I’ve had a travel bucket list for years, and don’t understand the negativity surrounding travel lists. 

I love lists. I’ve always loved lists.  I use lists daily for a good reason – to keep track of things important to my life and to help me enjoy every minute of every day. Lists make sure I don’t miss deadlines, keep track of books I want to read, movies I want to see, wines I want to try, wineries to visit, and recipes I want to make at home.

I’m not rushing around trying to do, see, or experience everything before I kick the proverbial bucket. I use lists as a roadmap to living the very best life that I can with the years I’m granted. It’s one of the best ways to help me make sure my life priorities – travel is one of them – are kept front and center. What’s not to like about that?

Because travel is so important to me, I began writing down places I wanted to go, things I wanted to see and do, and experiences that captured my interest. Since I’m a history lover, I keep a UNESCO World Heritage Site list so I don’t miss one when I happen to be in the area. I have a list of wineries in Washington State so I can visit when I’m in the area. 

I set a top limit of 100 things that could be on the list, because, let’s face it, without a limit it could go on forever. These aren’t necessarily the best places to visit or the best things to do. It’s a more personal collection of things that matter to me. 

My list includes big travel bucket list items like a safari in Africa (country not specified) and staying in an overwater bungalow in a destination with beautiful white-sand beaches. There are also more practical, real life experiences like going to a Red Sox game and going whale watching in Hawaii.

Your bucket list will be different than mine – and it should be. I have some prompts to get you started on your own travel bucket list.

  • Think local – It’s easy to overlook what’s close to home when you’re dreaming of the Greek Islands, Machu Picchu, or some other “must-visit destination.” Here’s tip, maybe something closer to home is the perfect place for you to visit. Think about all the nearby places you keep telling yourself you’re going to visit over the weekend, but then never get around to it. Those are great to start off your list of things to do, see, and experiences.
  • Think family – Whether it’s your family of origin, or a family acquired, getting back to our roots has been in vogue for years.  Put a family reunion, a trip back to the “old country” or a return to your childhood home, on your list.  Croatia was on my list for a long time as my family came from the Dubrovnik area. I visited in 2019. Madrid is still on the list as genealogy roots trace Tony’s family there.
  • Think adventure – Despite my efforts at climbing Mt. Etna, I’m more of a soft adventure type of gal than a rugged outdoors fan.  Your definition of adventure may vary, but this section of your bucket list can contain all sorts of exciting experiences, no matter how you define adventure.  For me, this includes going on a safari in Africa (country undecided), visiting a casbah in Morocco, visiting the Pyramids, seeing Antarctica, and seeing polar bears in their natural habitat (extinction looms). Do you enjoy diving, snorkeling, climbing, or hiking? What’s that once in a lifetime experience that calls to you?
  • Think luxury – Whether it’s an over-the-top hotel, a luxurious spa, or some fabulous adventure, these dreams are the stuff that bucket lists are made of.  Here are a few of the luxury items on mine:  staying at an overwater bungalow, staying in a decadent penthouse (in any number of cities), a luxury train trip similar to the Orient Express, crossing the Atlantic to New York on a luxury, and traveling by private jet. There are so many beautiful places in the world – what calls to you? 
  • Think destinations.  This is where you can lump everything else.  Whether local, exotic, or somewhere in between, start making a list of general places that you want to visit and worry about filling in the specifics later.  Think of it as mind mapping with a real map.  Here’s a small sampling of what’s on this part of my list:  Malta and Iceland have both been on my to-visit list for decades. Destinations with rich history always call to me, like Egypt, Gettysburg, and the British Museum. Unusual destinations that don’t appeal to many people, places like Gibraltar, Tunisia, and Sri Lanka.

My bucket list is ever-changing – when something is accomplished or I’ve changed my mind about it, it gets crossed off the list and something new is added. The continual nature of how the bucket list evolves means that I will never accomplish everything on the list. And that’s just fine with me!

Here are the things that I crossed off my bucket list since I last updated it three years ago (2020, pre-Covid, you can see it here): 

  • We sailed coastal Maine on a windjammer cruise, visited a lighthouse, and ate lots of lobster.. We wrote about sailing here.
  • I rode a camel in Jordan, and also visited Petra, two different items on my list. The country surprised me in so many ways; you can read about it here.
  • We went to Barbados recently and are in the midst of preparing content about that destination.
  • We laid down a better at the Grand Casino in Monte Carlo (you can read about visiting it yourself here). And, in full disclosure, it was a slot machine, not a table game, but it was all that was available when we visited.
  • We visited a European Christmas Market in two destinations, Barcelona and Marseilles.
  • I drank Chilean wine in Chile as part of an expedition cruise on Seabourn, and also crossed the equator on that journey. You can read about that here.
  • I stayed in a treehouse in Kazakhstan, a country full of surprises. Learn more about it here. I’m also keeping an eye on the evolution of the Kazakh wine industry.
  • We visited Hungary, both Buda and Pest, at the end of our Eastern Europe itinerary on Emerald Cruise. Our friend, Peter, was living there at the time and he gave a day tour of both sides of the river.
  • New countries: Kazakhstan, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Antigua, Dominica, Jordan, Peru, Chile, Monaco (see a map of countries visited below)
  • New states: Maine, Wisconsin (see map below).

