If you’re reading this blog, then the chances are that you’re pretty familiar with the idea of a ‘bucket list’. You probably even have ideas of the destinations and experiences that are on your bucket list already. But do you have one actually written?
If the thought of putting pen to paper on your biggest travel dreams seems unnecessary to you – think again. Neuroscience studies have proven that people who write down their goals are between 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to fulfil them.
We won’t go into the details about the complex biological process that causes this phenomenon, but needless to say, if you’re really serious about ticking those big trips off your travel bucket list, it’s time to get it written for real!
But where do you begin? What is the best way to write down your adventure travel bucket list – and how can you decide what to put on it in the first place?!
Well, keep reading! To help you get started with making your adventure travel dreams a reality, we’ve created this 10-step guide to writing your bucket list – and getting it ticked off!
Step 1: Identifying your travel style
Now I know you’re probably raring to go with the brainstorming stage (how many Pinterest and YouTube tabs do you have open and ready? Be honest…) but first it’s important to be realistic about what kind of traveller you are.
It’s probably safe to guess that you’re at least somewhat interested in adventure travel, seeing as you’re here, but there’s much more to identifying your travel style than that.
Before you start writing your adventure travel bucket list, ask yourself a few questions:
- What are some things that you really want to achieve in your lifetime?
- Which skills do you want to develop, or parts of your self do you want to build on?
- How intense of an adventure do you want?
- What balance of culture, nature and adventure is best for you?
- What are your hobbies? Which activities do you enjoy?
- Which kinds of environment do you enjoy the most?
- Are you comfortable in large groups, or do you prefer quiet atmospheres?
- Is there anything that’s a no-go for you? Extreme cold, for example, or heights?
- What level of luxury are you looking for from your accommodation?
- What is your preferred length for a trip to last?
There are various considerations of this kind to take into account before writing your bucket list. Take the time to think them through, and perhaps write a few notes to keep them in mind when you’re in the brainstorming stage.
This way you will be able to choose destinations and activities that actually suit your personality, rather than being attracted by the most popular trips that might not actually be the best for you. Yes, many people might have diving in the Great Barrier Reef on their bucket lists, but if you’re claustrophobic under water, then it’s probably not for you!
Step 2: Working out your limits
Once you’ve worked out which opportunities fit you best, it’s important to take a moment to consider any limitations that you might have. As an adventure travel company, we like to think that most people’s limits can be pushed much further than they realise, but there are times when we (perhaps unfortunately) have to be realistic with ourselves!
For example, quite often here at The Bucket List Company, we receive emails and calls from customers booked on our trips asking whether a certain health condition they have could affect their ability to complete the trip. Whilst nine times out of ten, it’s fine – you’re usually capable of much more than you realise – it’s always better to think about these things before writing your bucket list and booking trips.
Another element of working out your limits is deciding how extreme you want your travels to be. What are your limits in terms of accommodation, for example – are you happy to stay in huts, say, but not to camp in a tent? Maybe everything is on the cards – whatever it is, be honest with yourself and you’ll find that writing your bucket list is much easier.
You might also want to consider the aspects of your current daily life that could impact your travel possibilities. How much time can you take off from work, for example. Do you have young children, and would you be willing to take them with you on your adventures? All of this is essential to consider.
However, it’s also important to remember that you should never let the drudgeries of everyday life get in the way of your dreams. After all, many of these things can be changed. If you don’t have much time off work right now, maybe in a few years time you’ll be in a line of work with lots of holiday leave to make the most of, for example.
Another great example of working out your limits – and how to get around them if you want to – is fitness. Say climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is on your bucket list, but you don’t currently feel like you’re fit enough to reach the summit. Don’t leave it off your bucket list! Instead, write it down with a time limit and notes on how you can change your lifestyle now to make it possible, whether that’s changing your food habits or creating a training plan.
This is one of the main reasons why we allow people to book in advance up until 2021 and pay in monthly instalments – it gives you something to work towards and gives you the push to go for it and get those bucket list dreams ticked off!
Step 3: Getting inspiration
Okay, so you’ve done the sensible stuff, and now it’s time to dream big! So you can open all of those tabs and start looking for inspiration on which bucket list adventures to add to
There are so many sources of travel inspiration, from YouTube videos and Pinterest boards, to Instagram, to books, films and much more. It’s totally up to you how you go about finding your ideas – perhaps you could make a spider diagram based on the activities you’d like to try, or an inspiration board of photos from places you’d like to go? You could even write a list of top ten adventure challenges you’d like to complete and go from there.
Maybe you’ve always wanted to climb a mountain. Or it could be that you’re already a keen trekker and you’d like to achieve something big, like climbing a mountain over 6,000 metres in elevation. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to learn to dive, but haven’t decided where to take your course yet. Or is there one phenomenon that you’ve always wanted to experience, like seeing the Aurora Borealis, or trekking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu? Whatever it is, write it down and keep adding to your brainstorm for a few days until you’re happy with how many ideas you have.
The likelihood is that one idea will lead to another, and before you know it you’ll have pages and pages of bucket list materials ready to turn into your own adventure travel bucket list!
If you’re looking for a starting point, our “What’s on your Bucket List?” video might give you some ideas!
Step 4: Discussing with friends
Now, before you set anything in stone, it’s a good idea to seek a second – or third – opinion. Of course, travel bucket lists are very personal things, and ultimately it’s down to you to decide what you want to achieve and where you want to experience in your lifetime. However, it’s always good to discuss your ideas with others, because this way you can get valuable outside perspective on your ideas.
