Dreaming about traveling here's what it means, according to experts.

Sarah Regan

When it comes to dream interpretation, so much of it depends on the context and finer details of the dream. To dream about traveling is no exception, with a myriad of variations that can change the meaning of the dream . So, we asked experts about a few of their top interpretations for travel dreams—here's what they had to say.

Dream interpretation.

Before diving in, it's worth noting that any scientific validity to dream interpretation is sparse. Generally, dreams are thought of as a means of memory consolidation and potentially even "predicting" the future (i.e., our brains running through potential scenarios that could happen).

Nevertheless, we've all had dreams that seemed a bit too relevant to our waking lives, raising the question, What was that dream trying to tell me? Only you can truly understand what the symbols in your dreams mean to you, but there are still some common tropes in dreams that interpreters take to have specific meanings.

7 reasons you're dreaming about traveling:

You're craving freedom..

According to dream expert  Leslie Ellis, Ph.D., dreaming about travel can indicate that you're on a quest for freedom. "In this pandemic era where travel has been so restricted, travel dreams could be some form of vicarious way of gaining freedom of movement," she says, adding, "Freud was not entirely wrong about dreams being a form of wish fulfillment, at least some of the time."

You're experiencing some kind of movement in your life.

Along with a craving for freedom, travel dreams can also suggest there's some sort of movement or momentum happening in your life. "Traveling usually represents forward movement—progress in some area," notes professional dream interpreter  Lauri Loewenberg . And as Ellis adds, this "movement" could be personal or professional, as well as actual geographical movement.

You feel in control.

If you're traveling in a vehicle in your dream and it's running smoothly, Loewenberg tells mbg that can mean you feel in control of some aspect of your life. "You want to be driving the car, for example, because that's letting you know that whatever issue this dream is commenting on, you're in control of it," she explains.

You feel out of control.

On the other hand, Loewenberg says, if the car is having some hiccups, such as malfunctioning brakes, "that's a good indication that you're having a hard time getting something started in your real life, or you don't have a good handle on whatever path of progression this is connected to."

She adds that if you're driving a car in your dream and get into an accident, this can mean you're experiencing a sort of emotional or energy crash in your life.

You're experiencing some sort of ending.

Crashes or accidents in travel dreams can also mean something is on the verge of coming to an end in your life (or already has), Loewenberg notes.

The theme of endings existing within travel dreams can also relate to life stages and death, Ellis explains. "They can, at the far end of the journey, indicate preparation for death. There are many accounts of dreams easing people into the final stages of their life , preparing them in ways that tend to be calming and spiritual," she notes.

You're advancing in your career (or thinking about it).

According to Loewenberg, dreams about traveling in a plane , more often than not, are related to your career path, "because the plane takes off and we want our careers to take off and reach new levels." Planes can also represent your spiritual or religious path , she adds.

You're searching for something.

And lastly, depending on your destination, travel dreams can mean you're looking for something in your life. "If your destination is a beach, for example, that means you're trying to reach a place in your life where you are having peace of mind," Loewenberg explains. Or maybe you're traveling to a hospital, which would indicate you're on a healing path, she adds.

Interpretations based on travel companions:

Family members..

With the previous interpretations in mind, it's also important to consider who's accompanying you in the dream. In the case of family members, Ellis says, this could relate to feeling of moving on, or moving forward, as it relates to the family members in the dream.

A romantic partner.

Loewenberg says dreaming about traveling with a partner can offer good insight into how the relationship is going and how you both are reacting within the relationship. "Pay attention to who's behind the wheel and how well the vehicle is moving forward," she suggests, for example.

If you're on a boat, she adds they often represent our relationships. (Relation-"ship," get it?) "A ship or a boat will be commenting on a relationship more than any other vehicle because it travels on water, and water tends to represent the emotional self," Loewenberg explains.

In that case, are you on an extravagant cruise liner that's sailing smoothly? Or are you in a broken-down boat that's sinking fast ? You can guess which one indicates a relationship is heading south.


If you're dreaming about work colleagues, Ellis says this situates the dream story in the world of work. "Again, it can be telling to look at the mode of travel, ease of transport, and nature of the destination," she notes. Ask yourself if you're getting to where you want to go. "This can be a big life question. Are the people you are with helping or hindering your progress?" Ellis adds.

Traveling solo.

Of course, there's a chance you'll be traveling solo in your dream, as well. Loewenberg says a common vehicle in travel dreams is a bike or motorcycle, which are, of course, single-passenger vehicles. This would be a dream about a path you are on alone that doesn't affect anyone else, she explains.

"You also have to have good balance to operate a bicycle or a motorcycle, so take a good look at your emotional balance or anything you're trying to balance in your life," Ellis adds.

The bottom line.

Dreaming about travel isn't uncommon—and interpreting these dreams always comes down to their context. With these potential interpretations at the ready, you're all set to open your mind to the world of your travel dreams—and consider how they relate to your reality.

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Inside My Dream

Traveling in Your Dreams: Decoding Its Hidden Messages

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Dreams have fascinated and perplexed humans for centuries. The act of traveling in dreams has been a common theme in various cultures and has often been associated with deeper, symbolic meanings. Many people believe that dreams are a window into our subconscious, and that the act of traveling in dreams can reveal our desires, fears, and aspirations. In this blog post, we will explore the meaning of traveling in dreams and what it may signify for your waking life.

The Symbolism of Traveling in Dreams

dream travel life

Exploring New Horizons

When you dream of traveling to new and unfamiliar places, it may symbolize your desire for exploration and adventure in your waking life. It could be indicative of a longing for new experiences, whether it’s through travel, education, or personal growth. This type of dream might be a reminder to step out of your comfort zone and embrace the unknown.

Seeking Escape or Solace

On the other hand, dreaming of traveling to a distant, serene location may be a manifestation of your subconscious desire to escape from the stresses and responsibilities of your daily life. It could signify a need for relaxation, self-care, or a break from the routine. This type of dream may serve as a gentle nudge to prioritize your mental and emotional well-being.

Embracing Change and Transition

Dreams involving travel can also reflect periods of change or transition in your life. Whether it’s starting a new job, moving to a different city, or embarking on a new phase of your personal journey, these dreams may symbolize your readiness to embrace change and adapt to new circumstances. They could offer reassurance and encouragement as you navigate through life’s transitions.

Card 1

Interpreting Your Dream

dream travel life

Emotional State

Pay attention to the emotions you experienced during the dream. Were you excited, anxious, or at peace while traveling? Your emotional response can provide valuable insights into the underlying message of the dream.

Destination and Surroundings

Take note of the specific locations and environments you encountered in your dream. Are they familiar or unfamiliar to you? The places you visit in your dream can offer clues about your subconscious desires and fears.

People and Relationships

Consider the presence of other people in your dream. Are you traveling alone, or with companions? The interactions you have with others in your dream may reflect your current relationships and social dynamics.

Personal Reflection

Reflect on your own life circumstances and the challenges you may be facing. Are there any parallels between your waking life and the journey you embarked on in your dream? Your dream may offer insights into potential solutions or paths forward.

Common Themes in Travel Dreams

While each dream is unique to the individual, there are some common themes and interpretations associated with traveling in dreams. Here are a few examples of recurring motifs and their potential meanings:

Lost or Delayed Travel

Dreaming of missed flights, lost luggage, or other travel mishaps may indicate feelings of anxiety or a sense of being unprepared for a significant change or opportunity in your life. It could be a reflection of your fear of failure or the unknown.

Unplanned Journeys

Dreaming of spontaneously embarking on a journey without a clear destination or plan might signify your openness to unexpected opportunities and the willingness to go with the flow. It could be a symbol of your adaptability and readiness to embrace uncertainty.

Returning to Familiar Places

Visiting familiar locations from your past in a dream may evoke feelings of nostalgia and reflection. It could represent a longing for simpler times or a desire to reconnect with your roots and cherished memories.

Transportation Modes

The mode of transportation you use in your dream, whether it’s a car, train, boat, or airplane, can offer additional insights into the nature of your journey and the pace of your personal growth. Each mode may represent different aspects of your life and the way you navigate through challenges.

Reflecting on Your Dream

After experiencing a vivid dream about traveling, it’s important to take the time to reflect on the emotions, symbols, and themes that emerged. Consider journaling about your dream, discussing it with a trusted friend, or seeking the guidance of a professional dream interpreter if you feel inclined to do so.

Journaling Prompts

To gain a deeper understanding of your dream, consider these journaling prompts to guide your reflection:

– How did I feel during the dream? – What were the significant locations or landmarks in my dream? – Did I encounter any specific challenges or obstacles during my journey? – What recurring themes or symbols stood out to me? – How does this dream relate to my current life circumstances or inner desires?

Seeking Guidance and Interpretation

If you find yourself consistently dreaming of traveling and feel compelled to seek deeper insights, consider consulting with a professional dream interpreter or therapist specializing in dream analysis. They can provide valuable guidance and help you uncover the underlying meanings and messages within your dreams.

Self-Reflection and Awareness

Regardless of whether you choose to seek external guidance, the act of reflecting on your dreams can foster greater self-awareness and introspection. Paying attention to the messages and symbols that arise in your dreams can offer profound insights into your subconscious mind and the inner workings of your psyche.

Are you intrigued by the fascinating world of dream interpretation, especially when it comes to traveling-related dreams? Check out our articles on traveling by bus dream meanings and traveling to Mars dream meanings for more insight into the meaning of traveling in your dreams. Additionally, if you’ve ever dreamed about eating, our piece on eating in your dreams could provide some valuable interpretation as well.

The act of traveling in dreams is a rich and multifaceted experience that holds the potential for profound self-discovery and personal growth. By exploring the symbolism of traveling in dreams and reflecting on their significance, we can gain a deeper understanding of our inner desires, fears, and aspirations. Whether your dreams transport you to distant lands or familiar settings, they offer a unique window into the depths of your subconscious, inviting you to embark on a journey of self-exploration and understanding. Embrace the mysteries of your dreams, and let them guide you on your path toward self-discovery and fulfillment.

