Whoever said, "It's the journey, not the destination," must have taken one of these trips. Each one is pretty persuasive proof that how you get there is as much a part of the experience as where you're going.
Un-Cruise Safari Endeavour to Mexico — Photo courtesy of John R. Howard
Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2016, this small ship cruise line focuses on one-of-a-kind experiences, from snorkeling with sea lions and whale sharks to making poi with a Hawaiian elder. Because of their size, they can take you to places that are inaccessible to large cruise ships, and, with fewer than 90 passengers, they foster a natural camaraderie between guests.
Choose from adventure destinations including Alaska, Mexico and the Pacific Northwest, with the Galapagos Island, Costa Rica and Panama being added.
Opt for Goldleaf Service on this bi-level, glass-domed luxury train so you can admire the breathtaking Canadian Rockies pretty much anywhere you look. Servers keep the gourmet food and drinks coming while warm and welcoming hosts tell you everything you need to know about the majestic scenery providing constant entertainment right outside your window.
Viking River Cruise suite — Photo courtesy of Viking River Cruises
Viking River Cruises
You've drooled over their commercials while watching Downton Abbey, and have probably already added one of their luxury cruises to your bucket list–perhaps their most popular itinerary, the 15-day Grand European Tour between Amsterdam and Budapest.
Viking is all about slow travel, meandering down the beautiful rivers of the world, taking in the stunning scenery and providing an enriching, onboard experience filled with experts adding depth to each sight, local cooking demonstrations and tastings and cultural curriculums.
Backroads bike trip to Mallorca — Photo courtesy of Backroads/Brenda Ernst
Want to avoid the crowds? Bike tours let you go at your own speed, and see sights up close and personally. Getting from point A to point B on your own power gives you a sense of accomplishment and, of course, burns more calories so you can indulge in the local cuisine, guilt-free. Backroads leads trips all around the world, from small European towns and countryside to tiny villages, coastal areas, U.S. national parks and even mountain passes. They offer van support in case you decide to ride just part of the day–and, equally important–lots of encouragement.
American Queen — Photo courtesy of American Queen Steamboat Company
American Queen Steamboat Company
With a fleet featuring two of America's most opulent paddlewheel vessels, you'll feel like you're stepping back in time while enjoying the most modern conveniences and award-winning meals inspired by the American Heartland. Whether you're traveling along the Columbia and Snake rivers or the Ohio, Tennessee and Mighty Mississippi, these nine-day voyages offer gorgeous views of our country's dramatic landscape and a real sense of its equally dramatic history.
Tren Crucero, Ecuador — Photo courtesy of Palace Tours
The rail equivalent of a luxury cruise, Palace Tours lets you travel in style through countries like Ecuador–on the Tren Crucero, which includes accommodations at haciendas and hotels–or Spain on the Al Andalus, where you spend your nights on the train in deluxe sleeper suites, each equipped with its own bathroom.
Impeccable service, top-notch tours and awe-inspiring views? We're on board!
For a truly unique experience, book a no-frills cruise on a cargo ship. Freighter Expeditions gives you a rare opportunity to travel around the world, interacting with crew members and getting a behind-the-scenes look at a process few people ever get to see.
Plan on doing a lot of reading, thinking and taking in the big, beautiful sea.
Best of all, you don't have to dress for dinner.
Camino de Santiago — Photo courtesy of Alex Mark
Camino de Santiago
More than 200,000 people walk the 500-mile Camino every year, many inspired by The Way, the 2010 movie starring Martin Sheen. This ancient pilgrimage ends at the Cathedral Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain, which is believed to house the earthly remains of St. James the Apostle.
Although there are a number of different routes, the Camino Frances is the most popular, starting in St Jean Pied de Port on the French side of the Pyrenees. There are albergues–pilgrim hostels–every five-ish miles and the path is marked with the iconic Camino symbols, the scallop shell and yellow arrow, to show you the way.
Viking Star cruise to Santorini — Photo courtesy of Viking Ocean Cruises
Viking Ocean Cruises
The Star, the highly anticipated first ocean cruise ship from river cruise master Viking, has already been awarded the industry's top honors. The 930-passenger ship is a perfect home away from home, with every stateroom equipped with a veranda to enjoy the magnificent views.
With a spa, a lounge and wonderful dining options, it's hard to be tempted to leave the ship, which is why you may want to consider the 29-day, 10-country Baltic Jewels & the Midnight Sun itinerary.
Inca Trail — Photo courtesy of Alex Mark
The Inca Trail
One of the most popular treks in the world, the 26-mile Inca Trail in Peru leads to Machu Picchu–the Lost City of the Incas–which was recently voted one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.
Tour operator Wayki Trek offers a number of options, including the classic four-day, three-night hike and camp. Walking through Inti Punku, the sun gate, is a stunning end to a once-in-a-lifetime climb.