Hands up, who has an adventure bucket list?!
I know I do and trust me it’s kept me sane on those really bleak long winter days when my paperwork is piling up and home time is taking an age to arrive!
But until recently, I have never written my travel bucket list experiences down on paper.
But we should all be writing our bucket lists down. Having a written record of them, preferably somewhere we see it often, makes us feel accountable and a lot more likely to actually get around to ticking some of our adventure bucket list experiences off.
So write down your bucket list. Pin it to your fridge door or pin it to your noticeboard. Look at it whenever life seems a little mundane.
Take the time to actually tick things off as you have more life experiences which will keep you motivated. Set yourself little targets like to tick something off every few months.
It could be something simple or local – perhaps trying that new Indonesian restaurant down the road. Or it might be a huge travel bucket list trip like the Trans Siberian Express, sailing the Galapagos or going on safari to see the big 5.
Let’s make a pact shall we? Let’s all aim to tick off at least a few of our adventure bucket list experiences in 2019 and make it the best year ever?!
- A Guide to Help you Plan your Trip of a Lifetime
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If you’re stuck for ideas for your own travel bucket list, here are plenty of experiences you may want to add to your own travel list..!
What you can expect from this article...
- 1 Adventure Bucket List Experiences to Have in 2019
- 1.1 Swim with Sea Lions in the Galapagos Islands
- 1.2 See the Northern Lights in Iceland
- 1.3 Sleep Under the Stars in the Outback
- 1.4 Search for Polar Bears in the Arctic
- 1.5 Trek The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
- 1.6 Sail Around the Thai Islands
- 1.7 Spot the ‘Big 5’ on a Safari in Africa
- 1.8 Celebrate Holi Festival in India
- 1.9 Find Penguins in The Antarctic
- 1.10 Go in search of volcanoes in Indonesia
- 1.11 Stay on a Ranch in Argentina
- 1.12 Get Splash Happy at Songkran Festival in Thailand
- 1.13 Check out the Stunning Scenery on the W Trek in Patagonia
- 1.14 Find Bengal Tigers in Ramthambore National Park, India
- 1.15 Find Epic Scenery in New Zealand
- 1.16 Other Bucket List Experiences Which Look Pretty Epic…
Adventure Bucket List Experiences to Have in 2019
Swim with Sea Lions in the Galapagos Islands
This was my number one bucket list trip until recently when I ticked it off in October last year. The Galapagos islands are absolutely blooming incredible!
Situated over 600 miles from mainland Ecuador, visiting the Galapagos Islands is like visiting another planet. A planet where the wildlife is plentiful, curious and unafraid of humans. The beaches are exotic and pristine, the landscapes fascinating.
Don’t even get me started on the snorkel opportunities! But let me tell you that snorkelling with sea lions in The Galapagos Islands was hands down my favourite travel experience to date!
The Galapagos Islands are on many peoples bucket lists but often remain on there since it can be really expensive to visit. It’s true, it’s not cheap! But there are cheaper companies offering fantastic sailing trips around the islands at a fraction of the price most cruise liners charge. I travelled with G Adventures and had a fantastic trip which wasn’t cheap but it was affordable. Just.
You can read about my experience here in this Galapagos Trip Review.
See the Northern Lights in Iceland
Iceland is a country of unrivalled beauty and intrigue. With some of the most unusual landscapes but also the most beautiful. At every twist and turn of Iceland’s ring road, there is yet another spectacular view.
Iceland is famous for it’s waterfalls and hot springs. But you’ll also find glacial lagoons, black sand beaches, volcanos and canyons galore.
The best way to see Iceland is to hire a car and drive the ring road making a small detour to the Snaefellsness peninsula. You need to allow 1-2 weeks to drive Iceland’s ring road, weather dependent!
If you want to see the northern lights, you’re best off visiting between September and April and spending as much time there as possible as spotting them requires a completely clear night sky and good aurora activity which is not guaranteed!
Again, Iceland is not cheap but you can learn here, how to save money in Iceland.
Sleep Under the Stars in the Outback
I recall feeling nervous about sleeping under the stars without a tent in the outback, concerned about the creepy crawlies crawling somewhere they shouldn’t!
But once I was settled in my comfy swag (essentially a sleeping bag with inbuilt mattress) I was so amazed by how breathtakingly beautiful the stars were, I didn’t think about snakes and spiders once!
