We're already well into the first month of the new year and things are moving along fast!
Hopefully you've already started planning your travels for 2020, because this is probably going to be one of the most popular years for traveling yet! Not only is it an iconic year — it's the start of a new decade that is kicking off with more access to travel than ever before.
Thankfully, the Internet, more direct flight options, and companies (like us!) make it easy to make your #travelgoals happen, and we also make it easier for travelers like you to connect with other people who want to adventure through the world.
Though there’s no perfect formula for traveling the world, it doesn’t hurt to be organized and intentional about selecting the places, foods and cultures that you want to experience.
So here’s our 2020 bucket list to help get you started on a year full of travel!
Art + History
Witness amazing architecture in Spain
Spain is known for its architecture and is the #2 country to hold the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites dedicated to buildings. Early elements of architecture dating back to 3000 BC can be found where the country stands today, and the evolution of architecture can be encountered and appreciated anywhere you go. Major cities like Barcelona host famous structures that are truly amazing to witness in person, such as The Sagrada Familia, which has been in the works for more than a century! Because of natural disasters and human error, however, some of those structures have slowly been compromised and there’s no telling how long they will be around.
Hang around the best beach scenes
Beaches in Barcelona are always happenin’. Along the 100 miles of coastal stretch you can find musicians, bartenders, masseuses, eateries, tons of young people, tons of older people, and everything in between. If you’re a beach-lover, there’s no doubt that Barcelona’s beaches need to be on your travel bucket list this year!
Food + Drink
Devour a tapas feast
The nature of tapas have evolved over the decades, with these small-bites becoming more of an artistic endeavor in the kitchens of some of the best chefs in the country. If you’re a big foodie and love to try new flavors, this is the way to do it! Staple tapas include batatas bravas (potatoes with a spicy seasoning), pan con tomate (a toast smothered in sauce), anchoas (anchovies with garlic), and croquetas (deep fried and stuffed with meat, cheese or veggies). Once you get the hang of ordering like a local in the crowded bars, you can start experimenting and trying all the tapas!
Arts + Culture
Tour the perfumeries in France
Many don’t know it, but France is known as the perfume capital of the world, and rightly so! Some of the top perfumeries in France offer tours and can show you how the scents are extracted from locally grown flowers to produce the amazing scents that end up in your perfume. The oldest perfumeries have continued to produce the same popular scents for more than 200 years!
*See what you can check off your travel bucket list through FTLO's Barcelona trip!
Culture + History
Witness historical structures in Rome
Rome, the capital of Italy, is a travel destination that should be on everyone’s bucket list. Its architecture offers a glimpse into centuries of history and is a testament to human strength and ingenuity. Photos will never do the Colosseum, Pantheon or Castel Sant'Angelo justice!
Experience the iconic coasts of Italy
The beaches of southern Italy alone are worth a trip across the world! Even as one of the most popular travel destinations, this is a place that never loses its luster. Colorful small buildings perched on beautiful cliffs, overlooking the sparkling ocean...ah, there’s nothing quite like it. Sip some limoncello and eat some of the freshest seafood pasta as you watch the sunset and you’ve got yourself a memory you’ll want to keep revisiting.
Culture + History
Vatican City: Visit the smallest country in the world
Situated within Rome, Vatican City is considered the smallest country in the world, and is also the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church - aka, where the Pope lives! Whether you’re religious or not, Vatican city is a really historically significant and artistically astounding place to visit, and of course, its structures are unlike anything you’ll ever witness anywhere else in the world.
Food + Drink
Take a coffee tour
Colombia grows some of the best coffee in the world, and it has to do with the amazing people and climate! Aside from being a rigorous process that requires knowledge every step of the way, coffee production requires harvesting skills and lots of hard work. Join a coffee tour for amazing views and if you love a great cup of coffee, it’s worth it to understand and appreciate where a lot of your coffee comes from!
See one of the most bio-diverse environments on Earth
Located between the Amazon Rainforest and the Caribbean Sea, Colombia is the second most bio-diverse country in the world, making it one of the best places to experience wildlife and nature. Whether in the mountains, jungles or on the beaches, you’re bound to encounter some amazing views.
