How to Build a Bucket List for Your Life

Although it can sometimes seem as if our actions drive our life stories, really it is the other way around: the stories we tell ourselves about who we are, where we’re going and what we want out of life are what ultimately shape our actions. When it comes to travel, Covid has made this idea even more true and more relevant. Like most travelers, I have always been a seeker and find that the mere act of casting my thoughts to a distant destination changes my inner narrative and, from there, my mindset and my actions. Our stories create our lives. For that reason, I curate and tend to my travel wish list like a garden, always adding and adjusting. And even though some destinations are still off-limits, as we move into this new phase of Covid, with post-vaccine travel in the offing, I find myself thinking about them with an even greater sense of longing and urgency.

At Indagare, we specialize in creating travel bucket lists and in turning their dreams and mapping visions into practical, long-term plans. Some of our members like to spread their bucket lists over years. We help them with information about optimum times to travel and how early they need to book (a year in advance for safari, for example). Others like to cover a lot of ground at once, with, say, a trip around Southeast Asia. For some families, we have created round-the-world journeys and sabbaticals, with dozens of stops over several months. After all, there is no better way to educate our children and ourselves than with exposure to other cultures through personal interactions during a cooking class, a bike ride or a school visit.

Contact Indagare or your Trip Designer to help map your travel future and customize your bucket list for when you're ready to head out into the world again, or to learn more about health-safety considerations, including the destinations that are open to travel and the latest hotel protocols.

There is an art to creating a great bucket list. Like a great meal, it has rhythm and pacing, variety and balance: country and city, yin and yang. In the early days of Indagare, one of our members explained his preferences to me by saying: “I love works of God, but my wife prefers works of man.” This has since become a popular expression at Indagare for distinguishing two types of experiences. Here are our favorite bucket list trip ideas, from hiking experiences in the wilderness or guided tours through the world's greatest museums to foraging for truffles and sunbathing on the finest white sands. We have broken them down into categories, themes, destinations and distinct passion points our members so often look for—and we truly hope they will inspire your future trips. We're here to help you craft the bucket list itineraries you envision for your lifetime of travels as safely and responsibly as possible in the months and years ahead.

Related: Rediscovering the Meaning of Travel During Covid

Bucket List Trip Ideas for Stupendous Natural Beauty

Related: Indagare's Guide to Traveling Safely and Responsibly During Covid

Bucket List A+ Destinations

One of the biggest benefits of Indagare membership is that you are part of a community of sophisticated travelers seeking authentic and transformative experiences. Because we have been arranging thousands of trips annually for more than a decade, we can discern which guides, hotels, excursions and meals consistently enchant our members. Among those, a few are so exceptional that they can be counted on to please everyone every time. I call these the A+ Experiences, and a selection of them serves as an excellent framework for any bucket list.

Bucket List Indagare Adored Hotels

It can also be fun to flesh out this framework with experiences organized around a theme. Such a list might include:

Over and Under the Earth

Unforgettable Wildlife Interactions

  • African Safari
  • Swimming with sea lions in the Galápagos
  • Walking with a cheetah in Zimbabwe
  • Washing an elephant in Asia’s Golden Triangle
  • Painting an elephant in Jaipur
  • Hiking amid silverback gorillas in Rwanda
  • Tracking kiwi chicks in New Zealand

Spirituality-based Trips

Food-focused Trips

Because we are foodies at Indagare, bucket list trips always involve wonderful meals, some as simple as uni and toro before dawn at the fish market in Tokyo or tapas at a tiny counter in San Sebastián, Spain. A few of our favorites include:

  • Breakfast by the pool at La Mamounia in Marrakech, accompanied by bird song, with the mist rising over the Atlas Mountains
  • A rosé-filled, two-hour lunch at Conca del Sogno on the Amalfi Coast or at Garzón in Uruguay
  • A multi-course tasting menu full of unfamiliar flavor combinations at Alinea in Chicago
  • Grilled fresh fish at a little seaside spot reachable only by boat in Croatia or Mallorca
  • A truffle hunt, led by an experienced trifulau (truffle hunter) and his dog, in Tuscany
  • Dinner lit by candles and scented with rose petals on the rooftop of the Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur

We encourage you to tap Indagare's Trip Designers to guide you to extraordinary experiences and help you envision your own personalized bucket list. 

Related: Where to Go in 2021

Contact Indagare or your Trip Designer to help map your travel future and customize your bucket list for when you're ready to head out into the world again, or to learn more about coronavirus travel safety, including the destinations that are open to travel and new COVID-19 hotel policies.

More Inspiration

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We only feature hotels that we can vouch for first-hand. At many of them, Indagare members receive special amenities.

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