50 T+L Readers Reveal the Trips of Their Dreams
That’s what we asked our followers on Twitter and Facebook and the frequent travelers we interviewed on the streets of New York City. Their answers spanned the globe—from the beaches of Brazil to a South African safari to the Canadian Rockies.
Maria Leach posted to Facebook that her dream vacation would be chartering a private sailboat and exploring the Greek islands; A-List agent Mina Agnos can make this happen, with stops at Amorgos, Santorini, Mykonos, and the beaches of Folegandros.
Related: Best Vacation Spots
For Sarah Jenks-Daly, wanderlust was inspired by a classic movie; she tweeted that “ever since seeing Indiana Jones, I’ve wanted to visit the historic sites of Petra.” We researched how she might follow Indy’s footsteps through Jordan’s famous archaeological site, recommending she start early to avoid the heat—and sharing our favorite local tour guide.
Read on for more tips on planning a dream trip, plus the places that are on T+L editors’ bucket lists.
For more help planning the trip of a lifetime, consider enlisting one of T+L’s A-List travel agents.
Edited by Jacqueline Gifford and Brooke Porter Katz. Reported by Richard Alleman, Colin Barraclough, Nikki Ekstein, Peter J. Frank, Frances Hibbard, Sarah Khan, Peter Koch, Ted Loos, Alexandra Marshall, Sarah Miller, Shane Mitchell, Jenna Scatena, Peter Schlesinger, Emma Sloley, Valerie Waterhouse, Gisela Williams, Ingrid K. Williams, and Jane Wooldridge.
"I would visit the Berlin Wall and try new foodie hot spots." —Victor Au Yeung, Doctor
The former West is buzzy thanks to Bikini Berlin, a cool-kid shopping center full of local high-design brands such as Gestalten. Next door, there’s the whimsical 25 Hours Hotel Bikini Berlin, whose rooftop restaurant Neni and Monkey Bar lounge are the city’s hardest-to-get reservations. See the Berlin Wall through a different lens via a food-focused tour from Berlinagenten, which includes meals at three restaurants along or near the wall.
“My husband and I would relax by our in-room pool with a view of the Piton mountains, and then enjoy a couples massage.” —Jen Christiansen, via Facebook
At the Piton-facing Jade Mountain, all but five of the 29 open-air suites come with private infinity pools. (You’ll have to tear yourself away to make it to the beach.) As for that massage: we suggest the neighboring Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort, where the Rainforest Spa has seven tree-house treatment rooms.
Argentina + Chile
“I could really get into a #SouthAmerican #food tour.” —@IMJPRO
We’ve narrowed it down to two culinary capitals. Here’s how to tackle them, one meal at a time.
Buenos Aires: In Monserrat, Gonzalo Aramburu puts a “Nueva Cocina” spin on traditional dishes such as gnocchi soufflé and suckling pig at Aramburu Bis, while Sucre Restaurant Bar & Grill reflects chef Fernando Trocca’s global sensibility (think risotto with Black Angus osso buco).
Santiago, Chile: Boragó is the top table in a city that’s just beginning to celebrate its culinary roots. Chef Rodolfo Guzmán turns native ingredients—shellfish, mushrooms, herbs, and highland flowers—into edible bonsai. 99 is young, radical, and market-fresh. Don’t miss the wild-boar caldo if it pops up on the three-course lunch menu.
“Ever since seeing Indiana Jones, I’ve wanted to visit the historic sites of Petra.” —@sarahjenksdaly
You should follow Indy’s footsteps through the slot canyon, or siq, that leads to the Treasury building, hewn by hand from a sandstone cliff. But there are many worthwhile sites, including cave dwellings and a massive colonnaded Monastery that sits atop the highest peak (it’s a steep hike, so hire a horse or donkey). Our tips: start early to avoid the afternoon heat; use a guide, who can explain Petra’s architecture and mysterious history; and stay at the Mövenpick Resort Petra, with a pool and prime location just outside the entrance.
