9 Bucket List Events for a Couple's Vacation in 2024

Call it the Taylor Swift effect.
Bucket List Events for a Couple's Vacation in 2024
Photo: Glenn Waters in Japan / Getty Images
Jen Murphy
by Jen Murphy
Updated Feb 06, 2024
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Planning vacations around bucket list events has been one of the biggest travel trends of the past year. Mega concerts (think the likes of Taylor Swift and Beyonce), music festivals, sporting events, art fairs, and fleeting natural moments, like Japan's annual cherry blossom bloom, have become some of the biggest drivers of travel. And couples are even choosing honeymoon destinations based on the bucket list events they want to share together. The hot ticket events and experiences of 2024 just happen to line up with some bucket list romantic getaways too, such as Paris (host of the 2024 Summer Olympic Games). Here are some of the most popular experiences to create the perfect couple's vacation or birthday trip around, plus tips on where to stay and what to do in the destination.

Paris Olympics Couple's Trip

Travel to the Olympics for your honeymoon
Photo: PhotoAlto / Odilon Dimier / Getty Images

What: One of the planet's greatest sporting events is being hosted in one of the planet's greatest (and most romantic) cities.

When: The Summer Games are held every four years in a predetermined city. In 2024, they are held from July 26 to August 11, and the Paralympic Games will take place August 28 to September 8.

Things to Do: The Opening Ceremonies will be held along the River Seine with no admission fee for spectators to access the upper quays.Throughout the Games, free "fan zones" will be held at the park of La Villette in the 19th arrondissement and at the Trocadéro in the 16th arrondissement, both offering live transmissions of the events. Book in advance to score a table at Le Tout-Paris, a rooftop restaurant at the Cheval Blanc hotel that overlooks the Pont Neuf section of the Seine and features a menu created by Michelin-starred chef Arnaud Donkele.

Where to Stay: Jean-Pierre Soutric, a Paris-based agent Atelier Voyage suggests skipping the palatial hotels and opting for a more intimate stay. His picks: the 61-room Le Grand Mazarin in the hip Marais district (From $599) or the five-suite Hôtel Particulier in the artsy Montmartre neighborhood (From $1,023)

Japan's Cherry Blossoms Couple's Trip

See the cherry blossoms in Japan on your honeymoon
Phoot: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

What: Japan's iconic sakura (cherry blossoms) transform the country into a soft pink splendor each spring. Mother Nature's annual show is so wondrous the culture even has a dedicated word for the practice of admiring the flowers: hanami.

When: Cherry blossoms first appear in February in Okinawa, Japan's southernmost prefecture, and move northward, ending in early May in Hokkaido, the northernmost prefecture.

Things to Do: In Kyoto, the Philosopher's Path spans just over one mile along a canal lined with hundreds of cherry trees, and the Botanical Garden is always exploding with blooms. Tokyo's Nakameguro neighborhood boasts more than 800 Japanese cherry trees that brilliantly blush each spring. During the Nakameguro Sakura Festival (March 23-April 9) the trees are illuminated at night and shops along the canal sell pink cocktails and rose champagne.

Where to Stay: A 15-minute boat ride delivers guests to riverside Hoshino Kyoto (from $318). From March 25 to April 9 guests can reserve a private terrace to observe the blossoms. Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills (From $1,182) is less than a mile from Hamarikyu Garden, Hibiya Park, and the Meguro River, where trees form tunnels of cherry blossoms. Each spring the hotel creates a sakura garden on its rooftop bar terrace and serves a selection of sakura-themed sweets.

The Venice Biennale Couple's Trip

Visit The Venice Biennale for your romantic honeymoon
Photo: The Venice Biennale / Getty Images

What: The oldest running and most prestigious art biennale is open to the public for six months every year and alternates between celebrating art and architecture. Adriano Pedrosa, artistic director of the São Paulo Museum of Art, will serve as curator for this year's 60th edition of the art exhibition, which will emphasize a diversity of races, nationalities, and genders.

When: The Biennale is held annually. In 2024 it runs from April 20 through November 24.

Things to Do: The exhibition has two main venues. The Arsenale, Venice's historic shipyard, is a cavernous armory that hosts 24 national pavilions, including Mexico and Turkey. The Giardini, a secluded park at the edge of the city, hosts 29 pavilions of foreign countries, including Australia and Great Britain. Grab a bite at Trattoria La Rampa, a classic spot with excellent pastas walking distance from the Giardini.

