Prioritizing your bucket list

Costa Rica


How many of you have made a bucket list for places you want to travel in the world?

My list as a teenager only consisted of two. Hawaii was first on my list. I think I was mesmerized by all the beautiful photos I saw in magazines. Really who wouldn’t be! It’s beautiful beyond believe. How could you not fall in love with amazing beaches and sunsets everywhere you looked. The other on my list was California, I was fascinated with surfing with those giant waves and of course all the movie stars. I wondered how did they get so lucky. Oh how I’d love to be spending my days lazing on the beach soaking up that warm sun, and riding out those waves as they circled around me. Since that time of dreaming as a teenager I grew up and of course forgot all about those travelling ideas. They certainly weren’t in my budget and being a mother you can’t spend all day at the beach while trying to holding down a job. I think at some point we are all dreamers.

If you love to travel I’ll tell you why it’s important to make a bucket list, and how to prioritize it to fit your needs.


Making a bucket list

Making a bucket list can be quite simple, all it takes is a pen & paper to jot down your ideas. Is this your bucket list or do you need to make one as a couple or family? Our thoughts are easy but when we have to incorporate others ideas it can become a little more challenging. Take for instance a few friends wanting to visit Europe, sounds easy enough but each have their own idea of castles and landmarks they want to see. Possibly all their travel styles are different. One may list B&B’s or hostels while the others like a more modern convenience or even luxurious hotels. Your list isn’t written in stone! You can modify it to your liking. A great friend or relative might have just experience a trip of a lifetime to Italy. Is this something that tweaks your interest? Riding on a gondola does sounds romantic. Add it to your list but only if it’s somewhere you truly want to go. Don’t let other sway you because it was on their bucket list, it might not be on yours.

Refining your list

Go ahead and refine your list. Every good plan needs fine tuning after all. Post your list on the frig so you have easy access. Check off each item once you’ve travelled to that destination. Possible you might want to add more destinations or have changed your mind and remove some from your list. It’s your list and you can change it as you please. Try to keep the most “want to do’s” at the top. Research and find out approximately how much it will cost you to travel to this destination. Ask a travel agent to give you a quote. Your budget may not be able to fill all your desires of exotic destinations so keep your list realistic and true to yourself. Don’t let other convince you your travel ideas are stupid. Travel experiences can actually enhance your learning which educates you on a higher level. I could sit for hours listening & talking about interesting vacation stories. How about you?

Getting out of your comfort zone

How many of you travel to the same place, maybe the same resort year after year because it feels comfortable to you. By now you know every inch of the resort and could walk within it with your eyes closed. You know the food is good, resort staff are friendly and above all you feel safe. Perhaps you only go to one country for your winter vacation like I have many people asking for hotels or resorts in Cuba or Punta Cana. If you ask anyone in Canada they will always mention these two countries. Why? For one reason they are widely promoted by all the tour companies. Usually at the end of their advertisement you will hear a few other options. Travel brochures usually are filled with many places like Mexico, Dominican Republic, Cuba, and Jamaica with a small section with some other countries. What a shame because there so many inspiring destinations to see.

We read and hear a lot in the news about crime, murders, hurricanes, earthquakes which sometimes sway our thoughts of travelling abroad. If you actually take a look in your own neighborhood, city or country you will read similar articles of crime, murders, and homeless people wandering the streets. We may not deal with hurricanes or earthquakes in parts of Canada or the United States but we do have similarities to other countries in the world.

Downtown Valencia in Spain

The important part about getting out of your comfort zone is to research the places you want to travel. Find out as much as you can before you go. Ask a friend if they have travelled there or a travel agent. Keep in mind everyone has their own opinions.

Some people think it’s not safe to travel off your resort or as a solo traveler. I hear this all the time. This depends of course on where you are and how you travel. I always recommend safe tour companies to use in your destination, set up tours with reliable sources so I know my clients are safe. Nothing is worse than worry all day because your client chose to use another tour company you didn’t recommend. Why we recommend companies in the first place is because we’ve done our research and made sure they are a legitimate company with proper insurance. Would you trust a perfect stranger you’ve never met? People will sell you anything in other countries to make a dollar and others are truly genuine people who would “give you the shirt off their back”. Be cautious keep your wits about you and use your common sense.

