So Many Trips, So Little Time. Help Me Build The List

I often preach to people about making sure they’re finding awesome places to visit every year.  After all, time flies.  Before I realized it, 40 snuck up on me and there’s all these places I haven’t even visited yet.  I also mention the math of enjoying travel and it goes something like this:

The average life expectancy of someone living in the United States is just shy of 80 years old.  Interestingly, my country of origin doesn’t even rank in the top 30 according to the WHO and Wikipedia.  Residents of Monaco live almost 10 years longer on average, so they get more time to enjoy the world!

It’s safe to say that most people have concrete memories from the time they’re 5 years old.  I have some from younger than that, but just trying to arrive at a safe average.  If you lived to 80 years old and took 2 trips a year, that would be 150 trips.  But, you’re likely not too much in control of your travel until you graduate high school and you’re likely to visit some places more than once.

Let’s say that you’re going to have time to enjoy 100 destinations in your lifetime.  You might be able to boost that number by taking cruises or planning day trips to some destinations.  And, your health or desire to visit some places more than others could drag that number down significantly.

These are intended to track the “average” traveler, not the folks who, like me, would take off at the drop of a hat if they found a reasonable fare to, well, pretty much anywhere.

Help me build the list of 100 places to go before you die.  I know there are plenty of these lists out there, but this one will be ours. Well, maybe a bit more mine than ours since I get editorial control. 🙂

Submit as few or as many places to visit and feel free to add the “why”.

I’m sure I’ll find quite a few folks to tweet a coffee to as a result of great answers here.  I’ll post updates to the list here and there, sort of a work in progress.

And, to get us started, I’ll throw out a handful:

Rome (essentially the capital of the world in a different time)

Venice will always hold a special place in my heart

Panama, if only to take a trip through the canal.

Taormina, Sicily for some orange gelato and a bit of World War II history.

London.  Tea with the Queen, of course.

Paris.  Every husband should take his wife there once.  Every father should take his daughter there once as well.

Las Vegas.  Maybe not to gamble, but definitely to eat and drink.


  1. Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

    Barolo, Piedmont, Italy.

    Arches National Park, Utah, USA.

    Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, USA.

    Canyon Reef National Park, Utah, USA.

    Canyonlands National Park, Utah, USA.

    Havasupai Village, Arizona, USA.

    Redwoods National Park, California, USA.

    Tongariro National Park, North Island, New Zealand.

    Kepler Track, South Island, New Zealand.

    (Got a meeting, more later)

  2. Munich (especially for Oktoberfest), Barcelona, Loire Valley, Amsterdam, Auschwitz, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Athens, Dubrovnik, Istanbul, Cairo/Luxor/Abu Simbel (Nile Cruise), Cape Town, Johannesburg, Bangkok, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Kyoto, Sydney, Melbourne, Easter Island, Rio de Janeiro, Cuzco, Galápagos Islands, Hawaiian Islands, San Francisco, LA Area, Seattle, Disney World, Washington DC, New York. Will add more later. Can only type for 15 mins a day 😉

    1. Jetsetr, I decided I didn’t need to adhere to the 15 min limit yesterday. I’m paying dearly for it today.

  3. Ed,

    There’s a flaw in your comments regarding 2 trips a year. I can say for a fact that once the kids have grown up, gone to college, and moved out, there may be 2 major trips taken a year for you (and me), but lots of long weekend trips.

    Last year we did long weekends in Nashville, Ashville, Park City, LA area and SAN, + SFO/Napa. These short trips act as a release valve to people like us (frequent flyers).

    Now to answer your question, and there’s only one answer for me, the place I started reading about when I started flying for business back in ’88. It’s a place that I’ve always wanted to go, but it’s still on my bucket list.


