8 Exotic bucket list travel ideas — and how much they really cost

May 31, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. ET

Whether you're seriously shopping for a vacation or if you just prefer to dream, consider adding one of these itinerary items to your travel bucket list.

8 Exotic bucket list travel ideas
Image: John Seaton Callahan/Getty Images, Graphic by Terese Condella/Sheknows

Book a tree house


Ever since my days of watching The Swiss Family Robinson, I've wanted to live in a tree house. Now you can indulge your inner child with a tree house hotel, which you can find in many destinations all over the world. If you're staying stateside, check out this Oregon-based "treesort" for a rate that is comparable to many hotels. (Out 'n' About Treehouse Treesort, $120 and up per night)

Fly a hot air balloon

hot air balloon

Headed to the American southwest? Take a peaceful flight over deserts and forests by hopping in the basket of a serene hot air balloon. You can book your 3.5 hour sunrise flight for a budget-friendly $149 per person. (Rainbow Ryders, $149 and up)

Imbibe and ride

imbibe and ride

Drinking and driving is bad, but a wine tour by bicycle is decidedly good. Roam the delicious landscapes of wine countries — and work off your wine calories — by taking your next wine tour on a bicycle. Consider a trip to New Zealand, for instance, where such an experience is well under $100 per person. (Wine Tours by Bike, NZ$45 per adult)

Go zip lining


Grab a bird's-eye view of stunning landscapes by careening across trees and rivers on a zip line. Tour prices vary by destination, but the most expensive part of a zip line trip is typically the cost of getting there. Check out one of the longest zip line tours in the world in nearby Puerto Rico for a zippy adventure. (Toro Verde Ecological Adventure Park, $65-100)

Stay in a castle


Even if heights aren't your thing, you can still have a wild itinerary. Keep your trip royal and romantic with an overnight stay in a historic castle. For instance, you can book a themed room in an Irish castle for the same rate you'd pay at a luxury hotel. (Carberry Tower, £159 and up per night)

Raft through the mountains

river rafting

There's no need to go on a Class 1 rafting trip with your Aunt Barb this summer, unless you absolutely want to. Book a semi-private journey through a multi-camp river rafting trip — like this one that snakes through Patagonia in Chile — that covers a remote stretch of river instead. Just expect to pay handsomely for the honor. (Earth River Expeditions, $4,300 per person)

Float in a bungalow


If you've ever seen an over-water bungalow, you have surely added it to your bucket list. Surprisingly, these adventurous retreats are more affordable than you think — depending on where you're headed. Time your next visit to Malaysia during a low season, for instance, and you'll pay less per night than you would for a hotel. (Avani Sepang Goldcoast Resort, $130-160 per night)

Walk across the sky


Sky walks are a real thing and they're perhaps more thrilling than a zip line adventure since they take longer to complete. Check out a suspension bridge or sky walk on your next family camping trip to Canada for spectacular and heart-pounding views. (Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, $33 per person)

Which surprising adventure are you most likely to try on your next vacation?

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