You might think you have the rest of your life to see the world’s most exceptional destinations firsthand. And while it’s probably true that the Eiffel Tower and Colosseum will still be standing in 50 years, you can’t say the same about all the locales on this list.
From pollution to overpopulation, global changes are causing some of the most magnificent vistas to vanish before our eyes. So, if you’re planning a vacation this year, find out what it would cost to visit these beautiful bucket list travel destinations before it’s too late.
Average Daily Cost: $34
One of the most mesmerizing fairy tale destinations in the world, Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument ever constructed — and it’s unfortunately among the places that are disappearing.
The site encloses 500 acres. Conservationists, however, say the temple is at risk of damage and loss due to tourists climbing the ruins. Nearby hotels and restaurants are also draining the region’s aquifer, causing the temple’s towers to sink.
Average Daily Cost: $43
Tour: A guided tour that includes round-trip train fare, bus transportation and a meal costs $420.
Out of all the ancient ruins in the world, Machu Picchu is one you definitely have to visit. Machu Picchu stands 7,972 feet above sea level on the slopes of the Andes and is considered one of the greatest architectural achievements of the Inca Empire. Heavy foot traffic and tourists climbing on walls are harming the site, though.
The Galapagos Islands
Average Daily Cost: $34
Tour: A four-day Galapagos Island tour including airport transport, hotel pickup and breakfast starts at $521, according to Viator.
Located 620 miles off the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands are known for white sandy beaches and volcanic rock. Many environmental threats are endangering the islands, however, notably pollution, deforestation, overfishing and invasive species. So, take an educational tour of the islands or just explore its beauty while you still can.
Average Daily Cost: $117
Tour: A three-hour guided walking and boat tour, including visits to St. Mark’s square and entrance to St. Mark’s Basilica, is about $80, according to Viator.
This Northern Italian city has a romantic feel, thanks to its gondolas and canals, and is undoubtedly picturesque. The city is also sinking and already sees regular flooding. Still, Italy remains among the hottest travel destinations of the year. And, it’s one of the destinations with lodging options as low $15 a day — if you know where to look.
Bandelier National Monument
Location: New Mexico
Average Daily Cost: $93
The Bandelier National Monument spans more than 33,000 acres in New Mexico. Warmer temperatures increase the risk of wildfires in this region though, and the area is prone to flooding.
The Great Wall of China
Average Daily Cost: $57
Tour: $55 for a half-day trip
The Great Wall of China stretches more than 13,000 miles, and the site is a prime target for thieves. Bricks from the Great Wall are stolen as souvenirs, and used to build houses and maintain agriculture. The thievery will likely become more commonplace as erosion worsens.
Location: United Kingdom
Average Daily Cost: $155
The iconic circle of standing stones is highly recognizable, though its true purpose remains a mystery. Built between 4,000 and 5,000 years ago, Stonehenge faces continued erosion. So if you want to visit, you should book your trip sooner rather than later. But if you’re strapped for cash, keep in mind that some think this attraction is not worth its cost to visit.
The Statue of Liberty
Location: New York City
Average Daily Cost: $229
Tour: $18.50 ferry fee to Liberty Island, plus $3 for crown access
The Statue of Liberty is a symbol of freedom in the U.S., but rising sea levels and fiercer storms put the monument at risk of severe damage. If you’re vacation planning this year, consider a trip to see this beautiful lady before it’s too late — but visit New York during its cheapest times to save money.
The Great Barrier Reef
Average Daily Cost: $182
Tour: $232 for a full day
A life-changing trip that’s worth the cost, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest reef system in the world and has long been a hot spot for tourists to explore. Increasing environmental challenges are hurting this underwater treasure, however, including warmer ocean temperatures and pollution from pesticides. More than two-thirds of the Great Barrier Reef has already experienced coral bleaching.
The Dead Sea
Location: Israel, Jordan and Palestine
Average Daily Cost: $104
Tour: A Dead Sea relaxation tour costs $82
Considered one of the wonders of the world, The Dead Sea is so dense with salt and other minerals that humans can float on its surface. But the sea is shrinking, and sinkholes are cropping up along the coast due to poor management of water resources.
Location: Northeast of Madagascar
Average Daily Cost: $96 in Madagascar
Tour: Visit three islands of Seychelles and stay 10 nights for $2,378.
Boasting 115 islands off the coast of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, Seychelles has long been a popular destination for beachgoers and honeymooners. Researchers say rising sea levels and erosion are threatening the smallest islands of Seychelles, though, so aspiring travelers should book their trips before it’s too late. If you want to experience a luxury vacation, consider visiting the Fregate Island, which boasts beautiful views.
Glacier National Park
Average Daily Cost: $107
Tour: $15 to $25 per vehicle, depending on the season
One of the best low-cost camping spots in the U.S., Montana’s national park had more than 150 glaciers in 1910. Today there are only 26. Moreover, researchers predict the glaciers will continue to disappear over the coming decades as a result of climate change. By 2030, even the largest glaciers could be melted.
Average Daily Cost: $198
Kivalina is not your typical travel destination. According to Bering Air, there are no hotels, restaurants or banking services in the tiny, 400-person village. Still, the area is a significant one for climate change conversations. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Army Corps of Engineers predicted that it will be underwater within the next decade.