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How to plan your dream vacation

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Travel Goals: How to Envision and Achieve Your Travel Dreams

Travel Goals - Header - Authentic Traveling

Have you ever noticed how two people can visit the same place with similar hopes and dreams have dramatically different experiences?

One person will return home with life-changing memories of adventure and reflection, whereas another will return home disappointed, feeling as though they'd failed to accomplish what they set out to achieve.

Why is this?

While nothing is guaranteed on the road, travelers who consistently have exceptional experiences share a common trait: they set travel goals. 

Travel Goals - Happy Travelers - Authentic Traveling

Setting travel goals to improve your next trip might seem counterintuitive to some. After all , isn't the objective of travel to get away from the to-do lists and schedules of daily life?

Yes, and no. Although travel is a great opportunity to escape from our day-to-day routines, it's not an alternative universe within which the general rules of life don't apply.

Just as they do at home, when traveling goals provide you with short-term motivation and long-term vision. They help you to better organize your time and energy so that you get the most out of your trips.

Travel Goals - Goal Planning - Authentic Traveling

Goals ensure that you’re life on the road follows your own personal values. And by setting and completing goals, you take the steps necessary to fulfill your purpose, or Why, for traveling.

Without goals, it’s easy to get lost. With no clear direction on what to do next or which way to go, we can become overwhelmed with the number of novel possibilities travel presents us with on a daily basis.

Having good travel goals is like having someone guide you along your journey, ensuring you take the proper next step every time.

Travel Goals - Guide - Authentic Traveling

Fortunately, as you will see, creating—and accomplishing—major, life-changing travel goals isn’t just for the hyper-motivated or über-persistent. There are a number of straight-forward steps that anyone eager to learn and grow can follow to design and fulfill their travel dreams.

How To Create Amazingly-Effective Travel Goals

OK, so you’re convinced that setting goals is useful. But how do you go about doing this? How do you create good travel goals?

The best, most-effective travel goals are SMART goals. No, I don’t mean that they are members off MENSA (what’s with the acronyms today?).

Rather, great travel goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based. Let’s explain that a bit more.

Travel Goals - Smart Travel Goals 2 - Authentic Traveling

CC BY-SA 4.0 , Dungdm93 .

Great travel goals are clear and specific, which helps to remain focused and motivated.

To make your goals more specific, try and answer the six ‘W’ questions:

-What do I want to accomplish?

-When do I want to accomplish this goal?

-Where do I need to go?

-Who should be involved?

-Which resources or limits are there?

-Why do I want to accomplish this goal?

Great travel goals are also measurable, allowing you to easily track your progress and know when you’ve succeeded.

Being able to clearly see both how far you’ve come and what you need to do to finish helps you to stay motivated and creates excitement around the thought of accomplishing your goal.

When setting measurable goals, ask questions like:

-How will I know when I've succeeded?

Travel Goals - Conversation Measuring - Authentic Traveling

A good measurable travel goal for someone shy would be to have a 5+ minute conversation with a local 3x over the course of one, week-long trip. A less-effective goal would be to "meet new people" or "open up".

Great travel goals should also be attainable. You should be able to see a realistic path you can take to success. You should feel challenged and your abilities should be stretched, but everything should remain possible.   If your goals is so difficult that it starts to feel unattainable, then you’re more likely to just give up.

Achievable goals answer questions like:

-Given my current situation (financial, mental/physical health, time constraints) how realistic is this goal?

-How can I accomplish this goal?

Great travel goals need to be relevant. They need to matter to you, aligning with your greater purpose in travel or life.

Having a deep sense of purpose behind your goals ensures that you’ll never run out of motivation, even when the going gets tough and helps to keep things in perspective. If you goal isn’t relevant to you, you will lack the fortitude necessary to handle adversity when it undoubtedly appears.

Relevant travel goals answer ‘yes’ to these questions:

-Is this something that matters to me?

-Do I really want to accomplish this?

-Will completing this goal improve the world in some way?

-Am I improving my life by succeeding?

-Is this the right time or place for me to try and achieve this goal?

Great travel goals have a target date. They have a deadline for completion that you can stick to. This helps ensure that one temporary, short-term goal—which is supposed to be a single step on the way towards aiding greater goals or your purpose—doesn’t become a massive time-suck or permanent hinderance.

Time-based travel goals can usually answer these questions:

-What can be done today to help accomplish this?

-What can I do six weeks from now?

-What can I do six months from now?

Travel Goals - Flying - Authentic Traveling

A good time-bound travel goal for someone afraid of flying would be to take one flight without the aid of anti-anxiety drugs, sleeping pills, or alcohol in the next 3 months.

In addition, the best travel goals are performance, not outcome, based. This means that the goal is to complete the process rather than to achieve a specific end result.

As all great performers know, the only thing you ever have full control over is your effort. There’s no guarantee that a well-struck golf ball won’t end up in the water in a tournament or that a perfectly-sung ballad won’t be eclipsed by another song during a talent show.

You can’t force the weather to be nice, a museum to be open, or a local to be friendly, but you can wake up in the morning ready to take that hike, prepare yourself to see some art, or have the courage to start a conversation at the nearby cafe.

Travel Goals - Persistence Closed Ticket Office - Authentic Traveling

You can't control whether or not the ticket office is open while traveling through Italy—it rarely seems to be—but you can make sure you're at the train station on time.

While there are no guarantees, consistently putting in the effort—following a process that you know can work—leads to the best long-term results.

How To Figure Out What Goals to Set

Travel Goals - Purpose Planning - Authentic Traveling

If you’ve read what we wrote on travel with purpose , you know how important it is to find your Why for travel. Purpose gives focus to your planning, inspires action on the road, and provides strength in difficult moments—both before and during trips.

Once you’ve identified your purpose for travel— here’s a refresher on how to do that —you’ve already done much of the work necessary to set great travel goals. You have a clear idea of which direction you want to take. Now you just have to map out the specific steps you will take to get there.

Travel Goals - Chosen Path - Authentic Traveling

Once you know what your final destination is, it becomes much easier to determine what path you want to take to get there.

Sometimes the route you need to take will be obvious, and goal-setting will be simple. Other times the path might not be as clear. If that’s the case, ask yourself the following questions, with your Why in mind:

-Image that you’ve had a successful trip filled with purpose. What would that trip entail? Can you work backwards from the end to the start?

-What’s the smallest possible first step you could take towards achieving your Why?

-Has anyone else traveled with a similar purpose? What did their journey look like?

-What’s the most important problem you could tackle on day one of your trip?

-What’s one thing that would get you to jump out of bed?

-What do you want your obituary to say?

-What would you never regret trying even if you failed?

-What could you do to ensure that you’re living a satisfying life?

Travel Goals - Choosing A Path - Authentic Traveling

Choosing between paths is often part of the fun of travel planning and goal setting.

Not every goal for your trip has to—or even should—be purpose-driven. Adding a few for-fun, less-serious goals helps to lighten the mood and provides additional motivation along the way.

Examples of some fun goals could be visiting all the Trappist breweries in Belgium, learning 5 words in Portuguese each day during a month-long trip to Brazil, and trying 20 different flavors of Kit Kat while in Japan.

Travel Goals - Japanese Kit Kats - Authentic Traveling

Just a few of the hundreds of flavored Kit Kats available in Japan.

Deciding How Many Travel Goals to Have

When trying to determine how many goals you should set for a trip, there are a number of factors to consider.

How long will you be gone? How much time will you be able to devote to accomplishing your goals? Will you have other obligations or responsibilities on your trip? Does reading over your list of potential goals make you feel overwhelmed?

Travel Goals - Number of Goals - Authentic Traveling

It can be helpful to think of travel goals as items in your mental backpack. Pack too few and you'll be ill-prepared. Pack too many and you'll be overly burdened.

In general, it is better to pick a smaller number of meaningful goals rather than a large number of goals that you’re less enthusiastic about. Your time and energy on the road is limited, and there is only so much you can concentrate on.

Changing Your Travel Goals

Having fewer goals allows you to create new goals when you’re traveling based on what you see and do. As you travel, you will undoubtedly realize new things about yourself and your prioritizes might change. Perhaps you came to South America to learn Brazilian Capoeira only to learn that you’d rather practice Argentine Tango.

Travel Goals - Tango - Authentic Traveling

Argentinian Tango dancers. CC BY 2.5 , Carlos Luque .

Your goals don’t have to be inflexible. Sometimes unexpected things happen when you’re traveling. Allow yourself the latitude to jump into the adventure that is unexpected possibilities. Don’t let your original goal of visiting the top 5 Sachertorte coffee houses in Vienna keep you from accepting an invite from new friends to spend the weekend at a music festival in Bratislava. The best part of travel is the unexpected and the unplanned, and objectives should never get in the way of a good story.

Expectations Versus Hopes

To help make this easier, make sure your goals are not expectations. Expectations are absolute and unmovable. When we expect something, we move an accomplishment from being something to be celebrated to being something mundane. After all, we expected it to happen so why be happy? And if they don’t happen, then we get upset.

In contrast, if you view your goals as hopes—things you want to have happen but also recognize that they might not—then you are free to change or abandon goals when necessary. The quality of your travel experiences are not contingent upon how many of the goals you set out at the beginning are accomplished blindly.

Travel Goals - Freedom To Explore - Authentic Traveling

Don't underestimate the benefits of having the freedom to explore with hope.

How to Achieve Your Travel Goals

There are a number of things you can do to help you to accomplish your travel goals.

1.) Make sure your travel goals are SMART

As mentioned above, if your goals are not specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, or time-bound, your chances of success will be greatly diminished.

2.) Review your travel goals regularly

Travel Goals - Planning With Purpose - Authentic Traveling

Review your goals every day when you wake up. One way to do this is to create a travel journal within which you actually one big goal for the day and three ways in which you are going to make it happen.

Also remind yourself everyday of your overall purpose for traveling. Write this down on a piece of paper and bring it with you during the day.

