Blog, Travel Tips, & News

Checkmarks are Fun – Bucket List Plans

Carol in Ice Bar

This slow travel period has folks expanding their dreams of future trips, which inspires this week’s article…

Creating a Plan for Your Bucket List

One of the first steps in checking things off your list is to have the list written down. Statistics show people who write down their goals have over an 80% higher success rate of achieving them. So, if you haven’t even thought about a bucket list, or you just have one in your head, if you want to have new experiences or travel more, it’s important to start your written list.

Once you’ve started with ideas and continue to add new thoughts to the list, next is a plan for seeing and doing and experiencing all those exciting ideas.

What slows you down in accomplishing items on your bucket list are usually two areas – time and money. From a travel perspective, here are some suggestions to help you overcome those two challenges.

Prioritize your travel experiences

If you are limited in the amount of time you can leave ‘regular life’ for a vacation, being effective and efficient in how you use your time are of top importance. Effective means making sure you are clear on your priorities for this trip – and every trip is different. Consider what type of experience you want and focus on what is important to you– just because everyone says that you must visit the top 3 sites in a city, don’t spend your limited time on things of low interest if it means you miss extra time doing something that is more personal to you. If you would rather hang out at the biergarten instead of see the cultural and historical sites, do what you want to do.

Being efficient means using your time well and not wasting excessive time in lines or getting to main sites. One key thing is to consider the location of your hotel; if you’re at the heart of the city, it typically makes it much easier and faster to get to the sites of Interest, rather than staying outside of town. Hotels on the edge of town may save money, but you’ll likely spend a lot of time in taxis or on the train to get to the areas where the key attractions are.

Cruising for more bucket list experiences

Depending on all the places you want to go, another way to save time can be to use a cruise as your transportation, as it takes you where you want to go as you sleep. On a land tour you’re going to move from city to city during the day, and while some of that time may have great scenery or stops along the way, a lot of the time it’s just pure transportation time. For some sights and cities on your list, an ocean cruise or a river cruise can be a very effective way to visit a lot of cities and countries in a short amount of time because the cruise is providing the transportation while you sleep (and also providing the convenience of unpacking once).

For example, if you had all of these items on your list, you could easily check them all off by sailing on a Northern Europe ocean cruise:

=Tour the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg

= Attend the Russian ballet

= See the site of the Berlin Wall

= Have a drink at the Ice Bar in Stockholm

= Go to Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen

= Visit the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam

= Eat chocolate in Belgium

Another big time saver is to plan your excursions ahead of time, and pay for the early entry, before hours type of tours. At the very least, buy your tickets ahead of time so you aren’t wasting time standing in line waiting for tickets.

Timing your bucket list travel

Some ways to control your costs when planning a vacation include traveling off-season. More travel promotions may be available during the ‘shoulder season’ – spring and fall for a destination where summer is the high season. For example, I just got a promotion from CIE Tours for travel in Ireland, England and Scotland, where a couple traveling in the spring or fall can get one of their airfares for free – that is an awesome promotion that has real value in helping you get to see some bucket list sites.

Another idea for saving money can be to check with your travel agent on any particular promotions for a cruise or tour that you are interested in. Sometimes we get specific promotions offering extra amenities such as complementary gratuities or onboard credits that can be included for particular cruise sailings, or perhaps extra hotel nights before a tour. One key thing for saving money is to be flexible with your dates – if you have flexibility with the timing of your trip, you might be able to take advantage of special dated promotions.

Booking far in advance is another money saver, as the trend in the industry has been to offer early booking discounts to fill tours and cruises earlier, and then to pull those offers as the departure date gets closer.

With a little brainstorming for ideas and then some planning, you can see and experience more of this amazing world. If you need some help, call me.