5 Epic Trips to Take Right Now

From stylish and over-the-top to far-flung and extended, these once-in-a-lifetime tours in Africa, Europe, and Oceania are ones for the books.

5 Epic Trips to Take Right Now

View of the Great Nile in Aswan

Photo by smarTours/iStock

Our prescription for anyone who’s been dreaming of distant adventures? A huge dose of carpe diem. There’s never been a better time to take a transformative trip of a lifetime. Plus, you can let the experts do all the work for you when you sign on for a guided group tour from United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) member operators, like the ones below. It makes travel planning a pure joy, so you can savor the anticipation and then simply be in the moment—every moment of the trip—rather than worrying about logistics.

Expect VIP access, where you’ll skip the lines, meaning more enjoyment instead of waiting around while in destinations of your dreams. And you’ll be guided by highly trained local experts, who will do far more than just show you the sights. They’ll share insights and deep knowledge of the locations you visit, unlocking experiences you’d never get on your own. You can rest assured that any tour operator members of USTOA will provide the highest quality local guides and experiences.

Whether you want to take a small group vacation with friends or family or enjoy meeting other like-minded travelers, you’ll have plenty of time to bond while visiting awe-inspiring destinations, making memories to last a lifetime. Read on for incredible ways to travel in Australia, Botswana, Egypt, Greece, Kenya, New Zealand, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.

A mouthwatering tour through Greece

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Photo by iStock

What better way to explore the Greek isles than with Homeric Tours’ fabulous Tastes of Greece tour, in which you’ll savor this country’s world-famous cuisine in spectacular settings over ten days? Beginning in Athens, you’ll visit the Acropolis and Panathenaic Stadium, and can enjoy a rare feast high above the city at Dinner in the Sky. There, top chefs will prepare a five-course meal for you as you take in panoramic views of the illuminated Acropolis, Athens cityscape, and surrounding mountains and sea.

You’ll also follow a walking food tour of Athens by trying your hand at crafting some of the Greek classics in a cooking class that’s not available to the public. During a private full-day tour of Santorini, you’ll whet your palate during a wine tasting at a private home cellar in Akrotiri. During the full-day Tastes of Crete tour, you’ll hit the local markets, taste local cheese and olives, and enjoy lunch at an authentic rural retreat on the outskirts of Chania. Expect your tastebuds to be delighted along every stop of the way in one of the world’s culinary epicenters.

An unforgettable Egyptian adventure

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The Sphinx and Pyramid of Khafre, Cairo, Egypt

Photo by iStock

Dig into this fascinating country’s enigmatic architecture and antiquities as you play amateur Egyptologist on the 11-day Splendors of Egypt guided tour by smarTours. Feast your eyes on the Sphinx and Great Pyramid of Giza, one of the seven wonders of the world. Cruise along the legendary Nile from upper to lower Egypt, taking in Kom Ombo, Edfu, and Luxor, in a level of unparalleled comfort of which even Cleopatra would have approved. And be among the first to visit the Grand Egyptian Museum—the largest archaeological museum in the world—after its November 2022 opening.

All throughout the journey your consummate guides will provide insider tips, tailored to your interests and activity level, on how to get the absolute most out of your free time in the land where the pharaohs once ruled. Add-ons such as the Luxor hot air balloon ride or The Abu-Simbel Temples only up the wow factor.

Discover the grandeur of Africa

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Image by Herbert Bieser/Pixabay

On SITA World Tours’ magnificent 18-day guided tour, called Splendors of Africa, you’ll head from the Cape Winelands of South Africa, where you’ll taste-test extraordinary vintages, to Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve, all along the way marveling at the spectacular wildlife and natural phenomena for which Africa is justly famed.

Safaris in Greater Kruger National Park, South Africa, and Botswana’s Chobe National Park will also bring you up close with incredible animals in their native habitats. Enjoy a morning guided walking tour of Zimbabwe’s incredible Victoria Falls, with its vast curtain of water that is nearly a mile wide and 355 feet high. (Bungee jumping is optional!) From an enchanting evening cruise along the Zambezi River to thrilling game drives in open 4WD vehicles, you’ll see Africa at its most awe-inspiring.

Golfer’s delight: hitting the links in Scotland

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Golfer at the Old Course, St Andrews

Photo by Visit Scotland

This six-day Scotland East and St Andrews tour, complete with a private driver, is a dream trip for any golfer, thanks to CIE Tours. Take a swing in the birthplace of golf, Scotland, where the sport originated more than 500 years ago. Travelers will be escorted by private driver and play four days on some of Scotland’s most famous courses, including The King’s Course and PGA Centenary in Gleneagles and The Castle Course and Jubilee Course in St Andrews.

Beyond the extraordinary golfing, the group will have the chance to learn techniques of falconry, explore rich history along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile; sample a dram of single-malt Scotch whisky at Kingsbarn Distillery; and visit Stirling Castle (which Mary Queen of Scots once called home) and Falkland Palace, a former hunting lodge of the Stuart Kings that boasts the oldest tennis court in Britain. The trip is fully customizable for up to nine guests and can accommodate any other special requests or interests.

Immerse yourself in dreamy Australia and New Zealand

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Sunrise over Twelves Apostles in Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia. The Twelve Apostles is a collection of limestone stacks off the shore of the Port Campbell National Park.

Photo courtesy of Tauck

Experience the majestic beauty of the lands down under on this incredible 20-day Grand Australia and New Zealand Tauck tour, which helps you travel deeper to explore the traditions, legends, and lore of these fascinating countries and cultures as you effortlessly travel by private charter flights. You’ll explore all manner of jaw-dropping natural terrain, including the desert Outback, tropical rainforests, coral reefs, glacier-capped mountains, and dramatic fjords, not to mention some of the world’s most popular cosmopolitan cities.

In Australia, you’ll spend three nights at the luxury eco-lodge Silky Oaks in North Queensland, adjacent to the 180-million-year-old Daintree Rainforest. Have your pick of adventures at the Great Barrier Reef, such as a full-day catamaran eco-cruise to the Agincourt Reef, a scuba or snorkeling expedition by adventure boat, or helicopter ride over the reefs. More highlights include a feeding-time visit at a crocodile farm and a private boat cruise on the lagoon.

In New Zealand, you’ll get an up-close and personal look at the daily life of a sheep farmer and enjoy afternoon tea with his family; a fabulous wine pairing lunch at a Marlborough heritage winery; and an exclusive tour and “Dinner with the Warbirds” at the acclaimed Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, amid World War I and II aircraft.

For these tours and many others that mean expertly planned trips, access to VIP and off-the-beaten-path experiences, local and knowledgeable guides, around-the-clock service, and more, head to USTOA.

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