3.) Prioritize your travel goals

At the beginning of your trip, sequence your goals based on priority. Know what is most important to get done first and what you most want to accomplish. Not only does this set you off on the right foot, but it makes it more likely that you will have done the things you most want to do in case something happens that cuts your trip short or otherwise changes your plans.

4.) Keep track of your progress

Before you go to bed each night take a moment to write down your successes. Note what steps you took to achieve your goals and how much progress you’ve made since yesterday.

Travel Goals - Travel Priorities - Authentic Traveling

Somedays you’ll take great leaps, whereas others days it may feel like you’ve only advanced a little. Don’t worry about this. Remain consistent in the process and the results will eventually show.

5.) Celebrate your success

Be sure to enjoy the moment when you accomplish your goals. Fully embrace the feelings you get and let them soak into you. Hold onto that feeling as long as you can. Think about the hard work and dedication it took to get to where you are.

Take a photo to memorialize your accomplishment and let other people know on social media what you’ve done. Don’t worry about coming across as boastful—in general, people want other people to succeed, and if your joy is genuine your friends and family will be supportive. And who knows, you may even inspire someone else to take on their own challenges.

The joy one gains from a hard-earned achievement is addictive, and you’ll naturally want more of it. Ensuring that you take the time to properly celebrate your successes is critical when building the work-reward loop that drives future performance.

6.) Reflect

Throughout the goal-achievement process, remain reflective. Ask yourself how things are going? Are your goals too easy and you’re not feeling challenged? What are you learning about yourself? Use this information to adjust your future plans and goals.

Travel Goals - Reflection - Authentic Traveling

Things to Avoid: What Prevents You From Achieving Your Travel Goals

Travel Goals - Obstacles and Regret - Authentic Traveling

Don't let your next trip be filled with regret and disappointment due to unmet travel goals.

There are a number of reasons people don’t achieve their travel goals. Some of the biggest road blocks include:

1.) Impatience

You want results right away and get frustrated and quit when you don’t see the results immediately.

2.) Perfectionism

You want everything to be done perfectly the first time and if that’s not the case you get upset and quit.

3.) Failure

You are unable to deal with failure on a first, second, or tenth try. Those who stick with it are those that achieve. 

Travel Goals - Failure - Authentic Traveling

Even the best fail sometimes.

4.) Focusing on the end results

When you shift your attention from the process to final outcome, you’re more likely to make mistakes, not give it your full effort, and overlook crucial steps. Also, the process is often quite fun—especially in traveling. Imagine not enjoying the hike up a mountain side because you’re focused exclusively on what it will feel like when you get to the top.

5.) Excuses

Sometimes excuses are what prevent us from achieving our goals.Your mind likes to stay in a comfort zone and so it will say and do whatever it can to prevent you from moving out of that. Do you hear yourself saying some of the following? If you do, stop for a moment and think. 

-I’m not good enough.

-It’s not the right time.

-I’m too old/young.

-I don’t have the money.

-People will laugh at me.

-What if I fail?

6.) Overly-large steps

If you bite off more than you can chew in one chunk it can be demoralizing and daunting. This is common. Instead of committing to visiting all the countries in the world when you first start out traveling, perhaps start by visiting one.

Travel Goals - Single Step - Authentic Traveling

Every great journey starts with a single step.

7.) Procrastination

Now is the best time to act. It’s easy to say that you’ll travel one day or achieve XYZ in the future when you feel right. Don’t wait until you feel ready, or when the time is right. If you do that, you risk that time never coming. If you can’t complete the whole goal right now, create a mini-goal that you can finish that when done will help you to achieve your larger goal. Any progress is good progress!

8.) Distractions

People, at home, social pressure. These can all distract you from your goals. Remember why you’re trying to achieve your goals, and this can help you keep on track.

9.) Lack of consistency

Are you not doing the same things every day to help achieve your goals? Do you work hard one day and then slack off another?

Show up everyday with effort and you’ll be rewarded. The more consistent you are, the easier it is to achieve goals as they become habits. Get in the habit of talking to locals when you wake up each morning and you’ll find it second nature after a while.

Travel Goals - Consistent Hitchhiker- Authentic Traveling

Keep showing up and you'll eventually catch a ride.

10.) Expectations

More on this next week!

As you've learned, if you're interested in consistently having exceptional travel experiences, you should to set goals. The best travel goals are SMART goals—Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based—and are often steps towards fulfilling a greater purpose or Why. Such goals provide travelers with the motivation, vision, and resiliency. By following a few straight-forward steps, anyone can design, develop, and—ultimately—live their travel dreams.

Eager to take the next step towards achieving your travel goals? D ownload my FREE guide   The Traveler’s Mindset: How to Mentally Prepare for Journeys of Adventure and Growth !

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Rebecca and the World

15 Dream Travel Destinations to Visit Before You Die

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Looking for dream travel destinations to fuel your wanderlust? Look no further!

As an avid traveller and travel blogger, it’s probably no surprise that I have a list of dream travel destinations as long as my arm.

I’m always dreaming of travel and all the places I want to visit – or re-visit.

My bucket list is already fairly lengthy, but continues to grow every year as I discover more adventures to add.

This list of dream destinations is my personal list, but be warned: I think you’ll get a healthy dose of wanderlust, too.

From well-trodden countries to off-the-beaten-path destinations, cities to beaches, here’s my list of dream travel destinations that I want to visit at least once in my life.

A vintage-style camera with a black strap rests atop an open atlas displaying a Mercator projection map of the world. The setting conveys a theme of travel and exploration.

This blog post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you).

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My dream travel destinations

1. australia.

A vast, arid landscape with sparse vegetation in the foreground and the iconic Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, in the distance. The large sandstone formation stands prominently under a clear sky with a slight gradient from blue to pale orange.

After being an expat for 8 years, exploring my own country is right at the top of my list.

There are so many things to do in Australia , and upon returning home to Melbourne I realised how little of my own country I’ve seen.

I’ve fixed that somewhat, with a visit to Uluru , a hike in Tasmania and a 3.5 month road trip around half the country – through South Australia, stopping in quirky towns like Coober Pedy , up through the Northern Territory , through the Kimberley , and all the way down the Western Australia coast .

Of course, there’s so much more I still need and want to do – an East Coast Australia road trip from Melbourne to Sydney. Drive all the way up to the Cape of York . Hike Western Australia’s Cape to Cape trail. Another trip along the incredible Great Ocean Road .

READ NEXT: An epic Adelaide to Darwin road trip

The expansive Plaza de España in Seville, Spain, with its ornate architecture, a canal with a small boat, and visitors walking along the semi-circular building's arcade.

Spain is my spirit country. I feel so alive when I’m there and so comfortable. This is always one of my dream travel destinations, and a place I’m so happy to return to each time.

Our incredible southern Spain road trip a few years ago took us through the beautiful Andalucia region . I could easily live in Seville , and eat all the tapas and become gorda .

I’ve been to Barcelona and Madrid, but next time I return to Spain, I would relish the chance to get out into the countryside, especially in the north of the country. I’d love to return to San Sebastián and eat all the delicious pintxos , or try more wine in La Rioja . I’ve heard incredible things about the Asturias region, and all of the coast of Spain looks spectacular.

Also on my bucket list is completing the Camino de Santiago , the famous pilgrimage route.

READ NEXT: How to spend the perfect 2 days in Granada

Narrow cobblestone street in a quaint European village, with colourful buildings and a white scooter parked to one side. The food, beaches and small villages are just a few reasons why I want to visit Italy.

My husband and I were supposed to visit Italy for our 5 th wedding anniversary in 2019. But because we went on a 5-month road trip around the USA that year, we decided to postpone it until 2020. Obviously, that never happened!

Why do I want to go Italy? I don’t think I really need to explain why it’s one of my bucket list destinations. Italy has so much to offer, but for me, number one is the food . Sitting in a café devouring handmade pasta, or feasting on fresh seafood in an oceanside village or eating all the street food in Naples sounds pretty idyllic.

I would love to visit some lesser touristed places , like Puglia, Sicily or Umbria. But I also want to explore the churches in Rome and more popular spots!

In the meantime, I’ll be satisfied with the pizza that our Italian neighbour hands over the fence and fresh pasta delivered from Melbourne’s abundance of Italian restaurants.

4. Papua New Guinea

A lush tropical landscape viewed from a hilltop, showing a dense spread of palm trees and foliage, with a small coastal town by the water's edge and mountains in the background. Papua New Guinea is a country full of bucket list adventures.

I was lucky enough to live in one of the most fascinating countries on the planet, Papua New Guinea (PNG). Papua New Guinea is the most linguistically diverse country in the world, with more than 800 languages spoken. It has mind-blowing festivals that are a riot of colour, song and dance.

From stunning beaches and islands (with few other tourists), to the challenging Kokoda Track hike , to incredible birds and wildlife, Papua New Guinea offers some pretty awesome adventures that are – dare I say it – off the beaten path.

While I’ve done many of the best things to do in PNG , I am still desperate to visit the Ambunti Crocodile Festival , which celebrates the importance of the crocodile to the people around the Sepik River.

I also desperately want to go back to Kavieng and stay in one of the overwater bungalows at Nusa Island Retreat , or maybe even bike the whole way up the island of New Ireland.

If your jam is finding bucket list adventures , you’ll discover quite a few in PNG.

READ NEXT: 20 things to know before you visit Papua New Guinea

5. New Zealand

A hiker stands on a mountain ridge overlooking a vast, mist-covered lake surrounded by rugged mountains, emphasizing the scale and grandeur of the natural landscape. New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and worthy of adding to any travel bucket list.

For all the fun we Aussies make of our neighbours “across the ditch” and the number of their celebrities that we claim as our own, there’s one thing we can all agree on: New Zealand is unimaginably beautiful .

Our second-closest neighbour (after PNG) is practically an extension of Australia (with a funnier accent), and the Trans-Tasman hop barely feels like you’re “going overseas”.

While I’ve been to New Zealand many times, it’s usually been quick trips to cities for work. In the future, I imagine hiring a campervan and taking a lazy few weeks to cruise around the country, visiting friends, tasting delicious wines and fresh food, and enjoying the splendour of New Zealand’s outdoors .

