How to create a travel bucket list to boost your wanderlust

The world has almost 200 countries and more than 10.000 cities to cover in a lifetime. I’ll be brutally honest, it’s very unlikely that you will get to see them all (unfortunately). With this in mind, you should really focus your time and energies on what you can and most especially WANT to see. But how can you orientate your compass among all these possibilities? The answer is simple: you should create a travel bucket list that will help you focus on your travel goals. Let’s see how.

Table of contents

But first what is a Travel Bucket List?

Think of it as a grocery list, except, instead of booking food, you book ticket planes to your future destinations.

A travel bucket list is a physical (this is very important) list of items (activities, experiences, achievements) you want to realize in your lifetime or even before a specific deadline, for example turning 20, 50, or 80.

You may be wondering, how writing my travel goals on paper will help me to achieve them. Following the studies of the Dominican University of California, people who write their goals down have 42% more chances to achieve them. That sounds crazy, right? And yet I have seen the benefits of this proven method many times.

Do you need more reasons to do it? Creating a travel bucket list, that will let you keep an eye on some of your most memorable achievements. Not to mention the satisfying feeling of crossing an item!

“I haven’t been everywhere but it’s on my list.”

Susan Sontag
Photo from credits Wander Labs.

How to create a travel bucket list

Crafting your list should be a fun and creative activity. Above all, keep in mind you are doing this for yourself, and don’t be afraid of dreaming too big.

Start with brainstorming

You can do this on blank paper, or a bullet journal or you can choose a specific template. If you need inspiration you can check the templates in our travel resources library. You will get the password once you have signed to the newsletter. I promise we don’t spam! (max 1 email per month)

Whatever support you will choose, start writing down your ideas. Don’t put too much attention on the aesthetic, you can always rewrite it once you have the final draft. Moreover, it’s a list, if you forgot to write down sugar, you can always add it!

Grow your list with inspiration from other sources

Best Online Socials and Search Engines

I love the way all kinds of information is available today thanks to the internet. It’s without a doubt an endless source of inspiration for all kinds of topics, travel included. To give you an example, think of Instagram and Pinterest, they are two excellent visual socials (although Pinterest is more a search engine). My point is they offer many ideas that may inspire you.

If you haven’t started yet, you should definitely start creating boards specific for countries, or types of activity. I use Pinterest a lot to plan my future travels. It could be to draw inspiration from my favorite photos, or even to keep the best travel guides at hand for planning.

Another great source of inspiration is YouTube. The world’s largest video sharing platform can be a powerful tool for finding content about your next destinations. While Instagram has been often criticized for its distortion of reality, youtubers tend to be more genuine and honest. Obviously, some videos will show you only the good side of places. But the majority will include the good and bad sides.

Photo from credits Gustavo Fring.

Books and Travel Guides

Have I already mentioned this? I’m a huge bookworm! I love reading books. And even if words are less effective than pictures, they allow you to connect to your future destinations more deeply.

To give you an example, I’ve never visited Budapest botanical gardens, but I could mention every detail of the greenhouse after reading Ferenc Molnar’s The Paul Street Boys, one of the best books I’ve ever read.

Books can deeply stimulate your curiosity to visit a place or try a specific activity. Another example? If you have read Jack London’s White Fang, don’t you dream of crossing the northern landscapes on a dog sleigh? Even though you have read the book, probably you are also scared of being tracked by a wolf pack.

In short, think of all the wow moments that books gifted you. Is there a special location that you have been dreaming of seeing since you read that book?

Then there are travel guides, atlas, and photo books.

And the list could go on… But to keep it short, you can draw many inspiration and ideas from the printed paper.

Photo from credits Jasmin Chew.

Writing the list

As I mentioned above, you are going to write your list, paper, pen, or pencils. And that’s an order! 🙂

In a time where everything is typed on the keyboard of a smartphone, I love to write manually the most important things. Take your time to choose the right template and then start putting the items following logic.

