7 Bucket List Countries for Trips of a Lifetime

Cascading hot springs

The countries that offer monumental trips of a lifetime have a large number of attractions, including impressive architecture, breathtaking landscapes, delicious food, distinctive culture, and diverse adventures. The seven bucket list countries in this post include this and so much more. They are a must for your travel destination bucket list.

Of the 50 countries we have traveled to, some we have visited a few times, and a couple of them we love the lifestyle so much that we return annually. With so many fascinating countries in the world, it is hard to pick our favorites. Every country we visit offers unique once in a lifetime trips. But these seven bucket list countries are among our favorites, and they are countries we want to return to. We highly recommend you visit them at least once in your life! Keep reading to discover the seven bucket list countries and why they will provide you with trips of a lifetime.

Visit these 7 bucket list countries for epic trips of a lifetime


We love Thailand so much because of its laid-back lifestyle. Additionally, we love the dazzling beaches, the lush nature, the fascinating culture, the gorgeous temples, and the flavorsome food.

But the thing we love the most is the cost of living and traveling. It is pretty cheap to travel around Thailand. We spend the same amount of money in a month as we do in some European countries in a week. Of course, suppose you are more of a luxury than a budget traveler; in that case, you can splash out on quality accommodation at similar prices to what 3-star motels often cost in western countries.

Many people have Thailand as one of their bucket list countries; however, Thailand has become a home away from home for us. We have gone there every year (since 2006) because we love the island life in the Gulf of Thailand. We feel absolutely blessed to be able to take these trips of a lifetime!

Because of the pandemic, we missed out on going there in the last couple of years, but we will return there soon. We have added Thailand to the top of our travel 2023 travel goals.

Don’t Miss

  • A visit to the markets and the mountains in Chaing Mai.
  • Island hopping in the Gulf of Thailand.
  • The temples of Bangkok.
  • Eating Thai street food at the night markets.

Read Next – 8 reasons to go to Thailand’s Koh Phangan Island now!


Huts on the beach in Goa, India
Huts right on the beach for only a few dollars a night.

If we are talking about cheap, India is one of our favorite budget destinations.

However, we love India because it’s colorful, and there are so many diverse cultures to explore. We especially love the tasty spicy food.

India has so much to offer, from temples, beaches, bustling cities, and jungles. We find travel in India is like sitting down at a huge buffet.  

India was one of our bucket list countries for many years. Finally, we traveled to South India for six weeks and left a piece of our hearts in the amazing country. It is one of the most incredible and life-changing trips of a lifetime.

Though, we feel like we have only seen a small part of the vast country and spent only a tiny amount of our lives there. So for travel 2023, North India is on our Asia bucket list. 

Don’t Miss

  • Goa’s incredible beaches.
  • The incredible laidback vibe and culture of Kerala.
  • The color and activity of Mumbai.
  • Taking a long-distance trip in a sleeper train.

Read Why Travel to India – One of our Top 10 Countries! to discover why we love India and why you should add it to your travel destination bucket list.


Italian coastal village view
Once upon a time, I sat in an office cubicle in Sydney, Australia, with a poster on my cubicle wall of this Cinque Terre view, dreaming I would be in this picture one day. This is me smugly crossing it off my bucket list!

Many travelers agree Italy is timeless, and it is one of the top bucket list countries on most people’s travel bucket lists. 

The food, the ruins, the churches, the old towns, and the beaches make it an entertaining vacation.

We love road trips in Italy and have been on two. We enjoy passing and exploring small villages and old towns on the way to larger well-known cities. Mostly, we adore the travel lifestyle in Italy, as it’s all about exploring and eating.

Italy is a country that offers a once-in-a-lifetime trip for anyone who desires a country that is easy to tour and wants to see plenty of attractions. It is one of the top trips of a lifetime for millions of people every year, and most people remark that Italy is one of the top countries to visit.

Don’t Miss

  • The ruins of Pompeii.
  • The ruins and churches in Rome & the Vatican.
  • Venice. One of our favorite cities, offering once in a lifetime trips to everyone who visits.
  • Cinque Terre and the villages along the Italian Riviera coastline.

Before you go, discover the Vatican Museum Online – Virtual Travel to The Best Museum In The World.


