Get Inspired: Bucket List Ideas for Travel - Travel on the Reg (2023)

Updated March 30, 2021

There’s just not enough time in a lifetime to see it all.

I’m not really someone who ticks off countries just for the thrill of ticking them off.

Sure, there’s plenty you can see somewhere in even just a day, but it makes it more about the number when you’re planning your travel just to bump another one-off.

That sounds aggressive.

That doesn’t mean I don’t have a travel bucket list. Boy, do I have bucket list ideas when it comes to travel, whether the time I’m working with is one month or a day.

It’s just constantly changing, sometimes based on an amazing story I hear from others, or a top 10 this or that I see online for upcoming hot destinations.

Sometimes I’m just staring at the screen saver on the Apple TV and I’m all, “That looks awesome. Where is that?”

Fun fact: Somehow, it’s usually New Zealand, by the way.

Generally, what remains a constant for me is that drive to see more of the world. I don’t ever want to feel like I’m in a bubble, which is easy to do if you’ve lived in San Diego.

For some additional inspiration, I reached out to other bloggers and travelers out there to hear about their bucket list ideas, along with manageable tips on how to hold yourself accountable to your annual bucket list goals.

I’m not talking about eating less and moving more; I’m talking about seeing the world.

Be less of a dreamer, and more of a doer.

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below may be affiliate links, including links through the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I won’t recommend something I have not used/would not use myself, and any income earned supports the upkeep of this site.

Bucket List Ideas: Hold Yourself Accountable

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Creating achievable goals for the new year can be tricky. Motivation dwindles come springtime, and by August, those goals are long forgotten.

In order to prevent goal detachment from reoccurring year after year, my good friend Caitlyn and I came up with the idea of being each other’s “Accountabile-a-buddy system.”

At the beginning of each year, just when liquid ambition begins to trickle in — one glass of wine into the evening — we begin.

We each write down 20 goals or simple bucket list ideas for ourselves, then hand over a copy to each other. The goals range from fun to more serious, with the objective to learn about yourself in the process.

With travel bucket lists, goals that promote change and adventure within yourself are the best. If you have your friend pushing you forward and rooting you on to be a better version of yourself, they're even better.Click To Tweet

For example, these are some goals from Caitlyn’s recent list:

  1. Hold a snake.
  2. Eat beef tongue tacos.
  3. Bungee jump.

She accomplished all three.

She had to be coerced into one of the above, but the others happened naturally.

We dropped by an exotic pet store to pick up some crickets for her classroom’s bearded dragon. While there, I asked the clerk if I could please hold their smallest non-poisonous snake.

He obliged.

I held it with confidence after confirming it was not bitey. Then I offered it to Caitlyn.

“Hold her. She is nice, bright green, and I think she likes watermelon-flavored candies. She doesn’t bite,” I told her.

Caitlyn held it uncomfortably for 30 whole seconds.

Later that year, Caitlyn started dating this really nice guy whose mother makes a mean Mexican meal. She inadvertently ate beef tongue tacos not even realizing it was tongue. She just thought the meat was extra chewy.

Checked that one off the list.

For a birthday recently, our friend Amanda had arranged for a group of 20 to walk across the Bridge to Nowhere in California’s San Gabriel Mountains.

Caitlyn was not thrilled about hiking 10 miles roundtrip to bungee jump off a bridge, but she discovered that she could do so with a large support system cheering her on.

We’ve discovered it’s easier to finish up a list of yearly goals with a friend than it is alone, and it’s much more fun.

Whether it’s a day hike in a national park or a crowd in New York, things you’re scared of or creeped out by, always push forward.

Simonne is a freelance comedy writer, or as her parents refer to it as, “an unpaid clown.” She hates semicolons.

You’re feeling super motivated now, right?

What is on most people’s bucket lists? More often than not, it’s travel that makes it onto people’s bucket lists.

That said, get your dream journal out now for some awesome bucket list ideas on where you can go to make your next year a memorable one.

Macedonia Travel Dreams

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My bucket list destination is Macedonia.