Where to Stay: The 24-room Aman Venice (From $1,800) delivers your-wish-is-our command service (and VIP access to sites like the Doge's Palace). The Aman is also just a 15-minute walk to the Giardini. Dòna Palace (From $350) is a more affordable boutique stay close to Piazza San Marco and the Giardini.

Glastonbury Music Festival Couple's Trip

Visit Glastonbury Music Festival for your honeymoon
Photo: Tim Robberts / Getty Images

What: The U.K.'s largest festival takes place over five days on 900 acres of bucolic farmland just outside of Somerset, England. More than 60 stages showcase all genres of music ranging from reggae to rock, plus circus, cabaret, and theater performances.

When: The festival is held annually in the summer. In 2024, it will take place from June 26 to June 30.

Things to Do: The Pyramid Stage showcases the event's biggest headliners, which this year include Elton John, Lizzo, Guns n' Roses, and Blondie. Wander the grounds and you'll also come across an open air nightclub, an experimental art pavilion, and a cinema.

Where to Stay: Most festival goers choose to rough it and sleep under canvas since the camping fields are included in the ticket price. Crave more comfort and privacy? The Pop-Up Hotel is just one mile from the festival site and features glamping accommodations ranging from luxury yurts to airstreams, plus restaurants, a pool, and hot tubs (From $4,826 for the five-day festival). Archangel is a ten-room, 14th-century inn 16 miles away in Frome. The daily taxi fare may add up, but it's worth it if you crave a romantic retreat (From $98 per night).

Wimbledon Couple's Trip

Experience Wimbledon on your honeymoon
Photo: Kolbz / Getty Images

What: The oldest and many would argue the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world has been held at the All England Club in Wimbledon, a leafy south London district, since 1877.

When: The iconic tennis tournament is held annually in the summer. In 2024, it runs from July 1 through July 14.

Things to Do: Sip Pimm's Cups while watching some of the biggest tennis stars and up-and-comers play the legendary grass courts. When the matches end, go behind the scenes at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum and explore charming Wimbledon Village. Pop into Dog & Fox, an iconic pub, for a pint or visit Hemingways for a perfectly mixed cocktail. The village is easily accessible from central London via the tube in case you prefer to base yourself in the city and take advantage of shows in the West End and museums like the National Gallery, which turns 200 this year.

Where to Stay: An 18 minute walk to the event, Hotel du Vin & Bistro is an elegant Georgian mansion whose storied guests include Oscar Wilde and Lord Tennyson (From $240). Dog & Fox doesn't only serve a proper pint, it also has 24 lovely rooms upstairs and is a 15 minute walk to the venue (From $130). Set on the Thames River 10 miles southwest of London in Richmond (yes, the town of Ted Lasso fame), the Petersham Hotel feels like an urban oasis and is an easy, 40-minute bus ride to Wimbledon (From $215).

The Great Migration Couple's Trip

Experience the great migration on your honeymoon
Photo: Vicki Jauron, Babylon and Beyond Photography / Getty Images

What: Each year, the plains of East Africa host one of the wonders of the natural world, as more than 1.4 million wildebeest and hundreds of thousands of zebras and gazelles travel from Tanzania's Serengeti to Kenya's Masai Mara.

When: The natural event takes places annually for several months. Peak season is typically mid-July through mid-September.

Things to Do: Katie McDonough of Explore, Inc., suggests taking a hot air balloon safari over the migration then landing for a private champagne breakfast out in the plains surrounded by the great herds. Sund downers and bush baths under the stars are musts for honeymooners.

Where to Stay: For over-the-top luxury and service splurge on Singita Faru Faru Lodge in the Grumeti Reserve ($2,975 per person, per night). More adventurous couples should book the Walking Wild experience in Kenya with Lewa Wilderness. This customized, mobile walking safari is led by Maasai guides with camel or horse support and can follow the migration if timed right (Price upon request).

Diwali Couple's Trip

Experience Diwali on your honeymoon
Photo: David Talukdar / Getty Images

What: India's biggest holiday, the Festival of Lights, takes place over five days each autumn and celebrates the triumph of good over evil with song, dance, and fireworks.

When: Diwali is held annually from October 29 to November 3

Things to Do: The palaces of Rajasthan are even more dazzling during the Diwali festivities, illuminated with tiny lights and host to grand celebrations. While there, book a tiger safari in Ranthambore National Park or Sariska Tiger Reserve.

Where to Stay: The Oberoi Udaivilas in Udaipur looks like a mirage on the shores of Lake Pichola. The palace hotel's sprawling grounds are lined with gardens and sparkling pools (From $485). (From $203). The 245-room Fairmont Jaipur overlooks the Aravalli hills and oozes luxury worthy of a maharaja.

Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix Couple's Trip

Watch the Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix on your honeymoon
Photo: ebobeldijk / Getty Images

What: Part elite international racing event, part wild party, the Last Vegas Grand Prix sees cars reaching speeds of 200 mph as they complete 50 laps of the 3.8-mile Last Vegas Strip Circuit.

When: November 21 - 23

Things to Do: The races are complemented by parties, concerts, and celebrity chef dinners. Catch a comedy show or illusionist David Copperfield's act at the MGM Grand Las Vegas. Or score concert tickets for the Sphere, the high-tech, orb-shaped concert venue at the Venetian.

Where to Stay: Newly opened Fontainebleau Las Vegas is proof that bigger is better. Guests have access to the 55,000-square-foot Lapis Spa, 36 restaurants and bars, and a world-class entertainment venue (From $336).

Art Basel Miami Couple's Trip

Visit Miami beaches on your honeymoon
Photo: ampueroleonardo / Getty Images

What: A sun-soaked offshoot of the contemporary art world's foremost fair in Basel, Switzerland.

When: December 4-8

Things to Do: The main exhibitions are showcased in the Miami Beach Convention Center, but the entire city, particularly the gallery-dotted Wynwood Arts District, puts on a show. Food lovers should eye the calendar for artsy culinary collaborations and not-to-miss meals include chef-driven food hall, Mia Market, Mandolin Aegean, and Michael's Genuine Food & Drink.

Where to Stay: Located in the heart of Collins Avenue, 1 Hotel South Beach has serious sustainability cred, a hotel from Top Chef star Tom Colicchio, and a spa from UK's hit wellness brand, Bamford (From $699). Life House, South of Fifth channels vintage beach bungalow vibes and is surrounded by Art Deco icons on Collins Avenue. (From $192)

Expert Tips for Planning a Bucket List Event Trip

The romantic vistas of Venice, Italy
Photo: Olga_Gavrilova / Getty Images

Experts unanimously agree, planning a trip around a bucket list event requires advanced planning, from scoring tickets to reserving your hotel and even restaurant reservations. Consider hiring a travel agent to make the logistics seamless. Here are some top tips for having a fabulous honeymoon in destinations hosting this year's must-see events and experiences.

Paris Tip

Consider investing in travel packages from On Location, the official Olympic hospitality provider. Basic travel packages range from $520 to $870 per person per night at a three-star hotel and a ticket to watch one Olympic event. Hospitality packages start at similar pricing but don't cover accommodations, only tickets, with premier seating and exclusive access to event lounges.

Japan Tip

"Japan is super hot right now," says Sarah Fazendin, an agent with Videre Travel, and securing restaurant reservations or pre-planning culinary experiences is a must. "We have access to a really special foodie experience where guests go to the Tsukiji Outer Market with a sushi chef to select fish, then go back to his restaurant for a hands-on sushi workshop and lunch."

Venice Tip

"Everyone immediately thinks about the traditional gondola experience in Venice, but our clients prefer a full-day private charter boat to the islands like Murano, Burano, and Torcello," says Fazendin of Videre Travel.

Glastonbury Tip

The Glastonbury Festival is known to sell out online within one hour so make sure you secure tickets before making travel plans. With more than 200,000 people attending, you'll want to arrive early (or later) to avoid waiting to gain entrance. And if you're camping, pitch your tent near an easily recognizable landmark.

Wimbledon Tip

Alexandrea Padilha of Fischer Travel says if you can plan early and secure Debenture tickets, they are worth the splurge. "These tickets provide unrivaled views on either Centre Court or No. 1 Court, along with exclusive access to restaurants, bars and lounges reserved exclusively for Debenture ticket holders," says the New York City-based travel agent.

Great Migration Tip

Africa travel expert Cherri Briggs of Explore, Inc. recommends book-ending a safari for the migration with a stay at a gorgeous hotel, like Alfajiri Villas on the Kenyan coast, or even going to Seychelles for four or five days. "There are weekly nonstop flights from Nairobi to Mahe, Seychelles so this is really easy and honeymooners love that combo of roughing it and then having some beach time."

Diwali India Tip

Be prepared to stay up late as many celebrations go into the wee hours. If you are invited to take part in a puja ceremony, remember to be respectful and take off your shoes before entering the prayer room.

Las Vegas Tip

Grandstand seats tickets in the East Harmon Zone, West Harmon Zone and T-Mobile Zone at Sphere enjoy all-inclusive complimentary food curated by Wolfgang Puck Catering and non-alcoholic drink options throughout the weekend.

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