One of my biggest motivators for paying off my debt was to be able to take trips and go on vacations.
I am fortunate to have explored some incredible countries. I’ve sat on patios of white washed home in Santorini, drank wine in Tuscany, ate croissants in quaint Parisian shops, saw monkeys and crocodiles in Costa Rica, drank Pina Coladas in Puerto Rico, snorkeled with sea turtles in Hawaii, explored my roots in Denmark, ate incredible sushi in Japan, and so much more!
Why You Should Plan For Bucket List Trips
My love for travel and adventure didn’t start with extravagant bucket list trips.
It all began around 4th of July in 2015.
I was sick of feeling like I never had enough money or time to go on trips.
My whole journey to travel started that week when I decided I could incorporate adventure into my life. I jumped in my car, grabbed some coffee and sunflower seeds and drove 9.5 hours to Zion National Park
At Zion we hiked, explored, and had the chance to see some incredible landscapes.
That’s when I was hooked! For two years after that I embraced weekend adventures and went on road trips almost every single weekend.
It was some of my favorite memories.
Here’s the cool thing- my system for planning bucket list adventures is really simple, but not common. I’m going to share this with you and show you exactly how you can embrace travel and adventure.
Let’s dive in!
Step 1: Research where you want to go
Grab a notebook and start jotting down all the cool places you’d like to go. List out any national parks you’ve been wanting to explore, any secret beaches, alpine lakes, etc.
One of my favorite resources for finding cool places is Instagram. I will do some hashtag searches for ideas and places that catch my eye. This helps you identify places within your state that you might want to explore.
I also highly recommend using the visit your state website. For example, I live in Idaho and I search visitidaho.org for some recommendations of things to do.
Here’s a quick list of my favorite resources to find fun places:
- Your state’s tourism website
- Instagram hashtags
- Roadtrippers app
Once you have your bucket list trips picked out and written down in your notebook, you’re ready for step 2.
Step 2: Find out the driving distance from your city to the bucket list trip
Once you have your list detailed out, take a couple hours and Google the distances from your house to the place. List these out by hours it takes to drive and you can start planning your calendar around those trips.
One of the coolest things about seeing the distances is that you can start to stack trips together. Maybe you want to explore more of Southern Utah and go to Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Arches, and Canyonlands, you can block off a week from your calendar to visit some of these places in one trip (or all if you’re feeling ambitious).
It help you see how which trips make sense if you have a 2 day, 3 day, or 4 day weekend.
Step 3: Block off your calendar for your bucket list adventures
I don’t know the exact number per individual, but as a whole, Americans didn’t use 768 million vacation days in a year! This breaks my heart and definitely doesn’t need to be a norm.
Look at your calendar and start requesting time off work! If you already know you’ll be having a holiday off work, try to take a day or two before or after so you have an extended weekend. Then look at your bucket list and schedule a time to go visit these places. This is what I did over the 4th of July trips to Zion National Park.
As an self-employed person, I have to be more intentional about blocking off my calendar. If I don’t, I find that my schedule gets booked up with financial coaching calls and The Money Nerds podcast interviews and pretty soon I can’t sneak away.
I personally use Google Calendar to block off my weekends. It syncs with my Calendly account and automatically shows my days as unavailable for coaching/podcast calls.
Which leads me to my next step…
Step 4: DO NOT OVERTHINK THIS!
So many people overthink these types of trips and make it such a huge ordeal that it doesn’t even happen. Just hop in the car and make this happen! You don’t necessarily have to have everything planned out for months on end. Some of my favorite memories as a kid are when my dad told us to pack a set of clothes, our toothbrush, and hop in the car to go on a surprise adventure. (Clearly, I take after my dad.) 😂
It was the best! The point is, if you have a lot of obligations, kids, or things you have to get done, you can just hop in the car and take a day trip somewhere. The point is to allow some spontaneity and adventure into your life. But the more you think about this stuff– the harder it becomes to make it actually happen.
I hope you enjoyed this post on how I plan my bucket list trips. This system has helped me take some really fun adventures close to home and within driving distance.
I’d love to hear what’s on your bucket lists! Comment below and tell me a place you’ll be visiting in the near future.