What I mean is to try to organize it into larger topics. It could be by geographical area (continent or country-specific), or also by type (outdoor adventures, underwater experiences, cultural sightseeing, etc…)

And don’t forget to write down also what you have already achieved!

I’m repeating myself but don’t be afraid of dreaming too big. It’s your passions and dreams you are writing down on that paper. If you want it you can do it, and sometimes the journey is even better than the destination. Means: even if you won’t cross all your items you still will enjoy dreaming of doing these things.

Photo from credits Z.

I have created my travel bucket list. And now?

It’s nice to write your items down but what now? Take a further step. Tell yourself you want to start to cross your items as soon as possible. Words are nice but facts are better. You can now start highlighting one item or two. This is where you are going to start.

When choosing your future activities keep also in mind where you are in life. Are you thinking to start building a family? How exciting! But that also means that soon you will be traveling differently and maybe you won’t be able to enjoy some activities as before.

Please don’t take my words wrong, I’m a parent too and traveling with kids is absolutely exciting and fun! But when I was exploring Petra up and down, I couldn’t help but think how a good decision was to have left my baby boy home. That’s also a solution (thank you grandparents!).

What I’m trying to say is always think of the bigger picture.

Before you rush to brainstorm ideas and destinations, I have one last chapter that may interest you: the most common types of lists that you can create. Which one will you choose? Of course, you can also create a long bucket list that contains all these subtopics as I did!

How to create a travel bucket list to see the world. World map with hand holding a plane
Photo from credits Monstera.

The different types of travel bucket list

When crafting your Travel Bucket List you should consider all the different types that exist. That will help you focus on the main items you want to keep.

The destination travel list

This is the type of list most used by experienced travelers to keep track of the places they want to see. The destination’s list may be sub-categorized into three types: continents, countries, and even cities.

You could well write to see all the US states, visit all Asia countries and leave one year in Spain. Don’t be afraid to mix and match, have fun!


Climbing Kilimanjaro, having pottery class in Italy, swimming with sharks in French Polynesia…

For sure there is at least one activity you have dreamed about, write it in your experiences section. Maybe you will be able to cross it sooner than you think.

hot air balloon flying over cappadocia turkey

Wonders of the world

Probably my favorite. I have been dreaming of visiting the New 7 Wonders of the World, since I learned that it’s too late to visit the Ancient ones (except for the Pyramids of course).

Besides the 7 lists, you should also check the 21 finalists. You may find some interesting landmarks to add to your list. And this shouldn’t be your solo reference for visiting amazing monuments and landmarks. To name a few from my personal list: Pena palace (Portugal), Nasir Al-Mulk (Iran), Himeji Castle (Japan), and I could go on. My point is there are so many amazing places to see out there!

Natural wonders

Similarly to the Wonders of the World, you can pick a few items from the finalists of the Natural Wonders of the World. Matador, listed 39 among the most stunning Natural Wonders. From natural phenomena, like the Northern Lights, to the most incredible lakes, mountains, and waterfalls, you name it! Isn’t our Earth amazing?

Otherwise, New7Wonders, the Swiss organization that gave you the New 7 Wonders of the World, created a poll to elect also the New 7 Wonders of Nature. Check the finalists as well!

Jordan Road Trip

That’s it for the “traditional” lists although…

Why should you limit yourself?

A bucket list is made by you for YOU. There are endless possibilities and you shouldn’t absolutely limit yourself if you feel to add more things. Do you want concrete examples? Here you go:

Food, for the different food to try.

Photographic, for amateurs and pros.

Different transports, it could be a hot air balloon or a submarine, wouldn’t you try them?

If other lists come to your mind please let me know about them in the comments down below.

One last word about how to create a travel bucket list

Crafting your travel bucket list is a fun experience, and you will love discovering new places you’ve never heard of. Whenever you are ready to share, feel free to send me a photo of your bucket list, or if it’s in form of a blog post share it down below.

One last recommendation, if you are feeling in lack of ideas don’t forget to check our pillar pages: the travel destinations page to know more about specific places, and the travel inspiration page to be inspired to travel through books, songs, quotes, etc…

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