For some people, a dream destination pops easily into mind: they know exactly where they would go in a heartbeat if there were no obstacles.

For others, it’s a bit more ambiguous. You might have an idea about what you’d like, but you might not be entirely certain where you’d have your passport stamped if the opportunity came up tomorrow.

We all know that the best way to make something happen is to start intentionally giving it shape — something to look at, imagine, talk about, and (most importantly!) plan for. With that in mind, here are a few questions to ask yourself so you can get started working out the details of that trip you fantasize about during those hectic workweeks or in the middle of endless winter weather.

Start brainstorming

  1. What’s your “happy place” when you have bad days? Again, for some this might be a specific place — Bora Bora or the Alps or Johannesburg. But more than that — what’s the feeling you go to when you’re stressed out or stuck in traffic? Do you imagine the lazy perfection of pristine beaches? The thrill of craggy mountains? The rush and sensory feast of busy marketplaces? The smells of spicy foods? Make a quick list: 10 things that come to mind on the most fun, free, relaxed, no-obligations, open day you can imagine.

    The markets of Morocco may be exactly where you see yourself on vacation.
  2. What do you crave? Think of what you say you wish you had more of — free time, adventure, romance, time to learn a new skill, sunshine, purpose. What are you truly, deep down, just plain hungry for? What do you long for? When you imagine being your best self — what are you doing? And who is with you? Jot down 10 things you are longing for in your life right now.
  3. What season suits you best? Do you love to soak in the sweltering heat in your swimsuit? Or the crisp crunch of autumn leaves underfoot? Or the intense blue quiet of a mountain snowfall? When do you feel most at home in your body and most in love with your environment? Your perfect vacation doesn’t have to be the most popular! It’s your perfect vacation, remember?
  4. What’s one crazy luxurious thing you secretly wish for? For some people, it’s as simple as a pile of books and no emails to answer for three weeks. For others, it’s endless room service or all-day spa treatments or king-size feather beds and huge whirlpool tubs. No matter how big or small — go ahead. Write down 5 luxuries that would make you feel like you’d won the lottery if someone handed them to you right now.
  5. When you scroll through magazines, which images grab you the most? What colors draw your eye? Spicy and exotic? Cool and laid back? Misty and mysterious? Go to a bookstore, and pick up four or five travel magazines — take notice of which images you’re drawn to, the ones that make your heart skip a little. You might be surprised. Some people assume that their “dream” trip is in an all-inclusive resort somewhere. But if you keep coming back to the pictures of a bike tour through Tuscany or the Northern Lights in Norway — well, that’s worth paying attention to! That experience might feed something in you that an all-you-can-eat buffet might not even begin to touch. Cut out the images that speak to you the most and look for common themes, even (and especially) in images that seem to be opposites.

    Ubud, bali
    The mountains and rice terraces of Ubud in the center of Bali where luxury and relaxation reign supreme.
  6. What is your wildest dream? When you think of travel, where does your mind gravitate toward? Is it a trip around the world? A luxurious cruise on the Mediterranean? Trekking in the Himalayas? Or maybe it’s all about the accommodations – a marvelous hotel or an over-water bungalow or a tree house. Head to the library or a book store and grab anything that sparks even the slightest interest. Find a cozy corner, a cafe, or sit down at home in front of the fireplace and make a list of everything you may want to visit. Don’t exclude anything because it’s too far away, or too expensive, or you think no one there speaks English. This is a free-flowing list of anything you may enjoy!

Turn your notes into attainable goals

When you’ve had time to assemble your thoughts — and if you’re working on this with your partner or friends or family members — look for overlaps, recurring themes, those quiet nudges you can’t seem to shake. Listen to your gut. And start to dream  B I G.

bicycle tour
If you love to bicycle, maybe your dream trip is cycling Europe or Asia.

You can set a goal, start saving if you need to, start looking at the calendar, and start giving shape to your bucket list plan. Put your images and any accompanying words or phrases up on a cork board, or glue them to a big piece of tag board, or make a digital collage that can be your screensaver on your computer at work — anyplace where you’ll see it multiple times a day — and let those images inspire you as you get closer and closer to making your bucket list trip a reality. 

The best part? Awaken Travels can help you design this trip down to the last customized detail.  All you have to do is dream it, and we’ll make it a reality. Give us a call and let’s get started!

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69 thoughts on “Don’t miss out on your dream bucket-list trip

    • Tamra Gibson says:

      My husband and i went to The Cayman Islands for our honeymoon. We had the best time and it was just beautiful. I always said Id like us to go back ok r 25th anniversary and thats this year so the Cayman Islands is number 1 on my bucket list

  1. Dan Dykstra says:

    After looking at your list of destinations I have a hard time narrowing my bucket list down. If it was up to me I would love to travel around the world.

  2. Karen bellomy says:

    My bucket list trip is visiting Greece the water looks crystal clear and the scenery is breath taking

  3. Leslie Merritt says:

    My son is autistic and he loves anything and everything Disney. I really want to take my son to Disney world. It would make him extremely happy which in turn would make me happy.

  4. donna porter says:

    My bucket list destination for hubby and me would be Hawaii. This looks like such a beautiful place for a vacation!

  5. Linda Brady says:

    I’d love to go to go to a peaceful, laid back beach resort with the private huts over the crystal clear teal blue water! Hoping to find a place like this closer to the US that South Pacific…

  6. Linda Brady says:

    I’d love to go to go to a peaceful, laid back beach resort with the private huts over the crystal clear teal blue water! Hoping to find a place like this closer to the US that South Pacific…

  7. Dana Matthews says:

    I love this list! If you are going to take the time, make the effort and spend the money, do something memorable and unforgettable! Great suggestions!

  8. kathy M says:

    On my bucket list is a vacation to Alaska. I would love to go in the month of July and tour the countryside and enjoy the fresh fish! For my international destination it would be Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland. I have toured 49 of the states and Alaska is last on the list so would love to do that for sure

  9. Melanie trujillo says:

    Bucket list spot would be Galápagos Islands. Ever since I was a little girl I have always wanted to go! It would be the ultimate animal lovers vacation. Also has a great beach and fab views!

  10. Laurie Arnheim says:

    My #1 on my travel bucket list is to go to Crash My Playa. It’s Luke Bryan’s annual concert in Mexico. (Already sold out for January 2020.) Maybe next year! Although, Greece is at the top of the list too!

  11. Lula Ruger says:

    I have a huge bucket list ! My dream trip would be Italy I have seen a lot of cool places and have experienced a few once in a lifetime activities

  12. Anthony J Whitenight says:

    I would love to go to Guyana. My wifes family was born there but she has never been and I always wanted be the one to take her!

  13. Gayle Watkins says:

    My bucket list trip is a trip that includes Machu Picchu, an Amazon cruise, Cusco, Nazca Lines and anything else I could fit in.

  14. Sara crisco says:

    I’ve been to England, France, Italy and Canada. I think I would love to go to Spain with a day trip by ferry thru the straits of Gibraltar and have lunch in Morocco

  15. Patrick Cadette says:

    😁😁😁👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻 got to love this world we live in.. amazing places to visit

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