Monastery on a mountain top at Meteora, Greece
The surreal UNESCO World Heritage Site, Meteora

If there is paradise on Earth, then Greece is it. Greece is another country high up on most people’s travel bucket lists. Most people dream of visiting the Greek Islands.

It is also the best country to visit for first time travelers. Tourism is well organized, and the main attractions are easy to see.

We love the Greek islands too. However, we also love exploring mainland Greece. Captivating places like Delphi, Meteora, and Athens are full of antiquity and offer more of a chance to see how locals live.

Combined with one of our favorite international cuisines and vibrant culture, we would love to return to Greece to eat and indulge our senses in music and sights.

We will explore more of the mainland towns. However, we will likely start our Greek bucket list trip with some Greek Island hopping. A cruise on the Mediterranean Sea, a beachside villa in Mykonos, and then spend our days gazing at the sea and practicing the sweet art of doing nothing.

Don’t Miss

  • Island hopping on the Greek Islands.
  • The antiquities and churches in Athens.
  • Mystical Meteora.
  • Greek food, especially grilled seafood.

Do you fancy reading a travel blog about our overland adventures in Greece? We got you! Mountains, Temples, Islands & Seafood Feasts in Greece.


Beach view in Costa Brava, Spain
Beach vibes in Costa Brava, Spain

They say food makes a holiday, which could not be more accurate for foodies like ourselves. As you can see, most of the destinations we want to return to mention the tantalizing food.

Spain is foodie heaven, and the beer cost is very cheap too! Please give us a few glasses and a massive pile of tapas, and we will be happy!

The other things we love about Spain are the multitude of old towns and the lively plazas, the elegant churches, the beautiful beaches, and the outgoing people.

Spanish culture embraces food, music, the arts, and history. We love the culture and lifestyle, which is about family and friends and enjoying more time with them. It is also about doing things you love and enjoying life instead of working longer hours. We love the way Spanish people live with a zest for life. 

Don’t Miss

  • One of the many colorful traditional festivals.
  • The world-class cuisine and stunning architecture in Barcelona.
  • The historic old town and courtyards of Cordoba.
  • The beaches and islands.

The Philippines

Boats on the water at low tide
Palawan, Philippines

We have only been to the Philippines once. But we loved how friendly the people were.

It is a country made up of many islands that are not easy to get around. For this reason, we have only seen two of the islands out of thousands. However, once you get to your island of choice, traveling around is easy and cheap.

We visited Luzon and Palawan and found a lot of diversity – city life, historical churches, stunning beaches, and lush jungle.

One of the most memorable highlights for us and the many travelers we speak to are the incredible boat cruises that pass majestic uninhabited islands and explore wondrous underwater worlds.

We would love to return to the Philippines and see some other islands.

Don’t miss

  • Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park.
  • Eating at a Boodle Fight. This traditional communal feast is served on banana leaves.
  • Spending some time meeting friendly locals. Many speak excellent English.
  • Manilla for churches and nightlife.


Blue Mountains view
Blue Mountains, Australia.

We love Australia due to our family, friends, and history there.

Additionally, call us biased, but having traveled to over 50 countries worldwide, we appreciate what we have in Australia. The panoramic landscape, the thousands of miles of beaches, the miles of highways, and the freedom, make Australia a place we adore.

The epic country offers so much diversity, from the outback desert terrain, rainforests, and mountains to farmlands, tropical beaches, and fun cities. Besides touristy countries like Italy and Greece, Australia is the best country to visit for first time travelers.

Australia is a safe country and easy to travel to, especially for those from English-speaking countries. Australia is the bucket list country that stands out as the country that many travelers say they yearn to visit.

Soon, for our first post-pandemic international trip from New Zealand, we will be heading there, visiting family and friends, and going on a road trip along the endless highways.

Don’t Miss

  • The lush, tropical Far North Queensland.
  • A coastal road trip from Sydney to Brisbane.
  • The great Australian Outback.
  • The Red Centre & The Northern Territory.

Start planning your Australian adventures today. Read Next – Best Places to Visit in Australia.

As we said earlier, it’s hard to pick a favorite country. It’s equally hard to state that certain countries will offer trips of a lifetime or which are the top countries to visit. 

Any country you visit, especially for the first time, will offer you once in a lifetime trips! However, these 7 countries are among our favorites because they have given us trips of a lifetime that we will cherish forever. For anyone planning on what countries to visit in 2023, we highly recommend you visit these countries at least once in your life. 

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