Grand European president John Miller shares his 2017 Travel Bucket List, featuring 10 inspiring destinations and trips not to miss in the year ahead.
I hope 2017 is off to a great start for our fellow travelers. As I plan several exciting trips for the year ahead, whether for business or a much anticipated family getaway, I also become eager to hear about the types of adventures our guests are planning. If you’re anything like I am, your travel bucket list likely includes destinations both near and far — but whether you’re planning on taking a rail journey across Canada or a river cruise through Europe, I’d encourage you to make your reservations now in order to lock in the best rates and availability. And if you haven’t yet decided where this year will take you, I’d like to offer some inspiration with my Top 10 Travel Bucket List. Browse the destinations below and see what stands out — then let us plan your next dream vacation.
Exploring India’s exotic colors and iconic monuments has been a lifelong dream of mine, so I had to choose Luxury Gold’s Essence of India as the #1 trip on my Travel Bucket List. In addition to the 5-star accommodations, dining, and service that one can expect from Luxury Gold, this itinerary stands out thanks to many unforgettable local encounters as well its overall perspective of India’s diverse heritage. If you’re looking for something exotic, exciting, and full of surprises, I’d recommend reserving this trip in 2017.
Greece quickly became a favorite destination when I traveled there with my son for an eighth grade trip. Our vacation turned out to be the ultimate learning experience for both of us as we explored world famous ruins and retraced the footsteps of ancient civilizations together. This year, I’ve added Grecian Fables from Insight Vacations to my Travel Bucket List; the itinerary would bring me back to the iconic sites I visited with my son years ago, and also offers an exciting opportunity to explore the breathtaking islands of Mykonos and Santorini. If you’ve never traveled to Greece, I highly recommend this itinerary for its combination of ancient history, local culture and natural beauty.
Over the years I’ve traveled to Ireland for business on a number of occasions. In addition to the beautiful landscapes and castle ruins, what stands out to me the most about the country is how incredibly friendly and hospitable the people are. In 2016 I had the fortune of staying at the world-renowned Ashford Castle, where I enjoyed the finest service I’ve experienced in all my years of travel. I’d love to return with my wife this year to experience Insight Vacation’s Irish Elegance tour. This wonderful eight day trip offers the perfect glimpse of Ireland’s history and culture, and even includes a luxurious night at Ashford. If you’ve ever dreamed of staying in an Irish castle, this trip is for you.
China is a bucket list destination for many travelers. From imperial treasures to scenic beauty, the country offers endless opportunities for exploration. But given that the country’s sheer size can intimidate even the savviest travelers, I’ve chosen Uniworld’s Grand China and the Yangtze luxury river cruise for my Travel Bucket List. What better way to take in take in all the highlights than by sailing along the winding waterways of the Yangtze River?
Russia is another destination I’d like to explore on an award-winning Uniworld river cruise. The Imperial Waterways of Russia cruise is a bucket list trip for several reasons. From the mighty metropolises of Moscow and St. and St. Petersburg to the traditional towns along the Golden Ring, guests on this journey are immersed in Russian art, culture and history in ways you won’t find anywhere else. If you’ve been considering a trip to Russia, a Uniworld cruise is a great way to explore everything the country has to offer.
6. New Zealand
Several years ago when my son was studying abroad in Australia I sent him on a Contiki tour of New Zealand. He’s raved about the experience ever since. In fact, hearing about his adventures inspired me to add Trafalgar’s Contrasts of Australia & New Zealand trip to my Travel Bucket List. Visiting Sydney and the Great Barrier Reef are at the top of my list for Australia, and I look forward to seeing New Zealand’s natural highlights including the famous Milford Sound and Franz Josef Glacier. For those seeking the ultimate luxury experience down under, I’d highly suggest The Long White Cloud trip from Luxury Gold.
7. Central Europe
I’ve had the pleasure of traveling to Vienna and Budapest for business in recent years and thoroughly enjoyed my time spent in these two fascinating cities. I’ve resolved to return to Central Europe to explore even more highlights on our leisurely Vienna, Prague & Budapest trip from Trafalgar. This best-selling tour appeals to many of our guests for its perfect balance of guided sightseeing and free time. If you’re looking for a leisurely trip to three delightful European capitals, be sure to book this tour.
8. America’s National Parks
What’s not to love about an exciting trip to America’s epic national parks? Given that our name is Grand European, you might be surprised to learn that the Scenic Parks Explorer trip from Trafalgar is one of our best-selling vacations year after year. I’ve included this trip on my list because it offers the chance to experience so many natural treasures in one fun and fast-paced adventure. Whether you’re returning to favorite spots like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone or exploring the parks for the first time on a vacation for the whole family, you’ll be amazed by everything this unforgettable trip has to offer. And for more trip ideas, be sure to check out our complete collection of USA guided vacations.
From its history and religious significance to a plethora of ancient sites, Israel offers curious travelers an adventure unlike any other. I’ve chosen the Israel Discovery trip from Insight Vacations because its exciting itinerary includes a number of bucket list spots — Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth and even a trip to the Dead Sea. If Israel is also on your travel bucket list I’d encourage you not to hesitate about booking your trip — 2017 is a great time to commit to your travel dreams, and you can be sure to explore with peace of mind on this expertly planned guided vacation.
France is one of my favorite European destinations. I love Paris and all that is has to offer, as well as nearby highlights like the small town of Giverny, where Claude Monet once lived. If you haven’t been to this tiny town and ever have the chance, be sure to visit the artist’s former home and iconic gardens, which offer a glimpse of what inspired some of his most famous paintings. And while I’ve visited Paris on several occasions, I have yet to experience the historic world war battlefields along the coast of Normandy — an experience many of our guests have described as a highlight of their travels. Uniworld’s Paris & Normandy river cruise is on my list because it includes charming visit to Giverny guests sail along the Seine to the beaches of Normandy.
What’s on your Travel Bucket List this year? Tell us in the comments below.