Top Bucket List Destinations for 2015

Sunrise from the plane

It’s no secret that I’m always dreaming about travel possibilities. Like a drug addict, travel consumes me. I could be in the middle of an enthralling conversation with a celebrity and I’d still find a way to direct my thoughts to new destinations. Working on sponsored posts for companies like Contiki has only increased my travel obsession. Have you ever wondered what places top the list for travel writers? Contiki has asked me to think about the most popular destinations for people to travel in the New Year. While my own personal list might not statistically be the most popular destinations, I’d bet that most of the places have a spot on your list. This year, Namibia, St. Lucia, Germany, Latvia, and Austria topped my list of favorite travel destinations. Here are my top bucket list picks for 2015. I haven’t visited any of these destinations, which is why they are on my 2015 list. I may not be able to visit them all, but the more unrealistic we are with our dreams and goals, the more we are able to achieve. I’m putting them out into the universe and we’ll see how it goes.

1. Thailand 

Thailand

Thailand topped our 2014 list. We made arrangements to take a family vacation there this November but opted for a last minute change to Hawaii because of the long flights with a toddler. After several, successful international trips with Athena, Thailand is back on the list. It’s a wondrous kingdom with Buddhist temples, exotic wildlife, fascinating history, unique culture, spectacular islands, and delectable foods. From traditional Buddhist festivals and wild Thai New Year celebrations to spectacular national parks and an array of land, sea and air activities, Thailand is worth the long flights.

2. Australia

Australia

I won’t go another year without visiting Australia. With its vast and varied landscapes, fascinating sites, unique wildlife, and white-sand beaches, Australia has a huge appeal for those who seek something new. I dream of diving the Great Barrier Reef, exploring the Outback, climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, getting up close and personal with the unique wildlife, and surfing Bondi Beach. Australia is a whole world of new adventures in one location. My only worry is that I’ll have to move there to get my fill of Australia.

3. Ecuador & the Galapagos 

Travel to Ecuador

The largest mega-diversity on the planet makes its home in Ecuador, the center of the world. I imagine walking and diving among giant tortoises, descending into the deep jungle, surfing the rolling waves and exploring volcanoes. Islands, rainforest, Andes and seas, 4 worlds are waiting for me in Ecuador.

4. Peru 

Peru

The sharp contrast between forests and deserts on the coast, deep ravines and towering snow-capped mountains in the Andean highlands, densely forested slopes and huge plains of thick vegetation in the Amazon jungle and the magnificent testimony to an ancient civilization at Machu Picchu all draw me to Peru. I will walk in the footsteps of the Incas and experience one of the highest items on my life bucket list, Machu Picchu.

5. Antarctica 

Antarctica

Ice? Frigid cold? Glaciers? Isn’t that why I left Canada and moved to California? Yet Antarctica has always been on my list. Often described as magical, surreal, unforgettable, life-changing, and a glimpse of nature at its purest, Antarctica provides an unparalleled setting and atmosphere. But the arrival is only part of the draw to Antarctica for me. The journey is even more of a destination. Aboard Bark Europa, I want to be part of the sailing crew to Antarctica, crossing the Drake Pass and seeing the brilliant white shapes of floating icebergs on the horizon.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Maybe these places aren’t on your list. Check out Contiki for more inspiration or explore Bucket List Publications for previous adventures. What new destinations are on the top of your 2015 bucket list?

***This post was sponsored by Contiki but all thoughts and opinions are my own.***

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80 thoughts on “Top Bucket List Destinations for 2015

  1. I’ve been to three of the five locations on this list…enjoyed every single one of them…you’ll have a great time.

    Here is a piece to read before you go to the Galapagos…the difference between turtles and tortoises: http://alaskagirlatheart.com/tortoise-encounters/

    As for Australia…I LOVED it, but between the sharks, jellyfish, and salt-water crocs you either can’t swim in some locations (I only visited the east coast…Sydney to Cooktown) or have to take precautions…like a full body suit to go snorkeling (this is only during their summer, but I can’t image visiting any other time).

    Have fun!!!

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  2. Best meal I ever had was at a very modest restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand – and it only cost $12 USD! The next best was at a fantastic restaurant in Paris, but my heart (gastronomically speaking) will always be in Thailand!

