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So, you’ve finally decided to put travel on your bucket list, but you’re not sure which cities would be worth your time and money.

Not to worry.

Listed below are 8 great destinations you must visit before you die. (Seriously, I’m not taking no for an answer!) We’ll also take a look at some of the most popular attractions you should visit while you’re there.

So, what do you say? Let’s get started!

Read more about these cities

TIPS TO GET THE BEST TRAVEL DEALS

1. London

There is nowhere in the world like London. From the architecture to the Royals – as tourists, it’s hard to get bored in the rich history of this city. It has also topped this year’s list for the world’s best city.

Although London is a magnificent place to visit, it can get expensive very quickly, even for locals. So, you’ll need to save up some dough if you plan on visiting and enjoying all the city has to offer.

But, don’t let the price tag scare you off. One easy way to reduce costs and stretch your budget is to grab a sightseeing card like the London Pass. This particular pass provides free entry to more than 80 of the top places to visit in London. I’m talking about places you need to see anyway, like the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Hampton Court Palace, Windsor Castle, and more.

Personally, I love London. I think it makes a great introduction for first-time travelers to Western Europe – especially if you’re a native English speaker.

Where to Stay in London

  • Motel One London-Tower Hill – This designer hotel welcomes guests in stylishly decorated rooms in the heart of London’s financial center. Fitting a maximum of two people, the rooms have great amenities, and some boast fantastic city views.  

Read more about London

2. Paris

the eiffel tower seen from trocadero, paris, france.the eiffel tower seen from trocadero, paris, france.
Image via Flickr by René Sum Hernández

If you’re looking to visit the heart of European culture, look no further than Paris. Home to some of the world’s best art, architecture, and food, the City of Lights is one spot that definitely needs to be on your list.

Give yourself permission to be cheesy because grabbing a selfie in front of the Eiffel Tower is a must. The Louvre, the Palace of Versailles, and Notre Dame Cathedral are also “can’t miss” visitors attractions. Grab a skip-the-line ticket to The Louvre to avoid the massive queues.

In addition to sightseeing, Paris is also known as the “Culinary Capital of the World.” Along with popular French standbys, Paris also has a host of restaurants experimenting with new ways to cook. So, if you’re adventurous, check out some experimental food while you’re there!

The Paris Pass and Paris Explorer Pass is a great way to save money if you’re staying for 2 days or more.

Where to Stay in Paris

  • Motel One Paris-Porte Dorée – Another great Motel One location, I’ve also stayed at a Motel One in Hamburg and this has very similar design and vibes. Rooms, staff, and location are great (close to Porte Dorée Métro station)

Read more about Paris

3. Rome

You’ve heard of the Ancient Romans, right? Why not take a trip to Rome, Italy to transport yourself 2,000 years back in time by visiting some of history’s most well-preserved ancient monuments? The Romans also created many of the modern day infrastructure we know today.

Rome is actually my favorite city in the world. Every time I go, I stand in awe of places like the Roman Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and Trajan’s Market.

But, ancient ruins aren’t the only thing Rome has going for it. The city is also home to a treasure trove of exceptional art and architecture. It feels like everywhere you turn, one street is more incredible than the next.

As you wander around the city, you’ll also notice dozens of fountains lining Rome’s buildings and public piazzas. Thanks to some magnificent ancient engineering, aqueducts still provide the city (and the fountains) with an abundance of water even today.

Other reasons to visit Rome include:

Pick up a priority pass to save time and money on a lot of attractions, such as this Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Tour pass.

Where to Stay in Rome

  • Pantheon Inn – This hotel is located in a historic building that sits right behind the Pantheon, a few steps away from Piazza della Rotonda. This central location puts it in walking distance to variety of shops, restaurants and cafés. Rooms feature feature antique furniture and parquet floors. Breakfast is offered daily and can be brought to your room at no cost to you!

Read more about Rome

4. Bangkok

Europe certainly doesn’t have a monopoly on spectacular cities. Asia has a lot of awesome places to visit too, such as Singapore, Tokyo, Osaka, and Seoul.

And once you’re there, traveling through Asia can be pretty darn cheap. In fact, we recently did a survey and found that the top 16 cheapest places to travel were all in Asia. How’s that for affordable?

When it comes to Southeast Asia, Bangkok is the place to be. As the capital of Thailand, Bangkok is known for its ornate shrines and vibrant nightlife. Of course, I also find that Thai food is to die for!

Some of the top things you should do in Bangkok include:

  • Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew
  • The Floating Markets
  • Chinatown

Where to Stay in Bangkok

  • Hansa Bangkok House – This hotel is really well located and offers a garden, a terrace and air-conditioned accommodation with a balcony and free WiFi. The rooms have views of Bangkok’s real estate and is close to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and Khao San Road.

Read more about Bangkok

5. New York City

new york skyline lit up at night across the baynew york skyline lit up at night across the bay

We can’t leave the Big Apple off the list, can we?

New York City is a place you need to experience at least once in your life. There really is nowhere else like it. If you only visit one city in America make it New York City.

Visiting the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Central Park, and – of course -Times Square is a must in terms of top things to do in NYC. If you get the chance, catching a musical on Broadway is also a blast.

As you’re wandering through NYC’s unique neighborhoods, be sure to check out the amazing food the city has to offer. People from around the globe call New York home, and this fact alone makes the city’s food scene one of the best you’ll find.

