The world is a big place, and there are no shortage of destinations to travel to, things to see, and areas to explore.
To help you get some ideas of where you want to go (or more likely, to help you pare down your list), a special guest and I will be presenting The Ultimate Wanderlust List: The Top 10 Travel Destinations in the World.
First, we’ll each count down the 5 best places we’ve already been to, discuss why we loved them so much, and give some travel tips for those areas.
Then, we’ll turn our attention to the top 5 places we want to go next and why we’re dreaming about them.
And because we didn’t talk about our lists ahead, there are some surprises in store and some interesting reactions.
This was a super fun episode to record and so was coming up with our lists.
What’s more fun than talking about dream destinations?
Now, it’s your turn.
I’d love it if you told us the top 5 places you’ve been and the top 5 places you want to go next in the comments below.
The more travel recommendations, the better!
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In This Episode:
- How a certain Eastern European country lived up to its hype.
- The region that puts more countries on the list than any other.
- How three countries came out of nowhere to make the top 10.
- The remote island nation that’s both incredibly beautiful and (relatively) cheap.
- A country that’s considered the “last unspoiled horizon”.
- The cheapest country in the world to travel to.
and much, much more.
Links Discussed in This Episode:
I Need Your Help
If you liked this episode, I’d ask you to do two quick things:
- Comment below and let us know the top 5 places you’ve been and the top 5 places you want to go next!
- Leave a rating on iTunes. We’re only 15 reviews away from 100 (and barely any podcasts hit 100)!
Love your Podcast, nice to hear your wife finally :)
My top five so far
1) Norway (most awesome and perfect country ever)
2) Sweden (similair to Norway, but less mountains)
3) Palestine (I wouldn’t live there, but it was the most intense trip of my life. People say that India is very “in-your-face” and with too many impressions, Palestine was like that for me)
Top 5 to visit (I’d love to go everywhere eventually), but:
1)Spitzbergen (Island near the north pole that belongs to Norway, epic place)
2) Iceland (heading there next week. Yay!)
3) New Zealand
4) South Korea
@Jana- Yeah, it was a super fun episode! Great comments…what made Norway so awesome? And I’m also hoping to get to Iceland soon…you’ll have to let me know how it is!
I love these kinds of lists, you can get so many great ideas!
My Top 5 so far: Cambodia (Angkor of course but I also liked PP), Indonesia (5 day sailing trip from Lombok to Komodo), Peru (Machu Picchu), Guatemala (everywhere, but Lake Atitlan and Tikal were probably the highlights), Australia (camping in the Outback). Honorable mention to Merida, Mexico and St. Petersburg, Russia.
Biggest dream destinations: Antarctica, China/Tibet, Jordan, Easter Island, Socotra. But if I wrote this list in ten minutes it would likely be completely different. Just a few more months and I’m heading off to hopefully cross some of these off the list!
@Robb- Wow, how was camping the Outback? I really, really want to campervan around OZ and NZ, so I’ll need tips!
I’m like you, ask me in five minutes, and the list changes. That’s what I love about traveling…never a lack of places!
Catching up on your podcasts. I love your enthusiasm.
Quick notes on some of the places you mentioned, but big question I hope to hear you address, is with such a big amazazing world, and so many places to visit – how do you prioritize? I know I have my methods, but always curious to see how others to travel frequently prioritize. Is it based on whims, wives, or some concrete analysis?
My most wanted list are happening on my next trip (Jordan, Israel, South Africa, Japan). And after that – trying to decide where to go next- contemplating re-learning Spanish or getting to countries I missed in SE Asia, or the south of Italy & Sicily which I have not seen.
I Really enjoyed Turkey, The Balkans (Slovenia, Montenegro & Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia). Transylvania was great. And Italy would round out the top 5 places visited. – with Thailand a runner up.
Just got back from Argentina (visa $160 – 5 minutes on line), and while it was great – maybe not as great as I was expecting.
Turkey needs to be back on your short list. Spent a month there in 2013. The country has the widest variety of things of possibly anyplace I have been (50 countries)
@brian- Thanks for all the awesome recommendations. Some pretty cool places on those lists!
