By Linda Hill Miller
Travel is firmly back with few if any restrictions left in place. But, having had a few years of people not travelling, I am finding that more and more clients are booking what I call BUCKET LIST EXPERIENCES.
Life is short and travel enriches life, so make sure your passport is in date and start making memories that will last a lifetime.
This is of course very subjective, but I wanted to share with you what our top experiences are.
Having worked in the travel industry for more than three decades, it is interesting to see that the top spots have been pretty much the same throughout.
These are possibly the most beautiful islands in the world, made up over 1000 islands and just off the coast of Sri Lanka. Crystal turquoise waters and idyllic white sandy beaches. The most popular accommodation is the over-water bungalows allowing direct access to the Indian Ocean.
AFRICA & SAFARI
Who hasn’t added a safari to their top bucket list experience? A trip of a lifetime, whether you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of the BIG FIVE (elephants, lions, rhinos, leopards and buffalo) or take a hot air balloon over the Serengeti National Park. You can stay in luxury tented accommodation or lodges and there are few areas of Africa that are also Malaria free. Most clients will combine a safari with a beach stay pre or post safari and perhaps take in a city too. A very diverse offering.
MACHU PICCHU, PERU
An iconic site, the vibrant green grass and remarkable stone ruins make Machu Picchu breathtakingly beautiful. Once an Inca City it is one of the top UNESCO World Heritage Sites and millions place it at the top of their bucket list. It is one of the most visited attractions in South America. But you don’t have the trek the famous Inca Trail, you can take a bus. It is recommended to stay in Cusco for at least a day to acclimatise to the altitude. If you are going this far then combine it with a tour of South America.
TAJ MAHAL, INDIA
Having ticked this off my own bucket list I can personally say it’s a wonderful experience. Built in the 1600s by Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, it took over 20,000 workmen and over 17 years to complete. It is possibly one of the most recognisable buildings in the world. Again, this is a UNSECO Heritage Site and visited by millions. The Taj Mahal is in Agra in India and would normally be done as part of a Golden Triangle tour which would take in Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.
When you see postcard images of Greece, they generally show Santorini. It has some of the best sunsets in the world and is one of the most romantic settings you will find. Iconic white buildings with blue domed roofs and an array of beautiful flowers, it really is like stepping into a picture postcard. In 2023 we have for the first time DIRECT flights from Scotland. Even though Mama Mia was not filmed here, you can be forgiven for thinking it was.
Europe’s most romantic city, but Paris has way more to offer than just the Eiffel Tower. It’s a fashionista paradise with all the top designer labels. It’s also a foodie’s dream and has an array of art galleries and museums. Take a cruise along the Seine and drink coffee in one of the many street cafés. Not forgetting a trip to Disneyland Paris – if you are there anyway, why not say hello to Mickey Mouse?
There are many places to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights – Alaska, Finland, Norway, Greenland, Sweden – but the most popular with the Scottish market is Iceland. November through to February offers the darkest skies and longer evenings for maximum sky-gazing. While you are there you can do some sled riding, snow shoeing or cross-country skiing. You can also explore Iceland’s volcanic landscape, and no trip to Iceland would be complete without a trip to the Blue Lagoon.
The island of Bali is small enough to do all the main tourist attractions in one trip. Bali is a tropical paradise with an abundance of ancient temples along with stunning white sandy beaches, tropical jungles, volcanoes and some incredible wildlife – tigers, orangutans, elephants and Komodo Dragons – that roam freely in the less populated parts of the island. Bali also has a bustling side with great nightlife and beach clubs.
Life is for living as they say, and the world is a big place and waiting for you to experience it all. So what are you waiting for? JUST DO IT!