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While I have included a few great travel experiences here that will make you happy, I certainly realize there are countless other great travel experiences all over the world. So let this serve as a starting point. I would love to hear what great travel experiences make you happy so that I can try them myself on future trips.
8 Great Travel Experiences That Will Make You Happy
Gotta drop the mic on this first great travel experience. Jumping from an airplane was the craziest thing I have done. Well, not so much jumping, as falling. Scary? Heck, yes. I kept my hands to myself because I feared clocking the instructor, knocking him out, and I would not know what to do in that situation.
Different great travel experience but somewhat similar to skydiving. A small propeller airplane tows your motorless glider airplane into the air. Once you reach a certain altitude, the glider pilot releases the towline and you ease back to terra firma. For the few minutes you are free floating it is very quiet and surreal. I loved it.
This great travel experience was through Harris Hill Soaring in Elmira, New York courtesy of Corning Finger Lakes. Yes, someone paid for me to go soaring. How awesome is that? Hey, I might say the same thing again so get used to it!
The third new great travel experience I did this year was fly fishing. While skydiving and soaring are definitely great travel experiences I wanted to try (even if not 100%), fly fishing was not really on my radar. After three different people asked me within the same week if I wanted to try fly fishing, I finally got the hint. They say a bad day fishing is better than a great day at work. Lucky me, I had a great day fishing, catching a 22 inch brownie (brown trout).
I love kayaking. It is a great way to explore an area and provides some exercise. While kayaking on Loften Creek on Amelia Island, Florida last month, I tried to remember all of the states I have kayaked in. I decided I should just start over and kayak in every state, just to make sure.
A couple of months before that, I had the great fortune to kayak two times in the same week in gorgeous southern Delaware. The area has an abundance of natural settings and great restaurants, within a short drive of millions of northeastern US residents.
These three great travel experiences included: Delmarva Board Sport Adventures and Adrenaline High courtesy of Visit Southern Delaware and Amelia Island Kayak Excursions courtesy of Visit Amelia Island.
A couple of weeks ago, JUCY provided me a complimentary 5 day rental of one of their mini RVs. We enjoyed camping along Big Sur and California’s Central Coast, making breakfast and dinner with views of the mighty Pacific Ocean, and driving the coolest vehicle in California. The JUCY Champ mini RV can sleep 4 persons, has a solar-powered refrigerator, 2 stoves, a sink, plenty of dishes and amenities.
This great travel experience was courtesy of JUCY.
McCool Travel tip: If you are interested in RV travel experience (whether renting or buying), a convenient place to begin research is Go RVing, particularly the Where to Find: Rentals section.
Many of the great travel experiences in my lifetime have been road trips. I prefer curvy, smaller roads like (Road to Hana) to major highways (like German Autobahn), but, heck, any new road in a travel destination can be fun. Some road trips that were great travel experiences this year, besides Big Sur (above), were England (always fun to drive around), the gorgeous Czech Republic/Germany mountain region, and an autumn Shenandoah Valley road trip (with a Mazda MX-5 Miata) and a summer Virginia road trip (with a Mazda CX-3).
The 2016 Mazda CX-3 and 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata convertible were loaned to me for one week each by DriveShop.
Most often, though, I am exploring the unpaved roads of Virginia in my very own Subaru Forester.
Exploring and Relaxing
One of our recent great travel experiences was a Jeep tour into the heart of the San Andreas fault near Palm Springs, California. The tour allowed time to explore (with guidance) the slot canyons where the Pacific and North American tectonic plates meet. I am glad there was no rumbling ground during my visit.
In Iceland this summer, my family hiked to natural public hot springs. It was about a 3 km hike (yes, each way) starting about 45 minutes from Reykjavik. McCool Travel Tip: We saved more than 300 Euros compared to a visit to the Blue Lagoon.
Last month, the same morning as the above epic fly fishing experience, we visited Strawberry Park Hot Springs in Steamboat Springs Colorado. It is a magnificent facility about a 20 minute drive from downtown Steamboat Springs.
Your choice? Let me know.
OK, I listed 8 great travel experiences and reached out to some travel friends for suggestions. Many of them also contributed to my recent article, Absolutely Inspiring Places to Visit in 2017. Please read their wishes and recommendations for great travel experiences in 2017. After doing so, please, please let me know what great travel experiences you have in mind for next year (or any year).
My top goal in 2017 is to go on a luxury safari in Africa, that’s something I’ve always wanted to do. There’s some magical about seeing animals in the wild, where they should be, not behind bars.
In 2017 I hope to finally sail on Royal Caribbean’s newest Quantum class of ships and indulge in over thirty different dining experiences! I also hope to compare sea vs. river by sailing on a European river cruise. After reading about the mind-blowing dining on Viking River Cruises on McCool Travel [Ed. Note. Thank you!], I promptly added this to my someday list and plan to #MakeSomedayHappen.
I am hopeful of getting to the Galapagos, Easter Island, and my current golden goose – the Falkland Islands. All can be reached using British Airways Avios for free flights!
I would love to visit Machu Picchu! It is one of those places that has always been on my list, but I really want to make it a reality for 2017. I am certain it would be one of those “life-changing” experiences and fun to do with family.
I want to try flying with my three month son Jack for the first time! I look forward to showing him the world.
A trip with Viking Ocean Cruises Into the Midnight Sun is at the top of my 2017 travel wish list. My previous ocean and river cruises with Viking were spectacular, and they would be ideal guides for exploring the coast of Norway and cruising above the Arctic Circle. Stunning natural beauty, remote villages, and endless summer nights sound like a winning travel combination to me.
Want to try something new this winter? Go beyond snowshoeing or skiing and try freeride airboard by Undiscovered Pyrenees! Snowshoe up the French Pyrenees with incredible views wherever you look. Sounds like a challenge but the reward is well worth it. Zoom back down the mountain on your inflated kevlar airboard. This is most definitely a RoarLoud adventure.
I have spent several years trying various methods to add luxury to my travel at more economical costs. In 2017 I am on a quest to further expand my knowledge through connecting with other travel experts. A large part of my travel will be focused on meeting other travel bloggers, including international travel conferences. I have a goal of connecting with @CharlesMcCool and his wife @FuninFairfax [Ed. Note. Definitely!]. Expanding relationships with people that share your travel passion is exciting. I look forward to sharing these experiences on social media as well! Cheers to you and your travel dreams in 2017!
What great travel experiences are on your mind?