A woman - the author of this article - stands on a dirt path amidst tall agave plants, with mountains in the distance. She is wearing a red dress. A mezcal tour is one of the best things to do in Oaxaca to discover how this liquor is made

I’ve been to Mexico so many times – like Spain, it’s one of those countries I could easily live in.

For years, however, I’ve never been able to make the timing work so that we could visit during Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), which celebrates life and death. This experience is high on my bucket list.

One of my favourite cities in the whole world is Oaxaca , and I’d love to return there (and again, live there!).

Another favourite city is Mexico City , and if you’ve never been there, you’re really missing out. The food , the architecture, the history all make a visit to Mexico City memorable.

And don’t believe everything you hear – Mexico is actually quite safe to visit.

READ NEXT: What to know before you visit Oaxaca

7. Scotland

A scenic view of the Isle of Skye, Scotland, with rugged terrain, green valleys, and a small loch nestled amongst the rolling hills under a dynamic sky. The rugged beauty and a family connection are reasons why I'd like to visit Scotland.

My husband’s grandfather was from Scotland, and I’ve always thought it would be wonderful to visit the country of his heritage.

While I’d prefer better weather, the rugged landscape , castles, whisky and cosmopolitan cities would make for an entertaining few weeks of road tripping.

When we were last in Spain we actually met a couple of Scots who told us about Burns Night and Hogmanay . Scots strike me as people who love to have a good time , so I can only imagine the wild fun of celebrating these events with them!

8. The Amazon

A serene riverside setting in the Amazon, with a small stilt house surrounded by dense jungle reflecting in the calm waters at sunset. One of the places that has long been on my bucket list is the Amazon.

Sailing down the Amazon River has always been one of my bucket list adventures. I imagine sleeping on the deck of the boat in a hammock, lazily whiling away the days reading books and playing card games, spotting birds on the shore and pink dolphins in the water.

Who knows if that’s actually what it’d end up being like, but it still remains on my bucket list.

I’ve always wanted to visit the Brazilian Amazon , and sail from Manaus to Belem, but I’ve also read about amazing experiences visiting the Amazon from Peru, Colombia, Bolivia or Ecuador (all of which are also dream travel destinations of mine!).

READ NEXT: The best places to visit in Brazil

The interior of the Nasir al-Mulk Mosque in Iran, featuring a stunning display of intricate Islamic architecture, colorful mosaics, and stained glass that casts vibrant light patterns onto the carpeted floor. When it's safe to travel, visiting Iran is on my bucket list.

Before the pandemic hit, Iran had just started to become a hot spot for tourism . It seemed like everyone and their mother were visiting this Middle Eastern country.

The food, the hospitality , the surprising sophistication all intrigue me.

Unfortunately, Iran doesn’t have the most amazing reputation at the moment, so it may be some time before I can visit.

The ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu in Peru, perched on a mountain ridge with terraced fields and stone structures, under a clear blue sky.

My first – and only – experience of Peru was a few days in Cusco followed by the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu . It was just a taster of a country that has been calling me ever since.

If you haven’t caught on yet, food is usually what draws me to a country, and with Peru it’s no different. I adore Peruvian food , and if I’m ever visiting a city and I see a Peruvian restaurant, I’ll be there straight away. I also make a pretty mean Pisco Sour if I do say so myself.

The next time we go to Peru, I plan to head to some of the lesser-visited ruins like Chan Chan or Choquequirao, fly over the Nazca Lines, explore historic Arequipa, and spend some time by the beach .

READ NEXT: The ultimate Salkantay Trek packing list

11. Colombia

Two women dressed in traditional, colorful Colombian attire with fruit baskets on their heads, walking away from the viewer down a colonial street in Cartagena, evoking the country's vibrant culture. One of my bucket list countries is Colombia.

I’m sad that we never visited Colombia while we lived in Argentina or the United States. We always talked about it but just never got there.

This South American country is stripping off its dangerous reputation, and visitors have been streaming in to discover its beautiful beaches , lush mountain villages and colourful culture .

A hike that’s been on my radar is the Ciudad Perdida trek . This hike is only 44 kilometres long, but the mountainous jungle terrain means it take 4 to 6 days to complete. The reward is arriving at the “Lost City”, ancient ruins buried deep in the interior.

Plus, every Colombian I’ve ever met speaks such clear Spanish, so this dream travel destination is also a great place to learn or practice Spanish.

12. Malaysia

The towering golden statue of Lord Murugan at the entrance of the Batu Caves in Malaysia, with a colorful flight of stairs leading up into the limestone hill, surrounded by lush greenery. Malaysia is known for its culture, food and beaches.

For Aussies, the first overseas destinations we head to are usually in Asia. Because we’re at the bottom of the world, it’s the closest continent for us to reach – and even if it were harder to get to, we’d still make the effort.

The variety of food, the breadth of cultures, the amazing beaches – Asia does have it all .

One country I’ve only spent a bit of time in and would like to go back to is Malaysia. I’ve visited the capital, Kuala Lumpur, for a few days, but it’s other areas of the country that are drawing me back. Penang for its food (indeed, all of Malaysia for food…), the Perhentian Islands or Langkawi for beaches, and Mt Kinabalu for active views.

There are also so many other places I want to visit or re-visit in Asia : Thailand, Laos, Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam… the list is endless.

A solitary camel walks across the arid landscape of a sandy desert with rolling dunes under a hazy sky. Oman is a fascinating mix of tradition and modern, and one of my dream travel destinations.

I remember once reading an article about a road trip through Oman , and it sounded like such an adventure.

This small Middle Eastern country is quite surprising. It has lovely cities, ancient sites, expansive rust-coloured deserts, and turquoise-coloured waters backed by jagged beaches.

Like other Middle Eastern countries, I expect that it’s filled with amazing food and warm hospitality, too.

14. Argentina

A person - the author of this article - in a black jacket and jeans stands overlooking a valley with striking multicolored mountain formations, showcasing the vivid and natural geological beauty. This is the town of Purmamarca in northern Argentina.

I lived in Buenos Aires , the capital of Argentina, for almost two years and I’m dying to return.

The 8 th largest country in the world has so much to offer: a beautiful capital city reminiscent of Europe, an expansive north that’s perfect for road tripping , incredible wine , the vast Patagonia wilderness and friendly people always up for a good time.

I’ve previously written a blog post about how to spend two weeks in Argentina that barely scratches the surface of everything that’s wonderful about the country.

I would love to go back soon to visit Argentina and explore some areas that I didn’t get to, like the Iberá Wetlands – as well as rediscover my favourite parts. Consider putting it on your list of dream travel destinations, too.

READ NEXT: The best things to do in Argentina

15. Ethiopia

The rock-hewn church of Saint George in Lalibela, Ethiopia, an architectural marvel carved from a single piece of rock in the shape of a cross, with surrounding trees and distant hills in view. Ethiopia is one of the many countries I'd love to visit.

A country that sounds so fascinating – and one that’s also become a bit of a hot spot in recent years – is Ethiopia.

The ancient traditions , churches carved out of rock, tribes of the Omo Valley and fiery Danakil Depression have put this intriguing country on my wish list.

With a visit to Ethiopia, I could also tie in a return trip to East Africa with my husband, given we’ll be in the area. I’d love to take a road trip around Uganda , and climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania or Mount Kenya in Kenya . And I’d definitely end the trip with a few days on the beach in Zanzibar again.

READ NEXT: 9 reasons to hire a private guide while on safari in East Africa

Did you find this article helpful? Consider buying me a coffee as a way to say thanks!

Now it’s your turn! What dream travel destinations are on your wish list? Let me know in the comments below.

Related posts

Before you go… you might like these articles:

  • How to Plan a Trip: 15 Easy Steps to the Perfect Travel Itinerary
  • 11 Ways to Travel More With a Full Time Job (+ Downloadable Vacation Planner!)
  • Carry-On Essentials: How to Survive a Long-Haul Flight in (+ Downloadable Packing List)


  • Book your flight online with Skyscanner – it’s where I always start my flight research.
  • Find a great hotel on .
  • Need a rental car? Compare prices and vehicles on DiscoverCars .
  • Omio is a great site for booking buses, trains and ferries across Europe.
  • Check out the huge range of day tours throughout major cities and countries on GetYourGuide , Klook or Viator . There’s something for everyone.
  • One thing I always purchase is  travel insurance . Travel Insurance Master  allows you to compare across multiple policy providers, while  SafetyWing  is great for long-term travellers and digital nomads.
  • Stuff I always pack? A reusable water bottle , packing cubes and a handy electronics organiser .


Save this dream travel destinations guide to Pinterest so you can indulge your own wanderlust!

Looking for some serious wanderlust? Here are 15 dream travel destinations - both well-known destinations and some more off-the-beaten-path choices. Add them to your travel bucket list! What's on your dream travel destination list? | Dream Travel Destinations | Bucket list Countries | Bucket List Destinations | Bucket List | Travel Bucket List


I'm a travel junkie who started dreaming about seeing the world from a very young age. I've visited more than 40 countries and have a Master of International Sustainable Tourism Management. A former expat, I've lived in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Argentina and the United States. I share travel resources, tips and stories based on my personal experiences, and my goal is to make travel planning just that bit easier.

8 thoughts on “15 Dream Travel Destinations to Visit Before You Die”

Regarding less touristy Italy I strongly recommend Lecce in Puglia and Procida Island off Naples. Lecce is very pretty and the surrounding countryside is worth a drive. Procida is a lovely fishing village with very few tourists when I visited although this may have changed now that it has been voted the cultural capital of Italy for 2022. I would like to forward photos but can’t do that under the circumstances but have a look online and you will see why I liked them so much.

Oh thank you so much Kevin!! I’ll definitely add these to my list. I can’t wait to get to Italy when I can.

