Your International Travel Bucket List this 2019: North America Edition

The magic number is 166—that’s the number of countries US visa holders can freely enter this 2019. But wait, those are too many countries to explore! What’s next on your travel bucket list this year? What kind of experience are you looking for? If you need some insight, we’re here to give you a rundown of our recommendations outside the USA, and what to expect as a North American traveler.

1. Philippines

Explore underwater life and beautiful islands in Palawan, Philippines.

Aside from the recent Miss Universe 2018 win, the Philippines is renowned as a tropical paradise for travelers around the globe. A lot of beginners find it easy to tour since English is widely spoken in the country by hospitable locals. Discover the lively white sand island paradise that is Boracay, adventure through Bohol’s miraculous Chocolate Hills, or enjoy a boodle feast and historical tour in Cebu.

Uncover the treasures of the sea at Palawan, a must visit snorkeling destination that’s rich in marine life and turquoise waters. Within Palawan, you can go snorkeling and glimpse the coral gardens and WWII shipwrecks of Coron, wander the rugged coastlines and falls of El Nido. Not up for swimming? Ride a boat through one of the world’s largest caves and see astounding limestone formations at UNESCO-listed Puerto Princesa Underground River.

Just a tip: keep your itinerary flexible in case traffic (and the flash floods of the rainy season during June to November) get in your way.

2. Hawaii

Enjoy the amazing scenery of Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii

2019 is a great year to visit Hawaii as any. Pristine beaches, blazing sunsets, the Hawaiian spirit, and rich Polynesian heritage keep US mainlanders coming back, year after year. It’s easy due to dedicated direct flights from most US airlines, plus no need for visa application, and you get an exotic feel with the comforts of US-based services! There are tons of iconic things you must see and do, so here are a few just to give you a glimpse.

Appreciate the fine arts through the spellbinding Magic of Polynesia Show. Ride the powerful waves of Oahu as you take on professional surfing lessons in the birthplace of surfing! Or relive the cinematic experience of Jurassic Park at the jungles and steep cliffs of Kualoa Ranch. No need to make it honeymoon-exclusive; we recommend bringing the kids for most of these family-friendly activities.  

3. Canada

Chase the northern lights at Yellowknife, Canada.

A mere 2-3 hours from New York, Canada is a natural choice for outdoor explorers who wish to travel closer to home. The sheer beauty of Niagara Falls in Ontario, a natural wonder formed by three falls, will leave you breathless. Aside from the falls, history buffs will love the prehistoric artifacts and ancient calcite formations of the nearby secret caverns.

If you chance upon the aurora hunting season in Yellowknife from November to April, the capital of Northwest Territories, go for it! As the stunning northern lights dance across the sky, you can sightsee across the icy plains or relax inside a tipi.

4. Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle in a summer day in Germany

From world-class beer halls and gardens (Oktoberfest, anyone?) to the finest palaces and art galleries, Germany has got it all. Beer enthusiasts definitely need to put Munich on their list this year! Down a pint or two at Hofbräuhaus, one of the most well-known beer halls in Munich, dating all the way back to 1589! Take in the rustic atmosphere and classic ceilings, while dining like the Bavarian royalty did centuries ago. This is also where the largest beer festival in the world happens.

Also, visit the French Rococo-style castle Linderhof Castle and idyllic Neuschwanstein Castle, the latter of which is said to have inspired Disney’s iconic fairytale castle.

5. Vietnam

Enjoy the diversity of culturally rich Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

On a budget? We suggest Vietnam, where goods and delicious food are cheap, and there are plenty of majestic sights to see. There’s a rich blend of eastern and western architecture from Vietnam’s rich French heritage. However, there’s more to this country than just the glamorous facades and fascinating diversity.

The Notre Dame Cathedral and War Remnants Museum will give you some insight into Ho Chi Minh. While the Cu Chi Tunnels, a uniquely Vietnam experience, will help you understand the local way of life during troubled times.

6. Japan

Meander around historic Asakusa in Tokyo, Japan

Japan is always a staple for any list and any kind of traveler. Whether you’re staying in Tokyo, Osaka, Hokkaido, or other regions and prefectures, there’s always something wonderfully quirky around the corner.

If you’re a fan of Japanese animation (READ: Weird and Wonderful Museums in Japan) , try a maid cafe in Akihabara, the famed Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku, or the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka. Looking for amazing backdrops like temples and lush foliage in colorful seasons like spring and fall? Glimpse a peek of awe-inspiring romantic sceneries here. If you’re all about experiencing travel through your stomach, we’ve got you covered as well; check out our food guide and see which prefecture suits your preference.

7. China

Face thousands of Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an, China

The only one on this list that US visa holders need to apply a visa for, China may seem intimidating for beginners because of how different the culture and language is from home. But it’s always best to step out of your comfort zone to truly discover yourself in an exotic destination. China can offer you the world’s richest breadth of culture and shed some of those preconceived Western notions, making you see the world in a brand new light.

First time to China? Head to Beijing and behold the majesty of the Great Wall, the longest monument ever built by humans (officially 5,500 miles). Other historic attractions unlike any other in the world: Tiananmen Square and Mausoleum of Mao Zedong, and the Forbidden Palace.

We also recommend heading to Xi’an, the eastern end of the famous Silk Road. Feel the sense of awe as you’re greeted by thousands of eerily lifelike Terracotta Warriors, each boasting individual expressions and customized weapons. Note that they’re all made to protect First Emperor Qin in the afterlife!

So which country is calling out for you this 2019? Have you already traveled to one of these top destinations? Share your pics and stories by tagging us on IG: #travelwithKKday! Immerse yourself in new cultural experiences and make this your best travel year yet.

Check out our lists below for more bucket list ideas this 2019: