If I were to issue you a blank airline ticket, where would you go? That’s the mindset behind developing our 2022 vacation bucket list. Of course, in order to compile your vacation bucket list, it’s first necessary to know which destinations are worthy entrants.
This article will run down our top 10 vacation bucket list destinations for 2022, along with some practical information to help you to check them off one by one.
10) Grand Canyon, USA
As anyone who’s visited this Natural Wonder of the World can attest, the Grand Canyon is a natural attraction that defies adequate words to describe it. Located in the American southwest, a few-hour drive from the gateway cities of Las Vegas and Phoenix, this stunning landscape must be seen in person to be believed.
With an orange-rust colored hue that changes with the position of the sun, visitors can marvel at the scene from a series of awe-inspiring lookout points along the north and south rims, or even better, hike or ride donkeys on excursions down into the canyon itself.
For many U.S.-based travelers, the Grand Canyon is just a road trip or cheap domestic flight away. Though the South Rim boasts the better views, staying on the North Rim will not only mean smaller crowds, but also the chance to stay at the historic Grand Canyon Lodge. Beautifully perched at the edge of the canyon, this landmark hotel offers an incredible view from its main dining room and easy access to surrounding trails.
Rates start at $153 per night.
9) Milford Sound, New Zealand
Tucked along the magnificent coastline of New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park is tiny Milford Sound. It is considered by many –including yours truly—to be the most beautiful spot on earth. The majestic spire of Mitre Peak towers over a breathtaking channel of sheer cliffs topped by glaciers and dripping with waterfalls.
Dolphins splash through the water as seals laze on the rocky shores. Milford Sound may very well spoil all other natural attractions on the planet.
Flights from the U.S. West Coast start at around $800 for economy, so getting to New Zealand will be your greatest expense. Most visitors stay in the adrenaline-ridden town of Queenstown and visit by private vehicle.
For lakeside luxury accommodations right in the center of town, try the Sofitel Queenstown Hotel & Spa with rooms starting at around $200 a night.
8) Amazon Rain Forest, Brazil/Peru/Ecuador
The incomparable Amazon Rain Forest is an ecosystem like no other, and a worthy entrant on anyone’s vacation bucket list. Spanning the entire upper half of the South American continent, visitors can access this ecological wonderland from several countries with varying levels of luxury to choose from.
Political boundaries aside, the Amazon will allow guests to come up-close and personal with a riot of flora and fauna, including sloths, monkeys, caimans, frighteningly-large insects, pink river dolphins and a mind-boggling number of tropical birds.
The Brazilian city of Manaus lies right at the spot where the Amazon and Rio Negro rivers meet. Flights from Miami can start as low as $500 depending on the dates of travel, which means you can splurge on accommodations at the Amazon Ecopark Jungle Lodge, where for an average of $417 per night you can enjoy modern comforts and included game drives.
7) Amalfi Coast, Italy
Situated along a dramatic peninsula just around the corner from the Bay of Naples, Italy’s Amalfi Coast is my dream vacation. With quaint towns, mouth-watering food and views to die for, this is the best Italy has to offer.
International flights from the Eastern U.S. can range from $700 on up depending on the season. If you’re looking to splurge, we recommend the swank 5-Star hotel Le Sirenuse. It’s available at a paltry $1200 plus a night.
6) Uluru, Australia
Uluru, formerly known as Ayers Rock, may seem like just a big lump of stone. But besides being an iconic landmark of the Land Down Under, it also serves as a gateway to an exploration of the legendary Australian Outback. A visit at sunset as the light seems to make the stone glow red will be the highlight of both your trip and photo album.
Given its location smack dab in the middle of the continent, visitors from the U.S. will have to connect via another Australian city, with prices consistently coming in at over $1K for economy. If you’ve come this far, why not enjoy a stay at Desert Gardens Hotel Ayers Rock Resort, where “rock view” rooms are on offer in the $350 a night range.
5. Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe/Zambia
Straddling the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, even the most jaded traveler cannot help but be mesmerized by this natural wonder of the world—Victoria Falls. Whether from the Zimbabwe side, the Zambia side, or from a helicopter ride above, the most impressive sheet of falling water on earth is going to make its impression on you.
Getting to the gateway towns of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe or Livingstone, Zambia will be a multi-leg journey from the U.S. with tickets starting in the $1500 range, but it will be worth every penny. And if you have a few more pennies available, the Royal Livingstone Hotel by Anatara is a luxury option (from $500/night on up) that will have you sleeping in sight of the ever-present spray of the falls.
4) Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania/Kenya
The highest point on the African continent is also a high point on any traveler’s vacation bucket list. Though technically in Tanzania, some of the best views are from just across the border in Amboseli National Park, Kenya. Here you’ll see the best any safari can offer—wildebeests aplenty, graceful giraffe, and stealthy lions with the mighty Kilimanjaro as a backdrop.
From the Eastern U.S. international flights to Nairobi, Kenya can be found as low as $800. While you’ll likely pay more for flights to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) in Tanzania. Either way, you’ll want to save your funds for a thrilling safari experience, such as the reasonably priced Kiso Safari Camp in Amboseli, with prices starting at $245 a night.
3) The Great Wall, China
Few man-made places on earth are as famous as China’s Great Wall, which stretches some 1,200 miles across the nation. Most visitors to this iconic landmark visit from the capital city of Beijing, where a day trip will get you out on the wall and even allow you to traverse a portion of it. Seeing this ancient barrier snaking over the hilly terrain is a thrill of a lifetime moment.
From the U.S. West Coast, tickets to Beijing can be had in the neighborhood of $1K. Once in China, prices are reasonable, and a stay at the 5 Star Fairmont Beijing Hotel can be as low as $108 a night.
2) Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
Though the world around them has changed a lot in the past 5,000 years, the Pyramids of Giza have remained a constant feature as a bucket list destination for travelers throughout the centuries. Perched on the edge of the Sahara Desert, it’s hard to imagine a more authentic travel adventure. A visit to these sentinels of the desert will be the feather in any traveler’s cap.
The capital city Cairo is the gateway to Giza, and flights from the eastern seaboard can be found for $750. In Egypt your dollar will go far, so you can book a room at one of the many affordable hotel options with pyramid-views ($35-$100). Or You can splurge for the finest of them all at the Marriot Mena House at around $442/night.
1) Taj Mahal, Agra, India
The world’s greatest monument to love is also a top spot on any traveler’s vacation bucket list. This magnificent edifice of white marble inlaid with semi-precious stones is considered to be among the most beautiful buildings on the planet. With its dazzling reflecting pool, this is one bucket list item that seriously needs to be crossed off.
Flights to India start at under $1000 in economy to Delhi or Mumbai. You’ll then have to get to the city of Agra via a domestic flight.
Costs in India are extremely reasonable, so splurging on the Oberoi Amarvilas Agra hotel with direct views of the Taj for $350 a night is totally worth it. It is a luxurious complement to your bucket list achievement.
This vacation bucket list is subjective and by no means an exhaustive list of all the incredible places to visit. But if you’re looking for some inspiration, this vacation bucket list will provide you with a good start.