Many of the countries you mention here are also on my wishlist. Oman, New Zealand, Peru, Ethiopia, Colombia, Spain, Italy, Iran, and… Papua New Guinea — oh how much I want to see Indonesia’s neighbor to the east! I think when the pandemic is over (or at least under control), overseas travel will be limited by region, before global travel begins in earnest again. So, realistically Southeast Asia might be where I will go in a post-pandemic world.

Agree… but at least there are so many incredible places to visit in SE Asia so you are spoilt for choice! Hopefully I’ll also be able to get over that way soon too!

Omggg! I know what you mean… I am dreaming up so many new vacation ideas. Many new Pinterest boards (lol). We travel for food too, and really want to go to Italy, Spain, and Peru for that reason. Kudos for visiting so many places!

Yes, the food is always the drawcard for me!! And you always make such delicious food. Where else is on your list?

I’m dreaming of travelling again too Bec. Big sigh. Top of my bucket list is the Sepik and, like you, I also wanted to tie it in with the Ambunti Croc Festival this year. Now that looks to be out, but I’m determined to get to the Sepik at some stage before I leave PNG… if that ever happens 🙂 Thanks for this article – some places on there I hadn’t even considered. Sending love to you and yours xx

Ohhh we need to do the festival together then!!

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21 Life-changing Trips Everyone Should Experience at Least Once

From African safaris to must-visit cities, these once-in-a-lifetime trips will make you want to plan your next great adventure.

Elizabeth Rhodes is a special projects editor at Travel + Leisure , covering everything from luxury hotels to theme parks to must-pack travel products. Originally from South Carolina, Elizabeth moved to New York City from London, where she started her career as a travel blogger and writer.

dream travel life

What's next on your travel list? With so many places worth traveling to, it can be hard to narrow down your top spots to visit.

Sometimes, it's the famous attractions, delicious food, and stunning hotels that draw us to a certain destination, and other times, it's the bragging rights that come with checking off every continent, country, or state. Whatever your motivation, we've rounded up 21 incredible trips, complete with once-in-a-lifetime experiences and iconic sights you won't find anywhere else in the world.

So, what makes a trip truly life-changing? That answer varies from traveler to traveler, but one thing is for sure: From African safaris to classic road trips, this list will make you want to plan your next great adventure.

Deciding between the historic cities of Rome, Venice, Naples, and Florence for the top destination to visit feels impossible, so the entire country of Italy deserves a spot on your list. Start in the Eternal City and head north through the rolling hills of Tuscany to visit Florence, followed by Milan or Venice, or go south to the beaches of the beautiful Amalfi Coast and Sicily.

New York, New York

Visiting the Statue of Liberty , standing at the top of the Empire State Building, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge: These are just a few of the things you can only do in New York City. Whether you dream of visiting all the places you've seen on screen, catching a Broadway show, or eating your way through the city's diverse neighborhoods, there's no doubt that NYC deserves a spot on your list.

Tokyo, Japan

Old and new come together in Japan's bustling capital city. Historic temples and shrines, busy shopping districts, delicious food, and some of the world's best theme parks and attractions — whatever your interests, there's something for you in Tokyo.

Paris, France

From watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle and viewing famous works of art at world-renowned museums to eating delicious French pastries, there are innumerable reasons that Paris deserves a spot on your list. Of course, other dreamy French destinations like Mont-Saint-Michel, Chamonix, and the Riviera are well worth a visit, too.

Busy medinas, intricate architecture, and a unique combination of cultural influences make Morocco unlike anywhere else on the planet. Whether you're traveling to bustling Marrakesh, pretty coastal cities, or remote desert towns (or hopefully, all three), a trip to Morocco is bound to be one to remember.

Monica Farber/Travel + Leisure

From the whitewashed homes of Santorini to the Ios party scene to the relaxing atmosphere of Milos, there's a perfect Greek Island for every type of traveler. Island hopping gives you the chance to experience more of what the country has to offer, but plan to spend a couple of days in Athens at the beginning and/or end of your trip.

T+L Backpack Quiz

Rory Fuller/Travel + Leisure

Machu Picchu

Seeing the historic ruins of the Incan Empire set among the breathtaking Andes at Machu Picchu is an undeniably life-changing experience. The stunning citadel ruins of Machu Picchu are worth the journey — and for some travelers, that trip, often taken by train or on foot as a multi-day trek , is a big part of the experience. Editor’s note: Machu Picchu is currently closed due to civil unrest in Peru. Visit the  official website  for the latest news and reopening details.

African Safari

Seeing majestic animals like lions, elephants, and rhinos in the wild is a dream best accomplished with an African safari . South Africa, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Kenya are among the most popular safari destinations — and in each of those countries, you'll find incredible lodges and tour operators who can help you spot these creatures in their natural habitat.

Whether you dream of cruising down the famed Nile River, seeing the Pyramids of Giza, or visiting the ancient Valley of the Kings, Egypt's historic wonders make the destination completely unique (and worthy of a spot on your travel list).

Unlike many of the action-packed trips on this list, the Maldives is synonymous with relaxation, luxury, and romance. A stay in an overwater bungalow set atop turquoise blue waters is the ultimate getaway that's worth the long-haul flight and oftentimes pricey accommodations.

Antarctica Cruise

Hoping to visit all seven continents? Cross Antarctica off your list with a cruise. Several major cruise lines have journeys to Antarctica, offering incredible views of the ice and wildlife from the comfort and safety of a ship. Travelers typically fly in and out of Buenos Aires en route to Ushuaia (where most cruises depart from); we recommend spending a few days in the fascinating Argentine city before your expedition.

Irjaliina Paavonpera/Travel + Leisure

Dubbed one of the natural wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef is a can't-miss for many wildlife lovers. Of course, Australia's gorgeous coastline, the iconic Sydney Opera House, and fuzzy creatures like kangaroos and koalas are also reasons to head to the destination. Fly into Sydney and spend a few days there before heading out to explore more of this expansive country teeming with natural beauty.

Galapagos Islands

Incredible and diverse plant and animal species make the Galapagos Islands another must-visit for nature-loving travelers. This stunning archipelago off the coast of Ecuador is best explored by cruise, so you can take in as many breathtaking landscapes and animals as possible during your trip.

Like the other countries on this list, India has countless destinations worth exploring, but one of the most famous attractions that travelers dream of seeing for themselves is the Taj Mahal. This 17th-century white marble mausoleum has drawn visitors to Agra for years. Luxury travelers might consider a train trip aboard the Maharajas' Express (with a stop at the Taj Mahal) as the ultimate experience. Travelers planning to visit the Taj Mahal or take the luxurious train ride will want to fly into Delhi, India's capital territory.

Petra, Jordan

The stunning ancient city of Petra is made up of several impressive structures carved into sandstone rock faces, including the famous Al-Khazneh. The city dates back thousands of years, making this UNESCO World Heritage site a must-visit for history buffs.

Passing through India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Bhutan, and Nepal, the Himalayas are home to some of the world's highest peaks — and that means breathtaking mountain views, too. For adventurous and active travelers, climbing Mount Everest (or at least trekking to Everest Base Camp) is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

American National Park Road Trip

The classic American road trip is a mainstay on many travelers' lists — and for good reason. The country's incredible national parks , including Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Yosemite, are best explored on road trips with stops at charming small towns and kitschy roadside attractions.

Great Wall of China

Stretching across China for thousands of miles, with sections dating back nearly 2,000 years, the Great Wall is regarded as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Visitors can hike along parts of the wall — some areas are located within driving distance of Beijing, so it's a perfect day trip from the city.

Easter Island

The hundreds of monolithic moai statues have drawn curious visitors to Easter Island for years. This remote Polynesian island is worth the lengthy trip for travelers hoping to see these impressive human figures, while also soaking in some incredible coastal views.

Northern Lights Trip

Catching a glimpse of the elusive northern lights is possible in several destinations close to the Arctic Circle, including Alaska, Iceland, Canada, Greenland, Finland, Sweden, and Norway. All of these places have incredible viewpoints (and even hotels where you can see the phenomenon from your bed ), in addition to great, wintry scenery. (The lights are best viewed from late fall through early spring.)

Thailand and Vietnam

A trip through Southeast Asia is a must for any traveler, especially foodies who love street eats. While you could spend weeks in each of these countries, Thailand and Vietnam can easily be paired for an exciting trip packed with lush scenery, cultural experiences, and delicious food. Have a little extra time to spare? Add Cambodia to the mix and include a visit to expansive Angkor Wat.

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Northern lights illuminate the sky over the Lofoten Islands, Norway, in early September

Machu Picchu, the Great Wall and the Taj Mahal used to occupy top spots on many people’s bucket lists. But the “bucket list”—a term I’ve always despised—is giving way to a general desire to go big, splurge on an adventure and seek out dream experiences now, because we’ve all been pent up for too long and because we’ve all seen how quickly plans can change, how quickly opportunities might disappear.

Also, for various reasons, visiting places that get millions of visitors each year is less appealing than it used to be. We want to have mind-blowing experiences in mind-blowing places, but without the crowds. The pandemic isn’t finished, overtourism is back, and we don’t want to be part of either. Here’s some better dream fodder.

Rorbuer cabins in the Lofoten island, Nordland

The ends of the earth in a fisherman’s village in Norway

Earlier this year, the high-end travel company Blue Parallel—which began life nearly 20 years ago as the premier experts on South American luxury travel—broadened its horizons. In a very big way: Their new Polar initiatives include the wide-open spaces above or below the 66th parallel. In Norway, that includes immersions into Viking history, private rib boat safaris to Runde Bird Island, hiking and cycling along Geirangerfjord and staying in a fisherman’s cabin in the gorgeous Lofoten archipelago, above the Arctic Circle.

Horses on the beach in front of the villas at NIHI Sumba

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Best covid-19 travel insurance plans, the size and scale of nihi sumba—and the island it’s on.

Routinely—and very deservedly—named the best hotel in the world, NIHI Sumba occupies 500 hectares on a sparsely populated island where local animist traditions have remained largely intact. “It’s an hour east of Bali and from Java, the most populated island on earth, and it’s a completely different island,” says the hotel’s partner and CEO, James McBride. While it started out as a surf destination with a legendary break, it has since grown into a totality of experience, with a herd of 24 horses for rides in the sea, a “spa safari” in which a single couple relaxes all day in a wellness sanctuary, waterfalls, palm trees, organic food that’s grown on site and cooked over fires and plenty of space—“the ultimate dream,” says McBride.

