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5 Steps To Help Plan your Travel Wish List

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Deciding where you want to travel in the world can feel like an overwhelming task! Where do you even start? Undoubtedly, you’ve seen amazing pictures on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, but how do you prioritize where you want to go?  What matters most to your friends, travel writers or influencers may not matter most to you – travel is personal and this is your chance to hone in on your passions and create your personal travel wish list!

I’ve spent a lot of time dreaming, planning and executing on travel ideas and below I’ve listed 5 ideas that can help you start your travel wish list too! We may not be able to travel as far right now but we can still dream and prepare for when that day comes!

1. To start, visualize the types of trip that make you most excited. 

  • Some Ideas:
  • Beach / Relaxation
  • Active / Hiking / Biking
  • Cityscape / Museums / Restaurants / Shows
  • Wellness / Zen / Meditation
  • Diving
  • Skiing
  • Wine / Beer tours
  • National Parks

Don’t worry if all of the above appeal to you – most do to me! That just means you’ll have a longer travel list.

2. Who will you be traveling with?

Solo? Then you can just focus on your interests.  With a partner? Perhaps work on this list together.  With your family, including kids? Make sure there are enough sites and activities of interest to them too.

3. How long you’re willing/able to be in transit to and in the destination

Is a 24-hour travel day (each way) feasible? Do you want a direct flight or can you take multiple flights/trains/buses, etc.? If you’re limited to a certain region based on transit time or number of vacation days, that already helps to hone in on potential destinations.  If the world is your oyster, well, you’ve got even more options then!

4. Survey Says…

Based on the type(s) of trips you’d like to take from #1, do searches online for top destinations for that activity in the region you’re focused on (the region can be the whole world if you’re willing/able to travel far!).  I’d cross-reference a few different lists (such as from Culture Trip, Travel & Leisure, Lonely Planet, Condé Nast, etc.).  

My worksheets here (also posted below as PDFs) can be helpful to jot down the destinations that are most interesting to you based on these searches. Call me old-school but I love to hand write when I’m working on goals so I’d suggest printing (or replicating these templates on a blank piece of paper).

Global Travel Wish List template
US Travel Wish List template

5. Lastly, think about potential barriers and how to overcome them

Now that you have a potential list, research generally what costs are for flights, hotels, and activities.  This will help you plan if the trip can be done in the short term or if it’s on the longer-term wish list. Perhaps denote the shorter-term travel destinations with a symbol.  For the further out trips, figure out if you need to take any action now to make them a reality in the long-term (e.g. saving more money, purchasing certain equipment, training requirements (such as PADI certification for diving), saving up vacation days, etc.).

You’ve made it through some really great work.  Congrats! At this point, you have a great list of places for your future travels – both near and long term.  Save it and keep adding to it as you learn of new places.  My list is ever evolving.

Looking for trip inspiration? Check out my Minnesota, US and Global guides to start planning!

Happy Planning!

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