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20 Countries You Should Visit At Least Once In Your Lifetime

20 Countries You Should Visit At Least Once In Your Lifetime

“An investment in travel is an investment in yourself.”
-Matthew Karsten

We have so many amazing places to travel all around the globe that even if we have ten lives, it won’t be enough for us to visit each of them. So we have to make choices.

It’s painful when there’s nothing to choose from but it can be almost as difficult when we have to choose from a list of equally incredible options. We’ve made it easier for you by presenting to you here, the ultimate list of 20 countries you should visit once in your lifetime. We’ve compiled this list based on the listings and polls of the popular sites Lonely Planet, Telegraph, Business Insider, Thrillist and Rough Guides.

New Zealand

18

    There’s probably no one who has been to New Zealand and hasn’t fallen in love immediately with this enigmatic land. It’s hard to find places where travelers are more gratified than in New Zealand, in terms of man-made marvels as well as the grandeurs of nature.

    The backdrop of New Zealand is truly magnificent with its prehistoric forests, widespread beaches, snowclad mountains and remarkable springs. The coexistence between Maori and European people forms the basis of the distinctive New Zealanders culture.

    New Zealand is also one of the easiest places to travel on earth because of its well-developed infrastructures and high quality of service it offers. The food, wine and beer of this land also offer travelers with supreme sense of taste.

    Australia

    3

      Australia is not just a nation but a continent as well. In its enormity, lies a world within our world which is rich in ethnic and cultural diversity, amazing landscapes and offers numerous opportunities for entertainment.

      This is a nation of relaxed sociability and lively spirit evident in every turn of a corner. Travel in Australia can be expensive but costs can be reduced using travel coupons and booking flights ahead of time. A sunny climate all year around is one of the major reasons behind Australians’ liveliness which has led to a prominent cultural focus onoutdoor living, demonstrated by vibrant beaches and outside camps.

      The Twelve Apostles are not to be missed during an Australian trip. They are one of the nation’s most lovely natural marvels. Besides that, the other exotic wonders of nature for one to explore are the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru and the Island of Whitsunday.

      Japan

      6

        Japan is a unique blend of tradition and innovation. The superb religious and cultural heritages from the past co-exist extraordinarily with state-of-art technological and architectural achievements in the present.

        There are thousands of spectacular Buddhist temples and shrines all over Japan, most of which are in Kyoto, rightly known as the cultural capital of Japan. The other culturally rich cities in Japan worth visiting are Nara and Kanazawa.

        Mount Fuji, Imperial Palace, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, the Island Shrine of Itsukushima, Osaka National Park, Chubu-Sangaku National Park and the Japanese Alps are some of the other notable places to visit in this exotic nation.

        Thailand

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        Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn, shines across the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, Thailand.

          With intriguing history, Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destination in Southeast Asia.From the ancient Buddhist temples and beautiful palaces to its pristine islands and national parks, Thailand provides for all kind of tourists.

          The capital of Bangkok with its bustling streets and gigantic malls contrasts sharply with the tranquil villages in the hills. But this diversity is exactly what makes Thailand a fascinating destination for travellers.

          Thai food is appetizing and the people are very convivial. This country appeals to travellers ofvarious budgets.It welcomes everyone from officials who want to stay at five-star resorts to backpackers who prefer stay at low-cost guest houses.

          Nepal

          8

            A tiny Himalayan nation lying between the two big neighbors, China and India, Nepal is a world in itself. No country in the world offers such wide range of experiences in such a small area.

            Some of the best places in the world for trekking and mountaineering are located in this nation. Eight out of ten of the tallest mountains in the world are here. It is probably the best place for adventure tourism with endless opportunities for safari, rafting and paragliding.

            Although the snow white peaks of Himalayas are the first things that come to mind when one thinks of Nepal, nature is not the only aspect of this nation’s enigma. Kathmandu, the capital, is a city of a thousand temples that showcases a unique blend of Hindu and Buddhist religious heritages.

            South Africa

            Table Mountain across Table Bay, Cape Town, South Africa

              This southern African nation is a place that doesn’t disappoint visitors. It’s a large, diverse and unbelievably beautiful destination. South Africa is also a major cultural hub of the African continent.

              Cape Town and Johannesburg are constantly ranked among the best cities for travelers. The enigmatic Table Mountain and Table Bay ought not to be missed while travelling to South Africa. The vineyards of Franschhoek also certainly beckon.

              There are many wildlife reserves in this nation. Kruger National Park and Addo Elephent National Park are the two most notable ones.

              Botswana

              14

                Botswana is as awe-inspiring for travelers as is the story of the nation’s journey from abject poverty to being now one of the most stable economies in Africa. The way it has been able to preserve its natural treasures in the midst of all this economic growth is also equally impressive.

                Botswana is a premier safari location in the African content, with large portions of its land making up national parks and wildlife reserves. There are also iconic cultural heritage sites for tourists to explore.

