I want to visit the Taj Mahal. Someday I’ll see polar bears in the wild. I’m going to dine in a Michelin-starred restaurant before I die. These are items on my travel bucket list.
As long as I can remember, I’ve had a list of travel experiences that I want to accomplish, so when I started hearing the term “bucket list,” I just assumed it was an age-old expression. Not true. The term was actually coined by the screenwriter of the touching 2007 film by the same name. In case you’ve been on Mars since then, a bucket list refers to a list of things to do before you “kick the bucket.”
Why is a travel bucket list important?
A bucket list can also be called life goals. Creating goals helps keeps you focused on what you want to achieve. They provide purpose and direction in life. They guide you toward new experiences and give you the inspiration to do things you never thought possible.
Virtuoso did some study into the concept of bucket lists and found that 75 percent of people’s lists are made up of two things: places they want to go and experiences they want to have. Making a travel bucket list is the first step toward making those experiences reality and helps make the most of your most precious resource – time. Working toward fulfilling a travel bucket list gives your life meaning and excitement for the future.
What should go on a travel bucket list?
Take a moment to consider what gives you joy. Have you harbored a secret desire to do something but were embarrassed to admit it? What are you a little afraid of that would give you confidence if you conquered? Don’t add things just because other people want to do them. This is YOUR list and it’s all about what YOU want to do.
Think about what you want your life to look like when you look back on it. What stories do you want to be able to tell? These are the experiences, both large and small, that should go on your travel bucket list.
How do you create a travel bucket list?
A travel bucket list is a guide, not an obligating contract. If you don’t complete every item no one will judge you, so let your imagination fly free. Start with a brainstorming session and write down every idea that comes to you. Include big and small travel goals. Read travel blogs, watch travel shows, and flip through Instagram for inspiration. Your travel bucket list isn’t static – you can add to it over time. In fact, it’s likely to grow, even as you check items off. The reason, friend, is because you will also grow as you check off experiences.
Be ambitious, but realistic. I want to climb a mountain but with zero technical experience and the fact that I’m not too keen on vertical drops, I’m unlikely to ever plant a flag on the top of Everest. But summiting Kilimanjaro is entirely doable for me. In fact, my son and I are planning to do that together before I turn 60 (see next tip).
Set timeframes and deadlines. How many trips per year do you want to take? Do you need to travel a certain time of year because of your job? Divide your list into seasons or by what you want to accomplish by a certain age (30, 40, 50…) to help you plan.
For me, one “big” trip in the late fall and a shorter or less expensive trip in early spring works well. I constantly look a year (or more) ahead to plan which item to check off next. Between those trips, I enjoy what I call serendipitous travel – experiences that pop up with little planning. I’ve found that if you already have a list of travel you’re interested in, you see opportunities you might have missed otherwise.
Sort trips into experience categories. Make as many categories as you like. Here are some of mine – some cross over categories and that’s OK:
- Active Adventure – Take a cycling trip in Europe, swim with whale sharks in Mexico
- Nature & Wildlife – Visit King penguins in Antarctica, hike in Yellowstone
- Food Experiences – Go truffle hunting in Italy, take a cooking class
- Local Immersion – Shear a sheep in New Zealand, throw tomatoes at La Tomatina in Spain
- Unique Accommodations – Spend the night in an Ice Hotel, overnight in a Sahara Desert camp (checked off!)
What happens next?
Share your list with your travel advisor. By simply writing down your travel aspirations and sharing them with another human, you create some accountability for your goals, making them more likely to be achieved. By sharing them with a trusted travel professional, you get the peace of mind that your travel dreams will become reality.
Your travel consultant can help you organize your ideas into plans and set those plans in motion. He or she can help you draw up a long-range travel blueprint, just like your financial planner helps plan your future fiscal strategy. When your advisor knows what you’re interested in, he or she can alert you when prudent opportunities arise (serendipitous travel).
Start checking things off! There’s nothing stopping you now. It’s time to go out and meet the world. Learn, laugh, love, live. The joy and accomplishment you get from each travel experience will make you happier and happy people live longer. So go ahead and add one more thing to your travel bucket list!
To consult with a Covington travel advisor about your next trip or long-range travel plans, please contact us for an appointment.