This article was originally published on Better After 50.
My travel bucket list just got really long because I stole my friend's and added a few of my own to it. Just this past winter, I was on a women's ski trip and met a new friend from Toronto. We were talking about travels and she told me she had a travel bucket list. I loved that she had it on her iPhone. I asked if she minded sharing it with me and so she did.
When I took a look at her list I realized I wanted to go to almost all the places she had on her list. I couldn't believe, I had never been to most of them. I thought I was well traveled. That list combined with my own gave me a jolt because...
I'm actually not sure I can get to all the places on it in my lifetime.
Since I'm a firm believer in anything you set your mind to -- you can pretty much accomplish -- the reality that there's more places to go on my new list than time available was hard to digest. TIME is the biggest obstacle to tackling this bucket list because I don't see my husband and I taking more than one big trip a year. With more than 30 places on the list, I'm just not sure I'm going to get to check off all the must-sees and dos before the gong rings.
Travel budgeting is a cruel reality -- my travel fantasies can be pricey. I would love to say that "Lonely Planet" is my guidebook, but I'm not a dollar a day traveller. My husband and I like a nice hotel that feels authentic, small and comfortable and we especially prefer a boutique style. Whether it's a bike trip, hiking, kayaking or cat skiing adventure, a clean fresh bed at the end of an adventurous day in a place with comfort and character is preferred. Hiking biking, ski or history guides to take us beyond the obvious and eating quality local food all adds up to a big price tag for a 10 days to 2 weeks on the road so that certainly limits the number of trips we are able to take.
And last, what gets in the way is the stress of planning. I'm not an enthusiastic trip researcher. Booking flights is my husband's domain (thank goodness), finding great inns or hotels are supposed to be my bailiwick. Obstacles abound in the planning process and clearing the calendars from the get go is always a challenge.
The bottom line -- traveling takes effort, time and money and unless you're really motivated, staying home or falling back on a repetitive vacation routine can easily be the go-to plan.
I have however developed a process for my trip planning. Whenever I think about hitting a new city I send out an email to my most well traveled friends -- asking where to stay, where to eat, top sights to see.
Next, I put the list of recommendations in my trusty Notes App on my iPhone under "vacations."
Then I put in some intense googling research and immerse myself in the destination. Once completely overwhelmed (which doesn't take too long), I call American Express concierge service and let them do the bookings.
My husband and I recently put together a fabulous itinerary for Amsterdam all through American Express Travel services buttressed by recommendations from my well-traveled friend Susan. Unfortunately we had to cancel three days before due to family stuff -- we couldn't believe we were only charged $18 each.So, as we sit and look at the year ahead we need to figure out which trip to pick from our newly expanded fantastic travel bucket list. This is the kind of stress we embrace (#travelbrats)
- Tulips in Amsterdam in April
- Iceland for a long weekend
- Fjords of Scandinavia
- Golfing in Scotland
- Biking in Ireland
- Family Safari in Africa during migration season
- Heli skiing (I think)
- Skiing with friends in Europe
- Tango in Argentina
- Ski Patagonia
- Climb up to Machu Pichu
- Hiking in Bhutan and Nepal
- Ashram in India
- Namibia and the Red Dunes
- Angkor Watt, Cambodia & Vietnam
- Yoga Retreat in Bali
- See the Seychelle Islands
- Galapagos with kids
- Salmon Fishing in Alaska by Sea Plane
- White water rafting on Colorado
- Climb to bottom of Grand Canyon
- New Zealand -- a few weeks of biking and hiking
- Australia's opera house for a live performance
- Biking in Moab
- Back country hut to hut skiing on The Haute Route in Switzerland
- Biking and Kayaking the San Juan Islands
- Visiting the Pyramids in Egypt
- Island hopping via sailboat in the Greek Islands
- Dude ranch in Montana
- Sail the coast of Maine and hike Acadia