Travel Bucket List 2016!
As we enjoy the last few weeks of 2015 (where did this year go?!), it's only natural to look back on all the amazing experiences and memories that were created over the last twelve months. But for a true wanderluster, what's even more natural is looking ahead to all the amazing travels that are yet to come.
And in true form, here is our travel bucket list for 2016 - twelve amazing places in all, one for each month of the year:
The land down under may be one of the most taxing countries to get to (with a nearly 24 hr journey from the east coast of the United States), there is no doubt that it is well worth the trip. With lively cities (hello Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane!) and an enormous coastline, Australia has an endless number of things to see and do - from walking on the Sydney Harbour Bridge to surfing along the Gold Coast.
While it's probably best known as the home of the Blue Lagoon, Iceland is home to some of the world's most amazing natural wonders -- all of which are contained on an island smaller than the state of Colorado. Some of the country's most popular outdoor vistas include the dramatic volcanic landscape of geysers (like Eyjafjallajokull), hot springs, waterfalls, glaciers (like Jökulsárloón), and black-sand beaches.
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.
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.
Probably not high on many bucket lists, Turkey is often overlooked by skeptical tourists. The country's diverse regions offer everything from the populated cosmopolitan city of Istanbul to the untouched caverns of Cappadocia - which offers once in a lifetime views from the comfort of a hot air balloon.
Home to one of the most iconic UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Egypt has an amazing history and culture to share. From the attractions of Cairo to the Giza Pyramids, there's 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.
While Indonesia as a whole has more to offer than most, the island of Bali has enough to keep one busy for a lifetime. From beautiful beaches to rice paddies and mountainous volcanoes, the Balinese landscape is scattered with temples, cultural gems and natural playgrounds.
8. NEW ZEALAND
After paying a visit to this beautiful country, you'll finally understand why so many sheep call this place home -- who wouldn't want to graze with the picturesque mountains as your backdrop?! New Zealand offers the nature-lover more than enough to keep busy for weeks on end.
9. UNITED STATES
The U.S. National Parks offer some of the world's most compelling natural wonders -- as you can tell from looks alone. While these preserves aren't all housed in the country's most frequently visited states (think the likes of Arizona, Nevada and Idaho), they are the perfect excuse to have a good old-fashion American road trip!
Underrated in so many ways, Namibia is home to some of the region's most spectacular landscapes and diverse wildlife. If animals are your draw, a visit to the Etosha National Park is a must. Likewise, no trip to the country would be complete without exploring the Namib Desert, where you can use the mesmerizing Sossuvlei as your entry point.
11. CHINA & HONG KONG
China has long had an exotic appeal thanks to its stunning cityscapes and intriguing cultural lures - not to mention the array of delicious food (dumplings, anyone?!)! The country promises endless Kodak moments whether you're wandering the streets of Hong Kong or enjoying the natural wonders, like the Detain Waterfall, on the mainland.
Not all country's natural wonders are a product of Mother Nature and not all art is housed in century-old museums. For England, the purest, most exciting form of art is the visual poetry of football. It may not seem like an obvious draw or even a very cultural one - but on the contrary - the sport represents cultural and historical significance that spans decades. And while there are many countries in Europe (not to mention, the world) where you can watch it, there is nothing quite like English football as it is displayed in the Barclays Premier League. If you are a football fan, you owe yourself a match day experience.
So where will you go in 2016??
All pictures are linked to their original source in the corresponding captions.