                Chobe and Okavango Delta region are perfect for wildlife viewing. Kalahari Desert, Tsodilo Hills and Nxai Pan National Park are some of the other places one must not miss on a trip to Botswana.

                Latvia

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                16

                  This Baltic pearl is undergoing a revival phase after an end to years of communist rule. The infrastructures have been improved and lots of overhauls are taking place especially in the towns like culturally rich Riga, named the European Capital of Culture very recently.

                  Most of the visitors are concerned with only the Latvian capital but the true spirit of Latvia resides in the spectacular countryside filled with pristine lakes, emerald forests and sandy beaches.

                  Almost half of Latvia is covered with natural ecosystems and each of the four national parks are equally beautiful. Jurmala’s Baltic waters and the waterfall of Ventas Rumba are also not be missed on a Latvian trip.

                  Poland

                  19

                    Poland may have gone through lots of turmoil over the past couple of centuries but with its rich culture, beautiful landscapes and historic spots, the visitors are sure to bring away with them lots of exciting memories.

                    Although Warsaw is the most popular city, one is sure to miss a lot from the rest of the country if their stay is restricted to this town only. The Polish spirit that refused to give up amidst the atrocities of the second world war breathes throughout the nation.

                    Main Market Square in Krakow, Old Market Place in Warsaw, Old Town in Gdansk, Bialowieza Forest and Masurian Lakeland are some of the major places one ought not miss while traveling to Poland.

                    Germany

                    Water fountain in front of the Justizpalast near Karlsplatz. Munich, Germany

                      Germany is one of the best countries in the world to explore. It might be a little bit heavy on the budget. However, great food, impeccable beer and superb views all more than make up for the bucks spent.

                      The nation offers diversity from the green hills in Bavaria to icy mountains in the Alps and bustling cities like Munich to serene medieval towns like Tuebingen. It is full of magical castles and historic sites all over the nation.

                      Apart from the two most famous cities of Munich and Berlin, the other attractive places to visit in Germany are Heidelberg, Lubeck, Cologne, Leipzig and Rugen Island. Meanwhile, Munich’s annual festival of Oktoberfest is an event not to be missed.

                      France
                      1

                        A trip to France is on the bucket list of almost everyone and this nation surely deserves that. This country holds a unique appeal for folks from all around the globe for its culture, wines, cuisine and landscapes.

                        This land of champagne and cabaret is probably the most romantic place on earth. Although the capital of Paris may attract all the attention and the notion of romance may be heavily linked to this city, the country has much more to offer beyond the walls of Paris.

                        The vineyards of Champagne and Bordeaux offer the elegance of French wine and rural life. The French Riviera, on the other hand, showcases glamor and luxury. The historic towns all over the country, meanwhile, provide a perfect taste of French culture.

                        Spain

                        2

                          A trip to Spain is sure to leave travelers yearning to return again and again. In the words of the Spaniards themselves, there is not one Spain but many Spains, a reference to the nation’s diverse natural landscapes and cultures. And, not a single one of these Spains will disappoint travelers.

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                          Lively carnivals, exquisite cuisines and animated nightlife along with its impressive beaches, islands and wildlife make Spain a perfect destination for travelers. Added to those are its historic cities rich with art and cultural heritage.

                          Whether it’s Catalonia, Madrid or the Basque Country, there’s always a lot to do in Spain. Apart from the two major cities of Barcelona and Madrid famous for their iconic football clubs, the other notable cities to visit are Seville, Valencia, Granada, Malaga and Bilbao.

                          Portugal

                          12

                            With its own distinctive culture, language and cuisine, Portugal is the land of dazzling beaches, spirited landscape and medieval villages. Its aesthetic beauty has remained largely unaffected by the hordes of tourists, unlike other major European travel destinations.

                            Portugal is a destination that truly meets travelers’ expectations. One can start with the Portuguese capital of Lisbon and then go on to explore the coastal cities, reveling in great wine, good food and the incessant parties.

                            The country’s geography is diverse and it ranges from the northern mountains, national parks and vineyards to central farmlands and villages and beaches along the southern coastline. Moreover, Portugal is a relatively cheap traveldestinationwhen compared to other European destinations.

                            Italy

                            4

                              The land of beautiful people and lovely food, Italy, is a dream destination for travelers. It really has much to offer travelers from nature and art to food and a beautiful climate. Even the most demanding of visitors can be expected to be left in awe by this nation.

                              This is a nation like no other. It boasts striking terrains and picturesque hills. Add to that, the trace of cultural history is all-pervading. The home of Roman Civilization and Renaissance Era, no place in Italy will fail to offer an experience memorable for a lifetime.

                              Besides Rome, other notable places to visit are the waterways of Venice, the architecture of Tuscany and the beaches in Sicily. One thing for sure is that the food one will be treated to will be the best in the world, whether it is served in Rome or in the rural areas of this country.

