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People climbing Mount Kilimanjaro on the Machame Route
timursalikhov | Adobe Stock

11 Trips of a Lifetime to Take in 2022

SmarterTravel

Polar bears, prosecco, adult study abroads, and more—if you’ve been dreaming about epic trips over the last two years, here are 11 more to fantasize about (or book immediately). As the state of travel remains in flux during the pandemic, you can be reassured that many of the tour operators listed have flexible change/cancellation policies in place for these trips of a lifetime.

Some of the links featured in this story are affiliate links, and SmarterTravel may collect a commission (at no cost to you) if you shop through them.

Intrepid Travel: Amalfi Coast Hike & Kayak

Amalfi Coast, Italy
Boris Stroujko | Adobe Stock

The Amalfi Coast is one of the most beautiful places in the world—it’s also one of the most touristy. Intrepid Travel’s Amalfi Coast Hike and Kayak tour takes you away from the crowds and to the open sea and peaceful hiking trails instead. Spend your days walking through the aptly named Pathway of the Gods, kayaking to deserted beaches, and exploring the glitzy island of Capri. 

Every adventure on this trip is accompanied by the spectacular cuisine Italy is known for, like traditional Neapolitan pizza or local limoncello. 

Exodus Travels: Zimbabwe, the Wild Zambezi & Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
ArtushFoto | Adobe Stock

Lantern-lit dinners in the bush, exhilarating night game drives, and wildlife tracking walks—Exodus Travels’ Zimbabwe, the Wild Zambezi, and Victoria Falls tour is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. This trip is run in conjunction with the African Wildlife Foundation, and has a focus on anti-poaching. Guests will get to watch an anti-poaching unit in action and help track the rhino population to contribute to important research.

The trip uses bush flights and river cruises to cover the most ground, including stops in the Savé Valley, the Zambezi River, and Victoria Falls. 

G Adventures: Realm of the Polar Bear

Polar bear walking across broken ice
G Adventures

There are only a few places in the world where you can have the privilege of seeing polar bears in the wild, and the Arctic is one of them. G Adventures’ Realm of the Polar Bear trip is one of the company’s Jane Goodall tours, a collection of wildlife-focused tours endorsed by the famous primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall.

On this small ship trip through remote Norway, you’ll have the chance to spot not only polar bears, but other wildlife such as the Arctic fox, Svalbard reindeer, and whales. 

Alaska Iditarod Tours, 50th Anniversary Alaskan Iditarod Tour

A man on a sled being pulled by a team of dogs through the snow
Iditarod Tours

March 2022 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, so if watching it is on your bucket list, this is the year to do it. On Alaska Iditarod Tours’ Six Day Race Start Tour, you can watch the mushing and give it a try yourself—the package includes a trip to the Alaska Mushing School to learn to drive your own dog sled. 

When you’re not at the Iditarod, you’ll get to see the highlights of Alaska, with visits to the Alaska Wildlife Center, Alyeska ski resort, and Anchorage Museum all included in the tour. 

Abercrombie & Kent, Climb Kilimanjaro: Summiting the Machame Route

Group of people walking a path on Mount Kilimanjaro on the Machame Route
timursalikhov | Adobe Stock

If Kilimanjaro is on your bucket list, you’re going to actually want to make it to the summit. Increase your chances of doing so by booking Abercrombie & Kent’s Machame Route trip.

The average summit success rate for Kilimanjaro is between 60-70 percent, but Abercrombie & Kent boasts that 97 percent of their climbers have made it to the top.

The trip takes the scenic and longer Machame Route, which gives you more time to acclimatize to the elevation change. Along the way to the top, you’ll be supported by a world-class team of porters carrying top-of-the-line camping gear and safety equipment.

Backroads, Cuba Bike Tour

People biking in Cuba
Backroads

Experience Cuba at a leisurely place on Backroads’ Cuba Bike Tour. You’ll pedal from the colorful capital of Havana through lush Viñales National Park and past the miles long white-sand beaches of Cayo Jutías.

As you bike, you’ll get to meet the locals—members of the Cuban Masters Cycling Club will even join you for part of the journey. There will be plenty to do when you’re off your bike as well, like salsa dancing classes, a visit to an art studio, and shopping in Cuban markets. 

Sojrn, Cuisine in Mexico City

Three images of food from Sojrn's Cuisine in Mexico City trip
Sojrn

Dreaming of moving abroad? Give it a trial run on Sojrn’s Cuisine in Mexico City trip, a four-week “adult study abroad”. Designed for working adults, Sojrn’s programs set you up with accommodation (either a private room in a shared apartment or your very own apartment), working space, fast Wi-Fi, a built-in group of friends to explore with, a local host, and plenty of after-work activities. 

You’ll spend your weekends on street food tours, at cooking classes, and other organized events designed to help you get a true taste of Mexico City.

Extraordinary Journeys, Tigers and Beyond in India 

Tiger at Pench National Park in India
Revati | Adobe Stock

Extraordinary Journeys’ Tigers and Beyond tour of India is a study in contrasts. You’ll start the trip in lively Old Delhi, sampling your way through the night bazaars and spice markets and touring beautiful buildings like the Jama Masjid Mosque. Then, your trip will take a turn for the wild, as you head to Kanha and Pench National Parks, where tigers, leopards, and black panthers await. 

After the safari, you’ll continue your exploration of India with visits to Mumbai and the Thar Desert. 

World Expeditions, The Great Tasmanian Traverse

People white water rafting in Tasmania
World Expeditions

At just over 26,000 square miles, Tasmania is roughly the size of Ireland. With so much ground to cover, it’s hard to see all of the diverse beauty Australia’s island state has to offer on a single trip—unless you sign up for World Expeditions’ Great Tasmanian Traverse

This epic 39 day trip crosses the entire island via foot, raft, plane, and sailboat. You’ll hike to the summit of Cradle Mountain and Tasmania’s highest peak, Mt. Ossa, raft the Franklin River, sail on a yacht down the Gordon River, and fly over the West Coast.

John Hall, National Parks of Alaska

Bears in Katmai National Park
knelson20 | Adobe Stock

Alaska’s national parks are some of the most beautiful but least-visited national parks in America. The same remote location of these parks that makes them unbeatable for wildlife watching and natural beauty also makes them logistically difficult to get to.

Fortunately, if you sign up for John Hall’s National Parks of Alaska tour, you can visit five of Alaska’s national parks in just 14 days, as all of the logistics are taken care of—so you can focus on watching bears catch salmon at Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park, spotting glaciers in Kenai Fjords National Park, and even mentally preparing for an (optional!) polar plunge in the Arctic Ocean. 

Tourissimo, Grappa and Prosecco Cycling Tour

Conegliano-Valdobbiadene Superiore Prosecco wine making area of Italy
Tourissimo

If a cold drink at the end of a hard ride is the only thing that will keep you going during a bike trip, you’ll love the motivation found in Tourissimo’s Grappa and Prosecco Cycling tour. This trip winds through the quiet but beautiful Conegliano-Valdobbiadene Superiore Prosecco wine making area of Italy. 

Although you’ll put in plenty of time on the pedals, this trip builds in lots of time for indulgence, including multiple wine tastings, a meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant, and nights in luxury hotels. 

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