*See what you can check off your travel bucket list through FTLO's Colombia trip!
Culture + History
Experience Mediterranean life: food, views, summer aesthetic
Croatia has recently become a popular European summer getaway for travelers and a lot of it has to do with its triple threat combo of delicious cuisine, amazing views and an overall killer summer aesthetic. Sparkling waters, charming old towns and delicious seafood with fancy wines. That’s what this Mediterranean beauty is all about and it makes the bucket list because we know how many of you want to have something to look forward to this summer!
Kayak Croatia with stunning views
If you’re planning on visiting Croatia, you’ll want to make a stop in Dubrovnik and explore the region by kayak. Stunning views of the Adriatic Sea await along with inspiring views of the magnificent Old Town walls. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the Pearl of the Adriatic.
*See what you can check off your travel bucket list through FTLO's Croatia trip!
Island hop your way around Greece
All your European dreams in one place! No trip to Europe is complete without an island hopping adventure in Greece. The country is made up of many islands, but there are a few iconic ones that you’ve probably heard of, like Santorini, Mykonos, Crete or Paros. You can take a ferry and soak up the sunshine all day as you make your way from one beautiful island to the next. There’s nothing quite like it!
*See what you can check off your travel bucket list through FTLO's Greek Islands trip!
Art + History
Visit any of Ireland’s hundreds of castles
Scattered across Ireland are hundreds of castles dating back to the 11th century, and they are truly a sight to see. The magnificent structures against the backdrop of rolling green hills and blue skies are enough to leave you speechless, but learning about their design and history makes them even more fascinating. Here’s a bucket list item you can cross off by visiting any part of the country.
Hike the Cliffs of Moher
The word breathtaking is an understatement when it comes to describing the beauty of these monumental cliffs. They run about 8 miles, overlooking the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean, and the views from the edge are dizzying enough to make you need a sip of wine… speaking of which, make sure to bring some cheese and wine to picnic along the rolling paths. You can watch the birds soaring and plunging, the waves crashing down below, and the most striking sunset you’ll ever see.
*See what you can check off your travel bucket list through FTLO's Ireland trip!
Experience the most futuristic city: Tokyo
If you’re a city gal or guy, Tokyo is going to blow your mind and should definitely be on your bucket list. This fast-paced, futuristic city is pulsing every minute of the day and night. Museums, temples and gardens preserve the past, while towering buildings, bright lights, and robots are a glimpse into the future.
Attend a sumo tournament
Sumo wrestling is unique to Japan and tends to be highly exclusive - so only a lucky few will ever get to attend one! Official matches occur only a few times a year and the demand has gone up in recent years to attend the events. Add this incredible cultural experience to your bucket list this year!
See the Cherry Blossoms in Japan
If you’ve ever seen one cherry blossom tree blooming, you can understand why Japan’s cherry blossoms draw attention from travelers from all around the world. They are one of the most iconic indicators of the new season and their beauty is magical. When they bloom depends on the geographical location and on the weather, and when they finally do, the bloom is short. So make sure to do your research to know just when to visit.
*See what you can check off your travel bucket list through FTLO's Japan trip!
Culture + History
Wander the iconic historical site of Petra
This striking archaeological site in Jordan dates back to 300 BC and contains tombs and temples that were carved into stone to produce what is now visited by millions of people - need we say more?! Thanks to its historical and architectural significance, this site has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Float in the Dead Sea
Located between Jordan, Israel and West Bank, the dead sea is a lake that earned its name for its high salinity, which prevents all life from existing within it. Many travelers visit to actually catch a glimpse of the beautiful blue and white lake, but most go to take a dip in the water and experience floating in the water, which is possible due to its high density.
*See what you can check off your travel bucket list through FTLO's Jordan trip!
Outdoors / Sports
Try your best at dog sledding
Calling all adrenaline junkies! Dog sledding is no walk in the park (obviously)! It requires active participation and eyes wide open to take in all the surrounding beauty as you simultaneously hang on for dear life. Who hasn’t dreamt of swishing through a winter wonderland, being pulled by a glorious herd of huskies that are just as excited to be in the snow!?
