Who’s not looking for bucket list ideas? Some people claim they don’t have a bucket list. I believe this in the sense that they don’t have a “before I die” list. But every human yearns after something. We all have a list! Whether you call it the bucket list, the before I die list, or something else, here is my bucket list of things I will try to experience before I kick the can! Some of these will be much harder to achieve, or we say exponentially more expensive than others.
Hopefully, some of these are new to you, and you’ll find inspiration and ideas!
Safaris and all things Africa are always on my list. I’ve only been to three countries in Africa thus far, and I need to get cracking on some more. The challenge is I don’t want to go broke doing it, nor do I fancy tent camping in the bush. I mean, I might, but I’m confident that I’ll get no sleep, I will look like crap the next day, and should I hear the wildlife, I will s**t myself. Add a snake into the mix, and this is the stuff my nightmares are made from.
So, I googled train safari’s, and guess what? They exist! Can you imagine traveling in a luxurious cabin across different counties in Africa? All safe and sound, pampered, and never having to worry about the elements or wildlife? The train is more my style.
So why have we not done it? I just discovered this within the last few weeks. And it has a steep sticker price. $5k per person on the cheap side, and that’s not including flights. Even though it’s costly, the trip consists of all kinds of tours, game drives, and activities, so it’s not that crazy. It looks like food and drinks are included, which sweetens the price tag from what I can tell.
I want to do the Dar es Salaam. A 15-day ride that travels through South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Tanzania. And, it crosses the bridge over the famous Victoria Falls! FYI, you also get to stay at the Victoria Falls hotel so you can explore the area without rushing.
Antarctica – Bucket List Idea #2
Antarctica, the southernmost continent on earth. Some people will say this is the ultimate travel trophy, the last continent that was once unreachable to an average person. Today, it’s accessible to anyone that can afford it. I feel compelled to travel to Antarctica, and it’s the only content I have not been to yet. I am captivated by the remoteness, the purity, and lack of human existence.
I’ve been to some polar regions. For me, I will always be lured by the potential to see the wildlife. Specifically, whales! Don’t get me wrong; I love penguins and would like to walk with them. As cute as they are, this would not compare to seeing whales. I’ve made many whale-watching trips, and I never tire of seeing a whale. To this day, it’s as exhilarating as it was the first time I saw one.
So why have I not been yet? Let’s start with the obvious. It costs around $6k on the cheap side to go via an expedition ship. Or, you can opt for a commercial cruise. The problem with the commercial cruise lines is they only pass through Drakes’ Passage. You don’t get the opportunity to disembark and touch land. For me, this is a drive-by. You have not been; you merely passed. I have zero interest in this.
Then there are logistics. Most cruises, commercial lines, and expedition trips are ten or more days. Then you’ve to get yourself down to the southern point of either Argentina or Chile. You can’t possibly go to either of these destinations or not spend a week. So realistically, you are looking at a three-week trip and a minimum of $10k per person.
Australia’s Ghan Train Ride – Bucket List Idea #3
Once upon a time, Australia would have been one of my bucket list ideas for you. I’ve been to Australia, though, and loved it. Everything about Australia was phenomenal. While there, I visited the red center and Uluru, but I am longing for more. Australia is one of my all-time favorites places. While we spent a few weeks in Australia and did three locations, we barely scratched the surface.
I want to see the most remote regions of the outback. I want to see camels roaming in the wild, troops of kangaroos hopping across the bright red landscape, and experience this untouched land. This might be my imagination on overdrive. Chances are it’s not quite like this. Regardless, the best way to accomplish this is to take The Ghan train ride that runs from Darwin to Adelaide or vice versa.
So why haven’t I done this one? I didn’t even consider rail travel an option until I researched our trip from Oslo to Bergen. While this train ride was not an overnighter, it got my attention. Like cruising, you don’t have to pack or re-pack. It’s spacious and beyond comfortable.
I see myself accomplishing this goal. I know we will return to Australia, and when we do, this is the first order of operation.
Churchill’s Polar Bears – Churchill Manitoba, Canada –Bucket List Idea #4
Another polar one for me, pun intended – get it? I enjoy cold vacations. They are a total contrast to where we live. Suppose you have the appropriate attire, the weather when on vacation is not an issue at all. I love remote locations; I love wildlife and the Northern Lights. Churchill Manitoba is a slam dunk for me. Also, there is an abandoned plane wreck called Miss Piggy that I desperately want to explore.
So why have we not done this yet? I’m in the throes of planning it for November 2020, but it’s no small task. It would be best if you flew to Winnipeg. Take an overnight train from Winnipeg to Churchill or pay a ton of money to make a connecting flight, about $1k, to be specific.
Once there, the safari’s that take you out to see the polar bears in huge buggy’s are around $500 per person per day. Not exactly budget-friendly. Despite this, I will chuff up the cost. Heck, I paid almost $400 to see grizzly bears feed in the wild in Alaska. Given inflation, $500 is not outrageous.
What I have not figured out yet is the flight route up to Winnipeg. As you know, I like to score a free flight on points, free hotel on points, or use my timeshare to stay in, Essentially. I want one part of the trip to be free. I don’t know yet if this will be an option or not. I may have to suck it up and spend some for this trip.
