The ultimate bucket list trips for unforgettable adventures in 2024

Whether your dream getaway entails an adventurous cruise, an iconic railway expedition or exploring enchanting cities, we have something tailor-made for you.

What's on your bucket list of dream holidays? We always have a list in mind of trips that will transport us to the awe-inspiring locations we've seen in magazines and on social media, so we can see these mesmerising places for ourselves.

These trips take us to far-flung corners of the globe, to places we've never been to before with cultures we've never experienced. This can sometimes make planning bucket list holidays a little intimidating.

Luckily, we have a selection of trips with carefully curated activities, meticulously planned itineraries and expert guides to help make your adventures as stress-free as possible.

These holidays are perfect for checking off extraordinary destinations from your bucket list, allowing you to encounter exotic wildlife, traverse spectacular landscapes and enjoy new cultures around the world.

So, to help you plan your next dream holiday, here's some of the most amazing ideas for this year and next, from seeing the cherry blossom in full bloom in Japan, to witnessing wildlife in the rainforests of Costa Rica.

Japan

Japan is on many people's bucket lists, and for good reason. It offers a unique blend of ancient and modern and is home to countless natural wonders and cultural highlights. Visitors love discovering tranquil temples and picturesque old towns alongside the bright lights and technical innovations of ultra-modern cities like Tokyo and Kyoto.

We have a fantastic 17-day cruise of Japan at the height of its cherry blossom season. Each spring, millions of Japanese residents and visitors wait with anticipation for the first buds of the pink cherry blossom - known as Sakura. This two-week cruise will show you the best of Tokyo, Osaka, Kagoshima and even Busan in South Korea, all while the papery pink blossoms are at their best.

Alternatively, see a side of Japan that tourists often miss on our 13-day tour of the Japanese Alps between Tokyo and Osaka. This tour will take you to lesser-visited spots like Shirakawago, Takayama, and Kanazawa, immersing you in the local culture.

India

India has so many elegant cities with rich cultural and historic treasures to see. The cities of the Golden Triangle, Delhi, Jaipur, and Agra, are particularly blessed with architecture and historical monuments, from the spectacular Red Fort to the Jantar Mantar observatory.

Join us for a cruise along India's most sacred river, the Ganges, and you'll start with a tour of India's Golden Triangle before setting sail on the Ganges Voyager II, a beautiful ship decorated with hand-painted murals throughout. Joining you for part of this cruise will be the British-based Indian chef Atul Kochhar, who'll share his passion for Indian cooking with you during a live cooking demonstration.

Of course, as well as its magnificent cities, India also boasts mesmerising nature. Another bucket list experience in India comes on our 15-day trip which takes you to the Golden Triangle and to the jungles of Ranthambore, where you'll get the chance to spot tigers in the wild, a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Antarctica

A visit to the so-called 'White Continent' is an almost otherworldly experience. This is a land of jaw-dropping scenery of glaciers, icebergs, and towering mountains, home to a fascinating range of wildlife. It's only possible to travel to Antarctica on an expedition cruise with an expert team, who'll curate your itinerary to help you navigate the extreme conditions and get the most out of a truly special trip.

This is where our 15-day Antarctic adventure comes in. Join a fully-equipped expedition ship, MS Fridtjof Nansen or MS Amundsen, specially designed for navigating these polar waters. Your expedition team will tailor your activities based on the conditions, but you can look forward to ice cruises, kayaking among the icebergs, and of course, wildlife spotting. Bucket list trips hardly get more unique than this.

Vietnam and Cambodia

Flowing through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, the Mekong River is one of the longest rivers in the world and is home to over 1,000 wildlife species. Embarking on a Mekong River cruise is a fantastic way to explore Cambodia and Vietnam, two countries with fascinating religious sites, turbulent histories, and fantastic food.

On our incredible 17-day river cruise you can see the highlights of the two countries, immersing yourself in diverse cultures, savouring delectable cuisine, and witnessing remarkable wildlife, including endangered Irrawaddy dolphins, giant freshwater stingrays, and massive catfish. You'll be sailing on board the luxurious Mekong Jewel in a suite with high ceilings, opulent decor, and a private balcony overlooking the river.

Costa Rica

If you're looking for a bucket list trip the whole family can enjoy, try Costa Rica. This sunny Central American country is perfect for seamlessly blending sun-soaked relaxation with thrilling forest adventures. This vast natural playground is perfect for adventurous families, who can try activities like kayaking, ziplining, and hiking through the jungle spotting amazing wildlife.

And when you need a rest, you can spend long relaxing days lounging on the soft sands of beaches as crystal clear waters lap the shore. Tripsmiths have a wonderful Costa Rican family adventure available, where you'll fill your days with exhilarating jungle escapades, including an unforgettable trip into the Monteverde Cloud forest at night with an expert naturalist to encounter its nocturnal wildlife.

Another way to experience Costa Rica and more of Central America is on our wonderful nine-day cruise on board a masted clipper with only 166 guests. This boutique cruise will take you down the west coast of Central America, venturing through the mangroves and lagoons of Costa Rica before heading south to Panama and docking on two paradisiacal islands, Coiba Island and Parida Island, known for their pristine beaches, lapped with jade water.