As far as my methods of where to go next, it’s pretty haphazard. As we talked about on the podcast, it’s pretty cyclical with me. I’ll get fascinated with a certain area and really want to go, and sometimes we will end up there, sometimes we won’t. Other times, it’s just super cheap to go somewhere or it’s somewhere Heather has really wanted to go. So basically, it totally just depends.
What’s your method?
Trav, yes the Maldives are expensive but if you look a little harder you can find some deals. We went for Christmas (used united miles on star alliace) and stayed in Male. The hotel was MUCH cheaper than staying at one of the resorts. We took a ferry to a nearby local island (30 cents) and walked around the neighborhoods. we found a local grocery store and discovered that betty crocker cake mix was WAY cheaper there than in shanghai where we currently are living. the cashier thought we were crazy as we bought all the boxes they had on the shelf. That same day we met a local that was willing to cook us a local bbq that night on the beach. It was great. MUCH cheaper than the night bbq excursion that the hotel was offering. We did take advantage of taking day trips to the resorts. some of them sell day passes that were much cheaper than staying at the resort overnight. we went there at 7 in the morning and came back at 8pm that night. it was amazing. one of the best vacations i have ever had.
So… it is definately possible to do the Maldives on a budget. You just have to be creative, adventurous and not super picky.
@peyton- AWESOME advice! How was Male, in general? I really, really like this “outside of the box” thinking, and it’s great that someone who has already done it can share the tricks. How were you able to piece together all of this? Did you know you could do all that before going, or just figured it out while you were on the ground?
I love hearing this! Air Asia has some decent fares to the Madives, so we were considering going. Besides just being cheaper getting creative like this makes it way more fun.
@Robb- Yeah, I saw Air Asia was flying to Male. Pretty cool. I’m definitely going to take Peyton up on some of his suggestions!
Great podcast, Travis! I’d say my top 5 travel destinations are: #1 Israel #2 Switzerland #3 Italy #4 Prague #5 Petra, Jordan. Honorable mentions- Barcelona, Paris, Portugal, Ireland, Hong Kong. Places I want to go- Cambodia (thanks for the idea!!), Indonesia, Thailand, Korea… guess I really want to explore Asia… also, interested in South American countries.
@Ryan- Ah, Petra…another one of my honorable mentions that I want to go to! So many places, so little time!
And yeah, you definitely got to get to Asia…it’s fantastic!
5 I want to go to : Scandinavia, Ireland, Greek Isles, Brazil and I want to road trip the Florida Panhandle. Top 5 are: Scotland, Yosemite, Paris, Hawaii, and Charleston. Enjoyed the Podcast!
@Jill- Road tripping the Panhandle…interesting. Never done it, but seems to be getting some more pub in recent years, and a pretty easy trip to make (assuming you live near there). Really cool!
Charleston, another interesting choice. I’ve never been there, but believe it or not, Savannah was on my honorable mention list. I just forgot to say it!
How am I only supposed to choose 5? :P Let’s see… well, as of this moment (in no particular order) I’m dying to go to Ireland, New Zealand, Thailand, the UK, and Italy. It’ll probably change in a few days though!
@slomadstravel- Haha…yeah, picking only 5 was the hard part!
Cool episode! My have beens aren’t too extensive yet, so I imagine this might change a bit in the next couple of years. For now though, my top 5s are…
1. Vancouver, 2. Honolulu, 3. Stockholm, 4. Oslo, 5. Grand Canyon
HM: Seattle, Berlin, Niagara Falls
Want to Go:
1. Australia, 2. Iceland, 3. Rest of Norway (Oslo-Bergen train, Tromsø), 4. Switzerland, 5. Antarctica
HM: Easter Island, Croatia, Tallinn, Ireland, Egypt, IceHotel in Sweden, Hotel Kakslauttanen (glass igloo) in Finland, Thailand and many many more…
@Kevin- Like you, I’ve got a ton of honorable mentions! Switzerland is awesome, you’ll love it. Just expect to pay the same as you would in Norway.