"It's the ideal city for romance. I'd love to visit museums and eat amazing food." —Angela Harry, Patient-Care Technician
The city’s smaller museums are quieter, and much more romantic. A short walk from the Jardin du Luxembourg, Musée Maillol is a love letter to the artist Aristide Maillol founded by his muse, Dina Vierny; you’ll also see works by Henri Matisse and Paul Gauguin. The gardens of the Musée Rodin are intimate and peaceful—and right next door to Alain Passard’s L’Arpège, which offers a poetic and refined twist on farm-to-table eating. And the Jacquemart-André Museum—set in a 19th-century mansion—has works by everyone from Botticelli to Boucher.
T+L Editor's Pick: Japan
“First, skiing Nagano’s Hakuba Happo-one on slopes once graced by the likes of Picabo Street. In Tokyo, I’d indulge my food fantasy on an izakaya crawl that includes Maru (81-3/6418- 5572). Kyoto would be my last stop, for a tour of the Imperial Palace and nights in a restored Iori Machiya town house.” —David Alexander Arnold, Photo Editor
“If money was no object, I’d hit up every U.S. National Park, A–Z.” —Jean Elliott Boyer, via Facebook
The obvious favorites are Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon—but we suggest starting with more under-the-radar parks. Here, our top three.
Sequoia National Park, in California, has all of Yosemite’s High Sierra grandeur—soaring mountains; steep canyons; wildflower-covered foothills—and only a fraction of its crowds. Highlights include the 275-foot-tall General Sherman tree (the world’s biggest living thing) and overnights at the Sequoia High Sierra Camp (open June through Sept.), a luxe, hike-in-only tented camp.
Our favorite way to experience Texas’s Big Bend National Park is on a gourmet rafting trip with Far Flung Outdoor Center (three days from $899). Look up at Santa Elena Canyon’s 1,500-foot walls as you travel down the Rio Grande by day, then fill up on rack of lamb or fish at the campsite before nightly stargazing sessions.
Join Austin Adventures (six days from $2,898 per person, double) on a one-week multisport exploration of Montana’s Glacier National Park—one of the Lower 48’s largest intact ecosystems. It’s not uncommon to spot grizzlies, mountain goats, wolves, elks, and moose as you hike to alpine lakes, bike across the Continental Divide, and more.
“I would love to go to Andalusia, to the provinces of Granada, Seville, and Málaga, to visit the places where my ancestors are from.” —Eva Molina-De Vilbiss, Facebook
Granada: Some say that Queen Isabella I was the world’s first art collector; her pieces are housed in the Royal Chapel. At the workshop Laguna Taracea, learn about the intricate wood marquetry used in traditional furniture. Don’t miss: The iconic Alhambra, an 11th-century Moorish palace complex.
Seville: Tour the private Casa de Pilatos palace, which mixes Italian Renaissance and Gothic-Mudejar styles, before sampling tapas at El Rinconcillo and buying jam and cakes made by nuns at Monasterio de Santa Paula. Don’t miss: The tomb of Christopher Columbus at Seville Cathedral.
Málaga: You can’t leave Spain without eating some jamón ibérico; try it at El Pimpi Bodega Bar, a local favorite that has an adjacent cocktail and seafood restaurant. Don’t miss: The Picasso Museum, home to more than 230 works by the Málaga-born artist, and the Alcazaba (or citadel), a vast Moorish fortification overlooking the port.
“I want to take a boat trip around Burma. I would love to see that part of the world before the Golden Arches spoil it.” —Eleanor Clark Larsen
Start your days with yoga on an Irrawaddy River voyage from Sanctuary Retreats (11 nights from $4,599 per person). The 20-suite Sanctuary Ananda will take you from Mandalay through lush rice paddies to Bagan, with the option of a hot-air-balloon ride along the way.
“Hike the Inca Trail, see Machu Picchu, experience the Amazon, eat authentic food.” —@worldbefore30
T+L A-List advisor Marisol Mosquera (14 days from $5,690 per person) suggests starting in Lima, home to the country’s best restaurants. Our pick: Astrid y Gastón, the famed Gastón Acurio restaurant now run by chef Diego Muñoz. Spend a few nights at the eco-lodge Refugio Amazonas, where biologists lead hikes through the surrounding rain forest. Those treks are nothing compared with the Inca Trail. You’ll cover 26.7 miles in four days; campsites are set up along the way. The reward? Two days at the spectacular Incan ruins of Machu Picchu.