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  3. Forget Bondi when you get here it’s the most overrated beach in Australia. If you want to surf in Sydney head for our Northern Beaches, Freshwater, Many right up to Palm Beach. You like surfing? You’ll never leave you go to our Nothern Beaches, go look them up on Google whatever.

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      • I went to Charleston in South Carolina back in March. It was only for a week & a bit last minute, but I loved it! All the charm of the American South but also as much history as you’d find in a European city.

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  4. I have been to Peru, Thailand and Australia. Each one stunning in its own way. 2015 heralds another trip to California and another to New Zealand for me. Both places I’ve been before, but in the case of New Zealand, not for ten years, so looking forward to going back.
    I am also going to North Wales 🙂

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  5. [email protected] on said:

    Australia and Thailand I can assure you it worth every single coin! Enjoy your trips! 🙂

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  6. I’ve been to two of the five. Peru and Galapagos are also on my list, but behind Hawaii and Costa Rica. Can’t say I’d be too jazzed about going to Antarctica…just came off a relatively cold trip to Ireland..not a fan of being cold especially with living in DC. Great list! Kudos to you if you can manage it in one year!

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  7. I’m going to your top three next year too. Been to Peru few years ago & recommend hiking to Macchu Picchu. So so jealous you’re going to Antarctica, the one continent that continues to elude me.

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  8. I have been to all on your list except Antarctica. My list includes Burma (next month), Bhutan, Jordan, China, Iran, Sri Lanka, Southern India and a thousand other places. I won’t live long enough to see them all but I am going to try.

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  9. Hmm, Thailand doesn’t appeal to me because of the conflicted political situation over there and the violent crimes against tourists that I keep hearing about on the news.

    I would love to go to all the other places on your list though! I’m not sure how much travelling I will get to do in 2015, due to personal and family commitments, but I would love to travel the U.S. I would also like to go and practice my Spanish in Spain and visit Austria.

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  10. Cruise to Antarctica is #1 on my bucket list again for this year. After that, I’d like to hike up Kilimanjero in Africa, African safari, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Vietnam, Southern Chile, River cruise in Europe (Vienna, Budapest, etc), New Zealand to check out the Lord of the Rings scenery, India, Thailand again (any time!), Indonesia again (any time), Korea again (any time!), and the list never ends…
    How do you manage to get sponsored by Contiki (or anybody else)??? I would LOVE to be able to do that!!

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  11. You will love Machu Picchu. Just remember that it sits at an elevation of almost 2500 meters, and you jumping off point to there – Cusco – is 3400 meters. Even for someone in good physical shape it can be a lung-searing experience.

    While in Australia, go cage diving with white sharks. It will scare the bejeezuz out of you. Do it anyway, it’s fantastic, a truly life-changing experience.

    Cricketmuse suggests New Zealand and I’d heartily agree with that. Don’t bother with Queenstown, it’s overpriced and over-touristed. Go kayaking in Paihia. Go deep-sea fishing. Take in Milford Sound and Cape Reinga. And be sure to visit Christchurch to see the strength of the people and community as they re-build after the devastating earthquake.

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  12. Even though we only hit up two cities while in Australia, I absolutely loved it! Just don’t have too high of hopes for the GBR. When we went last year, the majority of coral where we were had lost it’s color because the warmer water temps are bleaching it. Hopefully you see more colorful pieces! I would still highly recommend going because who knows how long the reef will be around.

    Also, if you have the time, definitely hop over to New Zealand. Such an amazing country.

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  13. I would love to add new destinations for my travel bucket list, but I keep making the rounds to the usual places: New York (sometimes more than once during the year) and California. Thankfully I added a few new places this year, but I would ultimately love to go expand my travels outside of the US once again. I’ve got the itch to fly over the ocean!

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  14. I loved Thailand when I visited earlier this year. There is so much to do and it is quite family friendly. I can recommend a really nice place to stay in Chiang Mai if you choose to go that direction.
    I am really excited as I am moving fro the UK to live in Australia this month. So if you need any advice or inspiration please feel free to drop by my blog or contact me.
    Have a super vacation! 🙂

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  15. No doubt an amazing list… the Galapagos are a dream, the most special place I have ever been to in my life!! Im sure you wont regret to visit this wonderful place. Thailand is also on my list, Antarctica too 😀 I hope you make it to all of them in 2015!!

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