Ever since visiting the Balkans in 2014, I have been fascinated by this underrated region of former Yugoslavian countries, and it’s topped my ultimate bucket list ideas.

I loved seeing Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, and Montenegro. Macedonia is next on my list for several reasons, but first and foremost it has a natural beauty and opportunities for outdoor adventure.

I’d love to explore Lake Ohrid, kayak in Matka Canyon, and try hiking and exploring the many caves in the area.

I’m also intrigued to experience the confluence of so many different cultures in this area — a little bit of Greek, Soviet, Persian, and Turkish influence, all in one area.

One other thing I’d love to try is the FOOD.

I have heard that Macedonia is known for its delicious bread and pastries, so I’d be in heaven just eating my way through the region. I’ll definitely be booking at least one food tour of the area to try all the stews and foods full of aromatic spices.

Macedonia not only tops bucket lists, it’s also a budget destination, and I’m all about traveling smarter and travel on a budget. Money goes so much farther in Eastern Europe, as the cost of travel, accommodation, and even food is so much lower than many other areas of the continent.

I feel like I’d be able to see a lot of things in Macedonia on a reasonable budget.

Emily’s an outdoor adventure lover and has made it her goal to plank in every continent. After struggling with serious health issues for several years, she learned the importance of embracing healthy living both at home and on her travels. She started her blog, The Planking Traveler, as a way to share what she’s passionate about: wellness.

Adventures in Greece Are Waiting

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As the year is coming to an end, I’m happy to look back at a life full of adventures and cool bucket list ideas. Since my start housesitting full time not too long ago, I was able to check a lot of things off the list and learn quite a bit.

Just to give you the highlight reel, housesitting enabled me to visit my #1 bucket list location: Bali, Indonesia. Not to mention I also checked off my #1 bucket list activity: a ride in a hot air balloon!

Fun fact: If you don’t have any idea how you get in and out of a hot air balloon, I suggest Googling it for a laugh.

The year was epic, so the pressure is on.

So what’s managed to slide onto my bucket list?

The top of the list is my now #1 bucket list location that I need to attend to: Greece.

I’ve dreamed of the white and blue skylines of the Greek islands for years and I’m bound and determined to make it happen sooner rather than later.

If you know someone who needs a house-sitter on one of the Greek Islands, hit me up.

Until then, I’ll be refreshing Skyscanner for the best deal…

Malina Padgett is a digital nomad, solo traveler, and worldwide house-sitter. You can follow her travels on Instagram!

The Philippines: Jungles, Lagoons and Beaches, Oh My!

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I have been dreaming about the Philippines for as long as I can remember.

I guess there’s something about the amazing white sand beaches and the mind-blowing turquoise sea that makes my mind relax just by seeing a picture of it.

Another fact about the country that caught my attention for bucket ideas is how affordable it can be for those of us who live in Europe.

Note: A room can be as cheap as 15 dollars (USD) in a not-so-touristy place.

I also recently discovered that there’s much more than gorgeous beaches, and so much to discover if you’re ready for something new.

In the Philippines, you can find jungles, volcanos, lagoons, and waterfalls. The number of things you can do in this place is overwhelming, and I love the idea of having a really outdoorsy vacation.

I hope for the day when my dream to travel to the Philippines becomes a reality!

Laura Otero is an Argentinian journalist living in Amsterdam who runs her own travel blog, Laura No Esta. She loves her cat, enjoys reading British literature, and loves exploring the city during the weekends. Follow her on Instagram!

A Family Affair in Portugal

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My husband and I have gone to Europe for the last three years, and for our next big trip, we want to take the kids. We think Portugal is an excellent choice as their first European vacation due to a few reasons.

First and foremost, it is one of Europe’s least expensive countries, which will help us save on accommodations and make it an easy pick for bucket list ideas for teens, especially the hungry kind.

Secondly, while we live in Florida, my husband and I are originally from Brazil, and the kids would be able to practice their Portuguese abroad.

Last but not least, Portugal has amazing food and culture.

We plan to stay two days in Lisbon, two days down south, then go up to Porto.

This would be a great itinerary to take our teenage kids on. We feel they are old enough to appreciate travel and we are super excited to create these new memories with them.

