trips of a lifetime: large family of three generations poses on vacation
Vacationing with multiple generations of the family was the top trip of a lifetime in this year’s Travel Dreams Survey

If you could go anywhere in the world and experience any type of luxury travel, which trips of a lifetime would you put on your bucket list?

Virtuoso has some tempting food for thought for you. The results of its 10th annual Travel Dreams Survey are in. More than 1,200 travelers from 36 countries selected their favorite trips of a lifetime, dream destinations and preferred travel styles. See which of them (perhaps all!) sparks ideas for future globetrotting.

Trips of a Lifetime

The Top 10 bucket-list experiences the survey revealed span the globe and offer something for every travel preference:

Vacation with multiple generations of your family

People’s lives are so hectic that it’s hard to find time to see relatives. Plus many people don’t live near their extended family. The answer: gather three or even four generations together for a family trip.

Multigenerational travel continues its wave of popularity. It was also the top trend identified in the 2016 Virtuoso Luxe Report. The travel industry is catering to this demand, with activities and accommodations for all kinds of families. The biggest benefit of multigenerational travel? The memories will last long over the trip comes to an end.

Stay in a Polynesian overwater bungalow

It’s the ultimate tropical-getaway fantasy. Gorgeous turquoise water, beckoning beaches, coral reefs, and your own luxury bungalow to enjoy it all from.

You’ll revel in the spaciousness of your home away from home. Swim, snorkel or sunbathe off your private deck. Or just take in the view of the water and marine life from the window embedded in the floor. What could be more romantic?

trips of a lifetime: quaint patio in foreground with flowers and mountains and water in background
Italy’s Amalfi Coast, known for its iconic coastline, is being discovered by more travelers

Discover Italy’s Amalfi Coast

Italy was the Luxe Report’s top global, honeymoon and family destination, and people who have already experienced its charms are seeking new areas to explore. The Amalfi Coast is receiving well-deserved buzz for its iconic cliff-hugging coastline, compelling history and quaint towns.

Renting a car is a great way to explore the region, from Amalfi and Ravello to Salerno and more. Venture into the towns at your own relaxed pace. Marvel at the postcard-perfect views. Savor the cuisine.

Make a splash in the Greek Isles

Each island has its own character; there’s one (or more) that’s ideal for every type of traveler.

For a party scene, head to trendy Mykonos. For romance, scenic Santorini is perfection. For the family, head to Corfu. History buffs will adore Crete or Rhodes. And hikers should head for mountainous Andros.

Photograph the “Big Five” on an African safari

Many people have a safari on their list of ultimate trips of a lifetime. Plan your travels for the best destination and time of year to spot each of the sought-after creatures: elephants, lions, Cape buffalo, leopards and rhinos. And don’t forget to pack plenty of memory cards. Brush up on your photography skills before the big trip with these tips.

See the northern lights

As in-the-know travelers seek new territory to discover, the polar regions are attracting rave reviews. Especially sought after: a great view of the stunning natural light show known as the aurora borealis.

The best vantage points are from northern latitudes near the Arctic Circle and North Pole, such as Alaska, Canada, Scandinavia and Russia. The best time to go: late August through March. Keep your fingers crossed for a cloudless, new-moon night for the most spectacular show.

trips of a lifetime: woman taking photo of tortoise in galapagos islands
Interact up close and personal with wildlife in the Galapagos Islands – another popular trip of a lifetime

Commune with nature in the Galápagos Islands

Swim with sea turtles and colorful fish, play with sea lions and observe penguins. The one-on-one interaction with wildlife in the Galápagos is unlike anywhere else in the world. It’s a great educational opportunity for adults and children alike. Now’s the time to go, with visitor numbers and development both growing.

Set sail on a world cruise

Taking to the high seas for a few months at a time is a great way to see a variety of exotic global destinations. They’re typically timed so you spend winter months in warmer locales. And you’ll enjoy longer stays in cities, since there’s no hurry to get to the next port.

A world cruise is also a very convenient method of travel. You fly only to and from your departure port, and unpack and pack only once. Avoid a common mistake and don’t overpack. Life on board is casual – and remember, there’s laundry service available.

Call on all seven continents

Exploring new destinations was the top travel motivation in this year’s Luxe Report. So it’s easy to see the appeal of visiting every continent in a single trip.

However, it’s an ambitious quest. The key is to partner with an advisor to craft a custom itinerary. You’ll need a plan that fits with your schedule, pacing and destination wish list. Be prepared to make some hard decisions about how much time to spend in each locale – and which to cut entirely from the list.

Visit Australia’s highlights

You can’t miss Sydney, with its iconic Opera House, harbor, bridge, and beaches. Other cities offer plenty of attractions as well, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide among them.

trips of a lifetime: two kangaroos
Visiting Australia’s highlights was one of the picks for a trip of a lifetime

Australia’s islands hold a special appeal for their scenery and wildlife. Consider Fraser Island for its long white beaches, Tasmania for its authenticity, Kangaroo Island for its pristine nature, and a sail through the Whitsundays.

The Great Barrier Reef is a must for scuba divers and snorkelers. Other adventurers will want to experience Uluru and the outback. Wine enthusiasts have an abundance of famed regions to choose from, including Hunter, Yarra and Barossa valleys.

Dream Destinations

Travelers’ favorite destinations emphasized the enduring appeal of specific countries. Their historic charm, relaxing tropical settings or abundant adventure opportunities make them bucket-list trips of a lifetime. The top 10 dream destinations are:

  1. Australia                                                     6. Maldives
  2. Italy                                                             7. Ireland
  3. Fiji                                                               8. South Africa
  4. Greece                                                        9. French Polynesia
  5. New Zealand                                             10. Antarctica

Preferred Travel Styles

Travelers also weighed in on the popularity of different trip styles:

  1. Beach (46%)                                             8. Experiential (14%)
  2. Adventure (37%)                                       9. River cruising (14%)
  3. Cultural/historical (29%)                          10. Romantic (13%)
  4. Family (27%)                                           11. Spa/wellness (11%)
  5. Food and wine (27%)                              12. Weekend getaways (8%)
  6. Ocean cruising (23%)                             13. Eco/sustainable (6%)
  7. City (17%)                                               14. Golf (2%)
trips of a lifetime: woman holding trunk of elephant in wild
This year’s winning photo captured the moment in Nepal when a traveler met an elephant

Travel Dreams Contest Winners

In this year’s contest, Virtuoso invited participants to share their best travel memories, “wow” moments, favorite places, best travel companions, and more. Virtuoso awarded a $2,500 grand prize to the top entry in each of three categories: best story, best photo and best video. A panel of judges from Virtuoso’s marketing team selected the winners based on criteria including quality, content, style and creativity.

View all the winning entries here.

Booking Trips of a Lifetime

With dream trips like these, every detail needs to be right. The best way to have a worry-free vacation is to work with a travel advisor. If you don’t have one, browse the profiles of professional advisors and find one that’s a great fit for you at

Which are your favorite trips of a lifetime? Please share below.