Oyster Editors Share the Destinations Topping Their Travel Bucket List

To-do lists get a bad wrap, but we have one that everyone can get behind. As travel experts, we are constantly crisscrossing the globe -- checking off destinations from our bucket list -- for both business and pleasure. We’ve gone dog sledding in Alaska, flown hot air balloons over Dubai, navigated the crowded streets of Mexico City, and experienced the pulsing rhythms of Havana. But the world is big and time is limited, so like any other traveler, we spend hours pining over far-flung pockets of the globe in hopes of visiting. To help inspire your own travel wish list, Oyster editors share the trips they want to cross off next. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Kyoto

Kinkakuji, Kyoto/Oyster

“Consider me Kyoto crazy. I have been plotting a bucket-list trip here for years. The temples and Zen gardens are the flip side to Tokyo’s flashy modernism. Touring the city is practically time travel: Traditions dating back over a thousand years are still showcased here in teahouses and kabuki theaters. And, yes, you can see geishas performing their art, too. The food -- top-notch sushi and ramen -- is also rooted in culinary techniques honed over generations. Ideally, I’d stay in a traditional ryokan (a Japanese inn) with low furniture, tatami mats, and a hot-spring onsen (bathhouse) for the full experience. Even better, I’d book my trip during cherry blossom season, where any stroll around town could get a confetti showering of pink petals.” -- Maria Teresa Hart, Executive Editor

Kyoto Hotel Pick:

Mexico City

Palacio Bellas Artes, Mexico City/Oyster

“I’ve taken over 60 international trips in the last 10 years, and sometimes I feel like I’ve been everywhere. So I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that the number one trip on my bucket list is a place I can easily get to: Mexico City. Tequila tastings and street tacos are worth the price of a flight alone, and I’d love to check out the Frida Kahlo Museum. Mexico City is also home to a huge number of art museums, beautiful public parks, and a hip nightlife scene. Aztec temples and Baroque architecture give the city a distinct sense of place that you won’t find elsewhere. Since it’s just a five-hour flight from New York City, I really don’t have a good reason for delaying this bucket list trip any longer.” -- Megan Wood, Editor

Mexico City Hotel Pick:

Patagonia

Torres del Paine, Chile; melenama/Flickr

“As an avid hiker, camper, and rock climber, I’m always looking for my next adventure. Most of my international travel has been to major cities, so I have recently been researching ways to combine my love of the outdoors with my love of traveling abroad. As as a result, a trek in Patagonia has emerged at the top of my bucket list.  The gorgeous scenery along with the opportunity to visit both Argentina and Chile in one trip is extremely attractive to me. There are also plenty of resources for solo travelers looking to take a trek, plus a huge variety of hiking options, from a few days to a couple of weeks on the trail. The planner in me loves all the different possibilities for the trip, and although a flight down to South America can be pricey, I know the experience would be worth the cost.” -- Liz Allocca, Senior Video Producer

Patagonia Hotel Pick:

New Zealand

Blanket Bay, New Zealand/Oyster

“My bucket list is infinite, but New Zealand takes the top spot. The country’s landscape is chock-full of jaw-dropping vistas, from the breathtaking glacier-carved fjords flanked by mountains, to the underground cave systems lit up by glowworms. Hiking to waterfalls, sunbathing on the beach, kayaking through turquoise waters within national parks, and learning about the Maori culture are just a handful of experiences that draw me to New Zealand. Of course, dining on fresh seafood and enjoying a cup of coffee at a hip cafe in Queenstown is also a necessity. Once I’m able to cross New Zealand off my list, I’m sure I’ll know a dozen more must-do activities.” -- Lara Grant, Editor

New Zealand Hotel Pick:

Australia

Qualia Resort, Australia/Oyster

“In general, my travel revolves around trying to get to places where I can be in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nature (the opposite of my home in New York City). My current bucket list place is Australia. I haven’t been yet because I’d like to spend a few weeks there and there’s a lot of ground I want to cover. I’m thinking swimming in Queensland, hiking in national parks (Uluru-Kata Tjuta, Blue Mountains, Port Campbell), and maybe a solo cross-country train ride on The Ghan. A girl can dream!” -- Laura Hinely, Senior Photo Editor

Australia Hotel Pick:

Japanese Onsen

Large Public Baths at Hotel Sunshine Kinugawa/Oyster

“I have one answer for this, and that is Japan -- specifically, a self-guided onsen tour of Japan. When not in the natural hot springs, I’d want to soak up as much as possible of the country’s magic and quirk, from shrines and street food markets to the Princess Mononoke Forest and Jigokudani Monkey Park (snow monkeys and I share an appreciation for healing hot water and beautiful scenery).” -- Anne Olivia Bauso, Editor

Japan Hotel Pick:

Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan/Oyster

“My bucket list is an exercise in extremes: I’m craving the natural wonders of Torres del Paine in Chile, the high-mountain monasteries of Sikkim in India, and the lemur-filled forests of Madagascar -- all in equal measure. But with such limited vacation time, urban escapes are the most plausible bucket-list item to check off in the foreseeable future. And since I’m drawn to extremes, and already live in one of the world’s biggest cities, it perhaps makes sense that I’m drawn to cities that dwarf New York. Tokyo does that, with ease. The blend of order and chaos, crowds and quiet, the hyper-modern and the super old-school appeals to me. Of course, permission to eat steaming bowls of noodles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner also sweeten the deal, as does the promise of unnaturally hued sweets, themed everything, and endless seas of neon light.” -- Kyle Valenta, Manager of Editorial Content Operations

Tokyo Hotel Pick:

African Safari

Game Drive at andBeyond Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp/Oyster

“I don’t care how cliché it sounds, but the trip that’s topping my travel bucket list is an African safari. Witnessing the lions and tigers and bears -- oh my -- in real life (sans Planet Earth’s David Attenborough), falling asleep under the stars, and admiring the tangerine sunsets that dance over wide, open landscapes can only be summed up in one word: epic. I’d enjoy the adventure of bumping along in a safari jeep, while keeping my eyes peeled for elephants, hippos, zebras, cheetahs, and giraffes (a bucket list within a bucket list of sorts). The Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya are both incredible options, but I think I’m partial to Botswana, because I’d also love to crash at andBeyond Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp. The luxurious safari lodge will have you photographing game by day and unwinding in glamorous tents and fueling up with tasty food by night.” -- Alisha Prakash, Editor

Botswana Hotel Pick:

Madrid

Cibeles Fountain, Madrid/Oyster

“I’m biased, but the best trip on my bucket list is Madrid, Spain. I know you’re going to say: ‘But what about Barcelona?’ Honestly, Madrid is like a cooler older brother that you always wanted to hang out with. It’s not too touristy and there are so many diverse neighborhoods to see. If you like museums, you have the Prado and Reina Sofia. Seeing Guernica in real life is a bucket-list item in and of itself. Afterwards, take a stroll down the Paseo de Recoletos and Paseo del Prado. Stop and have a cafe cortado (or something stronger) at Cafe Gijon. Hemingway used to hang out there! If food is your thing, go out for tapas in Cava Baja. Nothing beats snagging a table outside, sipping refreshingly cold vermouth, eating tasty tapas, and people-watching.” -- Noemi de la Torre, Photo Operations Lead

Madrid Hotel Pick:

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