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Travel Bucket List Ideas: How to Create Your Ultimate List

Where in the world do you want to go? Have you ever stopped for a few minutes in this overwhelmingly busy life to think about it? Dreamt about where you truly want to explore? Have you actually created a travel bucket list?

travel bucket list ideas photo of camels in desert on tan sand with sun setting
How far will your travel bucket list go?

This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, see my disclosures.

This great, amazing, wonderful, beautiful world has so much to offer! A majority of us stay in our own little corner of it, in our same basic routine. Exploring new adventure vacations is a great way to venture out of our routine.

Traveling is a chance to gain perspective through new experiences. Not to mention vacations can give us energy and actually make us happier, as proven by research!

So friend, do you have a travel bucket list? Like one that you’ve taken the time to daydream, to create, and really get excited about? Well dreamer, why not let today be the day to start your travel bucket list?

Imagine, if at the end of your life you looked back and you’ve had every travel experience you wanted to have, and went every place you’ve wanted to go. How full would your heart be?

Note: keep reading for a list of 101 destination ideas!

white sand of turks and caicos walking on beach
Dreamy Turks and Caicos. Photo credit: Nikki’s travels

Dream Big

What are your travel dreams? Whether you’re dreaming about visiting every island in the Caribbean, every theme park in America, every mountain range in the world, or whatever your goals are, it’s time to write them down!

Do you know, if you write down your goals, you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goal? Hear that, friends? Forty-two percent! That’s huge!

So by writing down your travel goals you’re more likely to actually go on those trips, have amazing experiences, and live the life you’re dreaming of!

I’ve got BIG dreams. We all do, right? So as a #dreamer, I’m motivated by dreaming about my next trip. Because friend, I truly believe this world was made for us to explore.

As Walt Disney says, “if you can dream it, you can do it.” This is one of my favorite quotes, and if you’re part of this community of dreamers you may have heard me mention it before. So go ahead, dream big and create your ultimate bucket list!

glacier national park hidden lake
Glacier National Park in Montana. Photo credit: Nikki’s travels

Creating Your Travel Bucket List

This is the fun part! A bucket list is a wish list of locations you want to visit. You get to make your travel bucket list as long or short as you’d like!

Are you dreaming of a few huge trips that will take years to come true? Or will a trip a year (or a month!) satisfy your travel craving?  Read through the following exercise to create your own travel bucket list.

First, write down any destinations that come to mind immediately

Always wanted to see the Grand Canyon? Ready to marvel at the Taj Mahal? Wanting to hit the cobblestone streets of Italy?

Whether they’re trips with your significant other, family vacations, girls weekends away, trips with friends, or anything in between, those places that come to mind right away go on your list first.

island of Mauritius
Nation of Mauritius, Indian Ocean. Photo credit: Unsplash

Next, keep digging from within

Remember this is your list, so build it to match your true travel desires. Use the questions below to think of more places to add. Seriously take some time to work through these questions. And don’t hold back!

  • Where have you always wanted to go?
  • What places intrigue you?
  • Which destinations inspire you?
  • Where does your heart sing?
  • Where could you go to learn more about ______ ? (insert hobby/passion)
  • Which destinations could you visit that would bring out the best in you?
  • Where could you go that you could make an impact? (think volunteering, teaching or mission trips)
  • What could you do on vacation that you really, really want to, but scares you a little bit? Ok, now where is that?
  • Where have you thought about going to, but feel it’s too expensive? (include it – this is a dream list!)
  • What travel experience would create an epic story so good you’ll tell it to friends and family when you’re 90 years old?
top things to do in Kauai Hawaii
Na Pali Coast on Kauai, Hawaii. Photo credit: Nikki’s travels

Then, research best travel bucket list destinations

Google and Pinterest are your friends here! Searching anything from ‘best hiking trails in the world’ to ‘best undiscovered beaches’ to ‘best family destinations in Asia’ to whatever else you’re into. You’ll be swooning over pictures on your screen as you review all your options.

Related reads:
Horseback Riding on the Beaches of Turks and Caicos
28 Underrated Travel Destinations in the US You Need to See
What is Bangalore Famous For?
Best Things to do in Austin, Texas

Researching might also spark a memory of a location you’d considered before. For instance, you’re on Pinterest and find a pin about top beaches in Mexico. Then you remember the time you saw photos of the undiscovered beach off the coast of Barbuda and wanted to check into flights.

