Traveling is more than just sightseeing, it’s about your experiences along the way.
For this bucket list, we focused on cultural immersions and activities rather than emphasizing exotic locations.Whether you’re across the world or a few hours away from home, you can have fun nearly anywhere with these bucket list must-dos.
Attend a Local Carnival Parade
New Orleans’ Mardi Gras, Switzerland’s Basel Carnival, Brazil’s Rio or Bahian Carnival, Mexico’s Myriad Carnival, Toronto’s Caribana festival… the list of global festivities is endless! There are carnival celebrations around the world throughout the year. Carnivals are a great way to experience the local culture like never before. The massive amount of crowds, colors, costumes, and music bring together communities from all over to dance and have fun at little to no cost to you!
Keep in mind that even though the parades might be free, hotels can be very pricey at this time of year. It’s ideal to plan ahead and book a room well in advance.
Sit at the Chef’s Table
The chef’s table is a reserved table in the kitchen of the restaurant. Chefs personally prepare an extra special selection for the VIP guests to show off the best parts of the menu. Although the chef’s table might be pricey, the intimate interactions with the chef and the multi-course meal are well worth the experience. If you are visiting a new culture or country, a chef’s table reservation can be a great way to enjoy the local culinary flavors.
Many high-end restaurants offer chef table bookings to the general public but call ahead to check availability.
Via Ferrata in the Mountains
When you think of adventure activities, zip lining and bungee jumping might be the first things to pop in your head. But via ferrata climbing is a unique opportunity to explore a new landscape from great heights. As scary as it may sound, there is always at least one carabiner hooked between you and the trail cables at all times, which means you’ll be completely safe on this extreme hike.
Some popular Via Ferrata hikes include:
- Telluride’s traverse trail in Colorado
- Waterfall touring in Canyon Saint-Anne in Quebec
- Sacred Valley in Peru where you can sleep on the cliff in the Skylodge Suites
- The scary cliff road in Chang Kong, China
- The updated WWI soldier routes in Italy’s Dolomites
Explore Food Markets
Whether it’s a weekly farmer’s market or a vast open air market, food markets are a great way to experience the local fare and culture in a new city. Markets are typically steeped in history too. Before touring a market, look up its history to gain a deeper appreciation of the area. Need to buy souvenirs for friends and family? You’ll have plenty of options at a food market! Many vendors sell trinkets, kitchen supplies, and non-perishable foods like unique spices, pickled veggies, or locally grown grains.
Notable food markets around the world include:
- Baltimore’s Lexington market founded in 1782
- The coastal and Asian-inspired Ferry Building Marketplace in San Francisco
- The live jazz hub of New Orleans’ French Market
- The famous La Boqueria market in Barcelona
- Bangkok’s colorful and vibrant Chatuchak market
Watch a Sports Event
The Super Bowl, FIFA World Cup, and Olympics might be the first great sports events to flash through your head. But no matter where you are or what your budget is, there are sport events all over the world worth attending. Minor league sporting events are affordable opportunities for exploring smaller towns across America. You can even attend a major league event during the weekday or early in the season for cheaper tickets. But going all out might be worth your while if you want to watch an unforgettable game.
Bucket list worthy sporting events include:
- The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California – the oldest bowl game in America
- The Grand Prix in Monaco
- The scenic 2,000-mile Tour De France
- Wimbledon – the oldest tennis tournament in the world