“Visiting St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall, then taking in a play at the Minack Theatre.” —Mollie Smith Waters, via Facebook
First stop: the fishing village of St. Mawes and the chic 30-room Hotel Tresanton, overlooking the Fal Estuary. Just 90 minutes south in Porthcurno, the open-air Minack Theatre is set on a cliff; plays run May through September. Stay at the Old Coast Guard, whose 14 cheerful rooms have views of St. Michael’s Mount, a family-owned island with a tiny village.
T+L Editor's Pick: Madagascar
“For an adventure-minded traveler like me, nothing would beat seeing a ring-tailed lemur jumping across branches; visiting the legendary pirate vessels on Ste. Marie; and scuba diving off coral reefs. I’d stay at the Anjajavy L'Hotel, accessible by private plane. The property lets you plant your own baobab tree.” —Kira Turnbull, Photo Assistant
“I want to go to Oaxaca for cooking classes and San Miguel de Allende for the art.” —Tara O’Leary, via Facebook
Start at Casa Oaxaca Café Restaurante for a nouveau-Oaxacan brunch in the garden terrace before heading to Casa de los Sabores cooking school ($75), run out of chef Pilar Cabrera’s house. Classes include a visit to the local market and mezcal tastings. A seven-hour drive is the easiest and most direct route to San Miguel de Allende. See the bounty of the colonial town’s art at Fábrica La Aurora, a collection of more than 40 galleries, shops, and studios. Hotel Matilda has an unrivaled contemporary collection and a posh infinity pool.
"I'd bike around the neighborhoods, stopping in a Bruin café for beer and bitterballen." —Johnnie Davis, Courier/Cyclist
Cherry-red bicycles are available for rent at MacBike, which has five locations across the city. Route maps offer self-guided art- or architecture-themed tours. Refuel on beer and bitterballen—a croquette-like Dutch specialty made with minced beef, broth, and flour—at the waterfront spot Loetje aan de Amstel. The Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam, set on the Herengracht canal, was carved out of six Golden Age houses. It contains 93 luxurious rooms, a Guerlain spa, and an indoor pool. For a dose of culture, the Rijksmuseum is just a five-minute bike ride away.
“It seems amazing, with hiking, turquoise water, great food,
and varied scenery.” —Joanne Papineau
Stay: On almost 6,000 acres of fields and forests in southern Corsica, an estate with 16 former shepherds’ houses has been transformed into Domaine de Murtoli (from $2,975 per week); options include a luxurious villa with a private beach and a cottage surrounded by oak and olive trees.
Eat: At La Ferme de Campo di Monte, near the northern village of Murato, Pauline and Jo Julliard serve family-style meals of Corsican cuisine—house-made charcuterie; sweet beignets with fig jam—inside a 17th-century stone farmhouse.
Do: Dramatic cliff-top vistas and sleepy beach towns dot the Sentier des Douaniers, a 12-mile coastal trail around the northern Cap Corse peninsula. The secluded Capo di Feno is a surfing hot spot—but the soft, chalk-white sand is ideal for a solitary, sun-drenched snooze.
“Touring Angkor Wat tops my #travelbucketlist. Any advice to help me plan?” —@little_ducky
Stay: Designer Bill Bensley has been busy in Siem Reap, with two redos. Shinta Mani Resort offers rooms with mirrored walls, cooking classes, and sightseeing tours, while the Park Hyatt Siem Reap—set right downtown—is filled with Khmer-inspired art.
Eat: Located in a traditional house outside of central Siem Reap, Cuisine Wat Damnak showcases hyper-seasonal French- Khmer dishes (sanday fish in galangal leaf with coconut-tree-heart salad) from chef Joannès Rivière. The garden is the perfect setting for the six-course menu—a steal at $28.
