It’s safe to say that most people these days have some sort of bucket list. And according to a recent survey, Americans are motivated to create these lists based on a variety of factors, such as age, inspiration, or even a change in income or relationship status. Regardless of what sparks the original desire to compile such goals the important fact is that people are doing it. When you put your dreams down in writing, that list becomes a physical commitment to chasing them, to living a life that is as fulfilling as possible.
One of the survey’s most interesting findings was that U.S.-based participants were motivated to travel beyond America’s borders. Despite the current political narratives, going abroad, seeing new lands, and experiencing foreign cultures remains important to Americans. But where do they want to go exactly? Well, you’ll have to keep reading to find out.
Population: 24.6 million
Currency: Australian Dollar (AUD)
Major Airports: Sydney Airport (SYD), Melbourne Airport (MEL), Brisbane Airport (BNE)
Why Visit: For many Americans, Australia seems a world away, but that’s exactly what lends to its alluring quality. Being such a great distance from the western hemisphere, the Land Down Under has developed distinctly unique cultural characteristics, like its accents, sports, and wildlife. What’s more, Australia is known for its idyllic landscapes, as the country’s biggest draws come in the form of natural wonders, such as the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru, Fraser Island, and the 12 Apostles. Its major cities — Melbourne, Sydney, and Perth — are spread out along different coastlines as well, which means that while there’s a lot to do, there’s even more ground to cover. (Though the island nation is consistently thought of as being small, that couldn’t be further from the truth.) But that’s all part of the fun. After all, if you spend all that time getting there, why not stay a while and see as much as you can?
Population: 4.8 million
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Major Airports: Dublin Airport (DUB), Cork Airport (ORK), Shannon Airport (SNN)
Why Visit: Ireland is a country rooted in tradition, a place where lore and legend seem to seep into the magic of everyday life. But this enchantment can still be experienced through its medieval castles and myriad historic sites. Here, you will find endless photo-ops as the salty seascapes, quaint countryside, and lively city blocks are sure to catch your eye — especially in Dublin, a city that bustles (and guzzles) unlike any other in the world. Ireland is also well-established in literary and pop-culture circles, as many fantastic stories and storytellers hail from the Emerald Isle. It’s no wonder so many Americans want to visit and discover their own magical story.
Population: 60.6 million
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Major Airports: Rome–Fiumicino International Airport (FCO), Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP), Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE)
Why Visit: No matter what type of traveler you are, there’s an adventure waiting for you in Italy. Foodie? Check. Road-tripper? You bet. Fan of small towns? There are lots of those, not to mention all of the ruins, cathedrals, and monuments that will satisfy history buffs. The country also boasts a handful of world-renowned cities such as Venice, which known for its canals and architecture, while Florence is brimming with art and gelato — and seeing the ruins of Rome is a must. Simply put, there’s a lot to do in Italy, which is why it might be a good idea to focus on a certain region if it’s your first time visiting, rather than trying to see everything in a single trip. Because of its expansiveness, we don’t blame you if the word “Italy” shows up more than once on your bucket list. Finally, while Italy isn’t exactly popular among budget-travelers, we might have found a secret or two for those looking to save an extra buck on their visit.
Population: 126.8 million
Currency: Japanese Yen (JPY)
Main Airports: Haneda International Airport (HND), Narita International Airport (NRT), Kansai International Airport (KIX)
Why Visit: Japan seems to have an unmatched ability to harness both the calm and chaos of its massive population, making for a uniquely fascinating culture. The streets of Japan (even in smaller villages) are in constant motion, the colors, smells, and sounds on full display everywhere you turn. What’s also hard to miss is the nation’s rich history. During your visit, you’re sure to experience a level of antiquity here, even at popular tourist attractions like Arashiyama, Kiyomizu-dera, and Kinkaku-ji. And before you head back home, make sure to spend some time in the capital, Tokyo — a great destination to take in the famous Cherry Blossom Festival (if you schedule your trip for early spring), or a homebase for a weekend trip to Mt. Fuji.
The United Kingdom
Population: 54.8 million
Currency: Pound (GBP)
Main Airports: London Heathrow (LHR), London Gatwick (LGW), Edinburgh Airport (EDI)
Why Visit: Comprised of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom is a remarkable assortment of historical and cultural riches. Each country is worth visiting on its own, so if you’re planning on seeing all four, you’re in for the trip of a lifetime. Explore London’s famous neighborhoods, learn about the mysticism of Wales, cruise down Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coastal Route, or twist through the Scottish Highlands en route to the Isle of Man. Whatever adventure you choose, there are no wrong turns to be had in the U.K.And since you’re there, you might as well take in a soccer game, too (just remember to call it football when talking to locals). For more information on London or Edinburgh, check out our comprehensive city guides — or, for inspirational, U.K.-based adventures, click here!
