Why You Need A Bucket List [+ How To Make It A Reality]

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Raise your hand if when you think of traveling in your twenties it’s either:

          a) Going to your parents for the holidays or

          b) A short weekend trip where you can stay at a friend’s place.

Anything more and you tend to push it into the depths of your brain while saying, “I’ll take that epic adventure when I’ve saved up enough.” Thinking the entire time, that you’ve locked away a dream that won’t be released until you’re older or retired.

Thank you to EF Ultimate Break for sponsoring today's guest post from the very person who creates their awesome trips! I hope it inspires each of you to stop saying tomorrow and follow your dreams today!

If you’re anything like me, it feels impossible to splurge on something enjoyable like a trip to Costa Rica. LBH, financial responsibilities in our twenties rarely match our paychecks…  *Groceries cost how much!?* Yet, at the same time, our friends are posting pictures on Facebook and Instagram of their recent trip to Europe with their significant other… or brunch pictures at that new swanky place that charges $30 for french toast – those are always hardest to look at, why doesn’t my french toast ever look like that?!? — That’s when FOMO kicks in.   https://giphy.com/embed/uhsxJFXxEElq

So while we wait and wait to travel, the stress piles up, and it feels like we’ll never get out from under it. But when is enough? How can we actually think differently about traveling and doing something about it?

Why You Need A Bucket List

No, believe it or not, it’s not something that only old people create. For those who believe and practice “YOLO” (is that still cool to say?! If not, I’m bringing it back ?), creating a bucket list revolves around the mentality of “I may never have another chance to do this.” Today, it’s so easy to get caught up in “responsibilities” and tending to everyone else’s needs. It’s easy to put ourselves second, or third, or fourth…or even forget about our own dreams altogether! So dream big, don’t hesitate, and go for it – the only moment we are guaranteed is now.

Dream big, don’t hesitate, and go for it - the only moment we are guaranteed is now.Click To Tweet

How To Create Your Bucket List:

I know I've talked a lot about travel so far (can you tell where my head is at?!), but your bucket list isn't restricted to travel. As you first create yours think about your interests. What do you like to do in your day-to-day life? Do you love reading about history and romance? Do you love going to the beach or grabbing some drinks with friends? Your interests will start to define your bucket list and the things you want to accomplish. 

Keep adding to your bucket list:

Bucket lists are like pizza. The more you add onto it, the better. (We can debate this in the comments if you want.) As you cross things off your bucket list, add new things on there. If you’re 80 and your bucket list is the same as it was today, something went wrong.

Need an example to get you started? Look at travel trends. For instance, Portugal is one of the hottest places to travel to this year because it’s affordable, a quick 6-hr flight from the East Coast, with beautiful architecture, seafood, wine, etc. AND it still has a “hidden gem” aspect of travel. Add it to the list!

Make your bucket list attainable

Want to learn Mandarin? Great. Want to declutter your wardrobe? Add it to the list. You saw the Olsen twins fall in love with two French Boys in “Passport to Paris” and now YOU want to fall in love with a French boy in Paris? Spectacular! Write it down.

Then, make it a reality piece by piece; get a passport, get a flight, get a French boy. It’s obviously easier said than done, but bottom line, to achieve items on your bucket list you have to be willing to get out of your comfort zone in one way or another.

Steps To Check Things Off Your Bucket List:

1) Start saving

Yes, we all might want to live life like Beyonce, which makes saving tricky. But, it’s easy to chip away at some of the habits or routines we may have picked up to watch our savings grow; make your coffee each day instead of the $6 cold brew, hold off on eating out except for special occasions, stay in every other weekend to save the $50+ you would have otherwise spent on drinks for an epic adventure. If you have the time, pick up a side job; work at that $6 cold brew place, help Grandma clean her house, stuff like that.

2) Plan ahead

If you want to go to London, do your research ahead of time. You know that you want to go to Warner Bros. Studios while you’re there. Check out ticket prices, transportation, meals, etc, so you’re not stuck paying full price for anything.