Giraffe Manor – Nairobi Kenya –Bucket List Idea #5
If you are not already familiar with it, Giraffe Manor is an exclusive boutique hotel in Nairobi that is home to a herd of resident Rothschild’s giraffes. The concept is you stay in the manor, and the giraffes visit in the morning and evening. At breakfast, they pop their heads into the dining room, and the guests feed them. Several walkouts feed or pose with the giraffes, but the main attraction is breakfast with the giraffes.
So why haven’t we done this one? Pure logistics. As you continue down, there are few African ones on the list, and some of these needs combine with others to be worth the flight costs and time.
Gorillas in Trekking in Uganda or Rwanda –Bucket List Idea #6
Hopefully, this one requires a little explanation. According to World Wide Fund for Nature, as of 2019, there are only 1004 gorillas left globally, and all live in Uganda or Rwanda. I don’t want to do this one to check a box. I want to see these creatures in their natural habitat – roaming free. Despite conservation efforts and growth, there is a chance that these guys could become extinct. They are under constant threat from hunting, and their habitat decreases annually. Greed will not bow down to conservation. If you want a sense of why this is important to me, watch Gorillas in the Mist. It’s incomprehensible why these majestic beasts are being hunted to extinction.
We have not done this one yet because we are going back and forth on combinations. Getting to the continent of Africa is tiresome and expensive. If you are traveling this far, I think it’s a must to combine it with a few other destinations to make sense.
Greenland – Bucket List Idea #7
Greenland is a new bucket lister for me. I’ve been reading many articles of late, and from what I can tell, it rivals Iceland. The challenge, as with many different locations, is logistics. As of 2019, only two airlines fly to Greenland: Air Greenland and Air Iceland. And, there are no budget-friendly tickets to be had. It will cost a minimum of $1k per person to visit this country.
India – Maharashtra Splendor – Bucket List Idea #8
A royal train ride, considered to be one of the most luxurious in the world, this train ride takes seven nights. I spent six months in India, and I loved it. It’s about as un-American as you can find. A place that is crazy yet functions and hosts some of the most impressive palaces. It’s no secret that India is still a third-world country and is challenged with issues like poverty and sanitation. Regardless, the word luxury takes on a different meaning in India. It’s in a league of its own, decadent and then some. Unlike Dubai, which is known for luxury, India is old school, or shall we say old money. The Maharashtra Splendor route is Mumbai – Vadodara – Palitana – Sasan Gir – Somnath – Little Rann of Kutch – Modhera – Patan – Nashik – Mumbai.
The Maldives – Bucket List Idea #9
Officially The Republic of Maldives, this one is on the list because I don’t have a concrete game plan yet. Meaning I know we will make this trip. I have found an all-inclusive resort that is within the price range. Now it’s a matter of waiting on flights. I do foresee this one coming together soon. I’m aggressively hunting and tracking tickets.
So why the Maldives? Because Bora Bora is so yesterday. Only kidding; Bora Bora is somewhere I would like to see, but the Maldives rank higher for me.
This one has been on Brian’s bucket list for a while. So much so he’s starting to nag me about when we will go! My vision for this trip is sheer luxury and basking in the sun. Get out of bed, forget the shower, and go straight into the water to check out the reefs. In my head, I don’t see us doing much more than this. Well, maybe a bit of fishing or a kayak ride or two.
Based on everything I’ve read, my perception is that the Maldives is more elusive than French Polynesia. Culturally, the Maldives are akin to India and Polynesia to Hawaii. My all-time favorite food of all is Indian. So, overall of the two, this one is my first choice.
Trans-Siberian Railway Holiday – Bucket List Idea #10
Yes, yes, trains are becoming a bit of a new interest or perhaps obsession for me. Like I mentioned earlier, I had such a good experience in Norway’s trains that it’s opened my mind to travel by train. Before we get to the train part, let’s start with taking the tour starting in Moscow, Russia. Ultimately, combining two significant experiences into one.
The Trans-Siberian railway offers several routes but ultimately ending in Beijing, China. A fifteen-night trip is roughly $3,000, which is not bad. Or you can take a twenty-five-night trip for about $6,000. The twenty-five-night trip route is Moscow – Kazan – Ekaterinburg – Krasnoyarsk – Irkutsk – Ulan Ude – Ulaanbaatar – East Gobi – Beijing.
For me, these islands conjure up daydreaming of where I would vacation as an adult. I am still daydreaming about this one.
So why have we not made it to Seychelles yet? I don’t know why not. I’ve stumbled upon some decent deals. It’s just a matter of time.
Honestly, I could probably add another twenty items to this list, but I want to hear from you! What is on your bucket list, and why and, are do you have any of these on your list? What should be on my list, what would you suggest, and why!
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Nikki Webster is a travel writer who covers how to travel while grinding a day job and travel without breaking the bank, hotels, cruising, and off-the-beaten-track experiences. She is particularly fond of Florida and writes extensively about the state. She flies around 60,000 miles per year and has visited 54 countries, 50 states, and six continents. You can read all about her travels at www.britonthemove.com.