Road Trip Bucket List

Bucket lists increased in popularity after the movie by the same name from 2007. By definition, a bucket list is a list of things you hope to accomplish by the time you pass away. The list cements what’s important and gives a goal to work toward. The same idea can be applied to a specific, shorter time like a summer or two-week vacation (as opposed to a lifetime). Writing down your hopes for the upcoming road trip will help to make sure your priorities are realized.

RV parked on scenic view

Compile the List

Grab a piece of scratch paper and brainstorm what you want to do or see. You might want to carry it with you for a few days or keep it handy while you search travel guides and the internet. Make sure you get input from everyone who will be traveling with you. For the initial list, write EVERYTHING down, no matter how far-fetched it seems with time or money constraints. A bucket list is supposed to include specific and sometimes out of the ordinary goals. So, if you often make a plan, maybe something on your bucket list will be two or three completely spur-of-the-moment days. I realize that even in suggesting that, you are planning for unplanned days, but at least you will be trying something a little different.

Organize the List

Armed with a list, you can make some decisions about how to organize your list. Maybe you’ll organize it by a timeline and calendar of your anticipated destinations. If you have more than one traveler, maybe you’ll prioritize it by majority votes. You might be surprised that everyone wants to do something slightly out of the way. But if everyone wants to do it, it might be worth the detour. Maybe you’ll organize it by state or city. Any way you chose to do it, classify your ideas so you can move to the next step.

Adjust the List

In the first step, you write everything down, but clearly you cannot visit 10 museums in 2 days (and do it well). Now is the time to put the list into perspective. If you have several high-dollar items on your list, consult with your budget and decide what you really want to do. Adjusting the list doesn’t mean you try to plan your itinerary or only include things you know will get crossed off: try to be both realistic AND hopeful. Part of the purpose of the bucket list is to bring to fruition things that might not get accomplished if left to chance. If there are multiple contributors, make sure everyone gets at least one of their ideas on the final list.

Post the List

As the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.” Don’t let this be the case with your trip bucket list. My children and I have made bucket lists of our wishes for the summer. In our house, we have the room to print them in an expanded, poster version that are two sheets by two sheets of computer paper. I have the older children write their own lists and I write for the little ones. We include pictures, either drawn or from clipart. Over the course of the summer, we have fun completing the list because it’s right there in front of us. You probably don’t have room for 4 sheets of paper to hang on the walls of your RV, but a simple 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper on the fridge will do the job. Make it colorful. Add pictures. Or simply leave it plain. Any way you do it, make sure you display the list.

Do the List

Now that the list is there, get ready to start making your dreams come true. Go see the sights. Taste the foods. Visit the museums. Be thrilled on the roller coasters. Hike the trails. Check. Check. Check. Experience your trip the way you imagined it.

Remember the List

At the end of the summer, we use our list to make a journal of the past three months, though the descriptions might be better if we didn’t wait until the end of the summer to write about the experiences. Use a journal, make a scrapbook or write a postcard of the memories as you go along. If visiting all the states is on your list, purchase this State Stickers Map to give you another visual reminder of your goal. If there are things on the list that haven’t been accomplished, use them for
another trip.

If you’re not a planner, a bucket list can help you achieve some dreams. If you’re already an obsessive coordinator, a bucket list can bring some spontaneity to your trip. Traveling alone? You get to make the whole list for yourself. Traveling with others? Include suggestions from everyone. Disappointment comes from unmet expectations, so defining the desires leads to less disappointment.

A Road Trip Bucket List is a fun way to make sure your trip reaches its full potential.

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