Lifestyle

10 things to add to your travel bucket list

We’ve curated the 10 most essential travel experiences – if time and money weren’t an issue
 

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#1 Go on a vacation on impulse
Planning is fun and all, but there’s nothing quite like an impulsively bought plane ticket and a last-minute vacation – even if it’s just a weekend trip to a neighbouring island. Sign up for all the mailing lists of regional airlines, and pick whatever feels right at the moment. It could be Bali, it could be Tianjin – you’ll never know what new adventures you could have until you embrace the spontaneity.

#2 Catch a concert at the world's biggest music arenas
And we mean Madison Square Garden in New York City or the Wembley Stadium in London. Or soak up the electrifying atmosphere at music festivals such as Tomorrowland in Belgium.

#3 Live like a local as you travel the world
This means not just plotting your way through every tourist landmark on the world map, or trying to squeeze 10 European cities into two weeks. We mean setting up camp for at least a month in each location and exploring every nook and cranny the place has to offer. Go for a run through Central Park in autumn. Frequent the coffee bar near your apartment in Melbourne until the baristas know what your “regular” is. Make friends with the owners in that tiny family-run bar in heartland Naples even if neither of you speaks the other’s language. As we like to say: You haven’t really travelled until you learn to live like a local.

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#4 Eat at the 50 best restaurants in the world
Are there greater bragging rights than being able to claim to have dined at the famed Noma? Or to have had a taste of Heston Blumenthal’s culinary genius at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in London? Yes, if you make it to all 50 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. It’ll be a pricey and lengthy process, but if there ever was just one great payoff in travelling for food, it’s the promise of a transcendent gastronomic experience only a privileged few have had. You can start right here in Singapore: Restaurant Andre (#46), Waku Ghin (#70) and Jaan (#74) are all on the list.

#5 … and then eat at all the best local restaurants in the world
Consult the guide books, ask the locals, and mix in a little serendipity. Sometimes, the best meal to be had is found not in a Michelin-starred restaurant, but in a quirky little tavern, tucked away in a neighbourhood frequented only by people who actually live there, and serving truly authentic local grub that’s a little too hearty and oily but oh so delicious.

#6 Take part in the Boston Marathon
Because there’s no marathon more prestigious (or harder to qualify for). You might not be able to make it on your first try (amateur runners from the ages of 18 to 34 have to meet the maximum time requirement of 3hr 35min), but when you eventually do, the sheer adrenalin rush that comes with taking part in a marathon with 30,000 like-minded people will be well worth the wait.

#7 Take the trans-siberian railway
It’s been dubbed the greatest rail journey in the world with good reason: The full Moscow-to-Vladivostok route spans 9,258km and takes seven days to complete, without counting stopovers. You can also choose to take the Moscow-to-Beijing route, with the option of passing through the Manchurian region of China, or via Ulan Bator in Mongolia – the luxurious Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express covers all three routes. Witnessing the vast, awe-inspiring Russian and Northern Chinese landscapes, all from the comfort of your train carriage, will be nothing short of magical.

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#8 Visit the Salar De Uyuni
Few natural wonders come close to the breathtaking majesty of Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat, which is in south-western Bolivia. When it rains, the layer of water that sits over the salt flat transforms it into a reflective surface to stunning eff ect – hence its moniker of “the world’s largest mirror”. Guided tours are available all year round, but visit during the wet season between December and April if you want to experience the mirror effect at its most awe-inspiring. Just remember to pack enough warm clothing and pills to counter altitude sickness (the salt plain is 3,656m above sea level).

#9 Attend a major sporting event
Put the remote down – pronto! – and catch the Wimbledon finals in London; spend a week in France watching European football giants clash in Euro 2016; or heck, go to the Superbowl in the US if that’s your thing.

#10 Fly first class for a holiday
Because to be wined and dined, to sleep very comfortably in a fully reclining seat (and in some cases, an actual bed) and most of all, not have to deal with screaming babies and fidgety people in a cramped space for more than 12 endless hours, is a flying experience that everyone should have at least once in their lives.

This story was first published in HerWorld Magazine July 2015.

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