Vacations tend to be about the time you spend at your destination. But however exotic your vacation spot, it's still only one place. Why not go on a real adventure, traveling all over the planet in one trip? It's a popular notion, going back at least to Jules Verne's novel Around the World in 80 Days. With airplanes, it doesn't take 80 days to get around the world anymore, but that doesn't make the sights along the way any less fascinating! There are some types of souvenirs that show up nearly everywhere, so you can even make your trip into a souvenirs voyage, collecting the same type of souvenir in every stop on your trip. Souvenir magnets are a good example, as they are something you can get anywhere.
Gather up your vacation days and frequent flyer miles for the adventure of a lifetime! Here's one hypothetical route your extended adventure vacation could take:
Let's begin Our Souvenir Voyage: Las Vegas, Entertainment Capital of the World
We start in Las Vegas, Nevada, home to fabulous casinos, hotels, and all types of entertainment. Las Vegas is well known as the party city of the U.S., and it has earned its reputation. For the start of your souvenirs voyage, we suggest a souvenir based on gambling, if you enjoy the casinos, or on one of the many stunning outdoor displays, like fountains or lights.
From there we go south to Mexico. A necessary sight here is the Chichen Itza, an amazingly preserved Mayan city including a fantastic pyramid. Although the Mayans' relevance to pop culture has decreased after the new year made it obvious that their calendar had been misinterpreted, they are still a remarkable historical civilization. Seeing these ruins gives the sense of how organized and powerful they were, and makes for a magnificent sight.
South America: Exotic Jungles and Vivacious Cities
Entering South America, we start in Brazil. Rio de Janeiro is the primary tourist destination in Brazil, even though it's not the capital. A classic landmark there is the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer, a must-see if you are religious or if you simply appreciate sculpture on a grand scale.
Fun Fact: You won't have to worry about jet lag on this itinerary! Not only will making short journeys and stopping for a few days in between help, but traveling west rather than east makes it much easier for your body to adjust.
Heading west, as we will continue to do, Chile's Santiago is a thriving metropolitan city nestled in stunning natural surroundings. Your time here can be spent investigating the artistic roots of the city or enjoying gorgeous mountaintop views. It is the perfect stop before heading over to our next destination…
Easter Island. This island of famously mysterious stone heads is as well-known and intriguing as Stonehenge or the Pyramids at Giza. Archeologists are still unsure of the nature of these heads- recently found to have bodies underground- or what their purpose was. They provoke thoughts of how little we sometimes understand about our past, and of course are magnificent in scale and execution even without their historical significance. An Easter Island themed souvenir will stand out among the collection of your souvenir voyage.
Australia and Oceania: The Most Beautiful Landscapes in the World
Continuing west we cross the Pacific and land in New Zealand. Australia's smaller cousin is probably best known for its wildlife, including the native kiwi bird and the widespread ranching of sheep. Its sweeping natural vistas are also well-known, providing the landscapes for several famous movies.
Fun Fact: Following the filming of the recent movies based on the novel The Hobbit, some of the sets are being left up and may soon become a tourist attraction in themselves!
Australia itself is known for its wildlife as well, being one of the only places where species of marsupial like the kangaroo and koala thrive. The focus shouldn't be all on the natural aspects, though; Australia also has some amazing cities containing distinct architecture, like the famous Sydney Opera House, the silhouette of which is instantly recognizable around the world.
Asia: Diverse Cultures, Fascinating Religions, and Delicious Foods
Thailand has many remarkable pieces of architecture as well, including the Wat Arun Rajwararam and many other amazing temples and stilted houses. Make sure to visit as many of these sites as possible, along with thoroughly sampling the local cuisine!
Japan is also full of gorgeous temples, particularly in the city of Kyoto. Japanese cities are a fascinating fusion of old and new, with ancient Buddhist shrines and Shinto temples nestled amongst skyscrapers and high-tech public transportation systems. The design of these shrines and temples is striking, particularly against the modern landscape, and immediately evokes a sense of the Japanese culture.
Fun Fact: Japan's love for skyscrapers is purely practical; it has a very high population over very little landmass, especially since much of the area of Japan's islands is uninhabitable mountains.
Finally moving west again, no visit to China would be complete without a stop at the famous Great Wall. Built to keep the Huns from invading China, it still stands as a testament to ancient dedication and ingenuity, to build a project on such a scale with only manpower.
Similarly, it would be foolish to travel to India without visiting the Taj Mahal. This stunning mausoleum is a meld of several different styles of architecture, including traditional Indian architecture, and is among the world's most recognizable buildings. Although we've all seen many images of the structure in full, there are many gorgeous details, and the opportunity to see it up close and in person is not to be missed.
Although the current political climate and the path of our journey make sticking to southern Israel wise, it is still a land worth visiting, infused with immense historical and religious value for many cultures. The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem is particularly worth visiting for these reasons and because of its undeniable beauty.
Africa: Ancient Wonders and Modern Romance
Egypt's most famous landmarks are also some of the most impressive to be seen; The Pyramids at Giza are one of the wonders of the ancient world, and the Sphinx is hardly less impressive. Seeing these structures with your own eyes is an experience you will never forget.
Fun Fact: Cape Town has huge historical significance to South Africa, as it was the site of the first public speech Nelson Mandela made after his release.
Few cities have a more fabulous and romantic reputation than Morocco's Casablanca. The movie of that title lent an air of adventure and romance to this amazing city- or rather, made famous the exotic atmosphere the city already possessed.
