It's that time again!
As we officially say goodbye to 2016, it's fun to look back on all the amazing experiences and memories that were created over the last twelve months -- I was fortunate enough to visit 17 countries and 31 cities, six of which were on my bucket list. But for a true wanderluster, it's even more fun to dream ahead to all the amazing travels that are yet to come.
So in true form, here is our travel bucket list for 2017:
Nestled along the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, Greece is the birthplace of a culture that has had invaluable influence on the arts, language, and politics of modern day society. Beyond the ancient ruins that still stand on the mainland (such as the Parthenon in Athens), the country has an extensive network of islands with breathtaking coastlines. You'll never be bored basking in the sun, wandering the white alleyways and taking in the iconic views that await around every corner. It's no wonder that Greece is among the most visited countries in the world.
Beyond the unrivaled safari parks housed within the Serengeti, Kenya has much more than meets the eye. It's also home to the infamous Maasai Mara Reserve, known for its annual wildebeest migrations, and Amboseli National Park - not to mention the amazing Giraffe Manor.
This breathtaking island group located in the Indian Ocean is the epitome of the word paradise. Pristine waters. White sand beaches. Snorkeling. Scuba diving. Surfing. Don't believe it? Check out this video.
Home to one of the most iconic UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Peru has an amazing history and culture to share. From the attractions of Lima to the Inca Trails of Machu Picchu, there's no shortage of sites waiting to be explored.
From jungles to beaches (and everything in between), Thailand promises to be the perfect mix of exotic culture and picture-perfect landscapes. Like many places, multiple visits may be required to fully appreciate all the country has to offer. If you're an animal lover, the country has countless opportunities to interact with beautiful creatures up close and personal -- but be sure to do your homework. Some attractions, like elephant rides and tiger encounters, can be detrimental to the animals themselves, despite the way they are marketed. Read up on ethically sound programs to ensure that you aren't unknowingly contributing to the exploitation of animals.
Colors, vintage cars, and a cultural hospitality that just won't quit. Ask anyone that's been and they'll tell you that there's nowhere quite like Cuba. As writer Brendan Sainsbury says, "Timeworn but magnificent, dilapidated but dignified, fun yet maddeningly frustrating - Cuba is a country of indefinable magic on the cusp of change."
From the attractions of Cairo to the Giza Pyramids, Egypt has no shortage of sites waiting to be explored. Recent political unrest has left the country's tourism industry drier than it was a few decades ago -- meaning it may be easier to snag stellar deals during low seasons. Be sure to check what your country's travel advisory sites say about traveling to Egypt if/when you decide to pay a visit.
"Forty years after the carnage and destruction of an epoch-defining conflict, Vietnam is resolutely a nation, not a war, in the eyes of the world. Self-confident and fast-developing, its progress is all-evident in the country's booming metropolises. Vietnam's allure is easy to appreciate (and something of a history lesson) as ancient, labyrinthine trading quarters of still-thriving craft industries are juxtaposed with grand colonial mansions from the French era, all overseen from the sky bars of 21st-century glass-and-steel high-rises. Astonishingly exotic and utterly compelling, Vietnam is a country of breathtaking natural beauty with a unique heritage, where travel quickly becomes addictive." via Lonely Planet
9. SRI LANKA
"Endless beaches, timeless ruins, welcoming people, oodles of elephants, rolling surf, cheap prices, fun trains, famous tea and flavourful food describe Sri Lanka." via Lonely Planet
With an endless array of things to do and see, the world's second most populous country draws thousands of visitors every year. Not only is India home to one of the seven wonders of the modern world, it plays hosts to a handful of lively festivals through the year - including Goa Fair, Holi (the festival of colors) and Diwali (the festival of lights).