Jamie Myerson writes for Package Holidays Abroad where you can find a variety of inexpensive, family friendly, and fun travel packages.
There’s an entire world out there waiting to be explored by adventurous souls, but you can’t expect to see all of it (at least not in depth) in one short lifetime (and on a limited budget). Instead, you should endeavor to see some of the biggest and best that the world has to offer before you kick the bucket. To that end, here are just a few of the diamonds in the rough that are worth seeing before you shuffle off this mortal coil.
1. Machu Picchu, Peru. The “Old Mountain” houses one of the most exotic treasures of pre-Columbian Inca culture to be found in South America. At about a mile and a half above sea level, this 15th century city, now in ruins, floats majestically above the Urubamba Valley and takes four days of rough hiking to reach. But it’s well worth the heartache for the intrepid traveler looking for the relatively intact remains of a now defunct culture.
2. Punalu’u Beach Park, Hawaii. This famous black-sand beach on Hawaii’s big island is just like any other…except that the sand is black instead of white. After the novelty wears off, you’ll still find yourself on a beautiful island paradise with warm waters, temperate breezes, and plenty of swaying palm trees to nap under while you sip your lychee mojito. And if you come at the right time of year, you can get a rare glimpse at nesting sea turtles. It doesn’t sound too exciting, but everyone needs a little R&R once in awhile, and there’s no better place to get it than in the laid back atmosphere of the islands.
3. Valley of the Kings, Egypt. When you think about travel to Egypt, your mind probably jumps to the Pyramids of Giza, which are spectacular (and happen to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World). But if you want a real look at the history of a culture, visit one (or several) of the open tombs to see how ancient Egyptians dealt with the death of their venerable leaders, whom they held to be gods.
4. Grand Canyon National Park, Utah. Looking out into the great expanse that is the Grand Canyon, seeing the work of millions of years of wind and weather (although mainly water) on a landscape, and realizing how utterly small a cog you are in the awesome machinery that makes up our planet is a truly amazing experience. Even better, hop on the back of a mule for a ride down into the canyon for an alternate view that is equally humbling.
5. Huangshan Mountains, Anhui Province, China. These amazing mountains were the inspiration for the floating “Hallelujah Mountains” in the movie Avatar, but they are no less spectacular for being attached to the Earth. Much like the Grand Canyon, this area derived its unique topography as a result of eroding forces (although the Grand Canyon is believed to have been carved out by a once-mighty river while the Huangshan Mountains were sculpted by a glacier). But their inception is hardly at the forefont of your mind when you behold their splendor. When you hike up to look out over the mountains, often shrouded in mist, you’d almost believe that the peaks are floating above the Earth and that it’s possible to walk out onto the blanket of clouds to reach them.