And Easter Island would be really, really cool. Guess we’ll have to race to see who gets there first!
Sorry, I almost forgot…my all-time bucket list trip is Gabon. One of, if not the only country where you can still see gorillas, chimps, mandrills, and all kind of other awesome (but potentially dangerous animals). Not so hard to get to, especially from Paris. I love the primitive beauty of the rainforest. The Gabonese government has made great strides with ecotourism in an effort to try to conserve the Congo rainforest. It’s always seemed so mysterious and almost prohibitively scary, but places like that have been some of my best experiences.
@Kevin- Wow, that’s quite a list. My wife is really in to climbing Kilimanjaro, so we’ll have to ask you for advice.
Gabon…interesting. Have to admit I don’t know much about it, but sounds pretty cool! If you get there, I’ll 100% be asking you to write a trip report!
Enjoyed the podcast, Trav. Bhutan has always been on my list. I’d love to hear any tips on getting there most efficiently with miles. Bali is also on my list.
Some of my favorite places I’ve been include Costa Rica (amazing beauty with rainforest, beaches); Kilimanjaro (careful with choosing a guide company); and Israel (this was my first international trip and a fantastic culture shock. Even if you’re not religious you can appreciate the intensity of the cultures and religions and the enormous historical significance of the country.
Thanks for the podcast. Keep up the good work.
Trav, love the podcast! Keep up the good work. My favorite destination is Paris. Absolutely loved it, if there was one international place I’d move, Paris is it. The Taj Mahal is the best landmark I’ve been too. It’s the one place I found way more impressive in real life than in pictures. Machu Picchu comes in next. Marrakech, Morocco is my most surprising pick.The people were very friendly, and the food was delicious. Maui is still my favorite relaxation spot.
Going to be hitting a bunch of new spots starting next week, including Thailand and Bali. I was glad to hear you and Heather liked them so much! Then I’m off to Scandinavia, which has always been on the list. My top places that I don’t have reservations for are Iceland and Ireland.
@Darin- Thanks, really glad you love the podcast. It’s a blast to do, I’ll tell you that!
I’m a bit down on Paris, but that’s mostly because of cost. I find it prohibitively expensive, even though it is gorgeous! We will be releasing another podcast with our top foods, top accommodations, and top monuments, so be sure to tune in to that. And I agree, Taj is pretty nice!
Heather is dying to go to Marrakech, so you may have just sealed the deal for her there!
And you will LOVE Thailand and Bali. You really, really can’t go wrong.
Let us know how Scandinavia goes. Once I save my shekels, I’ll head there!
@Trav, yeah, Paris can be pricey, I just loved the subway there. It was just so easy, it really made it easy to get around. I haven’t been anywhere I thought was so easy. As an American I’d always heard bad stereotypes about the rude French, but I found them all to be very friendly and polite.
Marrakech is awesome. The medina really comes to life at night. Midnight and it’s still crowded with lots of very friendly multilingual locals. We wandered though the city and basically got lost for a few hours, but it made it alot more authentic to see the other side of a tourist town.
@Darin- That’s true, I LOVE the subway there. I also love Velib, the bike share. Biking through Paris is magical, and with so many stations all over the place, it was easy to find bikes.
Top 5 we have been: China (we have been twice to less visited areas and it’s amazing!), Antarctica, Australia, Peru and Belize. Next 5 on our list: Madagascar (booked for November), New Zealand, Western Africa, Socotra and Borneo.
@Margaret Walton- Wow, tell us about Antartica…That place definitely has me intrigued.
And where in China were you? I agree that getting out in to the countryside is amazing. The cities, eh, I didn’t enjoy them too much. But Lijiang, Yangshuo, those were awesome!
Trav! My top 5 where I’ve been so far…1) Nepal (totally in love with the place) 2) Panama circa 2004 not sure what it’s like now 3) Cape Town,South Africa 4) South Korea is Asia’s Milan, i loved it 5) France
Where I’m going… 1) Turkey-headed there this year for a possible longterm relocation, 2) Santiago, Chile 3) Namibia-Heard fantastic stuff about Namib’s 4) Chiang Mai, Thailand 5) Ghana or Cote d’ivoire
@Tif- Yeah, we definitely gotta get to Nepal. That almost squeaked on my list, Bhutan edging it out. But if we can’t afford Bhutan, Nepal it is!