Average Daily Cost: N/A
Tour: A nine-day gorilla safari starts at $7,785.
The Congo boasts the second-largest rainforest in the world. But unsustainable hunting and the extraction of resources like diamonds are threatening the region.
Location: South Asia
Average Daily Cost: $59
The South Asian country is a group of islands famous for its stunning beaches and exclusive resorts. As sea levels rise, the future of low-lying islands — and Maldives’ developed cities — remains uncertain.
Glaciers of the Alps
Average Daily Cost: $171
Tour: $165 for hotel pickup and a nearly six-hour glacier trek
In a few decades, the Swiss Alps might no longer be covered in ice. According to National Geographic, Alpine glacial ice sees an average loss of 3 percent, or about 3.3 feet, per year.
Location: Southeast of Mozambique
Average Daily Cost: $96
Tour: A 13-day stay, transportation and guided tour costs $4,080.
The fourth-largest island in the world is the only home to native lemurs. Unfortunately, deforestation is threatening lemur species — and the health and beauty of the island.
Everglades National Park
Location: South Florida
Average Daily Cost: $117
Tour: A kayak tour of the Everglades costs around $112.
The Everglades is home to unique species of animals and plants. Although it might not disappear entirely, the landscape is facing drastic changes in the coming years.
The Everglades is already half its original size, according to researchers at Macalester College. Moreover, agricultural runoff and pollution are affecting the health of the park.
Average Daily Cost: $31
India’s white marble mausoleum is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Unfortunately, regular cleaning of its walls is damaging the mosaics and destroying the shiny marble surface.
Location: Quebec, Canada
Average Daily Cost: $97 in Quebec City
Home to sandy beaches and sandstone cliffs, these islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence offer a scenic getaway spot. Unfortunately, they are also at risk of disappearing. The island coasts are eroding up to 40 inches a year, according to Time.
Average Daily Cost: $67
Visitors from all over flock to the “lost city,” famous for being carved from rock. Rockfalls, erosion and flooding have put the ancient city of Petra at risk, though.
Average Daily Cost: N/A
Tour: A six-night Antarctica Express Air Cruise costs $4,695.
Antarctica is known for its stunning isolation, glaciers and wildlife, but global warming is affecting the continent. In the last three decades, two significant sections of the ice shelf have collapsed. It’s no secret that travel to Antarctica is expensive, but if you’re planning a vacation this year, you might want to consider going while it’s still around.
The Grand Canyon
Average Daily Cost: $130
Tour: $30 per vehicle
The Grand Canyon is a popular U.S. travel destination — and a great place for family vacations. Unfortunately, its popularity is harming the site’s natural beauty. The National Trust for Historic Preservation included the Grand Canyon on its list of the most endangered historic places in the country, due to resort development and uranium mining.
Average Daily Cost: $124
The world’s oldest underwater city, this unique travel destination offers views of submerged buildings, streets and burial places but is at risk of vanishing for good. Pollution from large ships threatens Pavlopetri, but efforts are under way to preserve the site. Although access is somewhat limited, you can explore the city by boat and with simple snorkeling equipment.
Denali National Park
Average Daily Cost: $175
Denali National Park is home to the highest mountain peak in North America and is one of the best places to visit in Alaska. Its landscape and wildlife are at risk due to climate change, which is causing glaciers to retreat. This phenomenon can disrupt the area’s ecosystem, as well.
Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve
Average Daily Cost: $30
Tour: According to TripAdvisor, a nighttime crocodile watching tour costs $48.
The Rio Platano Biosphere Reserve is one of the last tropical rainforests in Central America. The reserve has been added to the World Heritage Danger list, however. The organization says logging, agricultural encroachment and illegal resource extraction are depleting the region.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Average Daily Cost: $79
Tour: $38 for a regular or sunset cruise from Pictured Rocks Cruises
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is located along the southern edge of Lake Superior and boasts waterfalls, beaches and wildlife. According to the National Park Service, climate change has put the natural ecosystem at risk.
Old City of Jerusalem
Average Daily Cost: $94
Tour: $48 for a half-day walking tour
This holy city has deep religious significance to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. But the Old City likely won’t be around forever. A lack of proper protection and maintenance endangers this site.
Average Daily Cost: $141
In recent years, a series of earthquakes has struck Italy, damaging historic buildings and landmarks. Worse, seismologists say a number of fault lines run under the region, putting it at a higher risk for future earthquakes.
Average Daily Cost: $66
Tour: A survival tour from Manaus, Brazil, costs $122
Deforestation is shrinking the Amazon rainforest and putting its biodiversity and indigenous population at risk. Developmental projects for roads and pipelines open the region up to pollution, poaching and loss of resources, as well.
- 20 Secret Ways to Save on Your Next Hotel Stay
- Cozy, Budget-Friendly Bed-and-Breakfasts in Every State
- 5 Ways to Fly for (Nearly) Free Every Time
- Watch: This Exclusive Australia Tour Comes With a Private Jet
We make money easy. Get weekly email updates, including expert advice to help you Live Richer™.
Average daily cost rates were taken from the site Budget Your Trip. Pricing is current as of Dec. 11, 2017.