The World's 20 Most Popular Bucket List Activities
Last Updated: Jan 17, 2017
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Sometimes a new calendar year serves as the ultimate reminder that life is never as long as we’d like it to be. We tend to harbor thoughts of how our lives are lived and carefully consider the things we have yet to do. Chief among self-evaluation rituals is the “bucket list” — a list of things we’d like to do before our expiration dates are upon us. For many, bucket list items are considered too much of an investment, but new research revealed that some folks are willing to pony up to $12,888 on their bucket list on average. So what’s on yours? We spent some time researching 20 of the world’s most popular bucket list activities and present them here for your consideration. Perhaps you’ll add one of them to yours for 2017!
SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS
The spectacular sights of the aurora borealis leave countless viewers breathless every year. Iceland Air offers an array of packages that will enable you to tick this item off your bucket list.
RUN A MARATHON
Fancy a goal of heroically crossing a finish line, arms raised overhead in triumph? You aren’t alone. Runner’s World would back you up, writing that a marathon “can be a 26.2-mile-long block party.”
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TAKE AN AFRICAN SAFARI
Lions and tigers and giraffes, oh my! USA Today recommends that, when choosing an adventure, you consider the sights, natural surroundings and animals you’d like to see. Be sure to avoid areas with a high risk of terrorism.
WRITE A STORY
Think your life would make for a riveting memoir? Consider attending a weekly writer’s workshop one day a week and learn how to get your thoughts down on paper. Hey, you might write a best-seller and enjoy an early retirement. But if not, at least you’ll have improved your critical thinking and communication skills.
WALK ALONG THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA
This item topped bucket lists for 40 percent of the people surveyed by the Daily Mail. Not only is this goal popular, it’s as old as they come. Several of the walls were built as early as 7th century B.C.
LEARN TO PLAY AN INSTRUMENT
Have a penchant for air guitar? Why not learn to actually play one of your favorite tunes? On top of being insanely fun, learning an instrument is good for your brain. Studies cited in The Guardian show that learning to play an instrument enhances verbal memory and strengthens spatial reasoning and literacy skills.
SNORKEL AT THE GREAT BARRIER REEF (OR JUST GO SNORKELING)
Snorkeling at this awe-inspiring Australian natural treasure is on the bucket lists of many who want to enjoy warm blue waters and ocean life that can’t be found anywhere else.
OWN A DOG
Aside from having your very own best friend, owning a dog is a great bucket list item because it has tons of health benefits — so many that Harvard Health has issued a booklet about them. Here’s a good one: Petting a dog actually lowers your blood pressure.
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SEE THE PYRAMIDS OF GIZA
Ranking high on many a bucket list is a visit to Egypt’s Pyramids of Giza. Believed to be more than 4,000 years old, these ancient tombs are a majestic sight to behold.
LEARN ANOTHER LANGUAGE
Dream of ordering dinner in France — or at least understanding what to order from a French menu? Studies show that learning a new language holds tremendous health benefits: It can even help stave off dementia
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RIDE A VENETIAN GONDOLA
An art lover’s paradise, Venice is home to many architectural and historical treasures you can admire from your gondola, such as St. Mark’s Square and the Rialto Bridge.
Monkey Business/Adobe Stock
DRIVE ACROSS THE COUNTRY
There’s no better way to see America than from the front seat of a station wagon. You can plot out your landmarks in advance, or, thanks to GPS, you can just wing it and go where the wind blows!
VIEW PARIS FROM ATOP THE EIFFEL TOWER
This historic landmark, and the breathtaking panoramic Parisian view it offers, is a bucket list fave. Thrillist ranks dining in a restaurant there No. 14 on their Parisian bucket list. Buying a cheesy tourist keychain of the landmark came in at No. 32.
HIKE THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL
Want to (literally) follow in “Wild” author Cheryl Strayed’s footsteps? You aren’t alone! According to National Geographic, the Pacific Crest Trail is a favorite of long-distance hiker and writer Andrew Skurka.
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Ruth P. Peterkin/Adobe Stock
TAKE AN ALASKAN CRUISE
If you’re hitching a ride aboard an Alaskan cruise ship, you better be ready to get wet. According to USA Today, “Experiences such as witnessing an immense chunk of ice-blue glacier thunderously crashing into the sea, watching humpback whales breach, kayaking past frolicking seals and spotting bald eagles swooping overhead catapult Alaska over the top in terms of memorable vacations.” Sign us up!
SEE YOUR FAVORITE BAND
Nothing makes a person feel young again like seeing their favorite band in concert. And with the internet, it’s pretty easy to accomplish this goal. Just follow your favorite band online and snag tickets when they make it to your town. Or if you live out in the boonies, join forces with some friends and plan a road trip to go see them. Researchers recently found that seeing live music is a great way to reduce cortisol, a stress hormone.
So you want to add an outdoorsy adventure to your bucket list, but you’re not quite willing to sleep on the ground? Consider the joys of “glamping,” aka glamour camping. You’ll take in the wonders of nature by day and relax in a luxurious yurt by night — replete with lovely linens, bathrooms and the glory of Wi-Fi!
This world-renowned prehistoric monument made even President Obama’s bucket list. A location where druidic rites and ceremonies were performed that may have been erected as early as 2500 B.C., Stonehenge welcomes upward of 800,000 visitors a year.
CLIMB MT. KILIMANJARO (OR ANOTHER BIG MOUNTAIN OF YOUR CHOOSING)
Mt. Kilimanjaro is prominently featured on both bucketlist.org and Travel + Leisure’s bucket list roundup. You’ll have to pack heavy for this 55-mile hike, which leads you through a variety of climates and takes about a week accomplish.
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