Who doesn't like to spend some time looking at far-flung destinations and dreaming of the moment when they'll get to see them in person? For me it's not just a nice thing to do, it's a full-blown obsession. I've also been very lucky though to have been able to travel to some amazing places around the world. Today I thought I'd share some of my favorite travel moments and encourage you to stop dreaming and to plan that next great adventure.
The ancient site of Machu Picchu is on most people's travel bucket list, and with good reason. The ancient Inca site perched high in the Andes Mountains is one of those rare experiences that definitely lives up to the hype. While most visitors take the scenic train and bus to the site, thousands of intrepid travelers also hike to Machu Picchu. Following the 4-day Inca Trail hike, these adventurers spend a few days retracing the old Inca road getting to know the beautiful Andes in an intimate and intensely personal way.
The most popular tourist destination in the world is also my favorite city in the world. The first stop for many first-time travelers to Europe, the City of Lights seems to have it all. Iconic landmarks, delicious food and enough small lanes and alleyways to make urban exploration not just a nice thing to do, but an adventure in its own right - this is what draws people back time and again. Paris never fails to disappoint, no matter what you decide to do.
The first true tourist destination for the modern traveler, Egypt has welcomed people from around the world for more than a century. From the ancient Pyramids to modern life in Cairo and of course a classic cruise down the Nile, Egypt has plenty to offer. Now is also a great time to visit due to the decrease in tourism following the events of recent years.
It's hard to imagine that just a few years ago not many people visited Iceland for fun, but today it's the hottest travel destination out there. This small country in the North Atlantic offers some of the most amazing landscapes in the world, and the best way to experience them is to rent a car and start exploring. Take a few days to drive part or all of the Ring Road encircling the island-nation and you'll discover for yourself why the world has suddenly discovered Iceland.
Australians have long known just how exceptional the Whitsundays are, but now the rest of the world is also discovering them. This island group off of the central coast of Queensland includes the massive Great Barrier Reef but also some of the best beaches in the world. For a special treat take a helicopter over to quiet Whitehaven Beach, routinely called the best beach in the world.
Another popular tourist destination, turns out Thailand is popular for a reason it's amazing. From the always frenetic but fun city of Bangkok, to the quiet tropical beaches of the south, Thailand offers a little something for all styles of travel. For something a little different, be sure to head up north to the highlands and explore the city of Chiang Mai.
For those of us who love animal experiences, there's nothing better than the classic safari. Many countries around Africa offer amazing opportunities to see these beautiful creatures in the wild, but the most popular may be South Africa. With Kruger and other National Parks at your disposal, youre spoiled for choice when you visit. Expand your South African adventure with a trip to Cape Town, often listed as one of the top cities in the world for its livability and amazing scenery.
The ability of ancient civilizations to create masterpieces of engineering and architecture is fascinating to read about, but it's even more amazing to see in person. Made world-famous by Indiana Jones, the ancient city of Petra in Jordan is a must-visit site for adventurers of all ages. Make sure to plan a couple of days exploring the ancient city though, it's a massive area and there is a lot to see and do.
I have a particular fondness for Hawaii that's hard to explain. So much more than just some pretty beaches, Hawaii has a certain feel to it that is completely unlike any other place I've visited. Called the "Aloha Spirit" by locals, it's this live-and-let-live attitude that makes traveling around the islands so much fun. And, ok, the beaches don't hurt either.
For many people, a cruise around the Antarctic Peninsula is the culmination of years, even decades of pining. The so-called 7th continent isn't necessarily easy to reach, but well worth it for people who want a real adventure. Cruises are typically 7-10 days in length and include many stops where you'll explore massive mountains, quiet icy beaches and see more penguins and seals than you ever imagined existed.
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A luxury adventure traveler at heart, Matt Long shares his experiences with thousands of readers every day through his travel blog, LandLopers.com. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer. Matt is a Washington, DC based travel writer/photographer and has been featured on many other web sites and publications including BBC Travel, CNN GO, Huffington Post, AFAR Magazine and National Geographic Intelligent Travel. His work is also syndicated on the Flipboard and Pulse apps. Follow Matt on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Google Plus.
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