    1. dhammer, thanks for weighing in. I agree there will be more trips later in life, but I don’t think the “average” family conquers two new destinations a year. Thank goodness my family is not average, at least in this regard. 🙂

  4. If I were to go back to college, I’d say to study abroad at least 1 semester in a country that does not speak English.
    As for places to add to your list, here are some more:
    Rangoon/Yangon (now that Myanmar has opened up, hopefully it will retain its charm and not become the next Bangkok)
    Pyongyang (yes some people won’t go for political reasons but given how it was demolished in the early 1950s, it was planned as the showcase communist capital city.)
    Kigali (I was alive in 1994 and still remember reading in the news of the reports happening in the region.)
    Fairbanks and Barrow, AK
    world championship world cup of your favorite sport

  5. Ed, Just took a mileage run to Kona, Big Island Hawaii this weekend. To 5 reasons the Big Island must be on the list. 1) It’s the southernmost point in the United States. 2) You can walk on an active volcano at midnight. which I did several years ago. A Park Ranger takes you out onto the Caldera through cracks in the lava, with a flashlight strapped to your head, rain gear, and spiked boots. You watch the hot lava flow into the ocean. Amazing. 3) I just drove the Saddle Road, which was forbidden until about 3 years ago, because of the terrain, hairpin turns, and the altitude (10,000feet). It’s now paved and safe, and you feel like you’ve landed on Mars. If you continue up to Mauna Kea , it’s 13,000 feet. There’s an obscure military installation and an observatory at the top. You can snow ski up there. 4) There are 4 climates on this island. You can transverse them all in one day. – Kona is desert. Mauna Kea has snow. Waimea is lush green. Hilo is one of the rainiest spots on the planet. 5) The fish is so fresh from the cleanest waters anywhere. Even when it’s cooked, you can almost see through it. Can’t wait to go back

    1. Kathy, hope you’re doing well! Great to hear about the Kona trip. We’ve wanted to go, but being East coasters, we always find a shorter flight to some place we haven’t been yet. But, it’s still on our list….

  6. The hike to Huayna Picchu at Machi Picchu. Istanbul. Panama City but not for the canal (akin to watching paint dry), go becuae you can eat at Manolo Caracol restaurant in Casco Viejo. Iguazu Falls, Argentina. Stay at the SPG hotel in the park and make sure to get to the Brazilian side too. Taroko Gorge, Taiwan. Simply amazing. The dinner tram ride in Melbourne, Australia. Visit Switzerland in the winter even if you don’t sky. Kulmhotel Gornergrat (a hotel in Zermat) is also an observatory and you are up the mountain facing the Matterhorn. Stop for a night or two in Interlaken on the train ride from ZRH to/from Zermat. Again, simple amazing. A Thanksgiving trip to Munich and Salzburg for the Christkindlmarkts. An east couple hour train ride gets you form one place to the other. Tokyo for Hanami (cherry blossoms), specifically Ueno Park. Bogota. Salta, Argentina. The Palatinate region in Germany (if you like wine and/or cathedrals). Kota BHaru and Kuala Terrenganu in Malaysia. Stonehenge but only if you get an out-of-hours Stone Circle Access ticket which allows an up close visit, i.e., you can walk through Stonehenge itself and aren’t limited by the ropes, either before or after regular opening hours. Stay inside the Salisbury Cathedral Close at Sarum College – you get a key to the locked gates of the Close itself and have the Cathedral to yourself at night. Closer to home, the Amtrak Coast Starlight from LAX to SEA. New Orleans. Auburn and West Point on game day. Savannah, GA. Finger Lakes region in upstate NY. Asheville, NC. Tucson, AZ. Mesa Verde. A cruise past General Dynamics on the Thames river in Connecticut (to see the subs). Turning north, a hockey game in Canada. Riding the tidal bore on the Bay of Fundy after a stay in Moncton, NB and a night at the lighthouse on Cape D’Or. NYE in Montreal.

    1. grailer, we actually enjoyed the canal and eating a few meals in downtown Panama. I love your list. Some spots I hadn’t even considered!

