“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
If you travel a lot or even a little, a new year often includes new destinations or experiences. We travel as much as possible and often celebrate the arrival of the New Year* somewhere exciting – we welcomed 2018 in the Ecuadorian Cloud Forest, 2017 in Siem Reap, Cambodia, and 2016 in Luang Prabang, Laos. We plan to see more of the world this year. I hope these recommended travel experiences for 2018 and beyond inspire you to dream, explore, and discover.
Ten Recommended Travel Experiences for 2018 & Beyond
1. Ride the Cogwheel Train to the Top of Europe
In Switzerland, you can ride the Jungfrau Railway to the Top of Europe, the highest train station in Europe. The Jungfraujoch, at 3454 m (11,332 feet), is located in the Jungfrau – Aletsch – Bietschhorn UNESCO World Heritage site.
The cogwheel train departs from Kleine Scheidegg and should stop twice on the way to the Top of Europe. At the Eigerwand Station (Eiger North Wall) located 2864 m (9,400 feet) passengers can view the famous Eiger North Face. The Eismeer Station (”Sea of Ice”) is the final stop before reaching the Top of Europe. Here passengers can view the massive sea of snow and ice located on the southeastern side of the Eiger.
At the Top of Europe, you can play in the snow all year, enjoy the panoramic view (weather permitting), and indulge in traditional Swiss fondue (as well as other items) in an onsite restaurant. If you feel like something sweet, Lindt Swiss Chocolate Heaven should satisfy your craving. You can also send mail from Europe’s highest-altitude post office – its unique area code is 3801.
2. Attend BMW Performance School in Thermal, California
Accelerate your driving experience at the BMW Performance Centre in Thermal, California. Located 45-minutes from Palm Springs, the BMW Performance Centre offers single and multi-day classes, as well as a teen driving school.
The BMW Performance School is a blast and easily one of the top travel experiences for 2018.
3. Learn to Cook Traditional Food in Hue, Vietnam
Located on the banks of the Perfume River, Hue (Pronounced ‘hway’) was the political, cultural, and religious centre of the Nguyen Dynasty and the national capital of Vietnam from 1802 – 1945.
Today, the delicious food in Hue, also known as the Imperial City, reflects the historic desires of the Nguyen lords and emperors. They wanted the best, and it’s reflected in Hue’s cuisine.
Stay at the La Residence Hotel and Spa to take advantage of the Taste of Hue Cooking Class. Participants shop for food at the local market before learning to cook traditional Hue cuisine in the hotel kitchen. We visit markets and take cooking classes all over the world – our experience in Hue was outstanding.
4. Bike up Mountains in France or Italy
If you like road cycling, set your sights on Europe. France contains legendary hill climbs like Mount Ventoux, and Italy offers epic riding in and around the Dolomites Mountains.
For a pro-level cycling experience in the Dolomites, stay at the Hotel La Perla. The Leading Bike package offers cyclists a performance-driven Pinarello Dogma road bike, pro-level support from InGamba, and luxury accommodation. Be sure to check the hotel’s website and subscribe to the Hotel La Perla newsletter to be the first to hear about the Leading Bike offering for 2018.
5. Explore Lanai, Hawaii in a Jeep 4X4
We have been visiting Lanai for over a decade and love to vacation at the award-winning Four Seasons Resort Lanai. But you don’t need to stay on Lanai to explore the island. Without a singled traffic light and only 30 miles of paved roads, the best way to explore Lanai is in a Jeep 4X4. Contact the Lanai Adventure Centre located at the Four Seasons Resort to book your island experience.
Spend the day in your Jeep 4×4 following Lanai’s rust-coloured dirt roads and rugged trails to lunar-like Keahiakawelo (Garden of the Gods), secluded Polihua Beach, and picturesque Kaiolohia Beach (also known as Shipwreck Beach).
Lanai, Hawai is accessible by direct inter-island flight from Oahu or scenic Expeditions Maui – Lanai passenger ferry from Lahaina, Maui. Although it’s possible to visit Lanai for the day, I recommend an extended visit.
6. Walk through the British Columbia Rainforest
Canada’s province of British Columbia (B.C.) is home to about 25% of the world’s temperate rainforest. Here you can breathe easy as you wander through some of the world’s rainforests – they are responsible for producing nearly one-third of the earth’s oxygen.
7. Champagne River Cruise On the Seine River
Paris, France is a favourite destination for romantic escapes, milestone birthdays, and memorable vacations. While you are in Paris, consider a private river cruise along the Seine River complete with Champagne. The Seine flows through the heart of Paris, and a river cruise provides unique views of the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame de Paris, and the City of Light’s many bridges.
8. Trek with Llamas
Ultra-fuzzy and friendly hiking companions, llamas will keep you trekking at a comfortable pace (and carry your belongings). These pack animals travel at a slow but steady speed – perfect for connecting with nature, friends or family, and your llama.
We hiked with llamas in Austria – it was one of the best days in the mountains ever. Although llamas are native to South America, they also live in Europe, North America, and the United Kingdom. Check with the local tourism office for a recommended llama trekking operator or plan a vacation in Vorarlberg, Austria where you can trek with Horst – it’s an extraordinary adventure.
9. See the Matterhorn
At only 14,690 feet (4,477 meters), the Matterhorn isn’t the tallest mountain, but it’s one of the most recognizable. The Swiss car-free village of Zermatt offers views of and access to the Matterhorn. And it’s a fantastic mountain village to visit.
To get a different view of the Matterhorn, ride up to the Klein Matterhorn Station (3833 m (12575 feet)) – it’s the highest cable car station in Europe. From here you can see the Matterhorn’s south face as well as mountain peaks in Italy, France, and Switzerland (weather permitting), ski at the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise (open year-round), and travel 15 m below the surface of a glacier into the Glacier Palace.
10. Eat Cheese Fondue at an Alpine Hut or Mountainside Restaurant
When we visit the mountains, cheese fondue is always on the itinerary. We’ve had cheese fondue at the Top of Europe (on this list of recommended travel experiences for 2018), Chez Vrony (a favourite restaurant above Zermatt), and tiny mountain huts throughout the Alps. While you are in Zermatt or exploring elsewhere in Europe, be sure to eat cheese fondue at an alpine rifugio (hut) or mountainside restaurant.
Travel Tips – Recommended Travel Experiences for 2018
- The ten recommended travel experiences for 2018 and beyond are in no particular order.
- If you plan to explore Lanai, Hawaii by Jeep 4×4, you might enjoy reading about more awesome things to do on the island.
- Llama trekking in Austria is a year-round experience. Visit the Vorarlberg Tourism website to learn more about llama trekking opportunities in the region. Visit the My Montafon website for more information about trekking opportunities with Horst.
Have you tried any of the activities (or food) on this list of recommended travel experiences for 2018 and beyond?
If you plan to travel in Europe, you may be interested in these train travel tips.