Do you have SO many epic travel ideas swirling through your mind? Follow this guide to finally build your travel bucket list! You’ll also find a free travel bucket list template that’s interactive, inspiring and USEFUL, too.
Finally build a travel bucket list you’ll love, filled with incredible trip ideas you’ll actually take!
- ABOUT the Free Travel Bucket List Template
- How to CREATE a Travel Bucket List You’ll Love
- NEXT STEPS: Planning Trips on Your Travel Bucket List
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ABOUT the Free Travel Bucket List Template
I love fillable PDF templates to easily save and update my brilliant thoughts. So, I thought you might, too! And they work as traditional printables too, of course.
Here’s how to use my free travel bucket list template to capture your epic travel ideas:
- Start at the back. My travel bucket list template actually works in reverse, with the brainstorming pages at the back. This puts your pretty, cleaned-up lists at the front. If you follow the steps in this post, it’ll guide you from the back of the template to the front.
- Brainstorm by map and list. You have options! If you like brainstorming with a simple list, use the large boxes to capture travel ideas and notes. Like visuals? As a travel bucket list printable, you can use your favorite markers to color-code the maps on the brainstorming pages.
- Transfer priority trips to the front. Once you have your list of top travel ideas, move through pages 3 to 1 (yup, in reverse). List your “top 3 to see” by season, destination type, and travel companion. You can also add your own categories and plenty of notes. Then, decide on your top 6 to see first, and list those on page 1 to keep them front and center.
When you’re done, post your travel bucket list ideas somewhere you’ll see it often.
Priorities change over the years. Since this is a fillable PDF, it’s super easy to update your travel bucket list template as you actually GO to your bucket list destinations!
Subscribe to Epic Travel Plans’ monthly newsletter and GET THE TRAVEL BUCKET LIST TEMPLATE! A free, 6-page fillable PDF to capture your top travel ideas in one place.
Introducing: The ULTIMATE Travel Bucket List Template EBOOK
If you love interactive travel guides, check out the ULTIMATE Travel Bucket List Template ebook! The Ultimate Travel Bucket List Template ebook is a 100+ page highly-interactive guide that goes into greater detail than the free 6-page template. It follows the same basic process to brainstorm, organize and prioritize your trip ideas, but with MORE!
The Ultimate Travel Bucket List Template ebook will help you understand WHY you travel, and why past trips worked or didn’t. You’ll consider WHERE in the world you all want to go, with suggestions to get you started. Then, explore travel ideas based on types of activities, your potential travel companions, and your timing options.
Each chapter starts with space to brainstorm all of your amazing ideas and ends with a summary form to capture your highlights, making it easier to prioritize your “best of the best.”
Finally build a travel bucket list you’ll love, filled with incredible trip ideas you’ll actually take.
How To Create a Travel Bucket List You’ll LOVE, With Trips You’ll TAKE
To create a travel bucket list you’ll actually use, you need to go a bit deeper than places on a napkin or pins on a map. Here are the three basic steps to building a useful travel bucket list:
- Brainstorm: Capture every trip idea you have, all in one place. Include any specific reasons for why you want to take each trip, like specific activities, sights or events that inspired the idea.
- Organize: Group your trip ideas in a way that makes sense to you. Geography is a typical way to organize trip ideas. But it’s also helpful to group them by who you’d want to go with, when you’d want to go, or types of things you’d want to do.
- Prioritize: Choose the top trips you want to take first. Include a variety of trip ideas you can take throughout the year, with different companions and trip lengths.
Let’s build that list!
Step 1. BRAINSTORM Your Travel Bucket List Ideas
Brainstorming for your travel bucket list template is about getting down in one place ALL the trips you might ever want to take. It’s the start of your travel bucket list. After brainstorming bucket list travel ideas, we’ll make that list digestible and actionable. So, don’t worry about that here. This is the time to just let your dreams wander!
Pinterest is a fun and easy way to discover and collect amazing images of inspiring places. Like the Walkways of Mount Tianmen in China, or “wow” waterfalls hidden throughout the United States. It’s also a helpful platform to save details about those destinations. If you’re looking for some inspiration, take a look at my Pinterest boards!
Here are posts specifically to inspire your travel bucket list:
- Virtual tours: These interactive 360-degree videos and images are absolutely incredible at making you feel like you’re right there. Explore epic cities, waterfalls, national parks, historic sites, crazy adventures and animal encounters around the world.
- Romantic getaways: These posts are packed with stunning hotels, resorts, spas and cabins perfect for romantic getaways. But most are also fantastic for solo getaways or getaways with friends, too.
- Trips with Mom and trips with Dad: As adults, we sometimes forget to prioritize travel with our aging parents. Find incredible experiences to enjoy both near and far, while you can both enjoy them.