  7. Ed,

    Some of echo others:
    Seychelles – Have to kayak/snorkel in some of the most pristine waters of the world (just my experience).
    Jerusalem – Its one of those places.
    Cairo – If there is any antiquity left.
    Munich – Oktoberfest / Christmas Markets, need I say more.
    Istanbul – East meets West
    Singapore – Hard to explain, but at a minimum, night safari, and Changi, one of the nicest airports in the world to transit. Don’t forget a Singapore Sling at the Long Bar (assuming the kids are old enough, they might like it too!)
    Beijing – So much history
    South Korea DMZ Tour – The emotions that the tour elicits are quite amazing, the pride, the desire for unification, its really, at least it was for me, very amazing.
    Tokyo – For me at least, the movie Lost in Translation characterizes it well, but you must experience it.
    Petra, Jordan – Because everyone wants to be Indiana Jones at some point (Heck, Rose and I named our dog after him, or I suppose, his dog!).
    Rio de Janiero, Brazil – Before the World Cup, before the Olympics, it was still an amazing place to see, with Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf (?).
    Buenos Aires, Argentina – another world capital, but, don’t cry for me, please.
    Colonia, Uruguay – A beautiful mixture of Portugese and Spanish architecture, and about an hours ferry ride from Buenos Aires.
    Lima and Machu Pichu, Peru – Because why not? Besides, as @PatMikeL says, one of the welcome amenities at one of the SPG properties is oxygen.
    Sydney, Australia – Yeah, the Sydney Opera House is to die for, but really a trip out to Manly is what you really go for.
    Yangon, Myanmar – This is on my list, I haven’t made it there, but it looks unspoiled, and like a place I’d really like to see before I die.
    Delhi/Agra, India – The Taj Mahal is an amazing, symmetrical facility (my words), the story is beautiful, the structures are even more beautiful, but the train from Delhi to Agra is an experience that few should miss, at least the adventurous kind.
    Accra, Ghana – I spent a bunch of time here a few years ago. A couple hours north are a number of “castles” that were the places that slaves were gathered and sent west as part of the slave trade. It is a dark place in their history, it is a dark place in our history, but just because its dark, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t acknowledge it, learn it, and share it.
    Kenya – On the “stretch” list – everyone should experience a safari (Its on my list at least!)
    Brugge, Belgium – Because Rose (my wife) said so… No, really, its one of the few cities not destroyed during WWII, and (I know this sounds wonky), if you look at the bell tower, and go to your 5 o’clock, you’ll find a great chocolate shop. Oh, and I think there was a movie too.

    Ok, that was a ton – sorry for offering too much. Btw, if you’re looking to tweet coffees, Ed, I would sooner buy you a coffee for 20 minutes to chat. You name the place and time.

    1. Trevor, great list! I loved Tokyo and was disappointed I had to cancel my DMZ tour a couple weeks ago to mend my broken wing. I had Accra only my list a number of years ago as a work trip and it didn’t happen, alas.

      Happy to sit for coffee. Also, maybe the happy hour next week?

  8. First, hope your elbow is feeling better. Now, to the list:
    Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
    Angkor Wat, Cambodia
    Ireland (the whole country from the Cliffs of Moher to the pubs of Dublin)
    Florence, Italy
    Pacific Coast Highway from SF to Santa Barbara
    Yellowstone National Park
    Bora Bora
    Sea of Cortez, Baja California
    Galapagos Islands
    Llasa, Tibet
    French Riviera
    Greek Isles

    1. Thanks, Dawn. Great list! We loved Florence. And, I’m actually thinking about driving the PCH with the kids next summer.

  9. Here are my two off-the-beaten-path recommendations:

    Lago di Como (Lake Como), Italy in the springtime – and specifically the town of Bellagio. It’s absolutely beautiful.

    Newbury Street in downtown Boston on a clear autumn day. Tons of awesome arts and music and bohemian culture in a gorgeous 350 year old part of the city.

  10. Of the places I have traveled here are my top recommendations. No order.
    Petra(go for several days and explore), Jerusalem, Rio, Easter Island.

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