For many of us, getting out into the world is a priority despite lingering inflation and a smoldering pandemic. And perhaps because of that, Tripadvisor data shows that travelers want to take their trips to the next level, arranging as many activities as possible to make up for lost time.
To inspire you, here is a list of the top 25 Bucket List experiences around the world, as part of a recent announcement of Travellers’ Choice Things to Do: a new category full of memorable experiences.
According to travelers who left their authentic reviews over the past 12 months (May 1, 2021 to April 30, 2022), these are their top recommended must-do activities for 2022.
The following traveler lists lead this year. Plus some of my own takes.
Top 10 Bucket List Experiences Around the World
Premium Red Dunes, Camel Safari and BBQ at Al Khayma Camp – Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Enjoy the red dunes of Dubai’s Lahbab desert and a full range of desert activities. Start with a descent into the dunes in a 4×4, sandboarding and an ATV ride. Then, visit the Bedouin-inspired Al Khayma Camp for a camel ride, falcon interaction, and cultural activities before a star-studded barbecue buffet dinner and live show.
I still remember the variety of experiences I had in a single night, from dune bashing to henna tattoos; from the sunset in the desert to feasting under a starry sky.
Classic 4D/3N Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu – Cuzco, Peru
Walk the famous Inca Trail, considered one of the best hikes in the world. This 4-day tour from Cusco along the pilgrimage route is a mix of cultural, historical, and natural sites that offers insight into the ancient Incas. Pass through villages and archaeological sites until you reach the sacred mountain of Machu Picchu, where you will enjoy a guided tour.
I recommend out of season, and get up early, stay later to avoid the crowds on site.
Hot air balloon ride – Luxor, Egypt
Fly over the West Bank of Luxor for an aerial perspective of the Archaic sites at sunrise. Vast temples, slender obelisks and statues are illuminated by the sun low in the sky. Plus, your expert guide provides context.
I haven’t done a hot air balloon ride, but this is one of the most impressive sights in the world.
Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon Ride and Champagne Breakfast – Goreme, Turkey
Rising from the plains of Anatolia, Cappadocia is an ancient fairy-tale landscape famous for its honeycomb underground cities and towering chimney-shaped rocks. Admire unforgettable landscapes from the best vantage point in the region: a hot air balloon. Add buffet breakfast.
Another breathtaking hot air balloon experience takes place over hundreds of temples in Bagan, Myanmar at sunrise. I hope that this country will be able to solve its problems and open up fully to tourism again.
Blackstone Beach, Cliff Jumping and Hidden Gems -Aruba
Get behind the wheel of your very own UTV on this thrilling off-road adventure to explore the rugged, desert terrain of Aruba.
I don’t jump off cliffs, but riding in an all-terrain vehicle is really fun. Aruba’s desert meets turquoise Caribbean setting is stunning.
Ziplining Forest Adventure – The Original Canopy Tour – Rotorua, New Zealand
Rotorua’s lush native forest has existed for centuries. This 3 hour adventure combines fun, education and conservation. You’ll fly over ziplines and cross swing bridges for a new perspective on New Zealand’s native forests.
New Zealand is beautiful! And I think walking on swing bridges, especially rope ones, and especially in the wind, can be scarier than ziplining.
Arenales Caves and River Adventure in Puerto Rico – San Juan, Puerto Rico
Spend an adventurous day hiking in rivers, visiting an underground cave and swimming. Plus, end your adventure with a hike to a hidden spring.
Cenotes in Mexico are as close as I have come to swimming in a cave. I would like to do more!
Tandem parachute jump – Sao Paulo, Brazil
You’ll be in good hands when you jump from a height of 12,000 feet. Take off for a scenic flight over the town of Boituva, experience the thrill of freefall for up to 50 seconds, reaching speeds of over 200 km, then take in the views while parachuting.
I have never done it. Never will. But those who do swear by it.
Northern Lights Adventure with Greenlanders – Tromso, Norway
Embark on an adventurous pursuit of the Northern Lights in northern Norway aboard a Land Rover Defender. With a professional photographer as your guide and in a small group, you’ll capture the best possible photos of the Northern Lights. Travelers often call this tour “absolutely amazing” and a “magical night.”
Do you know the area most likely to have the most reliable, purple and green sky curtains? It’s Fairbanks, Alaska. You are pretty much guaranteed spectacular viewing there.
Swim with the manatees Includes in-water guide/photographer – Crystal River, Florida, USA
Board a U.S. Coast Guard-certified vessel where you’ll join your lead captain to embark on your journey through the waters of Kings Bay Sanctuary. You are a personal expert guide in the water who will also serve as a professional photographer to capture your memories of swimming with the manatees.
I did it years ago in Crystal River. A mother manatee swam past me with her calf and I felt her rough skin. They are gentle, endangered animals that need our support.
Tripadvisor’s 25 Best Bucket List Experiences Worldwide for 2022 also include iconic adventures like a classic Serengeti safari, a sunrise tour of Angkor Wat and a scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef. Coral. Discover all the winners here.
(For more adventure and destination info, check out Dubai Episode 35, New Zealand Episode 28, and Norway Episode 9 on my award-winning travel podcast, The Places I Remember with Lea Lane. Heard on Apple, Spotify and everywhere you listen – or on my website. )