Why My Travel Bucket List is Not About a “Where”

the Great Wall on a travel bucket list

I’ve never naturally been a planner. All of my life, I have been fortunate enough to have at least one person in my close friend group that takes the initiative to plan all of our awesome endeavors. They tell us where to be on a certain date at a particular time, and we all show up. Easy as that.

Piece of cake, right?

Planning is harder than those skilled individuals make it look, especially if you’re like me. I like to go with the flow, and have a hard time committing in advance.

But when I started traveling, this quality of being a planner has evolved over time and now is pure inclination.

In January, everybody sets their goals for the year. Starting better habits, letting go of bad ones, trying new things, whatever it may be. I love goal setting and am always on the New Year’s Resolution bandwagon, as my friends can attest to me making them recite what they dream of doing in the next 365 days.

But these past couple of years have been different! What’s changed? I’ve set travel goals.

My annual travel goal is for Luke and I to take three trips to new destinations, with one of those being a big abroad trip. That sounds like a lot at first, but the only person who would stop that from coming to fruition is ourselves.

In 2016, we visited Arizona, Martha’s Vineyard, and did a Eurotrip to London, Munich, Venice, and Rome. So far, in 2017 we’ve visited a some amazing countries in Europe, like Denmark and Norway, have been to the Kentucky Derby, and have explored locally, like a few hours south in Miami.

There will always be reason to put off traveling; money, time, other obligations to name a few. But until you prioritize travel, it will continue to be put on the back burner.

I also hope to become better at planning great trips ahead of time, as this is a key ingredient to traveling more often.

why going to Thailand should be on your travel bucket list

How does one change into a planner for travel?

I learned quickly that if you find reasons not to dedicate time to research a destination, accommodations, and travel, it just won’t happen. It just won’t fall into place without any action. Being a planner is the one way to guarantee that you will get to see and do everything you hope to. The effort you’re putting in is way worth the reward you’ll get out of putting time into planning.

Making a dream become something tangible requires sitting down and goal setting, just like creating a bucket list detailing what you hope to accomplish.

You can make this travel bucket list as detailed as you wish, with alternate itineraries or step by step booking plans.

Here’s my criteria for setting a travel bucket list for Luke and I:

  1. The trip must be to a new destination for at least Luke or myself (he’s traveled so much it’s hard to take him somewhere new!).

That’s really it! Simple as that.

What’s the key to making a travel bucket list actionable? 

The secret to being able to do this is to be flexible with where the destination actually is. Three trips is a lot in one year, so the key is to watch flights and deals and see out of the places you want to go, what makes logical and financial sense?

on our travel bucket list was going to Aix en Provence, France

For instance, we are debating between hiking the Incan Trail to Machu Picchu or going to Germany and Oktoberfest, both in September. Traveling to Peru is much cheaper than Europe, but after doing some investigating and coming to realize that you’ve got to go through an agency to hike the trail with a price tag starting around $600 a person, going to Europe may actually be less expensive.

Where can you quickly explore travel details and deals? 

If you’ve just got the travel bug like we do and yearn to explore a new place and see daily life other than your own, set up some flight alerts on Kayak.com or religiously check out Google flights like we do and you’re bound to be surprised with the dips in prices that you’ll come across.

overlooking the ocean in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands was on our travel bucket list

Traveling is not only for the spontaneous, but also those who premeditate. Bucket lists do not have to be a list of goals or places but more so a mentality.

Flexibility and anticipation will help you to find yourself sitting on a plane and embarking on a new adventure.

Whatever your situation, I hope that you feel you can have a travel bucket list for the year, too. Stay tuned for the three new places we end up. I’m excited to find out where and when they are!