Blue Parallel Polar lands a helicopter on a glacier in Iceland

Heli-hopping on a private tour of Iceland

Blue Parallel Polar is also taking guests to increasingly remote parts of Iceland—far from the crowded Golden Circle and up onto glaciers (and into the Westman Islands, one of the country’s best kept secrets, and scuba diving (brrrr!) in the Silfra fissure, a rift between the tectonic plates of North America and Eurasia, and home to fascinating cold water marine life.

A ScicSailing gulet along Turkey's Turquoise Coast

Sailing the Turquoise Coast in a Turkish gulet

The word turquoise comes from the old French for “Turkish stone,” but it just as aptly applies to the waters around the country’s southwest coast. A week aboard a traditional Turkish gulet (sailing ship), eating delicious food, sunbathing, swimming and taking in the beautiful, vivid colors of the water is the stuff of pure fantasy. A good way to make it a reality is to book in with ScicsSailing, a company that has been offering no-fuss, all-inclusive voyages in the bays around Bodrum for decades, both for guests who reserve a single cabin about a “comfort” yacht and for those who privately charter a “luxury” one, which has hotel-style amenities.

The Gobi Desert

Adventuring through the Gobi Desert

Riding horses past sacsaoul bushes, black-tailed gazelle and ibex. Mountain biking along ancient desert routes past dramatic canyons and cliffs. Camping in the shadow of the Gobi Altai Mountains and later sleeping in a glamorously done-up yurt. These are a few of the things that spring to mind when thinking of Mongolia’s vast, empty playground. Earthtones, a startup focused on nature-immersive journeys has put together a program that includes all of this and more, such as rides on the desert’s famous Bactrian (two-hump) camels.

An elephant keeper at Reteti

Meeting the women of northern Kenya saving Africa’s elephants

When Katie Rowe founded Reteti in 2016, she brought nine female rangers and keepers from the local community to help care for a growing brood of orphaned elephants. Reteti is unique in that the Samburu women who keep it going are as respected and valued as male elephant keepers are. They’re blazing a trail for women in conservation everywhere, which is one reason the adventure travel company Uncharted sends guests their way. Reteti is open to visitors, who can see the elephants and talk to the keepers while staying in the lovely new Reteti House, an exclusive-use private retreat.

Fernando de Noronha

Diving in Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

Midway between South America and Africa—meaning far from everything—the hyper-protected Brazilian island went from being an undeveloped military outpost to a natural paradise with strict limits on tourism and a massive commitment to preservation. This is an ecological sanctuary, a place that marine researches use as a control group, in contrast with the developed beaches on the mainland. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime trip for divers (something Blue Parallel can organize too ), not only for its warm, gin-clear waters and abundant marine life but also for its laid-back Brazilian island vibe.

Hikers pass by a small lake in New Zealand

The ultimate New Zealand soft adventure

The experimental travel company Hiking New Zealand recently put together a 15-day experience that they’re calling New Zealand Uncut. It covers the vast and varied landscapes of both islands as it makes its was from north to south without the rigor and discomforts of, say, the Milford Track. Rather, this is New Zealand for people who don’t camp, a series of day hikes and short walks—from strenuous alpine hikes to beach strolls—in remote areas where the islands’ majesty shines.

A tiger on the prowl in India

A flying tiger safari in Central India

Royal Expeditions is a boutique luxury travel company founded by the Princess of Jodhpur, who was a member of parliament and the minister of culture. The outfit created a flying tiger safari (by Pilatus jet) over the wilderness of central India—Rudyard Kipling’s inspiration for The Jungle Book. On land, naturalist guides show visitors around national parks in open-top vehicles, there’s an option of taking special full-day photography permits, which allow access from sunrise to sunset.

The mountains of Slovenia

Glorious Alpine foraging in Slovenia

An increasingly better known secret, Slovenia is one of the world’s last great forest paradises, full of beautiful places to visit and teeming with delicious things to eat. Wanderlux Journeys’ trip takes guests into Velika Planina, a herdsmen’s settlement place in the Kamnik-Savinja Alps . It’s accessible only by foot or by daytime cable car, making slowing down part of the program. The trip includes chef Bine Volcic (known for his daring zero-waste cuisine at Monstera Bistro in Ljubljana) and renowned forager (yes, this is a thing in Slovenia) Katja Rebolj, and there’s hiking, foraging, a hands-on culinary workshop and a night in a cottage high above the city lights.

A chimpanzee in Greystoke

Off the beaten path in Tanzania

The Serengeti has many selling points, but solitude is not among them. Fortunately, Tanzania is a big country, with a number of game reserves that are still remote and untouched. In the south, there’s Ruaha National Park, the best park you’ve never heard of and Tanzania’s “best-kept wildlife secret”—with an impressive number of elephant and even more lion. The greater Ruaha landscape has one of only six lion populations larger than 1,000 in the world and is now home to some 10% of the planet’s lion. Another corner of Tanzania worth exploring is Mahale National Park on the western border and Greystoke, where visitors can observe wild chimpanzees. Cartology Travel can being either one to life.

Puma tracking in Torres del Paine

Puma tracking in Torres del Paine, Chile

Southern Chile’s top predator, the Patagonian puma, calls Torres del Paine home. Heading out to look for them with wildness tracking professionals—something else offered by Earthtones —adds a new dimension to a trip to this majestic end of the earth. The hikes are accessible, short in duration and light on difficultly, and they’re capped off with star-filled nights in a mountain ecolodge.

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Living the Dream? 22 States Where Comfort Costs a Fortune

Posted: May 23, 2024 | Last updated: May 23, 2024

<p><strong>Welcome to the varied financial terrain of the United States. From coast to coast, the cost of living fluctuates dramatically, influenced by factors like housing, groceries, utilities, and the small indulgences that make life enjoyable. Let’s explore the financial realities of 22 states, where achieving comfort demands more than just spare change and good intentions.</strong></p>

Welcome to the varied financial terrain of the United States. From coast to coast, the cost of living fluctuates dramatically, influenced by factors like housing, groceries, utilities, and the small indulgences that make life enjoyable. Let’s explore the financial realities of 22 states, where achieving comfort demands more than just spare change and good intentions.

<p class="wp-caption-text">Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone</p>  <p><span>Rich in Southern culture and history. Economic disparities and storm threats, however, highlight the challenges within this deeply historical state.</span></p>

1. Alabama: Southern Hospitality on a Budget

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

In Alabama, your dollar stretches further. With around $50,000, you can enjoy sweet tea on your porch without financial worries clouding the view.

<p class="wp-caption-text">Image Credit: Shutterstock / Always Wanderlust</p>  <p><span>To live comfortably in California, especially in tech-savvy San Francisco or glitzy Los Angeles, your bank account needs to be as robust as a Hollywood star’s ego—expect to need at least a six-figure salary.</span></p>

2. California: Golden Dreams at Golden Prices

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Always Wanderlust

To live comfortably in California, especially in tech-savvy San Francisco or glitzy Los Angeles, your bank account needs to be as robust as a Hollywood star’s ego—expect to need at least a six-figure salary.

<p class="wp-caption-text">Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone</p>  <p><span>Independent, bold, and warm-hearted, Texas matches your larger-than-life personality if you believe in going big or going home, cherish community, and have a knack for hosting.</span></p>

3. Texas: Big Savings in the Lone Star State

Everything’s bigger in Texas—except, fortunately, the cost of living. In cities like Austin and Dallas, $55,000 to $60,000 can afford you a comfortable lifestyle, cowboy boots not included.

<p class="wp-caption-text">Image Credit: Shutterstock / Ryan DeBerardinis</p>  <p><span>The city that never sleeps also never stops charging. To comfortably navigate the concrete jungle of NYC, a cool $100,000 is your starting line.</span></p>

4. New York: The Empire Strikes Your Wallet

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Ryan DeBerardinis

The city that never sleeps also never stops charging. To comfortably navigate the concrete jungle of NYC, a cool $100,000 is your starting line.

<p class="wp-caption-text">Image Credit: Shutterstock / ESB Professional</p>  <p><span>Did you find your state match? With 50 states, each boasting its unique personality, landscapes, and way of life, there’s bound to be a perfect fit for everyone. And if none of these quite hit the mark, perhaps you’re more of a Canadian province person… eh?</span></p>

5. Florida: Sunshine on a Silver Platter

Image Credit: Shutterstock / ESB Professional

Florida’s promise of year-round sunshine and no state income tax means you can live comfortably on $50,000 to $60,000, depending on how close you want to be to the beach.

<p class="wp-caption-text">Image Credit: Shutterstock / Always Wanderlust</p>  <p>Home to Seattle’s Space Needle, Washington state offers lush forests, volcanic mountains, and a tech-savvy, coffee-loving culture. Its natural parks and innovative spirit draw a diverse crowd.</p>

6. Washington: Coffee, Culture, and Costs

In the shadow of the Space Needle, living comfortably in Seattle means brewing up about $70,000 annually, thanks to tech-driven housing prices.

<p class="wp-caption-text">Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone</p>  <p><span>Indulge in Southern charm with their Sea Island Signature Massage, incorporating warm mineral salts, starting at $230.</span></p>

7. Georgia: Peaches and Dreams

Atlanta offers a sweet spot of Southern charm and economic vitality, with $60,000 a year paving the way for a comfortable life amidst Georgia peaches.

<p><span>Visiting the Willis Tower in Chicago, you’ll find the Skydeck offers a comprehensive view of the city’s grid layout, Lake Michigan, and on clear days, neighboring states. The Ledge, a glass balcony extending out from the Skydeck, offers a thrilling experience as you look straight down over the city.</span></p> <p><b>Insider’s Tip: </b><span>Step onto The Ledge, a glass box extending out from the Skydeck.</span></p> <p><b>When To Travel: </b><span>Spring or autumn for clear days and smaller crowds.</span></p> <p><b>How To Get There: </b><span>A short walk from Chicago Union Station.</span></p>

8. Illinois: Windy City, Hefty Prices

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Songquan Deng

Chicago’s cultural riches and culinary delights come with a price tag of about $70,000 a year to live comfortably, deep-dish pizza included.

