How to Make a Travel Bucket List in 5 Easy Steps

Travel bucketlist

Written by Charli Moore on

Charli Moore is an adventure enthusiast who has been location-independent since 2011. As a freelance writer, she blogs about her adventurous travels at Wanderlusters, and has a penchant for adrenaline highs and crunchy peanut butter. Follow her on Instagram @wanderlustcharli to feed your wanderlust.

Travel bucketlist

Since hitting 25 I’ve realized that practicing self-care is just as important as eating right and exercising if you want to maintain a healthy mind and body. With that in mind, I've found that making a travel bucket list is the best way to channel my focus internally, set attainable goals, and visualize my success.

Accomplishing something I’ve worked hard for makes me feel fulfilled and gives me a sense of achievement, boosting my mood and making me feel happy. There’s nothing that makes me feel happier than when I’m traveling, so after I started writing lists of life goals, I soon realised that making a bucket list of adventure travel experiences was a total no-brainer.

I called it, My Wander List.

Why Make a Bucket List?

Setting your intentions can not only help you achieve them by giving you a sense of focus and inspiring you to be proactive, it can also help to give your travels a greater sense of purpose. If you’re working hard toward saving and preparing for a specific trip or experience, once you set off on the journey, you’ll find you have a greater sense of excitement, and perhaps even pride at the fact you’ve made your dream come true.

It doesn’t matter whether your goal is to travel to the next state, or the other side of the world, if it’s taken a lot of planning and hard work to get there, you’ll relish the moment you actually arrive that little bit more.

How to Make Your Travel Bucket List?

1. Name Your List

Giving your list a name is the first step to creating and realizing items on your travel bucket list. Neuropsychologists have identified the “generation effect,” which basically says that people are more likely to remember, and therefore work toward, achieving goals that they’ve designed themselves and written down, than those they picked up from somewhere else and tried to store to memory.

2. Define its Length

Next you need to decide how many things you’re going to put on your list. My advice here is to dream big, but also be realistic. If you’ve just won the lottery, you probably won’t need to worry about how you’ll finance endless “once in a lifetime” experiences, if you haven’t, keep in mind the limitations of your own resources.

Don’t forget to consider the length of time in which you want to achieve the items on your list. Is this a one-year or 10-year travel bucket list?

3. Create Categories

To stop myself from creating a bucket list that seemed totally unachievable, I decided to create some categories. I figured that I could only have two major travel goals that would require a lot of planning and financial commitment at any one time, so I chose to classify the rest as carry-on only weekend trips, or budget-friendly long-haul escapes.

You could split your list by continent, or type of activity; just ensure you keep it to a manageable size.

4. Prioritize Your Goals

This can actually be quite challenging because you may start to feel like you’re making a list within a list, but you should find there is a natural order to the goals you choose. If you feel like you need to start small, start off with a trip you know you can book quickly in the short-term and at the same time figure out how you can start working toward those that require more planning/time to save.

Travel Tip: Part of making your dream trip happen is being ready for even the most last-minute weekend adventures. Have your packing system down pat with a convertible carry-on and packing cubes so you can say yes to traveling more.

5. Record Your Progress

Once you’ve ticked something off your bucket list make a point of marking the occasion by recording your success in a way that you feel best suits the occasion. I decided to set up an Instagram account to chronicle all my trips, but you could consider having one of the photos from your trip printed to hang on your wall, maintain an online travel journal, or buy something that’s symbolic of the destination to display in your home.

However you choose to record your progress, do so in such a way that it feels like a reward for your success. Have you started a bucket list? What’s your number one travel goal? Let us know on Facebook or Instagram!

Related Links (from Eagle Creek blog):

How to Hike the Great Wall of China

Five Best World Heritage Sites for Adventure Travelers

Infographic: Step Count for Top Adventure Travel Bucket List Hikes and Climbs