Every year, I like to put together a “travel bucket list” with inspiration for the coming year…a mood board for adventures, if you will. In taking a look at Expedia’s travel trends for 2023, it was really fun to see that so many of our thoughts about travel line up.
“This year is about travelers doing what they want to do, not what everyone else is doing.”
I can get behind that!
And, with that in mind, a majority of these bucket list items are not destination specific, so I encourage you to use them as a launching pad for ideas, essentially a “choose your own adventure,” well, adventure!
As you’re planning out your next holiday and crossing things off this list, use Expedia’s Price Tracking tool to find the best flight prices for your 2023 trips!
From jet-setting around the globe to places where your favorite TV show or film is set, to renting vacation homes and making memories under the stars, here is my travel bucket list for 2023!
Visit a Cultural Capital
Looking to immerse yourself in a completely different culture and learn about a different way of life? Open-air markets, poppin’ pubs, and museums as far as the eye can see await!
Data Expedia.com has gathered indicates these are the top 10 culture capitals for 2023:
- Edinburgh, Scotland
- Lisbon, Portugal
- Tokyo, Japan
- Dublin, Ireland
- New York, USA
- Sydney, Australia
- Dubai, UAE
- Montreal, Canada
- Munich, Germany
- Bangkok, Thailand
Take a Solo Trip
Going on a solo trip is a rite of passage. It’s a unique way to travel and you can experience a destination on your own terms and timeline.
You can see what you want, eat where you want, and you’ll be able to meet locals along the way. It’s a great way to boost your confidence and see the world, all at the same time.
As a solo female traveler, I’ve learned so much about myself and the world, when I’ve traveled to destinations alone.
If the idea of going solo on an international trip is a bit daunting — start small! Check out a neighboring state or county and take yourself on dates.
Travel to a Destination from a Movie or TV Show
For the film and TV buffs out there, have you ever considered traveling to the location of one of your favorite shows or movies?
- Harry Potter: As you may know, I’m a huge Harry Potter fan – and there are so many Harry Potter filming locations in the UK!
- Lord of the Rings: For those who would rather spend days exploring The Shire, there’s a whole Lord of the Rings Tour in New Zealand.
- Game of Thrones: Game of Thrones will have you wandering all around Europe, from Iceland to Scotland to Croatia.
- White Lotus: And, most recently, if you’ve been dreaming of staying at a White Lotus property (minus all the…terrible things), Four Seasons San Domenico Palace is the property they filmed at in Sicily!
Use Points to Fly for Free
I’m a big believer in getting credit card points to work for you and using points to fly for free!
I’ve flown Emirates First Class, and I’ve booked round-trip economy flights across the country and one-way business class flights around the world. I’ve even booked week-long rental cars for epic road trips.
And I didn’t pay for any of it. All of these things were booked for “free” using credit card points.
This isn’t to brag—it’s a wake-up call. If you aren’t using travel reward credit cards it’s time to get started! Travel reward credit card points are a GAME CHANGER.
While the points & miles game can seem extremely mysterious and almost too good to be true, I’ve created a few guides on how to demystify the process, including examples of when I’ve redeemed points, how I did it, and how much it’s saved me.
Here’s how I travel the world for free using credit card points and here’s my beginner’s guide to using points and miles.
Visit a National Park
The amount of gorgeous national parks that we have in North America is such a blessing.
From Rocky Mountain National Park to Banff to Yellowstone, and beyond, you could spend a lifetime exploring the most impressive national parks and still not get around to seeing them all.
Not only are national parks some of the most stunning and breathtaking natural wonders in the world, but they also offer a much-needed escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Whether you’re an avid hiker, a wildlife enthusiast, or just someone who appreciates the beauty of nature, there’s a national park out there for you.
Rent a Vacation Home
Traveling as a family or with a group of friends can be a wonderful and memorable experience, but finding the right accommodation can often be a challenge. That’s why renting a vacation home is the perfect solution.
Renting a vacation home offers a number of benefits compared to a hotel stay (don’t get me wrong, I love a good hotel stay…), but the “home away from home” atmosphere can be quite appealing!
A place where you and your traveling companions can relax and feel comfortable in a space that is entirely yours.
With separate bedrooms, a fully-equipped kitchen, and living spaces, you can cook meals together, enjoy movie nights, and spend quality time together without feeling cramped or confined.
Additionally, vacation homes are often more spacious and offer more privacy than hotel rooms. They often have outdoor areas for barbecuing, relaxing, and playing games, which can be a great way for everyone to bond and have fun together.
Find the perfect vacation home for you!
Take a Girls’ Trip
There’s no better way to bond with your closest friends and recharge your batteries than by taking a girls’ trip. And in 2023, there’s no better time to plan one!