Now, I love my lists … hand-written (I know; I’m so old-school). So, I’ll print out my handy travel bucket list template, grab my favorite colored pens (I LOVE erasable pens!), and make my list while relaxing on the couch and sipping coffee. Then I’ll come back to my fillable PDF travel bucket list template to save a prettier version of my thoughts.
If you create beautiful bullet or junk journals, this is perfect content for that.
3 FUN Ways To Brainstorm for Your Travel Bucket List Template:
- Make a list of every destination you can think of that you’d like to visit one day. Then group them by location (like by continent) so it becomes a little more digestible. Either move them around (like in my travel bucket list template PDF) or color-code them in your journal.
- Use the mind-mapping technique to create a web of travel ideas. This is more visual than a list, and pretty fun, too. First, write out the names of each continent you’d like to visit and circle them with different color pens. Then draw lines to connect those circles with names of places on that continent you want to visit. Add colorful doodles to pretty up your web.
- Get a map you can mark up. A marked-up map is the ultimate visual for brainstorming your travel bucket list. The best way is to get a beautiful map you can put up on a wall (check out this one on Etsy by HappyPlaceArt). But, a small map that tucks into your journal works great, too. Mark up your destinations with a simple marker, a brilliant legend, or tacks (for the wall one, obviously!).
And remember to jot down a few notes on WHY that destination is important to you.
Also, include a variety of travel ideas. Don’t forget those smaller trips and nearby destinations you’ve been meaning to visit. Weekend getaways can be epic, too!
Once you have a decent amount of travel bucket list ideas, it’s time to organize and prioritize them. If you don’t organize them, your list will be overwhelming … and likely depressing by how many you’re not planning.
Step 2. ORGANIZE To Make Your Travel Bucket List Digestible
Once your travel bucket list template is PACKED with epic travel ideas, it’s time to make it DIGESTIBLE. I love organizing and grouping ideas; but if you don’t, don’t worry! This step is actually really fun – because it’s figuring out the BEST way to experience those awesome travel destinations.
As we go through this section, make notes in the brainstorming section of your travel bucket list template. These are your contenders for your priority trip ideas.
WHAT To See and Do: “Top 3 To See” by Category
This is a fun way to start organizing that travel bucket list: Consider your “top 3 to see” by destination type. You’ll find this section on page 3 of the free travel bucket list template.
I actually prefer going through these categories without looking at my brainstorm. It’s a great way to see if you missed something. But, you can also pick from your list of travel ideas to see which ones rise to the top, or get you most excited.
Of the categories below, which places make your “top 3 to see”:
- Nature’s epic sights: Maybe Arizona’s mighty Grand Canyon, Ireland’s mystical coastlines, or an African safari. Or the Great Barrier Reef, Galapagos Islands or the Amazon Rainforest. Swimming in the Blue Lagoon?
- Brilliant feats of man: Like Jordan’s Petra, Peru’s Manchu Picchu, or Cambodia’s Angkor Wat. Or maybe Paris’ Louvre, the Taj Mahal or Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world?
- Specific cities, sites or cultures: Is there a specific city or historic site you’ve always wanted to see? Maybe a cultural experience you want to discover for yourself? A Broadway play, or Washington D.C. A wine tour through Italy or a retreat in a Japanese monastery high up in the mountains. The ultimate walking tour of your favorite movie.
- Concerts, championship games, or adventurous sports: The Rolling Stones. Dallas Cowboys on a Super Bowl run, or BlizzCon in Anaheim. Sky-diving over Victoria Falls, heli-skiing in the Rocky Mountains, or caving in Italy. What excites you?
- Road trips: One of the best ways to experience many travel destinations is by road trip. Along jaw-dropping coastlines. Through the Scottish Highlands or Swiss Alps. Stopping at many historic sites that only war history buffs like you know about. Some train rides fit here, too, like the one from Beijing to Moscow. Is there a cross-country trek you’ve been itching to take?
NEW! The ULTIMATE Travel Bucket List EBOOK will help you create a bucket list you’ll love, filled with trips you’ll actually take!
WHO To Go With: Companions Worthy of Your Travel Bucket List
Some travel companions make (or break) a travel destination.
While you might LOVE visiting an ultra-romantic destination with your partner, you might HATE touring historic sites with him or her. And while one travel destination might be awesome with your best friend, it might be kinda awful with your mom.
Think about who you’d love to travel with (or who you’d realistically travel with), and what would be EPIC to experience with that person. Your partner. Mom or dad. Sister or brother. Best friend or group of best friends.
What about solo travel? Have you dreamed of going somewhere but haven’t found that perfect travel companion? Or maybe you’d just really love exploring on your own? If the thought of traveling solo terrifies you, consider an organized small-group tour. My sister and I toured SE Asia with Intrepid Travel and loved it.
Here are some examples of what I mean:
- Glamin’ it up in Los Angeles: I never really wanted to visit Los Angeles. Sure, Pretty Woman had me intrigued. But since I’m not really into Hollywood or fashion, it just never hit my mental travel bucket list. And then my sisters-in-law were going … who are definitely into Hollywood and fashion. THEY made this trip A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Plus, staying right on Rodeo Drive helped too, of course.