Do: ABOUTAsia knows how to avoid the crowds at the temples of Angkor, so a private tour with them is a must. Get a little more off the beaten path with Indochine Exploration, which can arrange excursions by foot, bike, and kayak to surrounding villages and temples.
“Two weeks to see volcanoes and Pearl Harbor.” —Elizabeth Yanska, via Facebook
Days 1–5: T+L A-List advisor Ed Phillips (Frosch Travel; 14 days from $3,200 per person) suggests kicking things off in buzzy Honolulu, “to have the high-energy part first.” Get to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center early (it opens at 7 a.m.); it’s crucial to beat the crowds for a calmer experience. Stay at the Kahala Hotel & Resort, with an open-air lobby, koa wood floors, and a secluded beach.
Days 6–9: On Hawaii Island, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has more than 150 miles of trails and a walk-in lava tube. Hotels close to the park are basic—a better bet is the 540-room Fairmont Orchid, on the Kohala Coast.
Days 10–14: End in Maui, and see the sunrise at the top of Haleakala Crater and paniolos (cowboys) up-country in Makawao. Phillips is a fan of the beach at Makena State Park, close to the elegant Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria Resort.
“I would like to go on a cycling tour of Plitvice Lakes National Park, explore Dubrovnik, drink unknown wines in Korčula, and visit the beaches of Hvar.” —Jennifer O’Leary, via Facebook
1. Plitvice Lakes National Park
About two hours south of Zagreb, discover the waterfalls and caves of Plitvice Lakes National Park on a daylong guided cycling trip with Huck Finn Adventure Travel (from $60). More independent travelers can rent a bike to explore this storybook landscape solo.
Off the Dalmatian Coast, Hvar is known for its relaxed lifestyle, lavender fields, olive groves, and sublime beaches. It’s where you’ll find Dubovica Beach, with pebbles in place of sand, gin-clear water, and a waterfront restaurant.
On the island of Korčula, sip hard-to-find local varieties such as Pošip and Grk at Vinum Bonum (385-20/715-014), a wine bar that also offers rakija (a Croatian grappa-like spirit) and antipasto-style plates.
The tony, 13-room Villa Orsula is an ideal base for a stay in Dubrovnik. Sample Adriatic-prawn ceviche at Azur, an alfresco restaurant inside the famous stone walls of the old city, before stocking up on traditional hand-painted silk from the Konavle region at AR Atelier.
T+L Editor’s Pick: Cuba
“On an art tour with Geographic Expeditions (from $5,980 per person), I’d get an insider take on traditional printmaking, explore the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes with a curator, and meet painters. Also on my list: Jaimanitas, a fishing village whose houses are covered in wall sculptures by native artist José Fuster. In between, I’d eat in family-run paladares—and try a fabled Cuban cigar.” —Patrick Sheehan, Production Director
“I’m dying to go to Morocco, with time split between a stylish desert camp and shopping in Marrakesh!” —Maggie Gavigan, via Facebook
Stay: How about sleeping among the rolling dunes of the Sahara? The romantic Dar Ahlam, a restored casbah turned 14-room hotel in the Skoura Oasis, can arrange overnights in one of its luxurious bivouac tents. Combine this with Marrakesh’s iconic La Mamounia, famous for its lake-size swimming pool.
Eat: Come lunchtime, head straight to the roof deck at Un Déjeuner à Marrakech (2-4 Rue Kennaria), which offers excellent quiches, terrines, and panoramic city views. For fine Moroccan cuisine in a beautiful riad, try Le Tobsil (22 Derb Abdellah Ben Hessaien); your multicourse meal may begin with shared salads, and move on to pastilla (pigeon pie) and chicken tagine.
Do: La Porte D’Or (115 Souk Semmarine) is a treasure trove of antique doors, jewelry, and Berber carpets, while Aya’s, in the Jewish Quarter, is known for its made-to-order linen tunics (ready in a day or two). Atika (34 Rue de la Liberté), in Guéliz, specializes in colorful loafers—for less than $100.
