Traveling is something I've always wanted to do. My mom told me stories of all the places she's visited, and those stories have only added fuel to the fire (and even more places to my bucket list). As I slowly began chipping away at my giant list of dream travel destinations, I had the immense honor of participating in some really
unique travel experiences around the world that I personally believe everyone should do once in their life.
I'm not an expert, by any means, and there are still so many more things I want to see and do in my travels, but I have been blessed with opportunities to see the world in really unique ways. From spending a couple of nights in an old palace in Jaipur, India, to swimming in a bioluminescent bay in La Parguera, Puerto Rico, to taking a week-long sailing trip in Croatia, I've been able to travel in ways I never expected to in my lifetime.
So, if you're looking for ways to experience the world in a different way, I highly recommend trying out at least one of these unique experiences. I guarantee that you won't be disappointed. (And you'll get a
ton of amazing pics for the 'Gram, too.) 01
Experience A Bioluminescent Bay Up Close
According to SmarterTravel.com, bioluminescent bays are bodies of water that contain
microorganisms called dinoflagellates that produce a gorgeous glow when they are disrupted. I visited La Parguera in Puerto Rico, and it was a true otherworldly experience. As you kayak through the water, you see the dinoflagellates light up. And though I couldn't take photos of it (The glow isn't bright enough for a camera to pick up.), the memory of literally channeling Tinkerbell will forever be engrained in my mind. 02
Spend The Night At A Palace
If you've ever wanted to feel like a princess, staying in a palace is totally worth the coin. In some countries, old palaces have been turned into hotels so guests can experience serious luxury and take in the sights of a beautiful hotel on sprawling grounds.
I recently spent a couple of nights at the
Jai Mahal Palace in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, and it was an experience unlike any other. As I pulled up to the hotel, I was immediately in awe of the beautiful courtyard and ornate details of the building, and my astonishment only grew from there. The hotel had everything from a croquet court to a life-sized chess board (The pieces were on wheels.), and the building was ornamented with marble accents, giant murals, and flower petals lining the hallways. 03
Take A Paddle Board Yoga Class
You've likely heard of paddle boarding and yoga, but you might not have heard of doing them together. It's a challenging workout that's so rewarding and fun.
If you ever find yourself in Puerto Rico,
O:LV Fifty Five Hotel in San Juan offers a class on the Condado Lagoon that's in the middle of the city. You have an incredible view of the city and are super close to the hotel, so it's a win-win. 04
Stay At An Overwater Villa
There's something so special about spending the night in a villa that's built into the ocean beneath you. You have an incredible view of the water and sunset, and you can literally hop out of your bed, walk a few steps, and dive into the deep blue. The villa provides you with a sense of peacefulness that you can't compare to anything else.
When I went to the Maldives in January, I stayed at the
Conrad Maldives in an overwater villa, and it was one of the best trips I've ever been on. We had an unobstructed view of the sunset, a private deck with our own jacuzzi, and steps that led straight into the ocean. The villa also had a ton of windows so we could see the water from anywhere in the villa. It was definitely a hotel experience I'll never forget. 05
Swim In A Secret Lagoon
Let's be honest: Finding a secret lagoon to take a dip in is pretty freaking cool. When I went to Croatia last year, the skipper on my boat took us to one of his favorite secret swimming places in the Adriatic Sea, and we were
not disappointed. The water was the bluest I had ever seen, and it looked like it sparkled as it rippled. There were no other boats around, so we had the entire lagoon to ourselves — I think we could have spent all day there.
Traveling via boat might not be for everyone, but if a sailing trip has been on your bucket list, I say go for it. Spending an extended amount of time at sea is indescribable, and I have often referred to my
sailing trip through Croatia's Dalmatian Coast as life-changing.
If you're not sure how to get started, try booking a trip with
Sunsail. They offer charters around the globe, and you have the option to book a skipper if you're not an experienced sailor. You can also choose to join a flotilla so you can meet other sailors from different boats. 07
Round Up Some Friends And Go Glamping
If tents aren't really your thing, but you want the chance to reconnect with the great outdoors, a glamping trip with your crew is definitely worth splurging on. You can go to a remote part of a country and completely recharge.
I went to
Sierra Escape in Mudgee, New South Wales, Australia for a night, and it was one of the most unforgettable parts of my trip. I had no cell service, and our "backyard" was an unbelievable view of the mountains. Kangaroos and wild sheep were roaming through the fields, and the stars looked like a painting at night — I had never seen so many at once in my life. 08
Spend The Night In The Jungle
While beachy getaways and camping trips are pretty common, a place you might not think of to stay in is in the middle of the jungle. Some hotels offer the opportunity for you to engage with jungle wildlife and take in the surroundings of the trees and other plants that are native to that area.
Las Lagunas in Guatemala has bungalows that are comfortably nestled into the gorgeous jungle atmosphere, and deliver the ultimate luxury experience. The property is also near ancient sites for incredible sightseeing, and you can visit the nearby Monkey Island, too. 09
Take A Dip In A Hot Spring
There's nothing quite like swimming in a hot spring. It feels like you're in a heated pool, but you're outside in the middle of nature, surrounded by mountains, jungles, or waterfalls.
When I went to the
Azores in Portugal, the thermal springs in Furnas were at the top of my list of places to visit. I was able to completely relax, let the water soothe me, and take in the magical views around me.