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11 Trips of a Lifetime to Take in 2021

SmarterTravel

We’ve been dreaming of our triumphant return to travel for the last nine months. Make your first vacation in 2021 a once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience—you deserve it. From Antarctica to Africa, these vacations are about as far from your living room as you can get.

Zegrahm Expeditions: Total Solar Eclipse: Antarctica & South Georgia

A total solar eclipse is a once-in-a-lifetime experience—now imagine watching one from the bottom of the world. Zegrahm Expeditions’ small-ship cruise sails from Ushuaia to South Georgia, and will be in a prime position to view the eclipse while at sea. Once in South Georgia, you’ll explore different islands, bays, and coves where you’ll discover incredible wildlife, historic sites from Sir Ernest Shackleton’s explorations, and a colony of over 200,000 king penguins.

Exodus Travels: Wild Finland

Brown bear cubs, Finland

Commune with nature and wildlife (from a safe distance) on Exodus Travels’ Wild Finland tour. This small group adventure makes the most of Finland’s long days. You’ll have up to 22 hours of daylight to watch brown bears, raft through Oulanka National Park, and hike with huskies through the wilderness. 

G Adventures: Wellness Iceland

Treat yourself to some self-care in one of the most relaxing destinations on earth on G Adventures’ Wellness Iceland tour. This trip is designed with whole-body wellness in mind, and focuses on rejuvenating activities and healthy experiences—think soaking in natural hot springs, glacier hikes and lakeside yoga.

REI Adventure Travel: Grand Canyon Phantom Ranch Rim-to-Rim Hiking

REI

As the only indoor lodging available inside the Grand Canyon, a bed at Phantom Ranch is so coveted that you have to win a lottery to sleep there—unless you book a spot on REI Adventure Travel’s Grand Canyon Phantom Ridge Rim-to-Rim Hiking tour. On this memorable trip, you’ll truly get to experience the Grand Canyon from all angles, hiking down from the North Rim, overnighting on the canyon floor, and climbing back up to the South Rim.

Remote Lands: Southeast Asia

Not a group tour type of person? Remote Lands’ private jet expeditions are designed for people who prefer solo travel. Their Southeast Asia Aman Jet Expeditions takes all the stress out of travel, transporting guests by private plane and giving each couple their own private driver, vehicle, and guide for touring—so you can focus on the wonders of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. 

Extraordinary Journeys: Pyramids and Pharaohs

Experience Egypt’s most iconic sites with a private Egyptologist by your side on Extraordinary Journeys’ Pyramids and Pharaohs tour. The Egyptologist will offer valuable history and stories behind places like the Great Pyramid at Giza, the Sphinx, and the Temple of Karnak in Luxor. You’ll also get to cruise down the Nile in a small sailing boat modeled after the ones used by travelers in the 1920s. 

Red Savannah: Greenland Discovery

See the best of Greenland from the air, water and land on Red Savannah’s Greenland Discovery tour. Your journey beings in Greeland’s remote capital, Nuuk, where you’ll tour the city before cruising through the fjords to a luxury camp set in the midst of some of the world’s oldest mountains. From there, you’ll have the chance to kayak among icebergs, swim in the Arctic (in a survival suit), and go whale-watching. 

Boundless Journeys: Hiking the Nakasendo Trail 

Japan is in the spotlight in 2021 as the host of the (postponed) Summer Olympics. Get all the culture plus a break from the crowds on Boundless Journeys’ Hiking the Nakasendo Trail tour, a 10-day journey through Kyoto and Tokyo that includes time on the Nakasendo Trail, a historic inn-to-inn walking route. 

Adventure Cycling Association: Underground Railroad Bike Tour

Immerse yourself in history on the Adventure Cycling Association’s Underground Rail Road tour. This active 41-day cycling trip takes bikers along important, historic sites of America’s Underground Railroad. Starting from Alabama and ending in New York, the tour finishes with a ride to Niagara Falls.  

Wild Terrains: Buenos Aires & Patagonia

Embrace women-power on Wild Terrains’ female-fueled Buenos Aires and Patagonia trip. Not only is the tour only open to women travelers, but the entire trip is designed around supporting women business owners. You’ll stay in women-owned hotels, eat meals prepared by female chefs, and sip vino made by a female winemaker.

Intrepid Travel: Mexico Real Food Adventures

After endlessly cooking (and cleaning up) every meal for ourselves for most of 2020, we’re ready for something new—like Intrepid Travel’s Mexico’s Real Food Adventure. This tasty tour takes you through some of Mexico’s most famous culinary regions: Oxaca, Puebla, Huatulco, and Mexico City. Along the way, you’ll sample delicacies like chapulines, spicy mole, and of course, tacos. 

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