Travel bucket list: Skydiving?

Finally Create your TRAVEL BUCKET LIST! [Free Template]

Find yourself with a bit more “you” time due to this quarantine?? Create your EPIC travel bucket list! Here to help make it easy is a free and inspiring PDF template that’s fillable and printable.

In all my dreaming and planning, I’ve never created an actual travel bucket list. It occurred to me that this would be the perfect time for it. After searching for a template that fits my style and finding nothing, I decided to make my own. And now I get to share it with you!

How to create your travel bucket list with template

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The TEMPLATE: Brainstorm and prioritize your travel bucket list

I love fillable PDF templates to easily save and update my brilliant thoughts. So, I thought you might, too! 

Here’s how to use my EPIC travel bucket list template to capture your top travel destinations:

  • Start at the back. My 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 prefer brainstorming with a simple list, use the large boxes to capture travel destinations and related notes. Like visuals? Print the brainstorming pages to mark up the maps.  
  • Transfer priority trips to the front. Once you have your list of top travel destinations, 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 somewhere you’ll see it often! 

Priorities change over the years. Since this is a fillable PDF template, it’s super easy to update as you actually GO to your bucket list travel destinations! 

Travel bucket list templateGet my Travel Bucket List TEMPLATE! A free, 6-page fillable PDF to capture your top travel destinations in one place. Like it? Subscribe to my email list for more!

BRAINSTORMING: Getting started on your travel bucket list

Brainstorming for your travel bucket list is about getting down in one place ALL the trips you might ever want to take. It’s the start of your bucket list. After brainstorming, we’ll make that list digestible and actionable. So, don’t worry about that here. This is the time to just let the dreams wander.

Pinterest is a fun and easy way to collect amazing images of inspiring places. I’ve discovered places I never knew existed; like the Walkways of Mount Tianmen in China, or “wow” waterfalls hidden throughout the United States. It’s also a helpful platform to save important touristy-type details about those destinations. If you’re looking for some inspiration, take a look at my Pinterest boards! They’re growing and being reorganized every day.

But as much as I love Pinterest for finding inspiration and details, I also love my lists … and 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! They’re brilliant!), and make my list while relaxing on the couch and sipping coffee. Happy places are PERFECT for brainstorming! Then I’ll come back to my fillable PDF to save a prettier version of my thoughts.

If you create beautiful bullet or junk journals, this is perfect content for that.

Here are 3 simple and fun ways to brainstorm your travel bucket list: 

  1. 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 on my  digital template) or color-code them in your journal.
  2. Use the mind-mapping technique to create a web of destinations. 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 colored pens. Then draw lines to connect those circles with names of places on that continent you want to see. Add colorful doodles to pretty up your web.
  3. 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, 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 destinations. 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 destinations listed or marked out, it’s time to prioritize your dream trips. If you don’t organize them, your list will be overwhelming … and likely depressing by how many you’re not planning.

PRIORITIZING: How to make your travel bucket list digestible … so the trips happen

Dreaming of where to travel to next

Photo credit: Perfect Snacks from Unsplash.

Once you have your list of ALL the trips you might ever want to take, it’s time to make your list DIGESTIBLE. I love organizing and prioritizing; 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 dream trips.

As we go through this section, make notes on your brainstorming list. These are your contenders for moving up as a priority.

1. WHAT to see and do: “Top 3 to see” by category

This is a fun way to start prioritizing that travel bucket list: Consider your “top 3 to see” by destination type. You’ll find this section on page 3 of the template.

I actually prefer going through these categories without looking at my brainstorm. It’s a great way to see if I missed something. But, you can also pick from your list of destinations 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 historical sight you’ve always wanted to see? 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; caving in Italy. What cries out to you
  • Road trips: One of the best ways to experience many destinations is by road trip. Along jaw-dropping coastlines; through the Scottish Highlands or Swiss Alps; stopping at many historical 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?

2. WHO to go with: Bucket list-worthy travel companions

Dream mother-daughter trip to Salzburg, Austria

In dreamy Salzburg with my mom (and a little privacy protection, of course!)

Some travel companions make (and break) an epic destination. 

While you might LOVE to see one ultra-romantic destination with your partner, you might HATE touring historical sights with him or her. And while one destination might be awesome to see with your best friend, it’d be kinda awful to see with your mom.

Think about who you’d love to travel with, and what would be EPIC to see with that person. Your partner. Your mom or dad. Sister or brother. Best friend or group of best friends. 

What about solo? Have you dreamed of going somewhere but haven’t found that perfect travel partner? Or maybe you’d really just love it as alone time? If the thought of traveling solo terrifies you, consider a small-group organized tour; my sister and I toured SE Asia with Intrepid Travel and loved it.

Here are some examples of what I mean:

  • Glamin’ up in Los Angeles: I didn’t have much desire to visit here until my sisters-in-law were going. Sure, Pretty Woman had me intrigued; but since I’m not really into Hollywood or fashion, it just never hit my mental list of places to see. 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 glimpsed epic canyons in the United States, the person I’d most want to go back with is my older brother. Staying right inside Zion Canyon and on the edge of Grand Canyon’s North Rim; hiking among fantastical hoodoos of Bryce Canyon and in the narrows of Antelope Slot Canyon. No one I know would appreciate these incredible sights like him. Be awed yourself with my 2-day canyon road trip.
  • 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 template to record places to see with your favorite travel companions.

3. WHEN to go: Ideal timing for those trips

Many people don’t really think much about how seasons might affect their travel bucket list. Other than when to avoid traveling, like in summer or at Christmas when prices quadruple. For many places, it’s enough to know that late spring and early fall have decent weather, cheaper prices, and most touristy things open.

But certain 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 template.

4. WHERE to go FIRST: Narrow down your top 6

Travel bucket list fillable PDF template

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Out of all the trips you’ve brainstormed and listed in the categories above, which are you most excited to take? Have you been meaning to take your mom or dad somewhere, and now’s the time? 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 then you can redo your travel bucket list again in a few years!) 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 template, consider putting in 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 mental travel bucket list, but we had an INCREDIBLE time. Just like going to LA with my sisters-in-law. 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!

Travel bucket list templateGet my Travel Bucket List TEMPLATE! A free, 6-page fillable PDF to capture your top travel destinations in one place. Like it? Subscribe to my email list for more!

NEXT STEPS: Trip planning in 3 easy, inspiring steps

If you found this post helpful, take a look at 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: 

With all your travel bucket list momentum, 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 destinations all ready and waiting for you.

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Featured photo credit (view from plane): Brannon Naito from Unsplash.

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