Wherever your research takes you, use this time to discover your ideal destinations and add them to your travel bucket list.

I’ve included my bucket list at the bottom of this article in hopes that it may help you think of ideas.

bucket list kenya safari
Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya. Photo credit: Unsplash

Making it Happen

Okay, are you feeling good about your travel bucket list? Does it excite you to even imagine experiencing all those destinations? The next part is a bit more challenging: making it happen.

Start breaking down your newly created list to figure out when you can make these dreams a reality. Where will you go first? When can you make it happen? Depending on your list, you might be thinking, “I want to go everywhere, but how?”

A great place to start is prioritizing your list. You could try to categorize them in order of affordability, or location, or the dreamiest first.

Once you’ve identified your first trip, do some basic research to figure out how much it will cost. Then determine your timeline. If you want to go to your first destination in fifteen months, take that basic cost and divide by fifteen. Can you save that much per month? If not, you have a three options: change your timeline, change your destination or change your finances.

Related reads:
How to Save Money for Travel – Your Vacation Savings Plan
7 Money Habits to Make (or Break)
55 Ways to Save Money

The key here is not to get discouraged! If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the ‘how’ to get there, then it’s time to start making lifestyle changes so you can achieve what’s on your bucket list. Your lifestyle and finances can help you achieve your dreams of crossing every destination off your list, but you need to ask yourself the hard questions to make big changes.

travel to India culture
Mysore Palace in Mysore, India. Photo credit: Nikki’s travels

Start with these questions:

  • Does your current lifestyle enable you to travel? (think about your work, family, home life)
  • What would you have to give up to be financially able to afford your travel bucket list?
  • How could you increase your income and therefore savings in order to travel?
  • What can you do on a daily basis to move toward achieving your travel bucket list goals?

As you go through these questions, please remember that NOTHING is impossible. If your mind can create it, and you truly believe in it, you can achieve it.

Stay Inspired

Finally, stay inspired. Just the process of creating your list can light a fire within you to make changes to your life and achieve your travel goals.

Use this as motivation to save some serious cash so you can travel when and where you want to. Look at your finances every month, week, or payday to keep track of your savings goals.

travel bucket list Amalfi Coast Positano Italy
Positano, Amalfi Coast, Italy. Photo credit: Unsplash

My 101 Travel Bucket List Destinations

As promised, here’s my list of 101 destinations full of wanderlust. I’ve traveled to some pretty amazing places, but I have so much of this big world left to explore!

North America

  1. Kauai, Hawaii
  2. Molokai, Hawaii
  3. Lanai, Hawaii
  4. Big Island, Hawaii
  5. Mendenhall Ice Caves, Juno, Alaska
  6. Yosemite National Park, California
  7. Sequoia National Park, California
  8. Lake Tahoe, California
  9. Multnomah Falls, Oregon
  10. The Wave, Arizona
  11. Antelope Canyon, Arizona
  12. Arches National Park, Utah
  13. Zion National Park, Utah
  14. Glacier National Park, Montana
  15. Lake Superior, Minnesota
  16. New Orleans, Louisiana
  17. Savannah, Georgia
  18. New York City, New York
  19. Green Mountains, Vermont
  20. Portland, Maine
  21. Moraine Lake, Alberta, Canada

Related read: 100 Most Romantic Vacations in the United States

Picturesque and budget-friendly beach, boat and pier in Belize
Picturesque town of Placencia, Belize. Photo credit: Nikki’s travels

Caribbean & Central America

  1. Puerto Rico
  2. Playa Carrillo, Costa Rica
  3. St. Croix
  4. Bahamas
  5. Negril, Jamaica
  6. Grenada
  7. Cayman Islands
  8. Turks and Caicos
  9. Belize 
  10. Culebra 
  11. Dominican Republic 
  12. Curacao
  13. Aruba

South America

  1. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
  2. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
  3. Lencois Maranhenses, Brazil
  4. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
  5. Machu Picchu, Peru
  6. Marble Caves, Chile
  7. Igazu Falls, Argentina
  8. Patagonia, Argentina
  9. Buenos Aires, Argentina