“I want to explore the mountains, caves, rivers, cashew fields, and, of course, the coral reef and beaches. It has a bit of everything all in one small country.” —Mary Sheridan Faubion, via Facebook
1. Crooked Tree
Home to the country’s best cashew farms, the town hosts a festival in May where you can even taste wine made from the meaty nut. Look for monkeys and endangered tropical birds at the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary.
2. South Water Caye Marine Reserve:
This tiny island is off the beaten path, even for Belize—and you’ll be rewarded with incredible diving. Pelican’s Island Paradise offers five bungalows and night snorkeling along the reef.
3. Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve
The Lodge at Chaa Creek has 23 palm-thatched cottages and a hilltop spa set on a 365-acre nature reserve along the Macal River. Sign up for a guided tour of the neighboring Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, blanketed with orchids and surrounded by waterfalls.
“I’m dreaming of castles, wild ponies, and pubs full of raucous live music.” —Charmaine Grills, via Facebook
Days 1–3: Start in Kinsale, a harbor village near Cork. “It’s the culinary capital of Ireland,” Cornell says. Fishy Fishy is perfect for a lunch of local oysters; stay at the 22-room Perryville House, a short walk from the pubs.
Days 4–5: Fringed by rugged cliffs, the Dingle Peninsula has gorgeous scenery. Dingle Horse Riding offers guided mountain or beach rides for all skill levels. Book a sea view room at Dingle’s intimate Pax House.
Days 6–7: Near Connemara, a west-coast region of farmhouses and emerald green hills, Ashford Castle recently updated its 83 unique rooms and added a pool. There’s also clay shooting, falconry, and the Dungeon Bar for Irish karaoke at its best.
Days 8–10: End in the capital, where you can take a pub crawl of the Temple Bar district led by two musicians. The grand Shelbourne, a Renaissance Hotel faces St. Stephen’s Green.
"I would love to see penguins, go horseback riding, and meet gauchos in Patagonia. The mountains are so beautiful." —Rosemari Herrero, Investment Manager
The best Patagonia experience combines the Argentine and Chilean sides, according to T+L A-List advisor Jordan Harvey (14 days from $7,000 per person). His itinerary includes a stay at Estancia Nibepo Aike, a sheep and cattle ranch near El Calafate, Argentina; guests hike on the massive Perito Moreno Glacier and experience hacienda living. Across the border and through the Andes, Explora Patagonia is ideal for its location within Torres del Paine National Park and horseback-riding program (it’s the only hotel in the area with its own stables). You’ll canter with the cowboys across vast grasslands—and even trade stories over maté. For something newer and more modern, Awasi Patagonia offers similar park excursions—as well as a visit to Otway Sound, home to a colony of Magellan penguins, during the transfer out of Torres del Paine.
“To experience South Africa’s natural beauty and the wine, and a safari.” —Charlotte Livingston Piotrowski, via Facebook
Days 1–2: Arrive at stylish Birkenhead House, in Hermanus, on the southern coast. From June to November, keep an eye out for southern right whales, visible from the pool deck.
Days 3–4: Head to Richard Branson’s wine country estate, Mont Rochelle Hotel & Mountain Vineyard, in Franschhoek. You can ride horses in the valley and dine at chef Chris Erasmus’s spot, Foliage.
Days 5–7: Your Cape Town stay includes a white-on-white suite at the Cape View Clifton, hiking Lion’s Head mountain, and the vibrant art scene in Woodstock.
Days 11–13: At the 250,000-acre Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, a favorite of Bono, you’ll track the black rhino, hear the majestic Kalahari lion roar, and, if you’re lucky, see an elusive armadillo-like pangolin.
Lake Como, Italy
“Would love to be surrounded by the small-town charm and beautiful scenery of Lake Como.” —@michellempanzer
Following a 12-year restoration, the 17th-century Palazzo del Vice Re, in Lezzeno, debuted recently as a five-suite hotel. For lunch, fisherman Claudio Abaterusso serves simple platters such as perch drizzled with butter and sage at the no-frills Ittiturismo da Abate.
