Best Life-Changing Trips
David Sutherland / Alamy
Africa to Antarctica, these amazing trips promise to be life-changing.
When you bump into giant tortoises and blue-footed
boobies while strolling the sand, it’s no ordinary beach vacation. And the
extraordinary is what visiting the Galapagos is all about. Spot unique species,
snorkel with sea lions, hike a volcano—life as you know it seems very far away.
Transformative trips like following in Darwin’s
footsteps expand your global perspective and prompt you to reevaluate what
really matters. Some life-changing trips are about visiting an iconic place in
person. Others make their impact through authentic experiences, local
connections, and cultural insights.
“A person cannot have a
trip of a lifetime unless they open their mind,” says Thomas
Stanley, COO of luxury trip planner Cox & Kings, The Americas. “The most thrilling locations can fall flat without the
willingness to be spontaneous. It is exceptional moments—seeing a cheetah being
born, a true lifetime friendship being established across languages and
cultures—that make travel great.”
On Croatia’s Istrian peninsula, for instance, you
can base yourself at a working vineyard, indulge in ice cream topped with
shaved truffles, meet with local winemakers, and learn how to properly taste
olive oil—with the help of bespoke tour operator Tasteful Croatian Journeys. Travel
companies can be instrumental in getting you insider access, but the right
attitude toward the new and unknown is at least as important.
Katrina Garnett, a
California-based entrepreneur who, with her family, has traveled to many of the
spots on our list, adds that grand, once-in-a-lifetime trips “allow us to
stretch, go beyond limits and face fears—or conquer them.” During one South
American journey, one of her children faced his fear of heights during an
Amazon ziplining experience—“and came back with a big grin, and no more fear of
heights! Families that travel together develop lifelong bonds that don’t easily
happen any other way.”
No matter what your reasons for traveling, our slideshow
is sure to inspire at least one life-changing journey. Just bring your
camera—and a willingness to let go.