Chase the northern lights
The phenomena that can only be viewed from certain parts of the world, the northern lights, or more formally the aurora borealis, is an incredible display of neon lights in the sky that happens naturally at certain times of the year. Some of the best places to view the lights are in Iceland, Lapland, Alaska and Norway.
*See what you can check off your travel bucket list through FTLO's Finland trip!
Food + Drink
Embark on a foodie adventure
Thanks to the ‘gram, many of us have been able to embrace our foodie nature by saving and liking and maybe even sharing our own mouth-watering creations. So why not add it to your bucket list and make a trip out of it? FTLO runs a special foodie trip a couple of times per year to bring together those who have a passion for delicious and creative foods. We’re currently headed to Mexico to devour the best handmade tacos in the world! Join us!
*See what you can check off your travel bucket list through FTLO's Mexico trip!
Trek the desert by camel
A trip to Morocco is not complete without getting close and personal with a camel and maybe even getting to ride one through the desert. Camels are still used today to help transport across the desert, and they are also useful for small communities for their milk. Herders will rent out their camels for transport and those funds will usually help sustain communities as well as the animals themselves.
Glamp in the amazing Sahara Desert
A millennial's dream: luxurious simplicity. Take a glamping trip out to the Sahara Desert, the largest hot desert in the world and the third largest desert on the planet - “roughly the size of the United States.” You can expect remote camp fires under starry night skies and long treks through dunes and desert landscapes by camel and foot.
Art + Culture
Visit the tanneries in Marrakesh
Marrakesh is known for its leather tanneries, which have been around for more than 1,000 years! You’ll be amazed at the techniques used to soak and treat leather skins before they become beautiful crafted items. The skill and labor that goes into dying leather will blow your mind.
*See what you can check off your travel bucket list through FTLO's Morocco trip!
Adventure through the Fjords of Northern Europe
One of the best ways to experience this northern region of the world is by adventuring to the fjords to see some of the most beautiful local scenery. Steep snow-capped mountains with rivers flowing through them and waterfalls cascading and turning to mist in the air…This is the epitome of a dream trip to northern Europe.
*See what you can check off your travel bucket list through FTLO's Scandinavia trip!
Go on a wild South African Safari
Thrill seekers and wildlife lovers, make sure to add this to your bucket list! Safaris in South Africa offer a unique opportunity to get up close with some of the world’s most fascinating and wild creatures, like elephants, giraffes and lions. You can also learn about local plants and ecosystems throughout your adventure and also get to appreciate the natural beauty of South Africa.
Come face-to-face with great white sharks
If you’re looking for a memorable bucket list experience, this is it! A once in a lifetime type of endeavor, cage diving to see these apex predators in their natural environment is one of the most adrenaline-pumping activities there is to do in South Africa (-and anywhere in the world!). Get up and personal with these powerful and majestic creatures through a cage diving experience. YOLO!
*See what you can check off your travel bucket list through FTLO's South Africa trip!
Outdoors / Sports
Try skiing or snowboarding in Austria
With the Alps stretching through the country, Austria is one of the most popular destinations for snow sports. Whether you're a novice or experienced skier, you can embrace mountain culture by enjoying a day out on the slopes and relaxing after with a beer and a dip in the sauna.
*See what you can check off your travel bucket list through FTLO's Austria trip!
Spend a weekend in the World Heritage Site of Halong Bay
Talk about a magical place! This UNESCO World Heritage site, Halong Bay, is one of the most visited and iconic destinations for travelers headed to Vietnam. It’s known for its striking turquoise waters, riddled with seemingly floating limestone islands. Kayak or take a boat from one island to the next, hike local trails, take a dip in the water, or just lounge on the sand while enjoying some freshly prepared seafood. However you want to soak up the views, you can’t go wrong!
Culture + History
Experience the floating markets of Vietnam
An ancient and practical mode of transportation for foods and goods across Asia, the floating markets in Vietnam are still alive and flowing. The markets make for a lively and colorful scene and are a great way to get a feel for local culture and one of South East Asia’s main attractions.
*See what you can check off your travel bucket list through FTLO's Vietnam trip!
🌎 For more travel bucket list ideas, visit ftlotravel.com and browse our upcoming group trips to some of the coolest destinations in the world. Here's to traveling more this year!