How to Make Your Dream Bucket List a Reality

Tips for crossing off bucket list destinations.

Make a Plan + Write It Down

I had an English teacher who once said, “It’s just a dream until you write it down. Then it becomes a goal.” Whether your goal is shopping at designer boutiques on the streets of Paris or bungee jumping in the breathtaking landscape of New Zealand, having a concrete way to display and visualize what you want to work toward can help hold yourself accountable. Start a trip fund and contribute money to a glass jar each week. Hang up a map with your dream destination marked.


Photo by: tapanuth


Go Off-Season

Opt for visiting a dream destination in its off-season. Lodging prices are usually lower, plus there will be smaller crowds. When planning, make sure the top attractions and museums you most want to visit will be open because some businesses in the tourism industry close for less popular times of the year.

Use Points and Deals

If budget prevents you from taking your dream trip, consider ways you can earn points to cover some of the costs. Do you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred card? If not, you should probably get one. Editor-in-chief of The Points Guy Zach Honig recommends this credit card as one of the best for accruing points. Not only can you earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months, but those points are more flexible because you’re not limited to using them on one airline or hotel; you can transfer the points to a partner when you’re ready to redeem, he says.

Check Off Several Bucket List Items at Once

Morning sunlight over the amphitheater at Bryce Canyon viewed from Inspiration Point.


Morning sunlight over the amphitheater at Bryce Canyon viewed from Inspiration Point.

Photo by: LordRunar


You don’t want to overbook your itinerary to the point where you can’t truly take in the locations you’re visiting, but selecting a destination that offers multiple items on your bucket list is a great way to stretch your trip – and your dollar. For example, if visiting as many national parks as possible is on your bucket list, head to Utah where you can easily check off the Mighty 5 in one trip.

Consider Alternatives 

Photo by: iStockphoto: HonestTraveller/gregobagel

iStockphoto: HonestTraveller/gregobagel

If you still can’t seem to make the time or budget work for the destination you have in mind, think about visiting an alternative until you can eventually make it to where you want to go. For example, if you have a fascination with all things French but can’t quite afford to go to France or don’t have time to take a week-long vacation right now, consider visiting Quebec City instead.

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