, Alaska and Whitehorse, Yukon. But the big payoffs are the unforgettable, panoramic views of a majestic mountain range, pristine glaciers, and nature at its unspoiled best.

Part of Alaska railroad in the Chugach National Forest with mountain range and Turnagain arm in background. A&J Fotos / Getty Images

06 Isle of Skye, Scotland

The Vikings called the area "cloud island" due to the foggy mist that surrounds it. Once you've seen the Isle of Skye, you'll understand why it's become one of Scotland's top travel destinations. The Quiraing is the northernmost summit on the Isle, offering an epic view of the area. Don't leave without visiting the fantasy-like Fairy Pools, a set of waterfalls that cascade over black mountain rock into a clear pool below.

Isle of Skye Photo by Keith Bremner on Unsplash

07 Venice, Italy

The city of Venice is a picturesque mesh of small islands in northeastern Italy, linked together with bridges and canals. The city floods around 100 times each year. Yet, the Venetians have found ways to preserve its old-world architecture, such as the stone-arched Rialto Bridge, still standing since its rebuild in the late 1500s. The two-week Venice Carnival is an annual event where people wear elaborate masks, parade through the streets, eat lasagne di Carnevale, and party to live music.

Bridge over a Venetian Canal. gehringj / Getty Images

08 The Great Barrier Reef, Australia

The world's largest coral reef system is just off the east coast of Queensland. Spreading out along 1200 miles of coastline, the Great Barrier Reef is larger than the Great Wall of China. More than 1500 species of fish live among the vibrantly colored coral, and it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Snorkeling and scuba diving experiences offer an up-close-and-personal reef adventure.

This is the great Barrier Reef. ltos / Getty Images

09 Patagonia, Argentina

Few people live in the sweeping grasslands, pampas, and deserts of Patagonia, a region shared by Argentina and Chile in the Andes mountains. Go whale-watching at the Peninsula Valdes marine wildlife sanctuary on the eastern side of Patagonia. Head to the south to experience the deserts and the gaucho life on the area's cattle ranges. The Cave of the Hands in Francisco P. Moreno National Park offers visitors an opportunity to see detailed murals and handprints of ancient people dating back to 10,000 BCE.

Guanaco at Torres del Paine nicolamargaret / Getty Images

10 Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

If you can't make it to Scotland, the craggy cliffs of Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia are the next best thing. The area is famous for its vistas, hiking trails, recreational activities, and Gaelic culture. Travel guides name Cape Breton the best island destination in continental North America. Those who enjoy scenic drives will love Cabot Trail, a 185-mile mixture of mountainous roads and paths that wind through the Cape Breton Highlands.

Cape Breton, Nova Scotia Jason_V / Getty Images

11 Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

The world's largest salt flat is also one of the most desolate and exceptional vistas on Earth. Salar de Uyuni isn't easy to get to. It covers more than 4000 square miles and has an altitude of nearly 12,000 feet. Yet those who do make it there are treated to a unique sight: quilted patterns of salt rising from the ground. During the rainy season, water overflow from area lakes spread across the surface, creating surreal mirrored reflections of the sky.

Salt flat Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia at sunrise sara_winter / Getty Images

12 Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands

Year-round temperatures in the 80s and world-class windsurfing are just a few of the reasons Saipan is such a great getaway destination. In just an hour, you can drive from one end of the island to the other and visit places like Garapan, the main tourist district. The Northern Mariana Islands sit to the west of Hawaii and are just as much of a tropical paradise. Because the area is a U.S. territory, you don't even need a passport to visit.

Island in the western Pacific Ocean near Saipan CampPhoto / Getty Images

13 Hobbiton, New Zealand

No entrance except party business

For avid fans of the Lord of the Rings movies, a visit to the Hobbiton movie set is essential. After the crew finished shooting the movies, they agreed to keep the 12-acre town intact for tourists and fans to visit and pay homage to the series' creator, J.R.R. Tolkien. Stop by the Green Dragon Inn for a complimentary beverage or traditional fare. You can book reservations for festivals year-round, including a beer festival, summer solstice festival, and the Hobbiton Christmas festival.


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