Thinking about your travel bucket list 2019 planning? Begin with a strong resource round-up of unique bucket list ideas for your best travel year ever!
If you’re like us, the start of the New Year means annual travel planning begins in earnest. Who doesn’t get excited about the prospect of an entire year to fill with getaways and trips? Coming up with unique bucket list ideas to incorporate into the planning process is just part of the fun!
Whether it’s discovering a new destination or returning to an old favorite, our bucket list 2019 planning, as it does for any year, takes a variety of recommendations into account. When the collections of best bucket list ideas begin to emerge, we eagerly bookmark them, don’t you?
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After a while, avid travelers can become jaded about perfectly good bucket list items. Many resource lists aren’t as innovative as we might have deemed in the past.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be influenced by these resources. On the contrary, when it comes to bucket list ideas, travel related items will nearly always deliver a nugget of inspiration.
Tip: Treat “ultimate bucket list” posts with a grain of salt. Is this a publication with legitimate editorial clout? Does the author have street cred? Or is this a less experienced newcomer cheekily throwing their hat in the experts’ ring? A resource doesn’t necessarily have to have traveled full time for years, as we and others have. But extensive travel experience counts. As well, a drive-by “ultimate travel bucket list” recommendation from someone who spent a couple of days in a destination can be a pretension that leads you needlessly astray. Use a critical eye.
With all this in mind, let’s zoom in on some of our favorite travel bucket list recommendations that have come out recently. Along with these, we’ll refer to pertinent experiences of our own in the hopes that you’ll be influenced or inspired in your own planning.
Download our free PDF: How to Plan Your Best Travel Year Ever! with deadlines and other tips. Click here.
First up is Lonely Planet, with an entertaining video suggesting 17 different places to travel this month. Why limit your plans to January? These are all good summer bucket list ideas, as well. Highlights include:
- Andaman Coast – see our favorite place to stay in Krabi, Thailand, a small luxury pool villa complex with amazing amenities and excursions at a surprisingly low price. Bucket list travel adventures rarely get more exotic than this part of the world.
- Tasmania – we recommended this less-frequently visited location a year ago in Off the Beaten Path: Australia. As well, our Australia-based expat author included Tasmania in her 10 best list. Folks planning bucket list vacations Down Under rarely consider Tasmania, and we think they should.
- Budapest – number one big European city to put on any piece of paper entitled “My Bucket List,” according to Betsy. The Budapest coffee house tradition and restaurant scene is impressive: check out our write-ups on the splendid New York Cafe and a lovely, little hidden Jewish restaurant on the Pest side. On the Buda side are not-to-miss views spanning Europe’s most beautiful waterway from the medieval Fisherman’s Bastion complex.
- Transylvania – our Off the Beaten Path: Europe recommendations from a year ago singled out Romania, highlighting excursions into the Carpathian mountains of this region. Do as we did and take a night train from Budapest to Bucharest and work your way back from the capital into this rural region that is frozen in time.
Tip: Click here for info on how to travel first class by train throughout Europe with a Eurail pass.
- Vienna – a perennial favorite, Vienna is a must include of bucket list ideas before you die. Aficionados of history and culture will appreciate it as the epicenter of the incomparable Habsburg Empire. Vienna’s standing as a classical music and historic intellectual mecca is unsurpassed. Check out our Vienna Top 10, and consider an exceptional experience at the incomparable Hotel Bristol.
- Bulgaria – Central Europe dominates the Lonely Planet’s cool bucket list ideas, as we believe it well should. Even so, Bulgaria isn’t usually chosen as frequently as other locations in the region. We’re here to change that. Our top 10 Sofia experiences were enough to convince us – and hopefully, you – that Bulgaria stands on its own as a unique blend of cosmopolitan and traditional. We’ll return.
National Geographic weighs in with two destinations you’ve seen in our content:
- Kansas City, MO – you’ll recall we road-tripped in search of the best barbeque in KC a few years back. You’ll find our recommendations for the best barbecue and things to do in and around Kansas City here.
- Belize – We beat Nat Geo to the punch again with a guest post aimed at first time visitors. Our guide to Belize will get you started on an insider’s track.
Fodor’s Travel has a list of places its editors would like to revisit. Of their picks, Hong Kong jumped out at us. If your travels include it, you’ll want to consult our easy list of things to do on a longer layover in Hong Kong.
Travel Awaits puts forth its short list of 5 underrated destinations worldwide. Along with Armenia and Slovenia – two places on our future list, the Philippines made the cut.
You’ll want to check out our write-ups on Philippines Travel for Beginners and Overwater Bungalow Escape in the Philippines. The overwater bungalow post will acquaint you with the environs of Davao on the island of Mindanao, which is a less-visited location.
Travel and Leisure, arguably the granddaddy of any dreamer’s resource, has a list of 50 places travelers should consider this year for bucket list trips. While their introduction reiterates locations like the Andaman Islands and the Central European wine scene, we noted the following:
- Brisbane – T&L cites development in the city’s central business district as a draw, but our money is on A Bit of Bohemia in Brisbane: The West End.
- Egypt – It’s time for a comeback and Egypt is making it. Still, travelers who prefer to exercise caution may want to consider a guided experience. For additional info and referrals, bookmark our friend Passainte Assem’s new blog, Why Not Egypt? where she seeks to inspire and promote hassle-free travel in the Land of the Pharaohs.
- Grand Canyon’s North Rim – We’re big fans of northern Arizona to begin with and so are many of our readers. Our Sedona guide is one of the most popular posts we’ve ever written, and we also recommend Arizona’s Mogollon Rim as an underrated USA destination. Consider combining these locations with the Grand Canyon into one unforgettable itinerary. Or consider whether a best friend bucket list might include this as a weekend getaway.
- Helsinki – Always a hub for contemporary art and design, Helsinki appeared in our off the path Europe post along with other Baltic capitals. From there, we recommend you head to UNESCO-listed Suomenlinna island, and plan to take the ferry to Tallinn, Estonia for an overnight stay.
- Hoi An – Noted for its historic center, Hoi An also boasts a scenic beach. Check out our ideas on other beach destinations in Vietnam: Nha Trang and Quy Nhon. If you’re considering train travel in Vietnam, you’ll want to stop in Hue for Chinese-influenced imperial architecture and poignant 20th-century history, too.
- Northern Territory, Australia – See the incomparable Uluru and Kakadu sites from a convenient base which has a fascinating WWII-era history of its own. Read more at: Darwin and Distant Thunder. You might like to try “bush bashing” in Litchfield National Park, as we did, too. Plenty of fun in this less frequently visited part of Australia!
- Panama City, Panama – We’re big fans of little Panama, whose Casco Viejo district in its Panama City capital has come into its own. Stay at the historic American Trade Hotel, as they recommend. While you’re in country, venture further north to Boquete, a charming favorite of expats, located in the shadow of the magnificent Volcán Barú.
- Singapore – Consider staying across the international bridge in less expensive Malaysia and base in more authentic (although this is changing fast) Johor Bahru. Get there before it’s completely modernized, like Singapore has been. In search of Old Singapore? Pulau Ubin is worth a day of your time outside of Chinatown and Little India.
We hope these potential bucket list items serve as a jumping off point for brainstorming and planning. And we’d love to hear about where you’re going and what you’re doing, too!