That being said, the benefits of getting out of your comfort zone and exploring the world far outweighs sitting in that familiar place year after year. Photographers, news reporters, and travel bloggers do this all the time. I bet you’ve always wondered what it would be like to be on a real African safari or see the gorillas in Uganda. Perhaps a trek to the Mayan Ruins in Mexico crossed your mind!

No matter what adventures you’ve idolized others for taking I assure you it is possible to have that adventure of a lifetime. Learning about different cultures, their history, and living in that moment is an experience you have for a lifetime to tell your children and grandchildren for many years to come.

Rio Celeste River in Costa Rica

Travel while you are in good health

I can’t stress enough on how important it is to travel to places like Peru to hike the Inca Trail or climb Mount Everest while you are physically able to do this. This is why it’s important to be in good health and add this to the top of your bucket list. Walking down 150 stairs to see an amazing waterfall is not something you can do as a senior with a walker or wheelchair. A lot of places have come a long way in making travelling with an impairment easier but not everywhere and certainly not up to North American standards as we know it. If you are one of the lucky ones who is capable of hiking for hours on end, up steep mountains do this while you can. Don’t leave this at the end of your bucket list to do later in life. Guess what you’ll never do it. Then I will hear the story of regret. Oh I should have gone there when I was younger.

Travel as a senior

Just because you are a senior doesn’t mean you can’t travel. You just travel to different places and with a different travel style. Seniors are travelling more and more these days. Do you need a person to travel with? Some people don’t feel comfortable travelling by themselves especially if you are a senior. Read quick trips to find a travel buddy here. I think seniors most popular way of travelling is still cruising as this is kind of a one thing fits all. Cruise lines are equipped to handle wheelchairs with accessible rooms and you can stay on the ship the whole time. The convenience of cruising is it has everything from your room, entertainment, prepared meals, pools, and even kids clubs. For many years I’ve heard & know of senior who we call “Snow Birds” travel each winter to Florida. They miss the snowy winters here in Canada or the United States and come back in the spring when the weather is more tolerable. If they are on a budget they may stay in a trailer park.

Seine River in Paris

Make the most of your trip

Make your bucket list a little more detailed. For each destination list all the important places in that country you want to see. Do you like history? Maybe all the monuments of where a famous battle took place is of interest to you. Do you like spiritual sights? A lot of countries have amazing churches with unique architectural buildings. Paris is famous for having a lot of gold on buildings & statues. Peru is famous not only for the Inca Trail but the most amazing place you’ll ever see is Machu Picchu sitting on top of a mountain. You wonder how they built that empire with so little tools like we have today. I’m truly amazed and can’t wait to experience that one.

If its culture your looking for I suggest not sitting on that all inclusive beach resort with your nose in a book. You can read that book at home, on the plane or save it for nighttime reading before bed. Take a tour to see the city, walk through the local markets tasting the local food. Many markets will have handcrafted items that are only found in their country. Observe the people around you. Many people like “people watching”. Pay attention to how people behave, learn from their cultural habits and remember to dress appropriately. By this I mean if ladies are required to keep their heads covered and wear long skirts or dresses, don’t insult and follow suit.

Change the way you travel

Not every part of your trip is memorable. Maybe on your plane ride you were squashed in like a sardine or your hotel wasn’t quite what you thought it was, remember you are in a different country and the standards of living are different. Keep an open mind as somethings you can change like book your airline seat with more legroom the next time you fly or upgrade the quality of the hotel you stay in.

I don’t understand when people come off a cruise ship and do nothing but complain about everything. You have everything you need on that ship with people to wait on you hand a foot. How can you possibly be unhappy? Maybe you need to change your travel style to something that will make you happy.

My bucket list

Rio Celeste

Machu Picchu in Peru

Sacred Valley, Cusco & Amazon Rainforest in Peru

Whale watching at Bellena National Park

Explore the Osa Peninsula & Corcovado National Park

Malta & Gozo in the central Mediterranean

Take a cruise on the Panama Canal

Mediterranean Cruise

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As always my opinions are my own.

Tell us what places you’d like to travel to & why they are on your bucket list in our comment section below.

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Travel Photography looking beyond the landmarks

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