<p class="wp-caption-text">Image Credit: Shutterstock / Roschetzky Photography</p>  <p><span><strong>Height:</strong> 14,351 feet</span> <span>Visible for miles around, Blanca Peak dominates the landscape. The surrounding Sangre de Cristo Range provides numerous vantage points for spectacular photography and leisurely exploration, accessible by car and on foot.</span></p>

9. Colorado: Rocky Mountain High Cost of Living

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Roschetzky Photography

Denver’s breathtaking scenery comes with equally breathtaking living costs—aim for a salary of $70,000 to $75,000 for comfort among the peaks.

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Dee Browning <p><span>Provincetown, located at the tip of Cape Cod, is a small coastal resort town with a big reputation as an LGBTQ+ haven. Known affectionately as “P-Town,” this destination is celebrated for its beautiful beaches, art scene, and welcoming atmosphere. Provincetown has a rich history of LGBTQ+ culture and is famous for its lively Commercial Street, where galleries, shops, and restaurants buzz with activity. The town hosts numerous events throughout the year, including the renowned Provincetown Pride, Carnival, and Women’s Week, drawing visitors from all corners for celebrations and community gatherings.</span></p> <p><b>Insider’s Tip: </b><span>Don’t miss the opportunity to experience a whale-watching tour from Provincetown Harbor, where the waters are rich with marine life, offering a unique blend of natural beauty alongside the cultural festivities.</span></p> <p><b>When to Travel: </b><span>Summer months, from June to August, are peak season, offering warm weather and a full calendar of events and festivals celebrating the LGBTQ+ community.</span></p> <p><b>How to Get There: </b><span>Provincetown is accessible by car, ferry from Boston, or a small regional flight into Provincetown Municipal Airport. The ferry offers a scenic and convenient option during the summer months.</span></p>

10. Massachusetts: Revolutionary Prices

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Dee Browning

In the land of the American Revolution, modern-day Boston requires a hefty $80,000 to live comfortably, tea party not included.

<p class="wp-caption-text">Image Credit: Shutterstock / randy andy</p>  <p><span>Las Vegas might tempt you to gamble, but the rest of Nevada offers a winning hand for comfortable living on around $55,000 a year.</span></p>

11. Nevada: Jackpot for the Frugal

Image Credit: Shutterstock / randy andy

Las Vegas might tempt you to gamble, but the rest of Nevada offers a winning hand for comfortable living on around $55,000 a year.

<p class="wp-caption-text">Image Credit: Shutterstock / f11photo</p>  <p><span>Historical, grounded, and family-oriented. If you appreciate the stories of the past, seek stability, and believe in strong family ties, Pennsylvania’s rich history and community feel match your essence.</span></p>

12. Pennsylvania: Historical Charm, Modern Costs

Image Credit: Shutterstock / f11photo

In the Keystone State, cities like Philadelphia blend historical allure with a need for about $60,000 to comfortably enjoy the liberty bell and beyond.

<p class="wp-caption-text">Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone</p>  <p><span>Ohioans are known to discuss the weather as if it’s a competitive sport, thanks to its unpredictability.</span></p>

13. Ohio: Midwest Modesty

The heart of the Midwest offers a heartening balance of affordability and quality of life, with $50,000 enough for comfort in cities like Columbus and Cincinnati.

<p class="wp-caption-text">Image Credit: Shutterstock / JaySi</p>  <p><span><strong>Depth:</strong> 923 feet</span> <span>Lake Michigan’s sandy shores, towering dunes, and vibrant cities make it a beloved destination for beachgoers, sailors, and explorers.</span></p>

14. Michigan: Great Lakes, Great Values

Image Credit: Shutterstock / JaySi

Michigan’s natural beauty and resurging cities like Detroit are accessible with a comfortable income of around $50,000, giving you plenty of reasons to explore the Great Lakes State.

<p class="wp-caption-text">Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone</p>  <p><span>Rich in history and with a strong job market, particularly in tech and defense. The traffic around Northern Virginia, however, might just test your resolve.</span></p>

15. Virginia: Lovers of Affordable Living

Virginia’s diverse regions from the coast to the mountains offer varied costs of living, but $60,000 can generally ensure a comfortable lifestyle in the Old Dominion.

<p class="wp-caption-text">Image Credit: Shutterstock / anthony heflin</p>  <p><span>Drive, bike, or hike along this scenic route, enjoying breathtaking views and pit stops at local eateries and artisan shops. Accommodations range from luxury lodges to quaint cabins.</span></p>

16. North Carolina: Southern Comfort Without the Sting

Image Credit: Shutterstock / anthony heflin

In the Tar Heel State, $55,000 a year allows for a comfortable existence, blending Southern charm with burgeoning tech and academic hubs.

<p><span>Sedona, nestled among striking red rock formations, is famous for its natural beauty and artistic community and dark skies. The city’s commitment to minimal light pollution makes it an excellent spot for stargazing. Numerous companies offer night sky tours, combining astronomy with the mystical energy Sedona is known for. The experience of gazing at the stars amidst the red rocks of Sedona is both serene and spectacular.</span></p> <p><b>Insider’s Tip: </b><span>Explore the area’s vortex sites during the day for a unique spiritual experience.</span></p> <p><b>When To Travel: </b><span>Spring and fall offer comfortable temperatures for nighttime stargazing.</span></p> <p><b>How To Get There: </b><span>Sedona is about a 2-hour drive from Phoenix or Flagstaff.</span></p>

17. Arizona: Desert Dreams on a Dime

Image Credit: Shutterstock / cpaulfell

To comfortably enjoy Arizona’s stunning landscapes and cities like Phoenix, a yearly income of around $55,000 should suffice, cactus included.

<p class="wp-caption-text">Image Credit: Shutterstock / Jess Kraft</p>  <p><span>Astoria’s rich history and stunning Pacific views make it a must-visit. Explore maritime museums, climb the Astoria Column, and savor locally brewed beers in this historic town.</span></p>

18. Oregon: Hipster Haven at a Cost

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Jess Kraft

Portland’s quirky vibes and Oregon’s lush landscapes command about $65,000 for a comfortable lifestyle, artisanal coffee not included.

<p class="wp-caption-text">Image Credit: Shutterstock / Jacob Boomsma</p>  <p><span>Famous for its friendly folks and thousands of lakes, it’s great until you experience your first -30°F winter day. The Twin Cities also offer a vibrant cultural scene, despite the frosty winters.</span></p>

19. Minnesota: Nice and Affordable

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Jacob Boomsma

The Twin Cities offer a surprisingly comfortable living for about $60,000 a year, where “Minnesota nice” meets affordability.

<p class="wp-caption-text">Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone</p>  <p><span>Cheese, craft beer, and the great outdoors define Wisconsin. The winters, however, are long and brutal, challenging even for the hardiest souls.</span></p>

20. Wisconsin: Cheese, Beer, and Economical Cheer

Wisconsin’s famous for its cheese and beer, and you can enjoy both plus a comfortable lifestyle on about $50,000 a year.

<p class="wp-caption-text">Image Credit: Shutterstock / Clari Massimiliano</p>  <p><span>Proximity to NYC and Philadelphia comes with a cost in New Jersey, but $70,000 a year can secure a comfortable suburban life.</span></p>

21. New Jersey: Close to the Action, Far From Broke

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Clari Massimiliano

Proximity to NYC and Philadelphia comes with a cost in New Jersey, but $70,000 a year can secure a comfortable suburban life.

<p class="wp-caption-text">Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sean Pavone</p>  <p><span>Innovative, scenic, and full of adventure, Chattanooga offers the best of both worlds. Enjoy its outdoor beauty, tech-savvy downtown, and rich Civil War history.</span></p>

22. Tennessee: Music and Savings in Harmony

In Tennessee, $50,000 a year tunes you into a comfortable lifestyle, especially in music meccas like Nashville and Memphis.

<p>The Big Apple is a melting pot of culture, arts, and gastronomy. From Broadway shows to the sprawling Central Park, NYC pulses with an energy like no other.</p>

The Bottom Line: Comfort Comes at Various Costs

Image Credit: Shutterstock / TZIDO SUN

Remember, it’s not just about surviving; it’s about thriving—without breaking the bank. So, arm yourself with this knowledge, and let it guide your journey towards finding a place where your financial well-being and quality of life harmonize.

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The post Living the Dream? 22 States Where Comfort Costs a Fortune republished on Passing Thru with permission from The Green Voyage .

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Luciano Mortula – LGM.

For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

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We’re getting our first official look at the new DreamWorks Land coming to Universal Orlando Resort next month, in a video shared first with USA TODAY.

The new land officially opens June 14 at Universal Studios Florida. And while it will be open to all ages, it will be especially welcome among families with young children, who've missed dedicated play space in the park after Woody Woodpecker's KidZone's closing in Jan. 2023. (There are several kids areas at neighboring Universal Islands of Adventure.)

DreamWorks Land will feature a new Trolls-themed roller coaster and several interactive play areas, including a shaded space for the park’s youngest guests and multiple opportunities to get soaking wet. There will also be a live show with singing, dancing, special effects and tons of characters, as well as the chance to meet DreamWorks characters like Gabby of “ Gabby’s Dollhouse ” and characters from the “Shrek,” “Trolls” and “Kung Fu Panda” film franchises in person.

Two of the land’s creators spoke exclusively with USA TODAY in the resort’s first official interview on DreamWorks Land. Here’s what we learned from Dean Orion, who previously worked at DreamWorks and is now creative director of Universal Creative at Universal Orlando Resort, and Michael Vollman, executive vice president of Marketing at DreamWorks Animation, which is owned by Universal Pictures.

Questions and answers have been edited for length and clarity.

