When you head out on a long-term trip, every single person you meet will ask you what your favorite experience has been. We have been asked this question hundreds if not thousands of times, and for several months it was very hard to answer as we have had just too many great experiences to pick the very best.
As a way to share our favorite experiences and give you inspirations for activities to do on your own long-term trip, we decided to put together a ranked list of our Top 100 experiences, destinations, restaurants, and moments from around the world.
When reading, keep in mind that we haven’t been everywhere. This list represents our favorite experiences as of now, from all of the destinations we’ve been to (500+ cities in 67 countries), and will be updated as we travel more and find great experiences that make the Top 100.
For those on a desktop computer who would like to view this list as a slideshow, click here (not recommended for those on mobile devices). If you are just joining this countdown and would like to start at the beginning, click here for slideshow format and here for list view format.
#80 – Paragliding in Austria
The Austrian alps are an adventure lover’s paradise. With numerous bike trails, white water rapids, and mountains to explore, you could easily spend several weeks here and barely scratch the surface. Out of all of the activities we’ve tried in the Austrian alps, paragliding takes the top spot. Strapped in with your trusty guide, all you have to do is “run, run, run” until your parachute catches enough air to pull you in the sky. After that, those who want a relaxing experience can slowly glide over the valley below until reaching the ground, and adrenaline junkies (like us) can go for the spins! You want the spins, trust us.
The Mayan ruins in Mexico are worth the hype. While we only hit a select few during our travels around the Yucatan, our favorite was far and beyond, Uxmal. These ruins are located about an hour outside of Merida on the western tip of the peninsula, and feature unique architecture as compared to other ruins we visited while also having a fraction of the visitors as compared to nearby Chichen Itza. Better ruins, less people, and a more impressive grounds? Sorry Chichen Itza, you got beat out by Uxmal.
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Before our long-term trip, if you would have told us that our favorite market in the world would have been in Bolivia, I would have laughed at you. The central market in Sucre blew us away due to its sheer size and wide variety of fruits and vegetables available. This variety is possible because Bolivia is home to several unique climates which allow the country to produce just about every kind of fruit and vegetable there is. Many of the vendors in the market sell just one item- there is a peanut lady, a papaya lady, banana ladies, you get the pictures. There is also an impressive fruit juice section full of about two dozen adorable Bolivian women making the best juices we’ve ever had. If we could do it all, we’d live in this city for several months each year just for the market.
#77 – Crepes at La Creperie de Josselyn in Paris
Is it possible to pick out the best crepe in Paris? Probably not. We’ve only been to a handful of the so-called “best restaurants in Paris” to find out, and at the top of our list of great European food is La Creperie de Josselyn in Montmartre. This creperie serves Brittany style crepes (made from buckwheat flour) in a restaurant with decor that makes you feel like you are truly there. This restaurant is one we go to every time we’re in Paris, and Jeremy has been on three separate occasions since Angie discovered it. Our favorite crepes here include La Biche (goat cheese and honey), Saumon Fume, Citron et Creme (smoked salmon, lemon, and cream), and any of the dessert crepes flambeed with Grand Marnier or Cointreau. Just don’t be daunted by the line out the door when you arrive!
#76 – Birthdays
Celebrating our birthdays on our long-term trip was something we knew we had to splurge on. We didn’t know where we were going to end up until a few months before, and since our birthdays are only 12-days apart, we knew it was going to be pretty crazy time. When we realized we were going to be in central Argentina or Chile, our plan came together. Jeremy chose to spend his birthday on Easter Island and Angie picked a premium wine tour to several Mendoza vineyards, with a five-course meal and more glasses of Malbec than we can remember. Think Jeremy got the better end of the deal? Well, we also spent our dating anniversary on Easter Island, too! Traveling as a couple does have its perks.
#75 – Maho Beach, Saint Maarten
As one of the few beaches that make this list, Maho Beach Saint Maarten is not listed because of its water, sand, or palm trees. In fact, the natural character of this beach has nothing to do with how it claimed our #75 spot on our Top 100 list. This beach is famous thanks to its proximity to the country’s international airport which is located, literally, right behind it. Visitors to Maho Beach can sit back and watch giant planes come in throughout the day and enjoy the thrill as they seemingly only just clear the beach for landing. Be careful, however, as the powerful jets on these planes have been known to force towels and bags into the water- so be sure to sit at the side beach bar to enjoy this one!
#74 – Pandas in Chengdu, China
The giant panda is the animal that is synonymous with China. Unfortunately, seeing them in the wild requires quite a bit of effort and, in many cases, a multi-day trek with low odds. So when I had the opportunity to visit the Chengdu Panda Reserve, I knew I had to go. This center does a lot of work to breed and protect giant pandas, and during my visit I was able to see 33 giant pandas, 3 panda cubs, 2 panda newborns, and about 10 red pandas – just a fraction of the total population at the facility. It may not be a wild encounter, but this is one enclosed environment that didn’t disappoint.
#73 – Buying a Rug in Istanbul
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It was not our intent to buy a Turkish rug in Istanbul. We simply didn’t budget for it. But after meeting up with a family friend who happened to own a rug shop just outside of the Grand Bazaar, who also wined and dined us for several days in the city at some amazing restaurants, we ended up in his shop looking at his collection- exactly where we did not want to be. One look at the rug of our dreams and we knew we had to buy it. At the time, dropping more than a thousand dollars for a rug was crazy, but now that we’re home, enjoying our rug, and reliving the memories of those nights out, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
#72 – Meeting Locals
Meeting locals while traveling is always an interesting experience, and we have enough stories to fill several books. There were negative experiences, like when we were robbed in Peru or the scams from our guest house host in Varanasi, India. There were positive experiences, like when multiple Japanese locals not only helped give directions but made me follow them until I got what I needed (even if they didn’t know the answer). But in every case, good or bad, we came away with a greater understanding of the world and those who live in it, and for that we can’t be thankful enough.
#71 – Snorkeling with Sea Turtles in Barbados
Barbados is home to some of the best beaches in the Caribbean, and the coral reefs off the coasts are one of the best habitats for sea turtles anywhere in the world (assisted from a strong conservation effort). Since these reefs are often quite close to shore in shallower waters, this makes for the perfect opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with numerous species throughout the year. We loved this experience because we saw more sea turtles in Barbados in one outing than anywhere else in the world, and we also got to enjoy some time on a Catamaran (our favorite vessel) and explore a secluded beach on the same trip. Can you ask for more?
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How We Came Up With This List
- Angie and I each put together Top 100 lists based on our favorite experiences both together and separately.
- We then compared our two lists and averaged out items that appeared on both lists.
- Example: An experience ranking #12 on Jeremy’s and #20 on Angie’s list was re-ranked at #16
- Roughly 50 items appeared on both lists.
- We then critiqued experiences which only appeared on one list.
- For experiences that we both had, the one who did not list it originally assigned their own rank and we averaged them out like above.
- For experiences that only one of us had from traveling solo, we accepted the listing as ranked and promised to take the other one day.
- Roughly 20 of Angie’s items and 30 of Jeremy’s unique items made the final cut.
- We then came up with a final Top 100 list based on these adjustments and then tweaked placements together as needed to fix any unusual averaging errors.
- Destinations visited by staff members were not considered.
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