T+L Editor’s Pick: Fiji + New Zealand
“I’ve been dying to hit the beach in Fiji and taste wine in New Zealand. At Namale Resort (all-inclusive), I’d splurge on a villa facing the Koro Sea. In New Zealand, the South Island’s Otahuna Lodge, set in a Victorian mansion, is an hour from Waipara—prime Pinot Noir country.” —Gabrielle Blitz, Associate Social Media Editor
"As a former antiquities teacher, I've always loved the subject of ancient Egypt. I'd visit museums and archaeological digs." —Helen Jorgensen, Teacher
T+L A-List advisor Malaka Hilton (10 days from $3,950) suggests starting in Alexandria with a tour of the underwater excavations at Pharos Lighthouse, one of the original Seven Wonders of the World. Other highlights: the largest known Roman burial site in Egypt and the Royal Jewelry Museum. It’s a six-hour drive to the Siwa Oasis—which Alexander the Great visited in 331 B.C.—for an unplugged stay at the desert eco-lodge Adrère Amellal. Just outside Cairo, Hilton can arrange private viewings of the ongoing digs at the Great Pyramids of Giza.
“Those crystal-clear blue waters are a sight, and I’d love to escape for a week…or two… or three!” —Christian Smith, via Facebook
“This destination is great for couples and families; you can be as ‘busy’ as you want with activities such as fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and sailing on a traditional Maldivian dhoni,” says T+L Super-Agent Valerie Ann Wilson, who advises homing in on two hotels (island-hopping isn’t always easy here). Her picks: Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru, where guests can indulge in an ayurvedic massage or swim with manta rays in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and One&Only Reethi Rah, whose 32 overwater villas have private pools.
“From Banff to Lake Louise, there’s so much to see and capture on my camera in the Canadian Rockies.” —Pesca R. Langley, via Facebook
Few hotels are as photogenic as the Fairmont Banff Springs, a 768-room castle. It’s set within the national park, which offers naturalist-led alpine hikes, canoeing, and horseback riding. Between Banff and Lake Louise, you’ll find a jaw-dropping panorama at the glacier-fed Moraine Lake, whose iridescent water mirrors 10 snowcapped peaks. It’s an Instagram-worthy stopover en route to the chalet-style Post Hotel & Spa in Lake Louise.
T+L Editor's Pick: Rajasthan, India
“I’d join a camel safari through the Thar Desert with India Beat (from $135 per person) and sleep in tents among the dunes at the Serai Jaisalmer, where Manganiyar tribesmen sing during firelit dinners. The finale? A behind-the-scenes tour with Cox & Kings of Chandni Chowk’s spice market in Old Delhi.” —Shane Mitchell, Lifestyle Correspondent
T+L Editor's Pick: Galápagos Islands
“The wildlife-filled archipelago in Ecuador is more alluring thanks to the carbon-neutral Pikaia Lodge (three-night minimum), a luxurious property that is pioneering a hybrid land- and sea-based experience. I’d spend the day visiting nearby islands. Or I’d cruise with Silversea Cruises (seven nights from $6,950 per person) on the refurbished 100-passenger Silver Galapagos.” —Jennifer Flowers, Hotels & Food Editor
China + Tibet
“I want to experience the ultimate wellness escape in China: spa days, drinking tea, and more!” —Kate Bellin, via Facebook
Rubin can schedule a morning consultation with a traditional Chinese medicine doctor in any of the major cities. If you’re in Beijing, your practitioner will lead a short session of qigong, which coordinates slow movements with breathing.
Hong Zhi Cha Zhuang (10 Maliandao Rd., Xicheng; 86-10/ 6328-6015), a shop in Beijing’s Maliandao Market, specializes in high-grade, hand-processed teas from Anhui province in eastern China. Taiping houkui may lower blood pressure, Huangshan maofeng reduces stress, and Liuan guapian is said to prevent heart disease.
While formally a martial art, tai chi is appreciated for both its physical and mental health benefits in controlling chi (energy flow). Rubin recommends a private tutorial with a 21st-generation master on the beautiful grounds of Beijing’s Temple of Heaven.
A detoxifying tsampa massage at the Shangri-La Hotel, Lhasa, in Tibet, stimulates circulation. It ends with a gentle barley flour scrub, which exfoliates and absorbs excess oil.