Europe

  1. Blue Lagoon, Iceland
  2. Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, Iceland
  3. Reykjavik, Iceland
  4. Geiranger Fjord, Norway
  5. Paris, France
  6. Algarve, Portugal
  7. Lagos, Portugal
  8. Ibiza, Spain
  9. Barcelona, Spain
  10. Rome, Italy
  11. Tuscany, Italy
  12. Venice, Italy
  13. Amalfi Coast, Italy
  14. Salina Island, Italy
  15. Hallstatt, Austria
  16. Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
  17. Santorini Island, Greece
  18. Navagio Bay, Greece
  19. Montenegro
Navagio Greece
Navagio Greece. Photo credit: Unsplash

Middle East, North Africa & Greater Arabia

  1. Marrakech, Morocco
  2. Giza Pyramids, Egypt
  3. Pamukkale, Turkey
  4. Cappadocia, Turkey
  5. Petra, Jordan

Sub-Saharan Africa

  1. Kenya
  2. Zanzibar, Tanzania
  3. Lake Malawi, Tanzania
  4. Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
  5. South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
  6. Victoria Falls, Zambia
  7. Botswana, Africa
  8. St. Lucia, South Africa
  9. Cape Town, South Africa
  10. Anse Source d’Argent, Seychelles
  11. Mauritius
travel bucket list Sahara Desert camels on sand and sunset
Sahara Desert Marrakech Morocco camel tour. Photo credit unsplash

Asia

  1. Taj Mahal, India
  2. Maldives
  3. Tianmen Cave, Zhangjiajie, China
  4. Zhangye Danxia Landorm, Gansu, China
  5. Rainbow Mountians of Zhangye Danxia, China
  6. Great Wall of China, Beijing
  7. Bagan, Myanmar
  8. Thailand
  9. Luang Prabang, Laos
  10. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
  11. Hitachi Seaside Park, Japan
  12. Bamboo Forest, Japan
  13. Panglao Island, Philippines
  14. Gili Islands
  15. Bali

Australia & Oceania

  1. Sydney, Australia
  2. Great Barrier Reef, Australia
  3. Coral Coast, Australia
  4. Lake Tekapo, New Zealand
  5. Queenstown, New Zealand
  6. Bora, Bora, French Polynesia
  7. Tahiti
  8. Fiji

So, it’s your turn, dreamer! What are the top three destinations on your travel bucket list? Share in a comment below…then write down those goals! 😉

Related content you may like:
35 Swoon-worthy Beach Vacations You Need to See
21 Island Vacations that are Surprisingly Affordable (and Gorgeous)
33 Amazing Spring Break Ideas for Families on a Budget

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the best bucket list destinations

Amanda

Saturday 2nd of January 2021

I love this! I have a bucket list note on my phone that I'm just constantly updating. :)

Nikki

Sunday 3rd of January 2021

Nice! Love that you keep your list so handy!!

Ashlee Fechino

Saturday 2nd of January 2021

Really enjoyed your post - it is important to dream big! I would love to see camels in the wild someday.

Nikki

Sunday 3rd of January 2021

Thanks Ashlee! I agree it would be really cool!

Lauriane

Monday 22nd of June 2020

Love this post - as we are still in lockdown - it is even more crucial to stay inspired and to dream at least by procuration :). I agree with you the most fun part is the creation of the list as you can be as creative as you wish ;)!

Nikki

Monday 22nd of June 2020

Oh Lauriane travel dreaming is the only thing getting me through quarantine! Cannot wait to get back out there and check more spots off my bucket list!

Mary

Monday 22nd of June 2020

Great post! There are so many places I want to go! The question that really stuck out for me was 'Does your current lifestyle enable you to travel?' My answer at the moment is no and I'm seriously trying to work out what I can do to change that!

Nikki

Monday 22nd of June 2020

So glad you found this helpful, Mary. Sounds like you're making a change so that you can travel more -- love it!!

Katy Liang

Sunday 22nd of March 2020

What great ideas! There is so much to look forward to when this is all over. Now is a good time to start planning and dreaming lol

Nikki

Thursday 26th of March 2020

Absolutely!! Dreaming...planning....hoping!