3) Find affordable trips

Don’t let the airfare shock you, it’ll be the most expensive part of your trip by far. But once you have that, accommodations, meals, and activities are great prices. $18 for a two-hour massage in Thailand? Sign us up every day, please! Anywhere can be affordable enough if you’re willing to look and explore. (Oh and we’re totally giving you all $100 off our tours here – more details at the bottom of the post too!).

4) Use financial apps

There are a ton of great apps out there that can track your spending and transactions to reach your savings goals for any of the items on your bucket list! Everything from apps that’ll track your progress on a savings goal, to notifying you of all the monthly subscriptions your paying for (and need to cancel), to giving you cash back when you shop on certain websites! Oh and if one of your goals is to travel overseas, there are apps out there that’ll help you find credit cards with no international fees! #Score!

5) Look into Group Travel

Group travel is a great way to experience the world and get out of your comfort zone, while still finding comfort in a group of professionals taking the guesswork out of your trip!  With EF Ultimate Break, you’ll join 20(ish) other 18-29 year olds and make new memories, forge new bonds, and maybe even pet an elephant. After only a couple of days, people who came in as strangers, leave as best friends. That is the power of group travel. #Nojoke.

Plus, EF takes care of everything—flights, accommodations, food, itineraries—so you travel stress-free. EF has trips to practically anywhere, and loves helping people check off and add new places to their bucket list.  Learn more about what they’re about at efultimatebreak.com  

Oh yeah, that's me, Lexie! The person who creates EF Ultimate Break's epic trips!

>>> GIVE AWAY <<<

EF Ultimate Break was also awesome enough to give anyone interested in booking a trip $100 off. Just use the code: TCM100 when you check out. That’s it! Click here for your next great adventure!


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Ready to start saving for your next big trip? Grab TCM's checklist of ways to save on a budget!

38 thoughts on “Why You Need A Bucket List [+ How To Make It A Reality]”

  1. Courtney Heathcock

    I really enjoyed reading this post. I recently got married, but before that I traveled with my family all the time. We would travel every single summer and sometimes I feel like I’m missing something that’s been a part of me for so long. I actually removed traveler from my Instagram bio a week or two ago because it seemed like a far away dream. But you’re tips have given me a glimpse of hope! Saving is something I pride my husband and I for, we’ve done fairly well about that. We need to be better about planning, we talk but never finalize. We are celebrating our one year anniversary in July and I am really hoping that we are able to travel somewhere! I will be sharing this post with him ASAP!

    1. I’m glad you liked it and feel inspired! It’s all about taking that last leap. Two of my friends just went to Amsterdam / London for their one year anniversary – hopefully you guys get to do something exciting and meaningful too. 🙂

  2. My bucket list is truly never ending and I’m also so thankful for my experience with EF Ultimate Break! I broke up with my boyfriend and traveled alone (but you know, with the other 25ish people) to Amsterdam, Paris, and London. Best. Decision. Ever. I became really close friends with three other people and we even visited each other throughout college. Traveling in our twenties can be so life-changing and eye-opening! Eliminating my Starbucks 4x/week saved me over $80/month which I always save for travel!! And nowwww I’m going to go do some research on Portugal.

    1. Such an awesome journey, and props to you for the $80/month! I’m in a constant battle with my love for Starbucks. And YES Portugal – it’s the place to be. 🙂

  3. I have my bucket list which is always growing! I see something new I want to do and it’s added! it’s a great way for me to stay inspired and work hard to achieve it!

  4. I love traveling and find that my bucket list just gets longer and longer! I actually have my own Disney bucket list of all the different things I want to do at the Disney parks around the world, in addition to my “normal” bucket list of places to go and things to do. I have a bucket list journal that someone gave me, though I admit I haven’t looked at it in awhile – I’ll have to update it soon!

  5. Love this!!! I have such a long, extensive bucket list and I love it that way. That way I always have something to plan for, to look forward to and to be excited to explore!

  6. It’s too funny you wrote this post today as I’m sharing a bucket list post next week on my blog! 🙂 I LOVE making bucket lists and love making specific ones and also general ones. I want to do my first 101 in 1001 once I’m a bit more settled in my career/personal life!

