Japan, also known as “The Land of the Rising Sun”, tops our travelers’ list of dream destinations, and with good reason. First of all, there’s Tokyo, one of the world’s most eclectic cities where old meets new. Visit a robot cafe in Shinjuku, say a prayer at Senso-Ji the 7th-century Buddhist temple, and see the city from the top of the Mori Tower, to name but a few things you won’t want to miss. That’s before we even get to the ancient forests of Yakushima Island, a UNESCO Heritage Site, and the awe-inspiring waterfalls of the Tōhoku region in northern Honshū. There’s enough here to keep even the most adventure-hungry of travelers busy for weeks.
Food and fashion have developed as central tenants of the Italian identity. Each region is home to its own flavors, from Tuscany’s world-renowned vineyards and Emiglia Romagna’s famed parmesan cheese to Neopolitan pizza and the Roman art of carbonara. When asked, our travelers said Rome is one of their dream destinations to visit when this is over. Food isn’t the only reason to set your sights on “The Eternal City”. Highlights include exploring the Colosseum, eating gelato in front of the Trevi Fountain, and standing underneath Michelangelo’s masterpiece in the Sistine Chapel.
With its golden sandy beaches, aboriginal history, and world-renowned coffee culture, it’s no wonder Australia comes in at number three on the list of dream destinations. Grab a surfboard and enjoy the crystal-clear waves along the Gold Coast, immerse yourself in the culture of Sydney including the iconic Opera House, and come face-to-face with a rainbow of colorful corals snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef. Perth on the country’s West Coast is also not to be missed, as is Uluru, Australia’s famous sandstone monolith, which is sacred to indigenous Australians.
Each state has its own unique culture from architecture to the arts and you’ll want to see them all. From the French, African, and American melting pot that is New Orleans, to the vibrant live-music scene of Austin, there’s so much to see. Adventure-seekers won’t want to miss the dramatic landscapes of Utah and Yosemite National Park. As you’d expect, New York is a particular draw for travelers. Highlights include a trip to Broadway, traversing the High Line, walking through Central Park, and visiting “The Big Apple’s” many museums.
5. New Zealand:
Nature lover’s paradise New Zealand is the place to go to escape urban life and lose yourself in the awesomeness of the great outdoors. First-time visitors shouldn’t leave without experiencing Maori culture, Milford Sound (which Kiwis will tell you is the eighth wonder of the world), and soaking in a hot spring. Fans of the Lord of the Rings films won’t want to miss Hobbiton, the life-sized set of the Shire, and a trip to Tolkienesque Rangitoto Island. Rangitoto, one of the most iconic landmarks in Auckland’s city skyline, is the youngest island in the Hauraki Gulf where you can climb through lava fields and caves.
Thailand is known as “The Land of smiles” and for good reason. The Thai people are some of the friendliest you’re likely to meet on your travels, and the landscapes will leave you feeling inspired. Highlights include The Grand Palace in Bangkok, island hopping through the tropical archipelago, going off the beaten track in Chiang-Mai, and indulging the senses at Damnoen Saduake’s famous floating market.
The Greek islands are like an assorted chocolate box in that each one has its own flavor. There are literally hundreds of islands you can visit each with its own untouched sandy beaches, rolling valleys, and awe-inspiring clifftops. Mykonos is great for parties, but if you’re looking for a more authentic experience then the typical island towns and deserted beaches of Kefalonia and Crete is perfect. That’s before you even get to the mainland, the capital Athens and the up-and-coming university city of Thessaloniki, which is attracting young creatives from across the world.
8. Bali (Indonesia):
Bali, otherwise known as “The Last Paradise” and “The Island of a Thousand Temples” is home to forested volcanic mountains, beaches, and coral reefs. No wonder then it comes in eighth on the list of dream destinations our travelers want to visit when this is over. Pick up a surfboard on Kuta beach, explore Ulun Danu Temple, one of Bali’s best examples of Hindu religious architecture, and go diving in Padang Bai. There’s enough on Indonesia’s most popular island to keep even the most adventurous of souls busy for days.