23 bucket-list worthy travel experiences for 2023

January 11, 2023

Travelling is a time to get away from your day-to-day norms and outside of your comfort zone. This year, 2023, is the year to really lean into that and plan for outside-the-box adventures. Read on for 23 ways to spice up your itineraries in 2023.

1. Surf in the winter

Ocean waves in the winter are often larger and more consistent due to the colder water and air temperatures. A surfing adventure during the chilly months therefore makes for an exciting adventure with fewer crowds. Just be sure to properly prepare with a thick wetsuit and cold weather gear! HI Tofino is a great spot to try this out for the first time. And if cold weather surfing doesn’t interest you, the surf season in the northern and southern hemispheres are generally opposite from one another so you could escape the cold on a surf trip somewhere south!

2. Spend a week without service

Disconnecting from technology can be a challenging, but rewarding, experience. If you have the self-discipline to do this by choice, you can intentionally plan to turn off your phone for a week. But if you need more of a forced phone-free option, try booking a cabin, wilderness hostel, or campsite out of service for a week so you don’t have the option of using technology. Enjoy the peace and quiet of being disconnected from the outside world while spending time in nature!

3. Explore a new town in Canada

Based on the sheer size of Canada, there’s always somewhere new to explore. It can be as simple as visiting a small town nearby or booking a trip to a larger city you’ve never visited before. Exploring new towns and cities can be a great way to learn about Canada’s history and cultural heritage. In addition, supporting local businesses in smaller communities through your tourism can have a positive economic impact.

4. Take a baking or cooking class

This is not only a great way to expand your culinary knowledge, but a great way to meet people and learn about different cultures. Food is closely tied to culture in many ways as it reflects the traditions, history, and values of a particular group of people. It’s often a source of cultural pride as locals uphold culinary traditions of their ancestors as a way to preserve history. Spending time learning how to make local treats and dishes is a great way to learn about a new place, while having fun, meeting other people in the class, and satisfying growling stomachs.

5. Rent or borrow a campervan

Road tripping in a campervan gives you the freedom to travel at your own pace, stopping at any sites you want along the journey. When travelling in a home on wheels, you can stay in a new location as long or as little as you desire, without needing to plan too much in advance. Plus, combining the cost of accommodation and transportation in one often allows this to be a more budget-friendly option.

6. Try one new extreme sport

Extreme sports are a thrilling way to test your own capabilities and build confidence. Challenge yourself to conquer one of your fears by trying a new extreme sport, such as rock climbing, backcountry skiing, bungee jumping, or white-water rafting. Pushing your mental and physical limits will be exhilarating and leave you with a sense of accomplishment that you completed something you never thought you would.

7. Check in to a hostel in Canada

Hostels are a fun and budget-friendly way to travel and meet new people, even within your own country! The dormitory-style accommodation and shared common areas encourage socializing with like minded individuals. It can be a unique way to experience a new part of Canada while connecting with travellers from around the world. Never stayed at a hostel before? We got you!

8. Learn a new language

Knowing another language is a huge asset when travelling as it allows you to communicate with locals to navigate and learn about a new culture. It can feel overwhelming and challenging to begin learning, but it’s always worth it in the end. There are many languages learning tools available so seek out different resources, such as language classes, exchange programs or online learning platforms.

9. Visit a remote location to go stargazing

Escape the bright lights of the city in a remote location and stargaze under the full beauty of the night sky. The lack of light population in remote areas allows for a clearer view of the stars, planets and galaxies. If you time it right, you may even experience a meteor shower or comet!

10. Splurge on a spa or wellness retreat

Life can become stressful at times so booking a spa or wellness experience can be a great way to take a well-deserved break. Whether you’re interested in a hot spring, massage, facial, wellness workshop or any other form of self-care, there’s usually a variety of services at various price points for everyone. It’s important to set aside time in the year to unwind and rejuvenate your body.

11. Ride a gondola in the summer

Many cities and tourist destinations offer gondola rides as a way to see the sights and enjoy the scenery from above. They can be a fun and exhilarating way to see a place from a different perspective. Plus, there are often cafes and activities to enjoy at the other end, making them a great and relaxing way to spend the day! Our favourite gondolas? Jasper's SkyTram, Lake Louise's Summer gondola, Squamish's Sea to Sky, and Whistler's Peak 2 Peak!