Europe: History and Tradition
In Spain, an attraction that is difficult to resist is the remarkable sport of bullfighting. Some may consider it cruel, but it certainly has a long history and requires a lot of skill. This contest between man and beast has enthralled spectators for centuries.
Fun Fact: It is actually the motion, not the color of the cape, that causes the bull to charge- bulls are colorblind!
Circling back east to cover more of Europe, France is an entire country of romance. Two beautiful spots to consider are the French Riviera and, of course, the Eiffel Tower. The French Riviera is an area on the southern coast of France that has something for everyone- art, entertainment, and a gorgeous climate with many nautical activities. The Eiffel Tower is in the City of Love itself, Paris, and provides a recognizable landmark for the world.
Italy, of course, has many amazing historical sites due to its long and well-maintained history. Some classic sites to visit are the Coliseum at Rome, the Vatican, and the Leaning Tower of Piza. The abundance of Roman and Renaissance architecture and art means that you could spend days simply staring at buildings, but don't forget to enjoy one of the most welcoming climates in the Mediterranean, and of course the famous Italian food.
Fun Fact: Tomatoes are native to North America, so many of the foods we think of as traditionally Italian didn't exist in their current form until after Europeans made contact with North America.
Greece is hardly any less historically remarkable. Along with important archeological sites like the Parthenon, there are also many beautiful places like the White Houses in Santorini. Greece's Mediterranean climate should also be enjoyed, as should its unique cuisine that provides a delicious counterpoint to Italian foods.
Romania's largest claim to fame is perhaps the legendary Bran Castle, the location that is the basis for Bram Stoker's Dracula. Vampires may be fictional, but Bram Stoker did base Dracula on stories about a real, rather harsh ruler, and Bran castle is where this man lived. Whether you enjoy vampires or just historical sites, you'll find this stop as enthralling as the legendary creature himself.
In Ukraine, we head to Kiev to see the Pechersk Lavra. This gorgeous monastery includes not only the soaring towers you can see from a distance, but also a complex of underground caves to investigate! If you're missing the natural scenery from earlier in our voyage, Kiev also has many lush parks and botanical gardens to explore.
While traveling far into Russia would be too much of a loop back east, there is plenty to see in western Russia. The Kremlin is only one of many famous sites in Moscow. It is a fortification that contains four palaces and four cathedrals within its walls, and is both artistic and practical.
Fun Fact: People have lived in the area of Moscow- and indeed on the site of the Kremlin- since the second century B.C.E.!
Helsinki, the capitol of Finland, has some amazing architecture and some remarkable festivals. Of course, the nature of this vacation makes it difficult to base timing around only one stop, but if you have the opportunity to be in Helsinki during one of their many festivals, take it. The architectural sites include several ornate cathedrals and even the Olympic Stadium from the 1952 Olympic Games!
Stockholm in Sweden has many stunning sights, especially if you go during the winter. The city is built on a series of islands, so viewing it from the water, in winter or summer, will take your breath away. It also has remarkable health areas, saunas, and spas. These can provide a relaxing interlude during your souvenirs voyage.
For the Netherlands, there are of course the famous windmills. These are gorgeous structures, often surrounded by specially bred tulips in myriad colors and patterns. The village of Kinderdijk is the best place to go to see the windmills, but if you want to see the flowers by themselves, go to Keukenhof Gardens, where millions of tulips and other flowers are planted every year.
Fun Fact: One reason the windmills are so prevalent is that they were used to drain the land, making it habitable.
In the UK, London is the place to be, with some remarkable historical sites like Tower Bridge and Westminster Palace. The view from the upper levels of Tower Bridge will give you an unparalleled view of many of the other landmarks the city is famous for- not to mentio you'll be standing on a structure that was built in Victorian times!
North America: Vast Landscapes and a New World
Canada has amazing natural scenes and sights. With a relatively low population and a lot of land, it possesses some of the largest tracts of untouched wilderness that still remain in the world. Consequently, it has some of the most incredible national parks in the world, including the one at Banff.
Nothing says New York City more than the Statue of Liberty. This statue is as representative of the U.S. as the bald eagle or the flag, and greeted many immigrants on their way there from Europe to start new lives. It also offers a breathtaking view of the city. After visiting Liberty Island, you can tie up the evening by seeing a Broadway play or enjoying the city's delightful mixture of cuisines.
Fun Fact: The Statue of Liberty was a gift to the U.S. from France.
South Dakota is a fairly placid state, but it does have the remarkable landmark of Mount Rushmore- four of the country's most influential and beloved presidents carved in massive proportions. It is a grand landmark and a great pause on our journey west across the U.S. before we come to our final stop.
Ending Your Souvenirs Voyage
To bring the trip full circle and truly circumnavigate the globe, we travel to Las Vegas again. The city's focus on entertainment and relaxation make an excellent close to this whirlwind adventure. You can have a few days to rest and reflect on your travels before returning to normal life.
When you get home, you can find a way to display your collection from your souvenirs voyage. If you followed our suggestion of magnets, a whiteboard works well, or perhaps a magnetic board with a world map on it. That would allow you to display each souvenir over the place it came from, giving a truly striking image of how broad and exciting your travels were. Whatever you choose, have fun with your new collection and with the amazing memories each souvenir will bring back for you.
Fun Fact: If you were able to go directly point to point to see the landmarks we advise, you would have traveled over 54,000 miles or 88,000 km. With road distances and visiting other attractions and hotels, you will have traveled well over that distance- over twice the circumference of the Earth!