Here is my newly updated Travel Bucket List, a total of 100 items with new items replacing those I have crossed off. I already have some tentative travel plans that will cross a couple off the list and there are a few more that could easily be arranged. If you want to join me or help in checking off any of these things in 2019, get in touch!

Note that this list is in no particular order.

  1. Malta
  2. Iceland
  3. Cuba
  4. Safari in Africa (not a country-specific item)
  5. Visit the White House
  6. Montgomery, Alabama
  7. Go to a Red Sox game in Boston
  8. Visit the great pyramids in Egypt
  9. Transatlantic crossing by ship sailing into New York Harbor
  10. Wine tasting in the Finger Lakes
  11. Molokai
  12. Trace some roots in Madrid
  13. Enjoy a weekend on Cape Cod
  14. Tunisia
  15. Wear a fabulous hat at the Kentucky Derby
  16. See polar bears in their native habitat
  17. Press olives in Italy
  18. Spend a weekend on the Jersey shore
  19. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
  20. Sunbathing on Daytona Beach
  21. Visit a dude ranch
  22. Stay in an overwater bungalow
  23. Montreal
  24. Enjoy chili in New Mexico
  25. Driving trip in Wales
  26. Learn to cook Cajun/Creole food in Louisiana
  27. Sleep in an Ice Hotel
  28. Morocco
  29. Catalina Island
  30. Spend a week at the Golden Door Spa
  31. Eat at Rao’s in Harlem
  32. Sardinia, Italy
  33. Ride in a blimp
  34. Paddleboat cruise
  35. Have a steak in Argentina
  36. Vacation on a houseboat
  37. Sail in the British Virgin Islands
  38. Gettysburg
  39. Have a signature scent formulated in Paris
  40. Experience the suite treatment on Emirates
  41. Take a train ride across the United States
  42. Yellowstone and Old Faithful
  43. Take a cooking class in Italy
  44. Mexico City
  45. Round the world cruise
  46. Whale watching in Hawaii
  47. Stay in a castle
  48. Visit Graceland
  49. Great Barrier Reef
  50. Sedona
  51. Go to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
  52. Stay in a penthouse suite in NYC
  53. Have an audience with the Pope in Vatican City
  54. Learn to throw a boomerang Down Under
  55. Bali
  56. Take a road trip to the Florida Keys
  57. Open a Swiss bank account
  58. Niagara Falls (from the U.S. side)
  59. Watch tennis at Wimbledon
  60. Visit Pennsylvania’s Amish Country
  61. Take an RV trip
  62. Laugh it up at Second City in Chicago
  63. Walk on the Great Wall of China
  64. See the Northern Lights in Lapland
  65. Enjoy tea culture on a tea trail
  66. Toast the New Year in Paris
  67. Take a ghost tour in Savannah
  68. See the snow monkeys in Nagano
  69. Wine tasting in South Africa
  70. Little Rock – March 2024
  71. Luxury train trip
  72. Eat street food in Vietnam
  73. Visit all 50 states (see map below) – Arkansas (March 2024)
  74. Antarctica
  75. Prague
  76. View wildlife on Borneo
  77. Discover the food of Taiwan
  78. Step back in time at the Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island
  79. Visit the Space Port in New Mexico
  80. Nile cruise
  81. Cheer at a World Series game
  82. See koalas and kangaroos in Australia
  83. Wander in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul
  84. Listen to music in Vienna
  85. Gibraltar
  86. Improve my snorkeling in a warm water destination
  87. Stay in a hostel
  88. Enjoy lobster in Nova Scotia
  89. Hall of Fame visits – Cooperstown (baseball) and Canton (football)
  90. Mt Rushmore
  91. Celebrate the New Year in Australia
  92. Greenland
  93. Visit Cinque Terre 
  94. Stay at a hotel with a classic view of the Eiffel Tower
  95. French Polynesia – February 2024
  96. Visit statue of liberty and Ellis Island
  97. Visit more Presidential Libraries – Clinton Library in Little Rock (March 2024)
  98. Cruise with extended family
  99. Sip wine in Bordeaux
  100. Indiana

States I’ve visited:

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Countries I’ve visited:

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