For holidays with serious wow factor, look no further than this pick of the best bucket list escapes.
A USA road trip is unbeatable for escaping from everyday responsibilities and replacing them with fun and freedom. Though the most famous routes are in the south and west, the east coast also has exciting options. New from Hayes & Jarvis, a Lighthouses and Lobsters 10-day self-drive tour takes in cute New England lighthouses, the tranquil Acadia National Park and author Stephen King’s home town – with time to hit Boston’s waterfront designer stores.
By Jane Hayward, Travel Writer
Laze in leopard country on a Zambian safari. Chinzombo is a brand-new boutique-sized camp with six villas that trace a river's curve near the South Luangwa National Park. Its opulent, contemporary styling is a first for the country - we love the whitewashed decking shaped around shady trees. Contact Expert Africa for an itinerary.
The Amazon River's most glamorous cruise ships, Aqua Amazon and Aria Amazon, have the sophistication of five-star boutique hotels. Stand-out features include floor-to-ceiling windows in all suites, an on-deck Jacuzzi and a fab menu of haute Peruvian cuisine. And with just 24-32 passengers, you're guaranteed an exclusive atmosphere.
The 15th-century ruined city of Machu Picchu, which perches among swirling clouds on Peruvian mountainside, is the highlight of the Inca Trail, and a place we should all visit in our lifetime. This is a subtropical region so plan a trip for April or November, when you'll be least affected by rain. Put together your itinerary via Journey Latin America .
The Aurora Borealis - the world's most spectacular natural light show - is high on all of our travel bucket lists. But viewing them is often an icy experience, which makes these futuristic Aurora Bubbles a brilliant invention. The heated glass pods with double beds and mini bathrooms sit in the grounds of two of Finnish Lapland's wilderness hotels. Book exclusively via The Aurora Zone
Discover a wild, untamed Caribbean landscape on Dominica. This large, less-visited isle is perfect for hiking and diving. It's a bit more effort to reach - you'll need a connecting flight from another isle like Barbados or Antigua. But it's so worth it to enjoy gorgeous eco-luxury hideaways like Secret Bay Hotel, an exclusive-feeling collection of four self-catering properties on the northwest coast. Book at wandotravel.com.
Sightings of whales are virtually guaranteed at Kaikoura, on New Zealand's South Island - even from land. The town's name means 'a meal of crayfish' - a hint at the scrumptious seafood dinners that lay in store! Include it in a two-island itinerary that roams from buzzy Auckland to the wineries of Hawke's Bay via turquoiseholidays.co.uk.
Disappear into Nepal's Sailung Valley, one of the most remote and beautiful spots on earth, on a life-changing walking holiday. Village Ways' new trip links a comfortable tented camp to three friendly mountain villages, so you'll uncover a fascinating way of life as well as hiking to panoramic Himalayan views. Inspirational!
Don't let a fear of flying prevent you from having exciting travel adventures. One of Europe's most characterful corners, the craggy French island of Corsica is do-able by boat and train. Uncover authentic mountain villages and secret Mediterranean bays on a 10-day holiday that sees you train-hopping on single-track lines all across the island. See diamondrailholidays.co.uk for more ideas.
The Antarctic's brief summer offers opportunities for astonishing wildlife watching, as penguins, seals and sea birds rear their young in an icy, other-worldly landscape. See it with from the world's only five-star expedition ship, enjoying first-class service as you cruise from Antarctica to the Falklands and South Georgia. Every moment will fascinate, with up to three Zodiac landings daily plus lectures and whale watching with Polar experts. See antarcticabound.co.uk for details.