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Fill Your Bucket List

Five once-in-a-lifetime trips to take when you venture out again

Vacations and voyages cancelled, grand tours postponed: it’s been many months of dreaming – not doing – on the travel front. But while our passports lie dormant, our wanderlust grows, ready to awaken when normal times return. Where do we aspire to go when we get the all-clear? We asked BCAA’s followers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and picked five iconic trips inspired by the top answers. From BC’s backyard to 10 time zones away, dream destinations await, promising adventure, culture and spectacular beauty.

By Amanda Ross | BCAA Magazine, Winter 2021

1. Around Japan by bullet train

Whether you’re partaking in a dazzling city adventure or a tranquil onsen spa journey (or both), Japan offers one of the most distinctive cultural experiences in the world. To take it all in, the shinkansen, or bullet trains, connect the country’s metropolises with scenic mountain, forest and port routes at rocketing speeds of up to 320 km/h. Visitors can go from eating baked sea bream cakes in Tokyo to skiing among snow monkeys in Nagano in under three hours. Then there’s temple exploring in Kyoto, baseball games in Yokohama and scenic boat rides in Lake Ashi, Hakone – all just a day trip away from Tokyo.


Check travel rules before you go, and review your emergency medical coverage.

Kam Parbharkar
Japan so my daughter can meet her other set of grandparents in person! 

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Haida Gwaii
Weathered totem poles tower over visitors to Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, Haida Gwaii.

2. The wonder in BC’s backyard: Haida Gwaii

Against a backdrop of deep, moss-covered rainforest and ancient village sites, where Sitka deer feed and eagles fly overhead in the hundreds, Haida Gwaii feels like the stuff of legend. This rocky, stormy archipelago of more than 150 islands off BC’s coast – Haida territory – is home to more than 500 archaeological sites. These include totem pole and longhouse remains that shed light on some of the oldest coastal First Nations villages. The Haida Heritage Centre at Kay Llnagaay in Skidegate, with its museum, canoe house and Bill Reid Teaching Centre, is the realization of a 40-year dream to share Haida history and heritage.

*Haida Gwaii has declared a state of emergency due to COVID-19, and asks visitors to stay home until it gives the all-clear.

Andrea Alexander
Haida Gwaii for the natural beauty and history!

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Nova Scotia
The tiny community of Peggy's Cove is an iconically maritime Nova Scotia destination.

3. Living the maritime dream in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia’s colourful fishing villages, epic seaside golf courses and artist trails deliver a cornucopia of dramatic vistas and flavours along more than 13,000 km of coastline. Capital city Halifax is home to the only mouth-blown, hand-cut crystal-maker in Canada; the 298-km Cabot Trail serves up one of the most scenic drives in the world; and the Fundy Shore records the highest tides on the planet. Meanwhile, the new Trout Point Lodge in the UNESCO Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve is the world’s first certified Starlight Hotel, thanks to its deep-dark night skies.

AJ Ivey
Nova Scotia to visit my dad. COVID made me realize it has been way too long.

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Santorini Island, Greece, boasts dreamworthy vistas of whitewashed-and-blue buildings overlooking the Aegean Sea.

4. Luxuriating on a Greek island

Could there be anything more satisfying in a post-COVID landscape than waking in a luxury hotel to the smell of fresh-baked horiatiko bread and a panorama of iconic white-and-blue buildings? The beauty of this country’s 200-plus inhabited islands is that within a radius of 100 km, you’ll find a sun-drenched paradise for everyone: backpackers on Santorini, history buffs on Crete, the party set on Mykonos, solace seekers on Lemnos, families on Corfu, and so on. One thing that should be on every bucket list: find a whitewashed patio overlooking a golden beach, order a plate of fresh octopus grilled in olive oil and oregano – or tomato fritters (domatokeftedes), if you’re so inclined – and savour against views of sunset-pink skies and aquamarine water.

Connie Sparrow
I dream of a trip to Greece, for the sublime climate and fascinating historical sites.

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Safari in Tanzania
Cheetahs roam freely in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.

5. The ultimate wildlife safari in Tanzania

While Zanzibar’s white-sand beaches and Mount Kilimanjaro beckon, Tanzania’s legendary bush safaris open the door to the country’s natural splendour. Whether walking, driving, hot-air ballooning, camping or glamping, there’s a variation for everyone. All of Africa’s animals are represented here, particularly so after spring’s rainy season: hippos in the Selous Game Reserve, wildebeests in the Serengeti – plus lions, rhinos and leopards in between. Research ahead and choose your operator responsibly: don’t go with the cheapest game drive or those who promise up-close animal interaction, which is potentially harmful to the wildlife.

Kim Whibbs
A safari in Tanzania. Need I say more?

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If you need to go, BCAA Travel Insurance will be there to protect you from unexpected medical expenses, with 10% savings for Members.


Photo credits: iStock, Destination BC/Brandon Hartwig, Tourism Nova Scotia

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