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The World's 20 Most Popular Bucket List Activities

by
author image Vivian Manning-Schaffel
Vivian Manning-Schaffel is a journalist, essayist, senior copywriter and rabblerouser who lives and works in Brooklyn, N.Y. A contributing editor at Working Mother and Time Out New York Kids, her work has also been featured in US Weekly, CBS Watch!, Parents, Parenting, The New York Times and The New York Post.

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The World's 20 Most Popular Bucket List Activities
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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!

1. See the Northern Lights
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1 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.

Related: Iceland Air

2. Run a Marathon
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2 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.”

Related: Runner's World: 10 Fun Marathons

3. Take an African Safari
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3 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.

4. Write a Story
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4 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.

Related: BucketList.org

5. Walk Along the Great Wall of China
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5 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.

6. Learn to Play an Instrument
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6 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.

7. Snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef (or Just Go Snorkeling)
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7 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.

8. Skydiving
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8 SKYDIVING

The adrenaline high produced by this activity is no joke. According to a recent study, skydiving has an affect on the brain that elicits euphoria.

9. Own a Dog
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9 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.

Related: Harvard Health Publications — Get Healthy, Get a Dog: the health benefits of canine companionship

10. See the Pyramids of Giza
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10 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.

11. Learn Another Language
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11 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

12. Ride a Venetian Gondola
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12 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.

13. Drive Across the Country
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13 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!

14. View Paris From Atop the Eiffel Tower
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14 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.

Related: Thrillist— The Paris Bucket List: 45 Things to Do Before You Die

15. Hike the Pacific Crest Trail
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15 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.

16. Take an Alaskan Cruise
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16 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!

17. See Your Favorite Band
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17 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.

18. Go Glamping
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18 GO GLAMPING

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!

19. Visit Stonehenge
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19 VISIT STONEHENGE

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.

20. Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro (or Another Big Mountain of Your Choosing)
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20 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.

What Do YOU Think?
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WHAT DO YOU THINK?

What’s on your bucket list? Are there any popular aspirations that we missed? Will you be adding any of these items to your list? Let us know in the comments section!

Related: The 20 Most Awe-Inspiring Places in the World

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