How to Make & Track a Travel Bucket List

Whether you want to add, delete, scratch off or simply reconsider your bucket list, here are a few ideas on how to get inspired and organized.

By: Erin Gifford

Photo By: tapanuth

Photo By: Lesley Carter / Bucket List Publications

Photo By: Steve Kamb

Photo By: andrearoad

Photo By: Annette White / Bucket List Journey

Photo By: Victoria to You

Photo By: Maya Karkalicheva

Photo By: Prykhodov

Photo By: Delia Randall / Delia Creates

Photo By: elfgradost

Map Out a Bucket List

If world travel tops your bucket list, hang a map on your wall and use pushpins to mark where you’ve been (Wayfaren has a collection of beautiful world maps, by the way). Or, make it more fun by hanging a scratch-off map. Just take a coin and scratch off the foil on top of each country once you’ve visited (like scratching off a lottery ticket). Brilliant Maps has a fantastic round-up of the best scratch-off maps for the year, nearly all of which are under $50. 

Instead of New Year's Resolutions, Jot Down Travel Experiences to Have

Lesley Carter of Bucket List Publications has been creating travel bucket lists and posting them to her website since 2011. In the last six years, she’s gone scuba diving with sea turtles in Oahu, floated in the Dead Sea and gone on an elephant safari in Namibia. Each year, rather than writing down resolutions, she compiles a list of experiences she wants to have in the new year. Her blog began as a way to track this bucket list. Writing about trips and experiences quickly became inspiration for new ones.

Turn It Into a Game

You could simply cross off bucket list items with a pencil or turn the whole experience into a game. That’s what Steve Kamb, creator of NerdFitness, did when he created Steve Kamb’s Epic Quest of Awesome. So far, he’s created 13 levels in the “game” each with five quests, like “visit Loch Ness in Scotland” and “climb Table Mountain in South Africa.” With each quest he completes, he receives 20 percent experience points toward the next level.

Use a Pinterest Board

Click over to Pinterest for inspiration and images with bucket list items written on top of them, like stay in an overwater bungalow and visit Machu Picchu. Create your own pin board and start adding adventures and experiences. Click the “Tried It” button at the top of the individual pin when you’re ready to cross the item off your bucket list. Here’s a bucket list board with a few ideas to get you started.

Write Your Own Eulogy

Annette White, the blogger behind Bucket List Journey, created her bucket list by first writing her own eulogy to help her figure out how she wanted to be remembered. This soon became her life's mission statement from which she drew ideas. From this, she knew she wanted to encourage others to step out of their comfort zones and learn from the people she met along the way, something that drew her to travel to Kibowa Orphanage in Arusha, Tanzania.

Create a Bucket Jar

Rather than a bucket list, create your own bucket jar. Keep the jar within easy reach to help you reach your goals. It’s easy to get started. Grab some colorful slips of paper and write down anything you might want to add to your bucket list on each one. Be sure to write down a time goal too (very important). Add each one to the jar and take out a slip of paper every so often and start working toward that written goal. Make your own or buy one online, like this cute bucket jar from Jonny’s Sister ($18).

Let “best of” lists help you create your bucket list.

It’s not hard to find “best of” lists all across the web, but looking to lists like Best Hiking Trails and Best Canoe Trips might help you craft a bucket list most in line with your personal interests. GreenGlobalTravel.com has a section dedicated to experiences and destinations to add to your world travel bucket list. Or, head to Amazon.com. Like biking? You’ll find loads of books exploring the best rides in all different states, cities and national parks. Make your bucket list specific and relatively realistic.

Get Inspiration From Mobile Apps

There are several mobile apps, including Soon and iWish, which can help you create and stay on top of your travel bucket list. Soon, for example, helps you keep track of all the things you want to do whether you want to travel to India or eat at the new restaurant across town. Soon also has a social component that lets you see what’s on your friends’ bucket lists. Meantime, iWish, has a library of 1,200 ideas to inspire you, including beautiful places and adventures.

Get Creative With an Actual Bucket

Get crafty and buy or make a bucket for your travel bucket list. Write down bucket list items on clothespins, then attach souvenirs from each bucket list adventure to the relevant clothespin once completed. Delia Randall of Delia Creates used little more than a small bucket, clothespins and a couple of sharpies to create her bucket with her kids. Clip every clothespin to the edge and drop each one into the bucket once you complete that list item.

Keep it Simple by Writing it Down in a Journal

Keep a journal with you (even just in your glovebox) so you can add items to your bucket list the moment they pop into your head. A small notepad from the drugstore will do, though there are plenty of cute options, like this #BucketList notebook on Etsy ($8). Or, go upscale at Axel & Ash with their My Bucket List journal ($39.99), which includes a world map, inspirational quotes and space to for 101 bucket list items.