This article is a part of the 2022 Winter Travel Guide, a sponsored collection brought to you by our travel advertising partners. You can find more winter travel destinations and events here.

When you travel with Ker & Downey, the world is at your fingertips. As a family-owned company, we pride ourselves on the attention to detail and creativity that goes into each itinerary. From dinners inside of a dormant volcano in Iceland and after-hours visits to some of the world’s most famous museums, to hot-air balloon rides over the Serengeti in East Africa, we offer experiences and personalized touches that bigger companies simply cannot execute.

If you can only travel once this year, it should be on one of these life-changing trips.

A Migration Safari in Kenya

Photo Credit: MWIBA LODGE

An African safari is unlike any other experience. While there are many options for a safari, a great Migration safari in Kenya is a spectacle you cannot miss. Each year, millions of wildebeest, zebra, and Thomson’s gazelle make their way across the savanna to cross the Mara River, with the predators close behind them. Plan to go in June, July, or August to see the migration, but be warned: Space books up fast! Best to plan this once-in-a-lifetime trip early.

Puma Trekking in Torres del Paine, Chile

Africa isn’t the only place for a safari. In Chile’s Patagonia region, you’ll find a different set of Big Five among its almost 500 resident species. The Patagonia Big Five, which consist of the puma, guanaco, huemul, Andean condor, and nandu, are the most sought-after wildlife sightings in Torres del Paine. Spotting a puma is the height of wildlife spotting in the region. Experts believe there are only about 50 of these predators within Torres del Paine, so you’ll need an expert puma tracker to aid you in spotting one yourself.

Helicopter Over Milford Sounds, New Zealand

From fjords to rivers, and lush forests to volcanic plateaus, there is no shortage of enchanting lands to explore in New Zealand. To really take in the wonders of New Zealand’s landscape, explore the length of Milford Sound from above by helicopter. This once-in-a-lifetime flight heads past sheer cliffs and gushing waterfalls, and out to the Tasman Sea to land on a beach for some nature exploration by foot. From there, you’ll also have a great vantage point of the iconic Mitre Peak. Between its incredible landscapes, outdoor adventures, and luxury properties, New Zealand is the ultimate destination for a once-in-a-lifetime journey.

Sunrise Visit to the Taj Mahal, India

While we pride ourselves on unique and out-of-the-box experiences, there are some major tourist sites that simply cannot be missed. Seeing the Taj Mahal in India is one of them. The ivory-white marble mausoleum, commissioned in 1631 by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, houses the tomb of his beloved (and favorite) wife Mumtaz Mahal. It was a true labor of love. It’s no wonder then that the Taj Mahal attracts more than 6 million people a year to admire its beauty. To beat the crowds, we recommend a privately guided sunrise visit. The wakeup call is early but worth it as you’ll have a little more solitude to wander this jewel of Muslim art.

Bear Viewing in Alaska

Pristine, natural beauty abounds in the isolated wilderness of Alaska. Not only are its national parks some of the world’s largest, but it’s also home to one of the world’s largest concentrations of brown bears. A one-hour scenic flight from Homer follows the lush, green coastline of the Alaskan peninsula to the black beaches of the Katmai Coast. With a private guide, walk along the same trails as the bears, sit on the riverbanks, and observe them as they go about their day-to-day lives. There aren’t any barriers, platforms, or fences separating you from the bears and other wildlife. Depending on the time of year, you could see them grazing on sedge grass, digging up clams, playing together, resting, and fishing.

Go Classic with a Twist in Italy

There are few cities in the world as historically and culturally significant as Rome. If you head to Italy, Rome must be on your list. Rome is a thriving, modern city that celebrates its art, architecture, and history. We recommend embarking on a treasure hunt through the city to get to know its many marvels. After time in the city, perhaps pair it with a delectable stay in Tuscany. For a bird’s eye view of beautiful Tuscan countryside, take a hot air balloon ride over the old Tuscan castles, villas, and iconic Chianti hills and vineyards.

Polar Cruising

Photo Credit: David Merron, Quark Expeditions

For those who have already seen it all, why not head to the farthest reaches of our great world? A polar cruise allows you to either check the seventh continent off your bucket-list or add a bit of adventure to your European escapades. In Antarctica, a fly-cruise out of Punta Arenas is the most luxurious (and expedient) way to explore the South Shetland Islands and the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. Meanwhile, a cruise by luxury yacht through the Lofoten Islands allows you to navigate the small fishing towns, amazing beaches, and protected wildlife of this Arctic Circle archipelago. Both experiences promise dramatic landscapes, stunning wildlife encounters, and the utmost comfort in our planet’s polar regions.

Ker & Downey is a family-owned, multi-award-winning tour operator based out of Katy, Texas, with more than 25 years of experience handcrafting fully inclusive luxury travel itineraries to more than 100 countries worldwide. Just as no two people are alike, no two itineraries are alike. Each itinerary is tailored to each clients’ specific interests and desires. Contact us to see why traveling with Ker & Downey is a world of difference.

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