Why not chat to friends who have been to some of the places you’re thinking about to see what they thought of them. Are they worth visiting, and do your friends have any tips on how to best visit the destination, and what to do there. Perhaps you fancy going on a trekking adventure, and have friends who are keen hikers. Ask them where they’d recommend for the ultimate hiking trip!
Speaking to loved ones with experience of your bucket list destinations and adventures is a great way to see what like-minded people think, rather than simply going off the suggestions of strangers on the internet. Of course, though, the internet is a great place to connect with more people who have experienced the things you want to do, whether it’s by reading adventure travel blogs or joining online groups.
Step 5: Choosing your destinations
Now that you’ve got all of your information and ideas together, it’s time to narrow down your choices and create a bit of clarity. First let’s think about destinations.
You might have an idea about certain things you’d like to experience – snorkelling in a blue cave, for example, or going dog sledding in the Arctic. But most activities can be experienced in more than one location, so the next step is to decide where exactly you want to do these things.
To work this out, have a think about the kinds of climates you prefer, which cultures and environments you are particularly drawn to, and how far you’re willing to travel. Write down a list of countries you’ve always wanted to visit, whether it’s Peru, Morocco or Russia, and start thinking about which of these you could have your chosen adventures in.
Step 6: Choosing your adventures
Similarly, it’s also wise to create a list of activities and adventures that will feature on your bucket list. You might already have an idea of all of the countries you’d like to visit – but what do you actually want to do there?
Think of the extreme sports you’d like to try, the cultural encounters you’re drawn to, the things you already enjoy doing and the new skills or knowledge you’d like to acquire. If you could do any of these things through travel, write them down!
Maybe you’ve always wanted to go white water rafting. Trust us, it’s much more fun on holiday! Or perhaps you know that you’d like to go on a cycling trip some day. Write it down and do some research about which destinations best suit your personality and your vision.
To help you work out which kinds of adventure activities are best for you, we created this fun quiz – why not try it out for some inspiration?!
Step 7: Creating an order
Once you have all of your ideas jotted down, it’s a good idea to think about putting them in order. This might seem a little laborious, but it’s a good way to prevent your adventure travel bucket list from being a sprawling line of ideas and places without any sense or organisation.
Of course, you don’t need to make a strict order of which experiences and destinations you want to tick off first, but thinking about realistic timescales is a good way to make sure you can start getting some of those ticks rolling. After all, if one of your dreams is to climb Mount Aconcagua and another is to do the Mount Everest Base Camp trek – yet you’ve not done much hiking before – it will be much easier to tick off the EBC trek first than it will be climbing the 6,962-metre beast that is Aconcagua.
When you’re formulating a rough order, think about how difficult each challenge will be to complete – what will require lots of training, what will require saving money, which trips are longer and require more advance notice for time off work? Considering these elements will allow you to put the most achievable items near the top and give you the sense of satisfaction that comes from starting to get those dreams ticked off!
Of course, you don’t have to actually order your final bucket list by which items you want to achieve first – you could do it by priority (which trip is the most exciting for you), or things like affordability. But it is worth considering putting rough dates for when you want to get it ticked off by, to keep yourself accountable and increase the chances of it happening!
Step 8: Getting it written!
Finally, it’s time to actually write your adventure travel bucket list up in all its glory!
This step is pretty straightforward, but allow me to give you a bit of advice – write it down by hand first. You might remember from school being told that writing things by hand helps you to remember it – and it’s true. There’s something about putting physical pen to paper that just helps you to retain the information, and somehow gives you a sense of commitment to fulfilling those big bucket list goals.
Of course, after you’ve done this, you might want to type up your bucket list – it’s important to keep it looking neat and attractive, after all. If you can read it easily and clearly whenever you want inspiration, it’ll be much easier to follow through on. But if you do, make sure to print it out so that you don’t just forget about it! Put your list somewhere that you’ll see it every day, to remind you of your dreams and give you that daily kick to work towards them.
Some people even like to get their lists framed nicely, or to write them on a chalkboard. It’s certainly nice to see your achievements getting ticked off, and to have that little encouragement to keep dreaming – whether it’s on your office wall or on the kitchen fridge!
Step 9: Figuring out the logistics
So now you’ve got your bucket list written – congratulations! But that isn’t the final step. To make it actually happen, there will be logistics you’ll have to work out before you jet-set off!
What these logistics look like will depend on your individual circumstances, but whatever they are, it’s a good idea to make a separate document detailing everything you’d need to organise to get each goal achieved.
Personally, I love a good spreadsheet, but you don’t have to be as formal as this! Just have a think about things like:
- How much you’ll need to save to pay for the trip, how you can realistically achieve this and how long it will take
- Who you’d like to travel with – your partner? A friend? Your family? Go solo or with new people?
- When you would need to book the time off work, and how you will organise this
- Whether you need to train for your chosen adventure, or prepare yourself in any other way
- How far in advance you’d need to book to organise visas, immunisations, etcetera
- What kit you’d need to get for your trip
There are several things to consider when it comes to actually planning a bucket list adventure, and that’s why we make it as easy as possible for you by booking your flights and accommodation for you, plus including transfers, UK guides, various meals and more. These things are all worth thinking about when deciding who to book your trip through and how to best approach your adventure.
Step 10: Ticking it off!
Now you’re ready to tick off those bucket list adventures! If you’ve decided on which trip you want to get ticked off next, why not give us a call? We can help you book the ultimate bucket list experience and help you with every element from booking to take-off!