                              Greece

                              5

                                Greece may have undergone an economic crisis recently but it still remains a premium tourist hub, which owes both to its historic cultural heritages and natural spectacles such as its beaches, mountains and islands.

                                Greece has been endowed with natural beauty in every possible form. The grandeur of nature’s beauty extends from the colossal Aegean to the cloud covered peak of Mt. Olympus.

                                The historic capital of Greece (i.e. the ever bustling city of Athens) may be the most famous place but there are plenty of other equally fabulous places to visit as well. Some of the not-to-be-missed ones are Meteora, Santorin, Delphi and Thessaloniki.

                                Switzerland

                                17

                                  The scenery in Switzerland is almost certain to take away the breath of travelers. The cities in this ethnically diverse and multilingual nation are lively and cosmopolitan and the routes for transportation are excellent.

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                                  Because of its small size and flawless facilities, it’s not very difficult to visit most of the top sites in Switzerland as the major attractions lie pretty much close to each other. It is also one of the safest places to travel.

                                  From manmade structures like excellent resorts, historic castles and museums to natural wonders such as mountains, lakes and forests, Switzerland comes to life everywhere. Some of the best places to visit are Jungfrau, Montreux and Swiss National Park.

                                  UK

                                  7

                                    There are very few placesthat can offer so much in a single package as the United Kingdom does. There are craggy uplands and impressive beaches. There are also historic landmarks, cultural hides and topnotch restaurants.

                                    The UK has long been a favorite tourist destination in Europe because of its theaters, museums, bucolic villages and historic cities, which never fail to keep people wanting for more. There’s no lack of ideas for fun when travelers are in the UK.

                                    London is a city that needs no introduction and is arguably the world’s most exciting city. The other cities the visitors should consider stopping at when traveling to the UK are Edinburgh, York, Bath, Cambridge, Chester and Durham.

                                    Uruguay

                                    10

                                      The nation is often overlooked over its large South American neighbors. But one of the region’s finest producers of wine, it’s a highly alluring destination for connoisseurs of wine.

                                      The eastern part of the nation possesses the sandy beaches facing the South Atlantic, which are perfect to bask on. Annual whale migration that takes place between the months of July and November also is a major attraction for tourists.

                                      Some of the best places to visit in this nation laden with rich culture and history are Colonia del Sacramento, the capital and biggest city of Montevideo, Rocha Coast, Punta del Este and Piriapolis.

                                      Mexico

                                      15

                                        Concerns about security in Mexico might be raised frequently. However, apart from the northern border region which constantly makes headlines for all the wrong reasons, there’re more reasons to be excited than worried about a trip to Mexico.

                                        Mexico is the land of beautiful beaches, cultural temptations and spirited nightlife. From its historic Mayan sites to the quiet riversides, this nation offers diverse cultural and natural experiences at a much cheaper price compared to most of the other destinations.

                                        Apart from the fascinating capital city of New Mexico, the other noteworthy places to visit in Mexico are Merida, Todos Santos, San Miguel de Allende, Huatulco and Puebla, also known by the nickname of ‘mini Mexico City’.

                                        Canada

                                        11

                                          Canada is the largest North American nation; its huge landmass is filled with grandiose mountains, virgin forests and remarkable coastlines. Added to all these wonders that make for breathtaking scenery, is the hospitable atmosphere shown throughout the country.

                                          Canada offers travelers wide range of experiences. One can go camping on Vancouver Island, stroll through the cosmopolitan Toronto streets or be off to climb the peaks on the Canadian Rockies.

                                          The pine forests in the east along with lively coastline communities call for a road trip in the summer. Meanwhile, Quebec is perfect for skiing during the wintertime.

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                                          Last Updated on August 15, 2018

                                          7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

                                          7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

                                          Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

                                          Video Summary

                                          Why is it important to train up our core strength?

                                          There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

                                          This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

                                          Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

                                          In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

                                          One Exercise, multiple benefits

                                          There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

                                          By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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                                          When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

                                          Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

                                          In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

                                          What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

                                          What will happen when you start doing planks every day

                                            1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

                                            Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

                                            • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
                                            • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
                                            • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
                                            • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

                                            2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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                                              Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

                                              Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

                                              3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

                                                Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

                                                4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

                                                  Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

                                                  A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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                                                  A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

                                                  On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

                                                  5. You’ll improve overall balance

                                                    Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

                                                    6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                                                      Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                                                      7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                                                        Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                                                        How to hold a plank position

                                                        1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                                                        2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                                                        3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                                                        4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                                                        5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                                                        6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                                                        7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                                                        Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                                                        Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                                                          How to improve your plank time gradually

                                                          1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                                                          2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                                                          3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                                                          Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                                                          Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                                                          You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                                                          • Prolapse
                                                          • After prolapse surgery
                                                          • Pelvic pain conditions
                                                          • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                                                          • Previous childbirth
                                                          • Overweight

                                                          Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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