  7. Ashley Stephenson

    We love to travel! One of my bucket list trips in going to Italy and it may work out that my sister will be studying abroad there next semester and if she is I am going to go and try to visit her!

  8. Ah this is giving me all the travel feels. My hubby and I never got to go on a honeymoon, so we’ve been saving and trying to go on a trip just the two of us ASAP! We just keep adding and adding to our bucket list and I can’t wait to start going on the adventures we’ve been planning.

  9. thesophiadiaries

    thanks for sharing these tips! i agree, having a tangible list of things you want to accomplish in your life is good motivation for you to wake up in the morning on some days <3

  10. I love this so much! I’ve had a bucket list for as long as I can remember and honestly, I haven’t crossed too many things off of it yet. And it totally sucks! It can be so easy to put those things off because of bills and other miscellaneous responsibilities but I’m now about to be 26 and feel like I’ve done NOTHING. And that really takes a toll on my mental health. I’m going to sit down this weekend and really put together an updated bucket list and make it a priority from now on. I don’t want to the 75 and full of regrets!

  11. I love this! I love traveling and experiencing different cultures! I need to actually start saving for my bucket list because I definitely have a long one! What money saving apps do you use?

  12. I have a lot of places I would love to travel to but I have yet to compile them into a formal bucketlist. I think these lists are really fun to write but I know I never really end up crossing anything off! I think I really just need to scale down and make the things on my list a little more doable!

  13. Kelsie Kleinmeyer

    I LOVE this! We definitely all need bucket lists. I actually led a tour through EF a couple of summers ago to Greece. It was amazing! My hubby led one to Italy last Summer, and we are both going on a mother in a year and a half!

  14. I’m always adding to my bucket list and I also make sure to be able to cross off 5 things a year.

  15. My bucketlist is so full! While I’m able to travel at the moment it definitely takes a lot of planning in advance, and saving is so important! It’s definitely all about prioritizing but I also believe everyone should keep a bucketlist so we can use it as a reminder of why we’re *trying* to save!

  16. These are really great tips. I did 2 big trips in my twenties 1) Travelled Europe for 2 months and ended up staying for 5 years lol, 2) Travelled the world for 1 year (when I decided to move back home to Canada). For my year away I literally saved up for 1 solid year before hand. For both trips I also had a specific daily budget. Of course I went over at times, but I made sure to make it up on other days. As it turned out, my 1 year trip could have gone longer (financially) but I was tired and wanted to get back to a regular routine. I honestly think everyone should do some big trips before kids, otherwise it won’t be possible or they’ll have to wait til they retire.

  17. Jennifer ~ The Tipsy Mama

    I’ve had a bucket list for a very long time and through the years have managed to check several things off. After reading this, I think it’s time to revisit and revise it! Now that the kids are all grown it’s time to up my plans and start some new adventures!

  18. I made a giant board for my bucket list items and love taking them off as I fulfill them.

    xoxo, Paige

  19. I don’t really have a “set” bucket list but I’m always thinking of new places to go to or do. I guess I should just go ahead and make one.

  20. I’m constantly adding to my travel bucket list haha, but after traveling a bit before/during grad school am taking a little break to cut down my debt. I’m already planning a fun trip as a reward! My friend actually works for EF College Break so this is really cool!

  21. I studied abroad in England 2 years ago and haven’t really travelled since. I’ve been dying to get to Iceland but I also plan on moving into my own place this year. It’s so hard to balance it all but I will make it happen! I also have to say that I love your use of gifs in your posts.

  22. These are great tips. My trips do involve my parents or somehwere I have a friends. So I loved reading this! It is possible to make other trips possible with enough organization.

  23. Ahh I love your comment – bucket lists are like pizza. My husband and I try to make a travel bucket list at the beginning of the year and see how much we can check off! We took mini weekend trips all last year and are hoping to do 1 extended trip this year!

  24. Robin @ And Then We Tried

    Always adding to my bucket list! As much work and discipline it takes to save and plan for travel, I’ve never once regretted spending the money/ time/ effort to make it happen.

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