TRAVEL
04/25/2014 07:57 am ET | Updated Apr 29, 2014

21 Travel Experiences You Must Have Once (And Only Once)

A few epic places on this Earth deserve a permanent, recurring role on your lifetime to-do list. Then there are overhyped places you should never, ever waste your time on in the first place.

Finally, there's a hybrid of the two: a "one and done" travel experience so epic and so awesome and so life-altering, it really only needs to be completed once. After that, you're either too high on adrenaline or too full of food or too sick of tourists to EVER do it again.

Allow us to show you what we mean.

1. Ride to the top of the Eiffel Tower
Watching the City of Light sparkle beneath you is pure magic, but The. Line. Is. Insane. Plus, you'll find much more authentic versions of Paris on the ground.
eiffel tower crowd

2. Go clubbing in Las Vegas
Don't hate us, but that city is expensive. And a veritable hellhole. Capture the rush of dancing on a table to "Sexyback," and then stick to your neighborhood dive bar for the rest of your life.
las vegas dj

3. Shop Harrod's in London
Well, you shouldn't visit just once... you should move in and never leave. While we wish we could do this, it's not a very productive way to spend your short time in London.
harrods

4. Climb Mount Kilimanjaro
...just mostly for the sake of your quadriceps. If you're capable of summiting this monster more than once, then by all means go for it.
climb mount kilimanjaro

5. Visit the "coffee shops" in Amsterdam
Check it off your list. But let's face it: nobody needs to inhale that many substances in one trip EVER again.
amsterdam coffee shop

6. Stay at a Caribbean mega-resort
Those themed water slides are pretty darn fun, and poolside sandwiches are prime. But the guilt of contributing to the commercialization of such a pristine natural landscape creeps in fast, and you'll wish you were in an eco-friendly hut on a secluded cay.
atlantis nassau

7. See the Sistine Chapel
You've heard about Michelangelo's painstaking labor, and you should see its fruits. But no cameras? No classical music? No trumpets and fanfare? Not worth a second visit.
sistine chapel ceiling

8. Cruise Halong Bay, Vietnam
You'll never be able to match the thrill of that first flip off the boat deck... which is why you should give up now and head to a more remote, less intoxicated part of beautiful Vietnam.
halong bay

9. Run with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain
You can really only do this once, because once could potentially kill you.
running of the bulls

10. Stay at The Ranch at Live Oak in Malibu, California
A week of "luxury bootcamp" at one of the best spas in the world entails group yoga, private massages, organic meals and queen-size beds. By the end you'll be so fit (and so broke!), you won't need a return trip for years. At least Malibu sunsets come free of charge.
malibu sunset

11. Visit the rim of the Grand Canyon
Standing on the edge at sunrise will make you feel utterly tiny and awestruck. So awestruck that you'll want to book a longer stay so you can go inside!
grand canyon rim

12. Order crepes off the street in Paris
It's taste-bud-mesmerizing to watch them spread batter on a hot griddle. But when bites cost a dollar a pop, you'll realize tourists are the only ones buying them.
crepe paris

13. Spend spring break in Cancun, Mexico
Sun, margarita, sun, repeat. It's a renewing cycle, but after one run-through you should throw some culture into the mix with a place like Tulum.
cancun spring break

14. Go to Oktoberfest
You've never really heard someone say they're going back to Oktoberfest, presumably because it was either too expensive, too crowded, or too liver-damaging... or perhaps all three.
oktoberfest

15. Visit the top of the Empire State Building
It's $29 of sheer, haggling craziness, and once you've seen it you've seen it. But the more chilled-out Top of the Rock is something we'd sign up to do both morning and night, summer and winter.
empire state building observation

16. Gorge yourself at Damnoen Saduak floating market
This Thai culinary wonderland is one of the most famous floating markets in the world. The sights, smells, chaos and tastes are overwhelming -- in a good way that leaves you satisfied for years.
damnoen saduak

17. Attend a closing party in Ibiza
Spain's party island is bonkers at the end of the season. One all-night shindig is enough to tire you for the rest of your trip, so wise travelers indulge only once.
ibiza closing party

18. Take a desert road trip
On arid highways in New Mexico, there isn't a knoll in sight, and you'll be the only car on the open road. It's exhilarating, but there are more potty stops on a southern route. And when a thunderstorm hits, you're toast.
highway new mexico

19. Have the Guinness Storehouse experience
Ireland's most iconic beer tastes even more robust after a trip through its intricate creation process. After getting the spiel, though, go drink it in an authentic pub, as was intended.
guinness storehouse

20. Visit the Acropolis
Ancient history is humbling. However, the modern city of Athens is not a place you want to visit twice.
acropolis

21. Ride a gondola in Venice
It's a great way to get acquainted with the waterways, but you'll feel like less of a tubby tourist when you see them from the cobblestoned streets.
venice gondola

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