Population: 67.1 million
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Main Airports: Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG), Nice Côte d’Azur Airport (NCE), Lyon–Saint-Exupéry Airport (LYS)
Why Visit: France has been captivating American imaginations for centuries — and for good reason. After all, this is the country that boasts the Eiffel Tower, Mont-Saint-Michel, Château de Villandry, and the Louvre. And while the French were masters at building architecturally stunning landmarks, you shouldn’t overlook the country’s natural attractions either, such as the French Riviera, the Loire Valley, and Mont Blanc (among other mountains). But these destinations are just the tip of the iceberg. Paris is a gold mine to uncover, and the French countryside is dotted with rolling hills of vineyards and farmland. And we haven’t even mentioned the food yet, which in itself is reason enough to go. On y va!
Population: 10.8 million
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Main Airports: Athens International Airport (ATH), Heraklion International Airport (HER), Thessaloniki Airport (SKG)
Why Visit: A trip to Greece may well be the romantic getaway of your dreams. With its whitewashed balconies and breathtaking sunsets, this destination will make your heart flutter. But the good news is that Greece offers much more than a chance to sneak away with a special friend or partner, and because of the city’s location on the Mediterranean, this is a trip that can be made year-round. Whether it’s January or July, you can enjoy the sites that have made Greece famous, including the Acropolis, Mount Olympus, and the country’s serene islands. What’s more, a budgeted trip here won’t break the bank, which could slide it up a few notches on your list.
Population: 97.5 million
Currency: Egyptian Pound (EGP)
Main Airports: Cairo International Airport (CAI), Borg El Arab International Airport (HBE), Hurghada International Airport (HRG)
Why Visit: Egypt is a two-continent country that’s world-renowned for its history. Every year, travelers flock here to observe the foundation on which one of the world’s earliest civilizations was built. Today, an impressive number of ancient landmarks is open to visitors, including the Pyramids of Giza, Mount Sinai, and the Valley of the Kings (where King Tut’s newly refurbished tomb is located). The country is also home to a long list of other off-the-beaten-path attractions like the Abu Simbel Temples, Karnak Temple, and the Lost City of Heracleion. For urban excitement, head to the nation’s capital of Cairo, where you’ll find the Egyptian Museum and the Muhammad Ali Mosque. With this much antiquity in one place, Egypt is undeniably one of the world’s most intriguing countries.
Currency: Bahamian Dollar (BSD) (though USD is widely accepted)
Main Airports: Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS), Leonard M. Thompson International Airport (MHH), Grand Bahama International Airport (FPO)
Why Visit: The Bahamas are comprised of an idyllic archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, not far from Florida’s southern coast. Though there are nearly 700 islands within the Commonwealth’s borders, the most popular are Grand Bahama, Eleuthera, Paradise Island, Freeport, and the Abacos Islands. But no matter where you choose to stay, your days of swimming, snorkeling, sailing, or simply working on your tan are sure to be unforgettable, as the water here is so clear it can be seen from space. Adventurers should be sure to check out the area’s mysterious “blue holes” or spend a day exploring one of the many national parks and nature reserves. Locals are known to be jovial, so don’t be afraid to strike up conversation if you’re interested in learning a little about island life. Just remember that the Bahamas experience the brunt of hurricane season, so it’s best to plan your visit between November and mid-April.
Population: 82.8 million
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Main Airports: Frankfurt am Main Airport (FRA), Munich Airport (MUC), Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL)
Why Visit: Visiting Germany is a lot like jumping into a history book, but one that’s not quite finished yet. Deutschland is a fascinating place for those curious about the past (especially in Berlin, where reminders of yesteryear are around every corner), but there’s more to the country than the memories of former conflicts. Today, Germany’s major cities bustle with innovation and creativity, and many have been established as top destinations for artists, makers, and musicians. Each urban center offers a different experience for visitors, and the countryside boasts beautiful landscapes of rivers, forests, and mountains. Their food and beverage scene is also thriving, and millions travel to Munich each year for the famous Oktoberfest gathering. So whether you want to dive into a modern art exhibit, stroll along a quaint village lane, or climb to the top of a Gothic cathedral, Germany is the place to be!
We would love to know what’s on your bucket list! Let us know in the comments below!
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