Taking a girls’ trip allows you to escape the daily routine and indulge in much-needed downtime with your besties. You’ll have the chance to catch up, make new memories, and create a sense of sisterhood that will last a lifetime.
From exploring new destinations to trying new activities and indulging in pampering treatments, there’s something for everyone on a girls’ trip. It’s a chance to let your hair down, relax, and have some fun, without the distractions and responsibilities of everyday life.
Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a mix of both, a girls’ trip can provide a fresh perspective and help you to gain a new appreciation for life.
Go on a Wellness Retreat
Taking a wellness trip is a great way to prioritize your physical and mental health and rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit. Why not make this the year you prioritize yourself and invest in a wellness getaway?
A wellness trip can take many forms, from yoga retreats and spa vacations to fitness and adventure trips. The options are endless and can be tailored to suit your personal interests and needs.
Here are some great places to go on a wellness trip:
- Bali, Indonesia: Bali is known for its beautiful landscapes and rich culture, but it’s also a haven for wellness-seekers. From yoga and meditation retreats to detox and spa treatments, Bali has everything you need to soothe your mind and body.
- Costa Rica: This Central American paradise is the ultimate destination for adventure and wellness. With its lush rainforests, stunning beaches, and active volcanoes, Costa Rica is perfect for those who love to stay active while immersing themselves in nature.
- Tulum, Mexico: Tulum is a beautiful and bohemian coastal town known for its stunning beaches and laid-back vibe. It’s a great destination for those looking to unplug, recharge, and indulge in a variety of wellness experiences, from yoga and meditation to spa treatments and healthy dining.
Want to find the ultimate relaxation spot for you? Find the perfect hotel to rest, reset, and rejuvenate so you can come back feeling refreshed.
Hosting your own wellness trip with friends is another option to consider.
This allows you to customize your trip to meet your specific needs and create an itinerary that aligns with your group’s interests and goals. You can rent a vacation home, plan group activities, and even hire a wellness coach to help guide you on your journey.
Go Scuba Diving
Some of the best destinations on the planet are below sea level. Why not experience the beauty of the deep blue beyond with an adventure at sea?
If you’re ready to dig deeper, consider learning how to dive. Admittedly I was a bit nervous to take the plunge myself but it’s been so worth it. Getting my scuba diving certification opened up a whole new world for me.
Visit a Wonder of the World
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, commonly known as UNESCO, is always working to preserve and highlight the best of the best around the globe.
Visiting the Seven Wonders of the World is an opportunity to explore some of the most iconic structures and natural phenomena in history, and to learn about the cultures and civilizations that created them.
Each of the wonders provides a unique and awe-inspiring experience, showcasing the ingenuity and creativity of humankind, and they are symbols of human achievement that stand the test of time.
The classic Seven Wonders of the World and the New Seven Wonders of the World are must-sees. The new places are high on my list—I’ve been to all except Great Wall and Taj Mahal!
Go on an African Safari
I absolutely think that going on safari in Africa is one of the top things for any bucket list! From exploring Gondwana Private Game Reserve with my TBA Escapes Tour to heading deep into the bush in Botswana and Kenya—it’s an experience that never gets old.
One of my favorite things about having lived in Cape Town was the opportunity to explore so many parts of Africa. From South Africa to Kenya and beyond, there is nothing more captivating than experiencing wildlife in its natural habitat.
While safari is not known as a budget activity (read here about what you should budget for a safari), it is a worthwhile experience. Check out this guide to going on an African safari for more insight!
If you’ve never been on a safari in Africa, make it your goal for 2023!
Travel to a Remote Island
Traveling to remote islands can offer a unique experience that differs from more mainstream tourist destinations.
A few reasons to travel to a remote island:
- Unspoiled Nature: Remote islands are often less developed and less populated, which can make them ideal destinations for nature lovers who want to experience unspoiled landscapes, beaches, and wildlife.
- Adventure Opportunities: think of unique outdoor activities like hiking, snorkeling, and kayaking, which can be more challenging and rewarding than what you would find in a more touristy area. However, keep in mind that because a destination is remote, it may not have the infrastructure or typical tourist offices to book at (not a bad thing, just something to keep in mind!).
- Cultural Experiences: Visiting these islands can give you an opportunity to learn about different customs, traditions, and ways of life.
- Peace and Solitude: Whether you’re looking for a peaceful escape or an opportunity to reconnect with yourself, a remote island can be the perfect destination to disconnect in serene solitude.
You may want to add these islands to your travel bucket list:
- Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
- Palawan, Philippines
- Bora Bora, French Polynesia
- Havelock Island, India
And there you have it, folks! My 2023 travel bucket list.
What’s on your travel bucket list for this year? Let me know in the comments below!
This post was sponsored by Expedia. As always, all thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own.