These are the Top Travel Experiences of the World’s Bucket List

If you are an avid traveller, you most likely have a list of all the places in the world you would want to visit before you, you know, kick the bucket.

You are definitely not alone, and while international – and even domestic – travel was suspended, avid travellers like you refused to give up on their lists. This prompted luxury travel operator, Unforgettable Travel, to go digging for travel experiences people searched the most during the past year.

Global travel trends and lists point towards preference for outdoor activities
Research on travel-related searches worldwide reveals that people are more inclined towards the outdoors. Image courtesy of Asad Photo Maldives from Pexels

With the help of digital marketing agency SEO Travel, the company compiled a list of 135 of the world’s most popular “bucket list” destinations and used software to determine how many people were making plans to visit each site.

Want to know if any destination on the list matches yours or need new ideas? Read on to learn more.

Surprising destinations

According to the research, which analyzed searches from May 2020 to May 2021, the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, was the most-searched travel experience, a result that surprised the team at Unforgettable Travel.

“There were a few experiences in the top 10 alone that we thought would feature lower down despite being great experiencesthis includes the No. 1 Burj Khalifa in Dubai,” said Luke Harvey, a marketing manager at the company. “But the fact Dubai has remained open to visitors for the vast majority of time during the pandemic will have aided its position.”

In the last one year, most people wished to visit the Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa topped the list of most-searched travel destinations. Image courtesy of CNBC

That wasn’t the only surprise to the team.

“Trekking to Mount Everest base camp is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience, yet not something we thought would beat the likes of the Rome Colosseum,” he said.

Mount Everest’s place on the list may reflect growing preferences for outdoor travel activities. Six hikes appeared in the top 50 list including Mount Everest, Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro, Arizona’s Havasu Falls, Norway’s Trolltunga, South Africa’s Table Mountain and Peru’s Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

Bucket list travel experiences by continent


History, wildlife and natural wonders top Africa’s most-searched sites, including some that were tied in terms of global search activity.

Cruising down the River Nile was a top travel experience in Africa
Cruising down the River Nile was first on the list of top travel experiences in Africa. Image courtesy of TripSavvy
  1. Cruising down the Nile
  2. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro
  3. Hiking to the top of Cape Town’s Table Mountain
  4. Seeing Chefchaouen, the “Blue City” of Morocco
  5. Hiking Mount Kenya
  6. Bungee jumping off Victoria Falls Bridge
  7. Trekking to see gorillas in Uganda
  8. Seeing the Sahara desert
  9. Going on safari in the Ngorongoro Crater
  10. Visiting the Medina (old city) of Marrakesh

The White Continent registers just one experience on the list — simply stepping foot onto it.

Top travel destination for Asia is the Burj Khalifa
Topping the list for Asia is the Burj Khalifa. Image courtesy of iStock Photos

Despite most of Asia being closed to tourism in the past year, people still searched for information on these experiences:

  1. Visiting the Burj Khalifa in Dubai
  2. Hiking to the Mount Everest base camp in Nepal
  3. Touring the Taj Mahal
  4. Travelling to Japan during cherry blossom season
  5. Seeing China’s Forbidden City
  6. Diving at Indonesia’s Raja Ampat islands
  7. Watching the sunrise at Angkor Wat
  8. Swimming in the Dead Sea
  9. Touring the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur
  10. Seeing the sunrise at the temple of Borobudur

The top three searched spots in Europe are hardly a surprise, and the rest of the list is an eclectic mix of architecture, nature, exercise and entertainment.

The Eiffel Tower is still top of the list for travel enthusiasts
The Eiffel Tower topped Europe’s list. Image courtesy of Eugene Dorosh from Pexels
  1. Going to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
  2. Touring the Louvre in Paris
  3. Exploring Rome’s Colosseum
  4. Going to the Glastonbury Festival
  5. Partying in Ibiza
  6. Riding the Orient Express
  7. Seeing La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
  8. Visiting Buckingham Palace in London
  9. Cruising the Norwegian fjords
  10. Running the London Marathon
North America
The statue of liberty features on the top travel experiences list
The Statue of Liberty remains a favourite. Image courtesy of Robert Thiemann on Unsplash

Four big-city travel experiences in North America made the global top 10 list. The rest focused on more rural parts of the continent.

  1. Visiting the Statue of Liberty
  2. Seeing the Las Vegas strip
  3. Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge
  4. Going to the top of the Empire State Building
  5. Taking a helicopter tour over the Grand Canyon
  6. Road-tripping down Route 66
  7. Attending Coachella
  8. Seeing Niagara Falls at the U.S.-Canada border
  9. Camping in Canada’s Banff National Park
  10. Seeing Mount Rushmore

After Antarctica, the least populous continent in the world is Oceania, which comprises Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and many smaller islands, such as Fiji, Guam and French Polynesia.

Snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef
Snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef remains a top attraction. Image courtesy of Michelle Fadelli on Unsplash

Unsurprisingly, all but one of its most-searched travel activities involve the outdoors.

  1. Snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef
  2. Watching a show at the Sydney Opera House
  3. Seeing New Zealand’s Hobbiton
  4. Visiting the monolith of Uluru, or Ayers Rock
  5. Staying in an overwater bungalow in Bora Bora
  6. Touring New Zealand’s Waitomo Glowworm Caves
South America

Online interest is focused on outdoor activities in South America, too.

Another favourite travel experience is the Macchu Picchu
Another favourite destination is the Macchu Picchu. Image courtesy of Sparks Darby from Pexels
  1. Hiking to Macchu Picchu
  2. Seeing the wildlife of the Galapagos Islands
  3. Experiencing the biodiversity of Costa Rica
  4. Walking on Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni (salt flats)
  5. Visiting the Iguazu Falls where Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay meet
  6. Seeing the Moai statues of Easter Island
  7. Visiting Sand Pedro de Atacama desert
  8. Exploring Patagonia
  9. Sandboarding in Huacachina in Peru
  10. Seeing the Amazon rainforest

“The main surprise was that some of the ‘Seven Wonders of the World’ didn’t make the top 50, including the Great Wall of China, Petra in Jordan and Christ the Redeemer in Brazil,” said Unforgettable Travel’s Harvey.

In the end, he chalked it up to the sheer size of the competition. “There are so many amazing things to see and do in our world,” he said.

Source: CNBC

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