See, I wasn’t a fan of Milan, but I’ll still have to give S. Korea a shot at some point.
Where in Turkey are you possibly relocating to? And more importantly, will you have a bed/couch? You know Heth is keen to get there! Chiang Mai you’ll love!
Is there a written copy of your top travel destinations?
@Jennifer- Unfortunately, no, there isn’t. I do urge you to check out the podcast when you get a chance though. I always thought “I didn’t have time to listen to them” and once I started, I was hooked. Every time I got in the car, I put on a podcast. Washing dishes=podcast. Who knew chores could be so fun?
That’s a good tip! :)
Hey Trav! I loved this podcast, pretty different, especially because you talk about Eastern Europe! This region of the world is my bread and butter- I backpacked the region my senior year of high school and I am currently studying abroad in St Petersburg. (If you have any questions- I’d be glad to give you some recommendations!)
My Top 5 I’ve Been: Honorable) UAE 5) Thailand 4) Panama 3) Czech Republic 2) Russia 1) Azerbaijan
My Top 5 I’m Going: 5) Morocco 4) Georgia (going next week!) 3) Nepal 2)Turkey (also going next week!) 1) road trip Balkans/Dalmatian Coast
@Samantha- Wow, I don’t know many people who backpacked Eastern Europe as a senior in high school. That’s pretty crazy- you need to write a blog! I’ve got tons of questions…I’m just dipping my toe in over here, but already enchanted! Azerbaijan, huh? What made it number one? I’m really, really interested in pushing further and further east, and would love to hear your thoughts.
I’ll be road-tripping (for a short time) through the Balkans/Dalmatian Coast. Probably just a “simple” Split to Dubrovnik to Montenegro up to Sarajevo type trip.
Seems like you have a busy next week. My very well-traveled buddy said Georgia is his favorite place in the world. Have fun!
MALDIVES!!!! We took a snorkel trip on a traditional dhoni with Explore UK in the Maldives last March and it was PHENOMENAL! I am a huge water baby and being in the water every day and seeing all those gorgeous islands, dolphins, turtle, and fish was out of the world amazing. Also, my sister has lived in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and the UAE is a MUST – SEE!!
@Julie- Good to know, I’m going to try to get to the Maldives sooner rather than later. My main concern is the price. I can get hotel nights for free, but isn’t everything on the islands super expensive? Even still, might be worth it!
Ohhh top 5 I’ve been to: Rome, Prague, Vancouver, San Diego, Playa del Carmen. Top 5 I want to go: Paris, Bali, Thailand, New Zealand, Rio de Janeiro.
Paris is next, in two weeks!! of course flying courtesy of Chase UR and staying at the Hyatt Vendome for free, thanks to Chase again for that! :-)
In that same trip we’ll be going back to Rome (my love) and will also be sailing in the mediterranean
@Cathalina- I’m headed to Prague in 3 weeks…can’t wait!
Man, Rome and Paris and sailing…sounds like quite the adventure. And can’t go wrong with doing it all for free with points! Well done.
Enjoyed listening to your podcast. We share a lot of the same destinations. I am on a quest to get to 100 countries and I have been stuck at 74 for a while. This summer, we are going to the Med and visiting the Balleric Islands, Sardinia and exploring some new areas in Italy that we have never been to before like Genoa and Milan. Also making our way to Vienna, Bratislava and Malta! Peru, Ecuador and Galapagos may happen in September.
@Linda- 74…Wow! I’ve got a long way to go to catch you! Sounds like a pretty crazy summer this summer and fall…some great places. I have been to Genoa and Milan (didn’t love either of them, but hey) and then also Vienna and Bratislava, both of which I really enjoyed. And Malta should be beautiful.
Maybe we will meet up in September down there. Sounds like a pretty epic trip, and I’m always game for one of those!