To get a true taste of New York, be sure to grab a bite from a food truck or street vendor. Your adventurous palate won’t regret it…probably 😊

Get a New York CityPASS – Since you’ll want to see as many things as possible during your trip, consider purchasing the New York CityPASS to save money and access the city’s top sights at a discounted price.

Where to Stay in New York City

  • Hilton Garden Inn West 35th Street – This hotel is situated right in the middle of all the big attractions! Within walking distance you’ll find the Empire State Building, Times Square and Madison Square Garden, as well as all the best shopping spots, including Macy’s at Herald Square. The hotel features a fitness center, a restaurant on-site and a 24-hour convenience pantry.

Read more about New York

6. Budapest

As the capital city of Hungary, Budapest is one of the most beautiful and interesting places to visit in all of Europe. Split in half by the Danube River, the cities of Buda and Pest were first founded as fortresses during the Middle Ages. In 1849, the Chain Bridge was completed, linking the cities together. Finally, in 1873, they officially merged to form Budapest.

While you’re there, be sure to check out the Szechenyi Baths – one of the largest thermal bath complexes on the continent. Its 21 pools make it a great spot to relax and unwind.

Other attractions to see while you’re in Budapest include:

7. Rio de Janeiro

colorful painted stairs in rio de janeirocolorful painted stairs in rio de janeiro
Image via Unsplash by Thales Botelho de Sousa

Rio de Janeiro is a popular beach city in Brazil that is known for its beautiful views, iconic structures, and exciting nightlife. The gigantic Christ the Redeemer Statue towers over the city while the Copacabana and Ipanema beaches make a great place to relax.

If you get a chance, take a cable car up Sugarloaf Mountain. Even better, visit the city during its Carnival festival and enjoy the flamboyant costumes, floats, and parades all on display.

Don’t like mountains, statues, or parties? You can book an open-air Jeep ride to explore the Tijuca Tropical Rainforest instead, and enjoy one of the world’s largest urban forests.

Where to Stay in Rio de Janeiro

  • Windsor Leme Hotel – Located opposite lively Leme Beach with views of the Copacabana and the beachside mountains. The rooftop pool is the perfect place to chill after the bustle of the city.

8. Cairo

Are you itching to explore Ancient Egypt? Cairo is the perfect spot for you.

Built on the Nile River, Cairo (and its surrounding area) is packed with some of the world’s oldest and richest history. Honestly, this place is a history lover’s dream come true.

Some of the top things to see and do in Cairo include:

Where to Stay in Cairo

  • Comfort Pyramids Inn – Relatively new and with rooftop views of the Pyramids. This is a great place to stay to base yourself and explore Cairo.

Read more about Cairo

Where Will You Go?

The world is packed with amazing places, and these are just a few spots you should visit at least once during your life.

So, where will you go? Have you visited any of these cities before? Which places would you add to the list? Maybe Amsterdam, Berlin, Dubai, Mexico City, or Barcelona?

Thanks so much for reading, and please leave your suggestions in the comments below!

What you should read next

Travel Resources For Your Next Trip

If you’re in the process of planning your trip and putting together your itinerary, these are genuinely the best resources that the Going Awesome Places team stands by 100%.

Credit cards: Don’t get burned by hidden fees on top of terrible exchange rates. When we travel now, we use the Wise Card. Simply load it with the currency you need before you go and use it as a regular VISA or their digital wallet card. Use their free app to track how much you have and top up when you need to.

Flights: Of all the booking search engines, Skyscanner is the most helpful and easy to use thanks to their Everywhere feature. Kayak is also another that’s we will often check as well.

Car Rental: If you’re looking to save money, these car rental coupon codes will be a true game-changer. Otherwise, DiscoverCars and RentalCars are great places to start.

park sleep fly airport parking discount codepark sleep fly airport parking discount code

Airport Parking: You’ll need a spot to leave your car at the airport so why not book a spot at a discount. Use code AWESOME7 to get at least $5 off at Airport Parking Reservations or Park Sleep Fly packages.

Data: We’ve been a huge fan of wifi hotspot devices like PokeFi because their rates are so good and you can use it globally but recently, we’ve really loved using eSIMs. The best one is Airalo. Save money by getting region-specific eSIMs and use referral code WILLIA9500 to get $3 USD credit on your first purchase. Ubigi is another one that we’ve had success with where they uniquely offer 5G coverage. Use code AWESOME10 to save 10% on your first order.

Hotels: Our go-to is Booking.com because they have the best inventory of properties including hotels and B&Bs plus they have their Genius tier discounts. The exception is Asia where Agoda always has the best prices. TripAdvisor is also useful for reviews and bookings.

Vacation Rentals: Your first instinct will be to check Airbnb but we always recommend checking VRBO as well if you’re looking for a vacation rental.

Tours: When planning our trips, we always check both Viator and GetYourGuide to at least see what’s out there in the destination that we’re going to. They often have different offerings and prices so check both.

Travel Insurance: Learn how to buy the best travel insurance for you. This isn’t something you want to travel without.

  • Insured Nomads – Popular insurance provider for frequent travelers and comes with great coverage and special perks.
  • RATESDOTCA – Search engine Canadians looking for the cheapest insurance including multi-trip annual policies.
  • SafetyWing – A perfect fit for long-term nomads.
  • Medjet – Global air medical transportation.
  • InsureMyTrip – Best for seniors, families, and those with pre-existing conditions.

If you need more help planning your trip, make sure to check out our Travel Toolbox where we highlight all of the gear, resources, and tools we use when traveling.



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