Taking a road trip in the Australia Outback was one of the most amazing and surreal experiences I’ve had whilst travelling. Then watching the sun set on Ayers Rock at Uluru was one of those moments you just know you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
Search for Polar Bears in the Arctic
Trips to the Arctic are not only reserved for intrepid explorers! You can go in search of polar bears too.
Yes, it won’t be the cheapest bucket list experience, but how many people can say they’ve seen a polar bear in the wild? Again, G Adventures seems to offer the best value for money trips I’ve seen and this is very much firmly on my own bucket list!
The best way to see the Arctic is to take a boat trip. You will get to explore by land and sea looking out for polar bears, seals, arctic fox, reindeers and whales. You’ll also get to visit tiny colourful villages in Greenland to see how people live in far northern Europe.
Trek The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is a super popular bucket list idea and with good reason. That place is incredible. Seeing it with your own eyes is a million times better than in the photos.
The Inca ruins here are some of the best maintained in the country. But it’s location nestled in the mountains is what gives it the extra ‘wow’ factor!
You can reach Machu Picchu by various ways. Some choose to take the train but many complete a 4 day trek through mountains and jungle to get there via the infamous Inca Trail.
Another option is to take the Lares Trek. It’s a 3 day alternative and although it doesn’t take you right to Machu Picchu, you can catch the train for the last section. The appeal of this trek is that it’s MUCH quieter than the Lares trek. It’ll just be you, your hiking group and the mountains.
I did the Lares trek with G Adventures (can you tell, I’m quite a fan?!) I’m so glad I chose The Lares hike but its a personal choice. Either way, visiting Machu Pichu is definitely deserving of a place on your bucket list places!
Sail Around the Thai Islands
Possibly the most relaxing week I’ve ever had was spent sailing around the Thai islands on a small boat. The days were spent snorkelling, visiting islands and beaches, reading my book in the boom net and in the evening devouring fresh seafood for dinner.
The sailing trip I took started and ended in Phuket on the west coast of Thailand. It took in some of Thailands most popular spots including Railay beach and Koh Phi Phi (aka the beach in ‘the beach’ film!) It would be a great way to end any Thailand itinerary.
Spot the ‘Big 5’ on a Safari in Africa
Photographers and wildlife enthusiasts absolutely need to have a safari on their adventure bucket list!
I can’t quite put into words just how exciting a safari can be. When your guide gets a tip off from another ranger, your 4×4 races off billowing safari dust into the air behind you, the excitement of the unknown, what are you going to see? Will it still be there?
Then there’s the buzz when you spot something in the distance, get a little closer and discover its a pride of lions, the fluffy baby cubs happily play fighting with each other.
But contrary to popular belief, visiting Africa is not just about the safari’s. Visit the worlds largest waterfall, Victoria Falls, explore exotic spice markets on the Tanzanian island Zanzibar, climb the highest mountain in Africa, visit the out of the world scenery in the dessert in Namibia.
Top of my own bucket list is a trek to see the gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda!
Check out some of these brilliant trips in Africa including the Kenyan safari I took a few years ago!
Celebrate Holi Festival in India
Possibly the most colourful spectacle in the world, Holi festival is celebrated all over India every March following a full moon.
Celebrating good triumphing over evil and the arrival of Spring, the rather raucous celebrations involve a powder paint fight where the air is filled with rainbow colours.
This is one festival right at the top of my India bucket list. But there are many other contenders such as the infamous Taj Mahal, the pink city of Jaipur, the peaceful backwaters of Kerala and the lively beaches in Goa.
Find Penguins in The Antarctic
Whereas the Arctic is more about polar bears, Antarctica is all about the penguins!
Have you ever seen a photo of St Andrew’s Bay in South Georgia? If not, go and google it now – I’ll wait!
It’s home to half a million penguins! You may know by now I am a HUGE wildlife photography fan (you can check out my wildlife photography tips here) so after seeing photos of South Georgia, it has shot straight to the top of my bucket list!
It’s a shame trips to Antarctica and South Georgia are so blumin’ expensive but again, I’ve done my research and G Adventures and Intrepid are again coming up as offering some pretty awesome deals. I’d recommend keeping an eye out for Black Friday and January sales as the savings you can make at this time of year are pretty considerable for expensive tours like this!
Go in search of volcanoes in Indonesia
Many people never get beyond Bali when they visit Indonesia. Such a shame. The best bits are in easy reach from popular Bali and, in my opinion, are SO much better.
The island of Java is where it’s at for impressive volcanoes. My favourite being Mt Bromo (make sure you trek up for sunrise which is just beautiful) and Mt Ijen. At Mt Ijen you will see the sulphur workers trekking up and down the mountain carrying 80kg of noxious sulphur each time. So whilst it’s incredible beautiful, I left with mixed emotions of sadness and awe.
Another Indonesian gem is Mt Rinjani. Unfortunately, I ran out of time to get there but hope to go back one day. This beautiful volcano on Lombok is nestled in its own emerald crater lake and requires an overnight trek to reach it for sunrise.
After all that hiking, you’ll need to factor in some chill time and the Gili islands are perfect for that – absolute paradise!
Stay on a Ranch in Argentina
Escape the rat race and take a countryside break on a cattle ranch in Argentina. Your days will be filled with horse treks, learning cowboy skills and nature walks and your evenings with eating steak and drinking merlot!
I stayed on a ranch in Argentina called Los Potreros and had such a relaxing time there. It’s given me fuel for this years bucket list – I want to learn to ride properly!
You can read about my estancia experience here.
Get Splash Happy at Songkran Festival in Thailand
Songkran festival, celebrated on April 13th each year celebrates the Thai new year. Water is an important element in the celebrations and you will see water being poured over buddha images and the hands of buddhist monks.
You can also join in the fun with huge water fights where buckets of water are thrown and water pistols are used in the frivolities.
Check out the Stunning Scenery on the W Trek in Patagonia
Some of the best scenery in South America is concentrated in Patagonia, a welsh speaking region shared by the southern tip of both Argentina and Chile. You can expect dramatic rock formations, glaciers, emerald glacier lakes and mountains.
The ‘W Trek’ is a challenging 5-7 day circuit in Torres Del Paine National Park encompassing some of the best scenery Patagonia has to offer. It’s not an easy walk and some days involve trekking up mountains for 15 miles but it’s definitely a trek which needs to be on your adventure bucket list!
Find Bengal Tigers in Ramthambore National Park, India
Ramthambore National park in India is home to a large population of Bengal tigers and is one of your best opportunities to spot them in the wild.
Tigers can be pretty tricky to spot so you are best to plan to spend several days here and take several safari trips to try and find them.
But if you are lucky then I’m pretty convinced it will be one of the best wildlife experiences you will ever experience! Going on safari in India is definitely worthy of a place on your adventure travel bucket list!
Find Epic Scenery in New Zealand
New Zealand is one of those places where getting between A and B is almost as exciting as the places you visit. Every corner you turn is met with another incredible view of glacial lakes, snow capped mountains and forests.
If you are short of time, South Island has some of the best scenery in my humble opinion! That said The North island also has the beautiful bay of islands and Rotorua geothermal area as well as the stunning Tongariro Crossing!
In the South, you must visit Franz Josef Glacier (take a helicopter ride and walk on the glaciers themselves) go whale watching at Kaikoura and spend time in the glacial lakes in the centre. Queenstown and Abel Tasman National Park are also highlights not to be missed.
Other Bucket List Experiences Which Look Pretty Epic…
- Go glamping in the desert & bartering in souks on a 15-day Morocco Trip
- Spot lemurs and find exotic beaches and rainforrest in remote Madagascar
- Hang out with wild orangutans in Borneo
- Explore Chinas highlights including the Great Wall
- Meet snow monkeys and explore wacky cities in Japan on an 11 day tour
- Challenge yourself to climb to Everest Base Camp in Nepal
- Explore Cuba by land and sea on this land and sailing trip
- Go island hopping in Greece on a sailing trip
- Have an ecoadventure in Brazil, spot leopards and swim with anacondas!
- Explore West USA, Canada & The Rockies with this LA to Vancouver trip
Did you get some 2019 travel inspiration there?! My own travel bucket list is just getting longer and longer! But high up on my own list currently is Japan, Namibia, Morocco, India and Antarctica. What about you? Tell me in the comments below!
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- A Guide to Help you Plan your Trip of a Lifetime
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