USA TODAY: There’s been a DreamWorks’ presence across Universal parks for a while. How did the idea for this land get dreamed up?

Orion : The former KidZone – the area that we built DreamWorks Land in – was built with the original park, so it goes back 30 years. Parks, you know, they take a lot of wear and tear. They age. The IP (intellectual property) gets a little long in the tooth, and sometimes it's time to refresh. You know very well it takes some time to develop the concepts, ideas and then go through construction, everything, so here we are.

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Question : There hasn’t necessarily been a “Shrek” film in a while. “ Trolls ” and “ Kung Fu Panda ,” just had relatively recent films. How do you see the longevity of these characters and their ability to connect with guests now?

Vollman : We're very proud of our original movies and our franchises, and these are three of our best and biggest franchises. 

One of the things that’s fantastic is you know Shrek’s been around. It’s 25 years old in 2026. It’s (still) massively popular, and it’s an immersive land. It’s perfect for stuff like this, as is “Trolls” and as is “Kung Fu Panda.” And while I didn’t have a new Shrek, I did have a new “ Puss in Boots ."

There's a timelessness to these characters, but then the closeness of our relationship between DreamWorks and the parks lets us make sure that they're able to be as up to speed and cutting edge as possible. 

Question: We don't want to forget Gabby, right? Also I understand there’s an opportunity toward the front of the land where guests may be able to meet different characters, depending upon what might be newly released down the line.

Vollman: Talk about the ability to get characters from the zeitgeist into the parks. Dean and his team were fantastic. Gabby’s is a huge opportunity for us as a company. We're very proud of the show. Little kids are gonna be able to meet Gabby at a special kiosk that they put together right at the front door of the place. We're very excited about it.  Next to that is the rotating DreamWorks character place, so it'll be pretty much a constant photo opportunity.

Orion: Absolutely. Our challenge, designwise, was where do we put that because we have these three neighborhoods that each represent each one of the IPs. You don't want to stick another IP right in the middle of one of the others. We landed on this spot that's right behind the marquee, because it makes a lot of sense. There's the DreamWorks marquee, and now you can see all the characters right there and so that's where we have Gabby as well.

Question : Kids and families are used to experiencing these characters in 2-D, maybe in a character-meet-and-greet. But let’s talk about being able to be immersed in these lands and feel like they’re in these spaces.

Orion: The three-dimensional thing is quite something in all three areas, but probably the biggest and most striking example is Shrek’s cottage. When you see this structure, you're literally walking right into the movie screen. And we have the meet-and-greet where Shrek and Fiona are going to come out of the house and Donkey’s there chattering up a storm, it really is going to feel incredibly immersive.

Question : Can you tell me about the importance of having this space for families, for younger guests in this park? Not only with brands that they're familiar with on screen, but this place that’s dedicated to play in just their size.

Orion: That was a huge motivation here to create a really fun environment where kids can play freely. We've really consciously tried to put as much interactivity into the land as possible, and to really maximize the fun factor. So there are interactions that are digital. There are interactions that are physical. There are interactions with characters. There are interactions with water. There are animated figures, and there's just tons of shows. There's going to be shows with characters all day long, so it really is going to be just a great destination for families with younger people.

We actually built these huge shade mushrooms in Trolls to just create all this shade. We already had lots of trees, lots of seat walls and benches and stuff, so if Grandma and Grandpa come, they can sit and watch the kids play.

Question : How is the land made to be accessible for guests with disabilities ?

Orion : We put a lot of thought and consideration into ADA accessibility, from the way things are designed. Our entire Shrek play structure has a big ramp that anybody in a wheelchair can get all the way up. There are double handrails. There are closed-captioned glasses. There are standards that we have in the parks. Everything has to go through those requirements.

Question : Is there anything you think guests shouldn’t miss? 

Vollman: The amount of work and love and care that's gone into the DreamWorks Imagination Celebration, I think this show is going to be something really special. We've got 30 years worth of iconic music to play with, 30 years of iconic characters. You get up and dance and clap and sing and have fun. 

Orion: There's a lot of great music, and the dancers are fantastic. And there are big animated characters, There are puppets. There are effects. There are incredible media screens, and it’s in the round, so it's this really 360-degree immersive theater experience.

Question : Can you share any Easter eggs in the land?

Orion : There is a Woody Easter egg in the land, but I'm not going to say where it is. You'll have to come and find it for yourself.

In Shrek’s Swamp, you'll notice some footprints that might be from some ogres around. The outhouse gives you a nice little surprise when you go down the slide.

The interactive gong in Kung Fu Panda has a lot of surprise sounds that you might not expect. 

One last thing: When we were working with the wardrobe team to design the wardrobe for the folks who operate the whole land, the idea came up of having DreamWorks on the back of the shirts, their jackets plus the moon boy logo. One of the things that I loved about working at DreamWorks is that the employees very often refer to themselves as DreamWorkers. It's just a really cool thing most people wouldn't know because it's very internal, and so I thought what a great way to honor them, if all the folks working in the land had DreamWorker on the back of their shirt. And so I asked Mike if that would be OK, and they all loved that idea too. 

Question: How does it feel seeing all this come to life and knowing that guests are just a few weeks from experiencing the land for themselves?

Vollman : It’s like Christmas Eve, opening that present up. People are going to blown away. It's a lovely expression of three great sets of entertaining content. Having it come to life and to be able to run around inside, it's going to be joy.

How your dreams change with age — more work memories, fewer nightmares

While dream content can be difficult to analyze, scientists agree that several themes frequently emerge starting in childhood and through different life stages.

dream travel life

Since he retired in 2020, physician Paul Volberding frequently has the same dream: He’s back at San Francisco General Hospital in the 1980s caring for AIDS patients and losing many of them. It’s stressful, just as it was in his waking life.

“I haven’t worked there for many years and never felt I wanted to go back,” said Volberding, 74, who was a professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco. “But that part of my career was so intense. I was so involved in it, and what I was doing was so important. I think that it got etched into my neurons.”

Before retirement, Volberding never had dreams about work. They started in recent years and are strikingly distinct from the dreams he had as a young adult. “When I was in my 40s, I would dream more about relationships and intimacy,” he said. “Since I’ve gotten older, my dreams have changed. Sometimes I dream I’m driving on a long road and don’t know where I am. Or I arrive at the airport and realize I haven’t packed, or I’ve missed my flight.”

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dream travel life

It’s one of the mysteries that sleep scientists still ponder. Do dreams change as we age? If so, how and why?

Research suggests that they do, and experts say it’s probably because of changes that occur over the life span, including in jobs, relationships, trauma, even death. Dreams often reflect these changes in ways that can be disturbing as well as pleasant. They also can include old memories that the elderly relive while sleeping, such as dreaming you are back at an old job long after leaving it.

Dreaming “is a product of age,” said Joseph De Koninck , professor emeritus at the University of Ottawa’s School of Psychology, who has studied dreams for more than 50 years. “It’s open season for the mind. If you pay attention to them, you can learn about yourself. Dreams support the idea that they are the continuity of our waking life.”

Dream themes across the life span

While dream content can be difficult to analyze because people often forget their dreams, scientists agree that several constant themes frequently emerge starting in childhood and through different life stages.

Children typically have more animals in their dreams than adults, said Kelly Bulkeley , a dream researcher, author and founder of the Sleep and Dream Database . “It’s likely because they have pets, or they relate to stories they have read about animals, like ‘Winnie the Pooh,’ or ‘Cat in the Hat.’ Animals in dreams often symbolize our instincts and impulses, and children often feel more in tune with animals.

Children also have more nightmares, “which goes against the idea of childhood as being blissful and carefree and innocent,” he added. “Children are aware of how small they are in a world of big trucks. Their biggest fear is abandonment, loss of parental care. A recurrent childhood dream is of being kidnapped.”

Dream themes change in adolescence. The dreams of teens and young adults frequently are “hotter,” Bulkeley said, meaning “more sex and aggression, more intense social interactions, and then tend to cool off somewhat as we get older.”

As we age, the frequency of erotic dreams and sports dreams declines, said Michael Schredl , research director of the Sleep Laboratory at the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, Germany. While students are more likely to dream about friends, the elderly more often dream about relatives, he said. Older people also have nightmares less often, he said. But dreams about people who have died increase.

Older people also report dreams of being lost in a strange environment, or of searching for their car in a foreign city, Schredl said. “And there are a substantial number of work-related dreams in retired persons, often negatively toned — being back in the old job — if the job was stressful.”

Reconnecting with late loved ones is a recurring scenario. “One big change as we age is that death becomes a bigger theme,” Bulkeley said. “Older people have more dreams about death and visitation from people who have died. If you wish for something strong enough, your dreams can create that for you.”

Bulkeley believes dreams “explore the slippage between our public identities and our personal selves,” he said, noting that work, for most people, is part of their identity. “Maybe we’re trying to tie up loose ends. Dreaming about lingering unresolved issues may be a way of doing something about them. While it sometimes may be painful, it’s for the cause of our growth and wholeness.”

How women’s dreams change as they age

Monique Lortie-Lussier , retired adjunct professor of social psychology at the University of Ottawa, said her dream research has focused on women. She has found women’s dreams become more enjoyable when they are older, no longer riddled with family or workplace conflict.

“The dreams I collected from much older women are different from those I collected from women in their 30s and 40s,” she said. “In women over 65, the emotions are generally positive, with pleasant social interactions. There is very little aggression.”

Lortie-Lussier, 95, no longer writes academic papers but still dreams of them, stressing over where she should submit them and which journals will publish them. “I guess I am still an achiever,” she said.

She said she occasionally dreams about her late husband, who was suffering from dementia when he died 15 years ago. When she dreams of him, however, he is healthy. “I never dream of him as a sick person,” she said. “He does not have dementia, and I am so glad to be with him again. They are quite pleasant dreams.”

She has four children, 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, but “I dream very little of my dearest ones,” she said. “They are the part of my life that I enjoy. It must be that I am contented enough with their actual lives, so I don’t need to dream about them.”

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