- Hiking phenomenal canyons: Now that I’ve seen epic canyons in the United States, the person I’d most want to go back with is my brother. Staying right inside Zion Canyon or on the edge of Grand Canyon’s North Rim. Hiking among fantastical hoodoos of Bryce Canyon and in the narrows of Antelope Slot Canyon. Of everyone I know, he’d appreciate these destinations the most.
- Gracing European palaces: Although I’m enthralled with European history and architecture, visiting Austria’s regal palaces and gardens with my mom is a forever-treasure. This was my sister’s dream mother-daughter trip and I got to tag along. Find some inspiration AND practical tips to finally take your dream mother-daughter trip.
Check out page 2 of the travel bucket list template to record travel ideas specific to your favorite travel companions.
WHEN To Go: Ideal Timing for Those Bucket List Travel Ideas
Many people don’t think much about how seasons affect their travel bucket list. Other than when to avoid traveling, like in summer or at Christmas when prices quadruple. For many travel destinations, it’s enough to know that late spring and early fall will have decent weather, cheaper prices, and most touristy things open.
But certain travel experiences are BEST had at specific times of the year. Like Japan’s cherry blossoms and Holland’s tulips in mid April. Germany’s Oktoberfest that’s actually in late September to early October.
And then, of course, are schedules for the specific concert, game or exhibit you want to see. Or the one and only Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or Times Square New Year’s Eve ball drop.
When you think about the places you want to see, what makes that place EPIC in your mind? Which season (or specific month, week, day) is best to experience it? Spring? Summer? Fall? Winter?
Now take your favorite experiences that depend on season, and record them at the top of page 3 in the travel bucket list template.
Step 3. PRIORITIZE Your Travel Bucket List Template … So They Happen
Now the magic happens! We’ll take all of your amazing trip ideas and create a “best of the best” list of those you want to take first. Then we’ll post your list where you can see it. So you plan those trips, take those trips, and cross those trips off your list!
WHERE To Go FIRST: Your Top 6 in the Travel Bucket List Template
Of all the trip ideas you wrote down, which are you most excited to take? Which ones make your top 6 to see first?
Getting to the top 6 destinations on your travel bucket list should feel a bit like budgeting. You know … like how financial advisers tell you to save: a third for short-term; a third for medium-term; and a third for long-term. But too many people only plan for those retirement-type trips, and end up not taking any trips.
If you prioritize your top 6 trips based on small/medium/gigantic, you have a shot of actually getting to all of them sooner rather than later. (So you can redo your travel bucket list next year!) Just think about it. If you include that weekend house-boating trip you’ve been meaning to take with your best buds, it suddenly becomes a priority. And then you put in the effort to make it as epic as possible.
So when you’re filling in the first page of the free travel bucket list template, consider including your top 2 local, top 2 national, and top 2 international trips.
Now, I think it goes without saying, but … also let yourself go with the flow. When one of my best friends was going to Seattle for a wedding, she asked if I’d go, too. Seattle wasn’t on my travel bucket list, but we had an INCREDIBLE time. You might find a “wow” moment in a surprising destination.
So, just make sure your travel bucket list doesn’t prevent you from taking other epic trips. Even planners can be spontaneous!
Subscribe to Epic Travel Plans’ monthly newsletter and GET THE TRAVEL BUCKET LIST TEMPLATE! A free, 6-page fillable PDF to capture your top travel ideas in one place.
NEXT STEPS: Plan Trips in Your Travel Bucket List
Now that you’ve worked through the travel bucket list template, check out my 3-step trip planning process.
What makes my trip planning process special is that it helps you define what’s most important to YOU … and then keeps it as the inspiration throughout the trip planning process. And there’s another great fillable PDF template all ready for you.
The key first step of my trip planning process is defining the experience you’re looking for. That special something that’ll make you say, “Now THAT was a fantastic trip!” This experience becomes your compass in every decision you make.
Once you find your compass, so many trip planning decisions become clear.
How To Plan a Trip You’ll LOVE:
- Step 1: Define YOUR perfect experience
- Step 2: Build your itinerary and book
- Step 3: Count down with your ULTIMATE checklist
You might also like How To Pick BETTER Accommodations and How To Plan a ROAD TRIP You’ll Love.
With all your momentum of working through the travel bucket list template, why not start planning one or two trips?! Then when you get the time or urge to go, you have one of your top travel bucket list ideas all ready and waiting for you.
Check out the ULTIMATE Travel Bucket List EBOOK! Create a bucket list you’ll love, filled with trips you’ll actually take!
You may also like:
- How to PLAN a ROMANTIC GETAWAY
- CABIN PACKING LIST for Romantic Getaways
- TIPS for Traveling with AGING PARENTS
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Featured photo credit (view from plane): Brannon Naito from Unsplash.
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