Feuza Reis is a South Florida based blogger, traveler and speaker. She is passionate about marketing, photography and laidback travel. Her travel blog, SoFlo Biz, focuses on Florida and European travel, as well as marketing tips for bloggers and creatives.

Northern Lights Spotting

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Traveling has always topped my bucket list ideas.

While most will have a collection of goals such as getting rich and other personal goals, my bucket list usually consists of places to travel to.

There are many activities and places I’ve ticked off my bucket list, like riding in a hot air balloon, mimosas in hand.

I have so many more.

To name a few, I want to see cherry blossoms in Japan, I want to visit the Great Wall of China, and I want to spend a week with the Maasai people, a tribe that lives in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania.

There’s plenty on my list, but the one trip at the top is Norway so that I can see the beautiful Northern Lights dance around in the dark sky.

I’m a mountains and cold weather kind of girl, too, so the idea of going to Norway to see the Northern Lights is exciting.

Although there are many places in northern Norway to see the Aurora Borealis, one of the places I would like to see them in is in the Lofoten Islands.

Note: The Lofoten Islands have mountains that rise steeply from the fjords, giving the background a super dramatic effect. As a photographer, this is an amazing scenario for a wonderful photograph, but it also makes for an experience of a lifetime.

Since these are islands, the view of the Northern Lights can also differ greatly across the islands.

I can’t wait!

Hanny is the blogger behind The Global Wanderess, which is a blog dedicated to providing readers with budget-friendly places to visit and off-the-beaten-path travel guides when you’re ready to take a break from work to play. Follow her on Instagram!

My Own Bucket List Ideas

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I’ve already told you about how my own crazy bucket list ideas are ever-changing, but there are a few that remain a constant.

  • India: India was one of those places I told my husband that I needed to see before we had kids. We’ve since decided not to have children, and I still haven’t been. It’s a scam if I’ve ever seen one.
  • Galápagos Islands: Blue-footed boobies aside, I love visiting places that feature wildlife you won’t see anywhere else in the world. The Galápagos appears to fit that bill aggressively, and I want to see it for myself.
  • Tanzania: This African nation has been on my list since our honeymoon to South Africa years ago. There’s just something about Africa that begs for more exploration once you’ve been once.
  • Tuscany: Just because I’ve been really means nothing, as you can’t have enough Tuscany in life. Diane Lane knows what’s up.
  • Vietnam: The more pho I eat in life the more prominent the urge to visit Vietnam becomes. It’s quite prominent at the moment, guys.

What’s on your bucket list? Is it diving in the Great Barrier Reef or Costa Rica, a road trip of the Norway fjords, hiking down into the Grand Canyon in the United States, or completing that family tree with a visit abroad?

What are your bucket list items related to travel, and what’s standing in the way? Let me know in the comments!

Photo credits: Willian Justen de Vasconcellos (1), Boggy (2), Alex Blăjan(3), Louie Martinez (4), Liam McKay(5), Max Stoiber(6), Ruslan Bardash(7)

Ready to Make Your Bucket List Happen?

Your Flight: I use a variety of tools to find cheap airfare, but when I’m looking to book during a particular period of time, I’ll use Skyscanner.

It’s a great tool for when you’re more flexible, too, as it allows you to compare travel based on length of travel, departure date, etc. Another strategy is following the major airlines to catch good deals that may come up for your city.

Your Accommodations: We primarily use Booking.com for our trips. They have a good range of lodging options from city centers to the middle of nowhere. Hotels.com is a decent comparison tool if you’re price-shopping.

Vrbo has become our go-to Airbnb alternative these days. They’ll have great listings if you’re looking to travel outside of a single or pair!

Seeking even more wallet-friendly accommodations? Try Hostelworld. Their picks are heavily vetted and reviewed to offer you a safe experience on a budget.

Etc.: For more tips on tools I use for my travel planning and plotting my travel bucket list ideas, check out my Travel Tools. For general travel goodies, visit my Favorite Things page.

These were the best bucket list ideas, right? Pin ’em!

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