Bucket List Travel Experiences for 2018

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be? Is there a world-renowned event you’ve always wanted to attend? Thanks to our ever-growing number of listings, HomeExchange can take you there, giving you an insider’s view of the planet’s biggest festivals and most amazing sights while other travelers are still hunting for a reasonably priced hotel. Here are a few destinations and events to add to your HomeExchange bucket list.

1. Rio de Janeiro’s Famous Carnaval

Rio’s famous Carnaval — a traditional tension-relieving party before Lent— puts some 2 million revelers in the streets every day. With plenty of home exchange options to choose from in Rio, you can enjoy the best balcony views of elaborate floats, costumes and choreographed dances, while other travelers are still scrambling to find a hotel room.

2. Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Rio and its Carnaval may lay claim to being the largest party on earth, but New Orleans, Louisiana, has something to say to that. You know their version of Carnaval as Mardi Gras, a whole month of parades, over-the-top costumes, bead-tossing and revelry in the weeks leading up to Lent. When you find an Exchange Partner in the “Big Easy,” you’ll be able to kick back like the locals, savoring a po’ boy and beignets as the revelers stream past.

3. Oktoberfest in Munich

Some 7.5 million liters of Germany’s favorite beverage — beer — may be what draws more than 6 million revelers to Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. But even beer lovers will find that there’s much more to do at Oktoberfest than “just” drinking. You can ride a giant Ferris wheel, “lose your head” in a mock guillotine at Schichtl’s, savor the roasted almonds that are Oktoberfest’s most iconic snack, or take on the treacherous “Devil’s Wheel,” the German equivalent of a mechanical bull. You’re sure to find an Exchange Partner who’d be happy to swap homes so you can have the chance to enjoy the biggest party in Germany.

4. Run with the Bulls in Spain

Pamplona is well-known for the Running of the Bulls, a part of the nine-day festival of San Fermin that takes place every July. But when you exchange your home for one in Pamplona and stay awhile, you can visit and watch—or even take part—in a total of eight bull runs, as for eight mornings in a row people race the bulls along a 930-yard course to the bullfight rings.

5. Cannes Film Festival

For more than 70 years, the invitation- and industry-only Cannes Film Festival (formerly the International Film Festival) in Cannes, France, has screened some of the most influential films of the year. However, there are plenty of ways that non-industry folks can still get in on some of the action. We are sure your Exchange Partner will have plenty of suggestions.

6. The Kentucky Derby

You can hear the thunder of dozens of hooves rounding the final turn and, thanks to a well-timed home exchange, you’re right there to see the “greatest two minutes in sport” comes to a climactic end in person. Need we say more? If you’re only going to see one horse race in your life, the fabled Kentucky Derby in Louisville, Kentucky, should be it.

7. Dia de los Muertos

This three-day festival in honor of loved ones who’ve passed is most definitely a party, not a funeral, and it’s observed throughout Latin America. There’s a beautiful ceremony to it all, from representing all four elements to eating traditional foods whose aromas are used to invoke spirits — and HomeExchange can take you all the way to Guatemala to experience Dia de los Muertos among the locals.

8. SXSW in Austin

If it’s hip and it’s happened on screen or a music stage near you, then you’ll find it in Austin, Texas, at South by Southwest. The 10-day SXSW festival is a hotbed of creativity and connectivity, bringing together the best creative minds and speakers with the hottest music acts, dancers and free-thinkers from the leading edge of popular culture. With over 120 listings in the area, there is sure to be an Exchange Partner just waiting to swap homes with you.

9. The Biggest Pride Festival

Originally a commemoration of the 1969 Stonewall riots — a series of spontaneous demonstrations against police raids that jump-started the battle for LGBTQ rights — Pride festivals around the world have morphed into annual celebrations of the LGBTQ movement’s history, freedom, and dedication to combating oppression. And nobody does it bigger or better than San Francisco, where you’ll find one of the largest Pride celebrations in the nation. So exchange your home with one of the over 600 listings in the San Francisco Bay Area and get ready to hit the streets! (By the way LGBTQ allies are always welcome to join in on the fun!)

10. The Village Halloween Parade in NYC

If you’ve ever dreamed of visiting the Big Apple, Halloween is the time to find an Exchange Partner in New York City, USA, and hit the streets dressed like a zombie. That’s how locals do it at the Village Halloween Parade, an enormous street party that features hundreds of giant puppets, dozens of bands representing music from around the world, dancers, explosively creative artists and thousands of New Yorkers — and you! — because as long as you’re in costume, anyone can participate!

11. Christmas… in Summer?

If you’ve had your fill of white Christmases, perhaps it’s time for a December getaway to Australia, where you can celebrate the holidays as the locals do, then retire in the comfort of your exchanged home. Stay in Port Douglas to join tours through the Daintree, the oldest living rainforest on the planet; or Cairns, where you can tour the Great Barrier Reef, one of the natural wonders of the world. Who knows, a white sand Christmas might become your new favorite HomeExchange tradition!

12. Pebble Beach’s Concours d’Elegance

August means it’s time to polish up your classic wheels and take a road trip to Pebble Beach and the Monterey Bay, where the motoring universe converges to feature treasured classics in the Concours d’Elegance on the 18th fairway of the Pebble Beach Golf Links. It’s an ideal destination for car-lovers while also providing plenty to do for those who prefer wine, food, and outdoor activities over exquisite moving masterpieces. Next up, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, where more than 500 authentic, historic race cars do what they do best: Tear up the track at full speed.

With so many options to choose from, your imagination is the only limit on where a smart home exchange can take you. Let us know where you’d like to go in the comments!

One Comment on “Bucket List Travel Experiences for 2018

  1. Nice article but it’s probably best to research when recommending as while exchanging makes a visit viable it still costs a lot in time, transport and activity money.
    Never go to Cairns, the Daintree or any tropical area in Australia for Christmas. Cyclonic times prevent any pleasure on the Great Barrier Reef etc at this time of year. You do that in July.
    BUT Sydney has the most remarkable NY fireworks display from iconic Sydney Harbor Bridge and the Opera House and you will get a great Xmas Day on the sands of Manly or Bondi Beach in the same town. You can explore Sydney by ferry in the sunshine and the Blue Mountains or the fabulous northern beachs where Home and Away is filmed are both day outings. These are the summer Christmas things to do in Australia when the weather matches the experiences to make your trip worth it. Just needed to make your readers aware. You have to match your climate to your month in Australia – get it wrong and it’s a big flop. Cheers.

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