I’m going to go out on a limb for our U.S. readers and presuppose that many, if not all of you, have already crossed domestic treasures off your travel bucket list, such as:

  •  National Parks like Yosemite CA, the Grand Canyon, Arizona; Glacier, Montana; Big Bend, Texas; Denali, Alaska; Acadia, Maine, etc.
  •  National Monuments such as Bandelier, New Mexico; Chimney Rock, Colorado; Ft. Sumner, South Carolina; Giant Sequoia, California; Statue of Liberty, New York, etc.
  • Amazing major cities like New Orleans, New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, etc., each having its own energy and flavor.

There are hidden gems in each and every state of the U.S. Likewise, Canada and Mexico both have spectacular scenery and much diversity, but one target for me, raved about by everyone who has been there is Banff/Lake Louise. Again, I’m guessing many U.S. citizens have frequented Canada and Mexico.

So, what are the travel treasures to be found overseas? Below are my picks to add to your travel bucket list:

Europe

Every country in Europe has its own culture and wonderful things to offer. I will assume most of you have been to many places in Europe but will highlight two that are a little less traveled by Americans:

1. Croatia

What a darling little country this is, with spectacular views, mostly along the Adriatic coast. Plitvice National Park is inland and packed with visitors, but nary an American – gorgeous!!!

Croatia

2. Turkey (borders Europe and Asia)

While Turkey is going through its share of turmoil at the moment, for those who haven’t had much exposure to a predominantly Muslim country, I found it very interesting and the people were incredibly friendly with a wicked sense of humor.

Turkey

Africa

Africa is fascinating and so very different culturally from the U.S. It’s a political hot mess, so take care in choosing the countries to visit and keep tabs on the local situation through the state department. We visited in the summer of 2016 and felt safe while there.

3. Safari

If you are an animal lover (or hunter), the safaris in Africa can’t be beat. I would recommend Kenya, Botswana or South Africa, though many other countries offer safaris, as well. Do your homework to be sure where you’re going has the animals you want to see. Some locations don’t have rhinos, others don’t have the wildebeest, and gorillas are pretty much exclusive to Uganda or Rwanda.

Safari

4. Africa’s Beauty

Capetown and Victoria Falls offer Africa’s version of stunning scenery, as does the wine country outside Capetown (Stellenbosch and Franschhoek). Capetown, in particular, rivals the other gorgeous cities of the world, such as Rio de Janiero, Sydney, or Lisbon.

Africa

Asia

No travel bucket list would be complete without some travel to Asia. This is personally my weak spot since I’ve not traveled there yet, but am told these would be the highlights:

5. China

Beijing (Great Wall) and Xian (terracotta warriors) seem to be the top priorities.

terracotta warriors

 6. Japan

Everyone I know who has visited Japan loves it for its cleanliness and order (check out the toilets).

Japan

7. Golden Triangle (Laos, Thailand, Myanmar) plus, Vietnam and Cambodia

This area obviously evokes strong memories for those who lived through the Vietnam War, but these countries offer some beautiful, historic sites.

Golden Triangle

8. India

Most will acknowledge that India is a heart wrenching place to visit for its pitiful beggars, extreme poverty and caste system (still alive and well) but it also offers extreme beauty at the Taj Mahal and other palaces and forts of Rajasthan and in the tea plantations and backwaters of Kerala.

India

9. Hong Kong and Singapore

Referred to as ‘Asia lite,’ a peek into Asian culture with the comforts of a very ordered, sophisticated and English-speaking society.

Singapore

Land Down Under

10. Australia and New Zealand

Every single person I know who has visited Australia and New Zealand can’t say enough about the friendly people and the beautiful sites, from Sydney to the Great Barrier Reef, to historical Ayres Rock and the lush greenery of New Zealand.

Australia

South America

While Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires are the most popular big, beautiful cities in South America, three other places stand out for me:

11. Machu Picchu (Peru)

Home of the 15th century Inca civilization, set on a stunning mountain top.

Machu Picchu

12. Chile

From the Atacama high desert to the volcano district (yes, a volcano really erupted while we were there) to the vineyards, to Patagonia (one of the most majestic places on earth), Chile offers incredible variety in one very long, skinny country.

Chile

13. Manaus (Brazil)

Most travelers don’t get to see the Amazon up close and personal and, while it’s a flight to get there, it is worth the effort for a peek at this enormous and famous river.

Brazil

Bonus: Israel, as the cradle for several of the world’s religions, is uniquely historic and moving. Don’t miss this one if you want to see where the foundational stories took place.

Israel

Grab your bags and get moving to see this baker’s dozen of bucket list sites!

For helpful tips while traveling abroad, read on!

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About The Author

Debbie Johnson

Debbie is a native Nebraskan whose career started with AT&T/Lucent Technologies, ending as a Vice President. Then she became a consultant helping businesses grow and be strategic as they give back to their communities. She has written articles for many publications and enjoys sharing her knowledge with others.