12. Road trip with a friend (not a partner or family member)

There’s something about spending endless hours in a car that always seems to bring about unexpected adventures. Road trips allow for flexibility and spontaneity to take stops along the way, making you appreciate the journey, not just the destination. And road tripping with a companion is ideal for sharing driving responsibilities, making the trip more manageable and less tiring. Although travelling with a partner or family member is often the comfortable choice, road tripping with friends brings a unique opportunity for bonding over new memories and sharing different perspectives.

13. Volunteer in exchange for accommodation

Volunteering is a great way to immerse yourself in local life and culture as you meet and work alongside locals and other travellers. It’s also a budget-friendly way to travel, as it helps save money on accommodation costs (and sometimes even more). It can also be an opportunity to have a positive impact if you choose to volunteer at a wildlife refuge or organization giving back to the community. Volunteering or working at a hostel in Canada also provides once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to see bucket-list spots in the great white north.

14. Seek out a diving or snorkelling trip

Diving or snorkelling trips are a must-do for any traveller who loves nature and the ocean. Exploring the underwater world allows you to glimpse the hidden beauty of the ocean as you admire a wide variety of coral reefs and sea creatures. It also offers a chance to experience the thrill of feeling completely weightless in the water, which is both exhilarating and soothing at the same time.

15. Go ice fishing

This winter activity provides a unique way to spend time in the wintery outdoors and catch fish in a different way. Fishing requires patience so this is a great activity to unwind, let a busy mind calm down, and enjoy the natural surroundings as you sit and anticipate your catch. La Malbaie is a great winter basecamp for these icy adventures.

16. Visit a botanical garden

Botanical gardens are a great way to learn about local plant life and ecosystem. They are also often home to a collection of exotic and rare plants found nowhere else in the world. These gardens are also usually a serene oasis in the middle of the bustling city, making them a great place to escape to and find peace for a few hours. Whether visiting at home or abroad, botanical gardens give you a greater appreciation for the diversity of nature.

17. Book a solo trip

Travelling solo can be an empowering experience, allowing you to travel independently and make your own decisions without needing to consider the preferences of others. Stepping outside of your comfort zone can feel overwhelming, but gaining confidence and self-reliance is always a rewarding experience. Challenge yourself this year by booking a trip, even for a few days, by yourself.

18. Attend a creative retreat

Tap into your artistic side and immerse yourself in a specific art form for a few days. This can bring so much joy whether you’re a beginner or an expert! If you love photography, knitting, writing, painting, woodworking or another creative passion, this is a great way to lean into that interest and become inspired by other artists and instructors in a supportive environment. You’ll gain skills and inspiration through a creative retreat as you dedicate time to experimenting, making mistakes and growing as a creative.

19. Go canoe or kayak camping

This is a unique way to explore the outdoors because you can camp at remote sites that are only accessible by boat. Fit everything you can into a boat and set up camp along the way whenever you come across a camping site that draws you. It’s also a great alternative if you like remote camping but don’t like lugging heavy backpacks of all of your belongings as you venture into the woods. And an added bonus is fewer people camp this way, so you’ll typically have the area all to yourself!

20. Treasure hunt by geocaching

Geocaching is a great way to exercise while exploring new places and discovering hidden gems. It’s an activity that everyone can participate in so it can be a very fun way to explore a local area with a group while spending time outdoors.

21. Pet-sit in a different city or country

If you like making new furry friends (who doesn’t!?), this can be a great way to experience a new city or country. It can be a unique way to get a sense of a community and vibe of an area as you live in a local home and neighbourhood. This can also be a great way to save money while travelling slowly and embracing daily life routines.

22. Attend a music festival solo

The atmosphere and energy at music festivals creates the perfect space to sing, dance and enjoy life to the fullest. Festivals allow you to experience a wide variety of musical arts and performances, with the possibility of discovering new favourite artists and genres. This is a great way to immerse yourself in both culture and entertainment as music festivals often feature local music, food and art.

23. Observe an ice or sand sculpting competition

These competitions showcase the talents of skilled sculptors who create impressive and detailed pieces for others to admire. Whether its in the winter (like Chiseled, in Edmonton), or summer (like the Parksville BeachFest, just north of Nanaimo), walking amongst these unusual art structures will give you a different appreciation for the season, as well as the techniques and creativity used to make them. Sculpting competitions can also be an unexpected way to learn about local culture, as the sculptures often represent myths, legends, and traditional themes. or the

You may also like to read