It’s undeniable that sometimes taking a break from reality and exploring the world can soothe your soul and re-invigorate you—which is why it’s time to get your bucket list ideas in check. 13th century famous poet Rumi once said “travel brings power and love back into your life.” We could not agree more. Unfortunately, Americans are not traveling even if they do have access to paid time off. According to Project Time Off, an organization that aims to shift the cultural attitude towards vacation time and travel, “the always-on, 24/7 American work culture is taking a heavy toll, leading to 429 million wasted vacation days that undermine our personal, business, and economic well-being.”
It’s time to focus on you, your life, your family, your memories and all the things you want to experience in your lifetime. Because there’s no time like now to plan your next adventure. And while spending a day at the spa sure sounds pleasant, there are some places that are special, mind-boggling and even life changing. And while they might be a little harder to get to, they are well worth the effort and important that you see before you die. Consider this your travel bucket list: 10 places you have to see before you die.
1. Great Barrier Reef in Australia
If you live stateside, visiting Australia isn’t exactly an easy trip. It’s literally on the other side of the planet, and its a long voyage with a serious time change. But it is SO worth it to catch a glimpse of the Great Barrier Reef up in Queensland. The reef is one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World for a reason; it is the largest collection of coral reefs in the world—it spans nearly 1,500 miles! Whether you choose to experience the reef from the sky (you can take helicopter tours, go skydiving, hot air ballooning etc.) or under water (the reef boasts some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving in the world), you’ll see some of the most spectacular, magical ocean life and sites in your lifetime.
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2. Antelope Canyon in Arizona
You’re probably seen pictures—and we mean professional photography—of Antelope Canyon, and for good reason. This natural wonder is one of the most photographed canyons in the world. Located in Arizona on Navajo land, this canyon was formed by erosion of Navajo Sandstone and over time, flooding created smooth edges, giving the rock their signature flowing appearance. As beams of light shine down into the canyon, you’ll see a wide range of colors that look fake, resulting in a site that is breathtaking and haunting. You can view this magical site through educational tours and hikes, where you’ll not only get to witness the canyon first hand but you’ll also learn about the history of the area.
3. The Great Wall of China
This is one of the most iconic bucket list ideas. It’s hard to fathom just how amazing this man-made structure can be, but this wall (crafted by human hands!) spans thousands of miles. And as if that wasn’t incredible enough to see up close, and even walk across, the views from the wall, which sits on top of a mountain, are equally awe-inspiring.
4. Bora Bora in French Polynesia
Imagine crystal clear water for as far as the eye can see and the chance to stay in a secluded overwater bungalow where you simply step outside your door and dive into that turquoise water. This island in the South Pacific is literally paradise; it’s so beautiful you won’t believe it is real until you see it for your own eyes. Plus you can choose to do nothing but take in the sites, or you can go on an adventure, exploring the island by hiking, snorkeling, jesting, skydiving, feeding sharks and more. The claim is that “once seen, Bora Bora is never forgotten.” We believe it.
5. Taj Mahal in India
An architectural feat and perhaps one of the most beautiful places in the world, the Taj Mahal attracts millions of visitors each year, all hoping to experience the magical splendor of this massive structure which boasts a dome and reflection pool on over 3 acres of land.
6. Giza Pyramids in Egypt
Another one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the pyramids at Giza include 3 man-made pyramid structures built in the 4th dynasty, the largest one being constructed from approximately 2.3 million blocks. If it sounds big, it is; when you see these pyramids in person, you won’t be able to forget how incredible they are, especially since it’s still somewhat of a mystery exactly how they were built. And who could forget the Great Sphinx, which sits at the south end of the Great Pyramid. With the face of a man and the body of a lion, this limestone structure looks and feels magical.
7. Glowworm Caves in New Zealand
If you’re kinda squeamish when it comes to worms then you might not want to visit Glowworm Grotto in New Zealand, which boasts caves that are inhabited by a unique creature—the glowworm. These worms radiate light, thus allowing visitors to tour the caves at night by boat, guided only by the sparkling light from thousands of magical glowworms.
8. The Northern Lights in Finland
The Northern Lights, otherwise known as the Aurora Borealis, is an incredible light show that takes place when electrically charged particles released from the sun collide with gases in the atmosphere. It’s a science nerd’s dream, but anyone will appreciate just how majestic this site is. The light show is very visible from areas in Alaska, Northwest Canada, Sweden and Norway, but for a truly special experience, visit Finland and enjoy a stargazing show from your own private glass igloo (yes, an igloo!).
9. Machu Picchu in Peru
This ancient site on the Inca trail is as interesting as it is breathtaking. The restored Incan citadel sits on top of a mountain, and because there are no written documents recording how or why this site was built, it’s a mystery. It is a must-see experience to get a glimpse into this part of Incan history, and the scenery doesn’t suck either. Sure, you can get there by train from Cusco, but for the ultimate adventure, hike the Inca Trail for a memorable experience.
10. The Grand Canyon
Imagine a massive rock wall that spans over 200 miles…well, it’s even bigger than that. It’s impossible to fathom just how grand and incredible the Grand Canyon is without seeing it in person. The canyon is 277 miles, and it’s located within a national park of nearly 2,000 miles of maintained wilderness. Whether you choose to just check out the sites or you opt for a more intense hike or rafting trip, you won’t forget your time here.