What defines a trip of a lifetime? Is it the destination, the adventure, or is it the priceless memories made with family? We believe that the most impactful travel comes not from the destination, but from the experiences shared and the connections made. With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite bucket list travel experiences to share with your family.
Live in unison with wildlife in the Maasai Mara, Kenya
Far from the unending hum of the city, and well off the beaten path, sit extraordinary bush camps nestled deep in the heart of game country. Equally secluded and luxurious, these camps offer families a chance to truly disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. A week in the Maasai Mara, Kenya’s premiere safari destination, will reconnect any family to a deeply rooted sense of wonder and adventure.
Fall gently asleep as the whoops of hyenas echo in the distance and chuffs of nearby lions remind you that you are just a visitor here, and this is their home. Rise with the sun for a hot air balloon ride as the warm morning sun reflects off the golden savannah grass below. Your heart may skip a beat or two as the unparalleled African beauty washes over you and your family.
Simply driving across the vast plains isn’t enough; families must stay and live in harmony with the wildlife, even if just for a moment. Seeing an elephant from the back of a Jeep cannot compare to the sudden rush of peeking out from the tent to gaze upon a whole herd of elephants grazing just meters from camp. Seeing and experiencing are not one in the same, and remote bush camps let families truly become one with nature. Though the journey will come to an end, the memories made with family will last a lifetime.
Indulge the senses at a Thai market
For parents and children alike, the familiar can become problematic. When daily life becomes mundane and disinterest threatens sanity, families should seek to expand their horizons by immersing themselves in a culture so vastly different from their own. Bangkok, Thailand offers the ultimate cultural escape that should surely be on every family’s bucket list.
The world-renowned Chatuchak Weekend Market represents a crossroads of Thai culture and history as merchants, shoppers, and visitors from all ethnicities and backgrounds come together in this center of commerce. Let your senses lead you down the path of discovery – smell the fragrant and exotic spices, touch delicate silks billowing from stalls, admire incredible artwork made by traditional craftsmen, and sample local delicacies from friendly vendors throughout the market. Indulge all of the senses and open the mind to the wondrous unfamiliarity that beckons you.
Inspire curiosity underwater in Belize
Children are inherently curious beings, but in today’s modern age, there is often a strange unspoken belief that there is nothing left to be discovered. As a species, we have ventured to the farthest corners of the planet, we have conquered the harshest of conditions, and we have spent decades exploring the skies.
What is left to explore? What is left to discover? The oceans have the answers. Hiding just off the coast of Belize sits an ecosystem that quietly rivals the Australian reefs. Closer to home and far less traveled, these rich ocean neighborhoods host some of the world’s most incredible marine life.
Inspire pure joy in the form of new discovery, as the children dart about the crystal blue waters pointing at new and colorful species unlike anything they have ever seen. Bright orange corals, towering sponges, and iridescent fish inspire an incomparable sense of wonder. The realization that nothing here is familiar but everything is wonderful will satiate the curiosity of every family member, young and old alike.
Connect with a community unlike your own
Through the eyes of a child, the world can seem large and unfamiliar. While traveling to faraway locales can be insightful and eye opening, more often than not there’s still a sense of removal, of an outsider looking in. The most significant and lasting way to bridge that gap between traveler and community is to forge personal connections and build relationships with individuals from distant cultures. Volunteer with vivacious school children in Peru and discover the wonders of their culture and share the joy of friendship.
Particularly for children, meeting kids their own age can be a wonderful experience. Though they may speak a different language, eat different foods, and dress differently, all children still laugh, play, smile, and explore no matter the culture and no matter the upbringing. Instilling this sense of familiarity and building these interpersonal connections is vital for families, as it unites members from all walks of life. Not only should this be the most important experience on a family’s bucket list, it should be this way for everyone.
Elevate Destinations specializes in designing bespoke travel experiences abroad that support communities, preserve ecosystems, and nurture cross-cultural connections for families, couples, groups, or solo adventurers.