The summer wanderlust is real. As temperatures rise, I want to just get on a plane and discover new places. For the past year I had been planning a trip to Asia for my graduation (more on that later), but in the interest of time, I had to leave out some countries I wanted to visit. While I decided which countries would be cut from the itinerary, I began to think of some of the other countries I wanted to visit. I thought of many place, but here are my top 5 countries I want to visit next.
I have heard wonderful things of Colombia. Series like Narcos have given Colombia a bad reputation in modern times. After the crackdown on drug cartels and the peace agreement with the FARC group, the country is much more stable and tourist friendly. One of my university mentors was from Colombia, and the stories of her adventures there truly inspired me to want to visit the country.
Getting there from the US is pretty straightforward, many US airlines fly to multiple destinations in Colombia. There are other non stop options, such as LATAM Colombia and Avianca, which operate hubs in the country. To make it more exciting the Central American games will be held in Barranquilla this year.
India is the world’s most populous democracy. It is a country rich in culture, history and diversity. I know I kid myself when I say I want to visit India, because there is so much to see, that I would have to make a dozen trips (or spend a few months there) in order to hit all the major cities. That being said, I would love to visit India even if it’s seeing only the largest cities. What I anticipate most of going to India is exploring all the different types of curry that can be found throughout the country. Each region has its own way of making it, and being to identify the differences would be truly immersing myself in the food.
Getting to India is a bit difficult. There aren’t that many direct flights from the US, only Air Canada, United and Air India (and soon Delta). However, there are tons of convenient one stop options. I am looking to fly to India on Qatar Airways, stopping in Doha, and then continuing on to India. If you’re a Star Alliance fan, you can take Lufthansa or Singapore Airlines. Finally, the other Gulf Carriers offer flights to multiple parts of India.
For me, going to Africa has always been a dream. I want to be able to experience a safari, where I can appreciate nature and animals, while keeping them in their own habitat and not disturbing their ecosystem. Since Africa is such a diverse continent, and if I were to pick one country to visit, it would be South Africa. The main driving force for South Africa is the accessibility provided by multiple airlines. I have been to Johannesburg on a connection, and I was very sad I couldn’t stay longer. From a historian’s perspective (I was a history major in undergrad), studying the way the country has progressed on racial issues since Apartheid, and learning of the current challenges of today would be enough of a reason to visit.
Getting to South Africa, as I mentioned, is pretty easy. South African Airways flies to multiple US gateways. Delta flies to Johannesburg from Atlanta. One stop connections are available on most European airlines and all three Gulf Carriers.
There’s something mesmerizing about an island in the middle of the Atlantic that is so far up north, yet is fueled by geothermal activity. Many of my friends have already visited Iceland, and they all rave about it. The natural splendor of the country seems to be something out of this world, and a chance to bathe in hot springs while there is snow on the ground sounds blissful.
Getting to Iceland is pretty easy, and reasonable cheap. WOW Air, the famed low cost carrier, has a hub there. Icelandair, the country’s flag carrier, flies to many destinations in the US. Starting this summer, all three legacy US carriers fly to Reykjavik.
The last country on the list is the UAE. The reason why it is last isn’t because it’s the one I’m least interested in, but because I have already been there. The problem was, I went during Ramadan, on a layover. This meant that there was no food for sale or water for sale during the three hours I was exploring Abu Dhabi. The visit only whet my appetite to visit more of the country. My first stop would be Dubai, then Abu Dhabi again, and finally explore the desert dunes.
Getting to the UAE is easy. So many carriers fly there, and it’s the hub for Etihad (if it is able to survive) and Emirates (their thriving neighbor). All major European carriers fly there, and some low cost carriers have flights to Dubai as well.
The world is both huge and tiny. Air travel has made all the world more accessible, and the freedom of information has made us more aware of our world. I am a firm believer that a life untraveled, is a life wasted. I am very thankful that I have the opportunity to travel around the world, but traveling can also be in your own state/country. Living in Texas for 5 years, I hardly saw 10% of what the state has to offer. To anyone who read the whole thing, feed your wanderlust, get on a plane or a car and travel. Life is full of priceless experiences, and money can come and go, but the time we spend making memories last forever.
What do you think? What are your top 5 countries you want to visit next? Do we share any of them? Let us know!
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