Stop Creating Bucket Lists

I recently answered a question about which are the must-visit places to add to a bucket list, but before I answered the question I want to make it clear I am NOT a huge fan of bucket lists. The reason is simple – they aren’t SMART goals. How do you know when you are going to die, it’s easy to keep putting things off for years because you always have “next year”. I want to travel and explore the world while I am still young and fit enough to enjoy it, not when I am 80 and struggling to get around.

It’s not like we don’t cover great places to visit, we have covered them many times like, 12 best countries to visit or top 10 solo destinations or even the 5 underrated countries in Europe.

We are a huge fan of exploring new places, we just think you should have smarter goals around your travel plans.

I turned 30 in April of this year and for about 6 months before this I planned out where I want to visit by the time I am 35. Not a bucket list that I can keep putting off, but a 5 year time window when I must visit all 5 places.

The key is they also need to be realistic – New Zealand is probably the one country in the world I really want to visit and explore, but I have a very young family and it would be a very long flight for them all so not realistic in the next 5 years. Also another realistic element is the number of countries, 5 is realistic – it’s potentially 1 year if I plan it right.

I want to share with the 5 countries and why I picked them.

A Balkan country

A Balkan country and yes this does sound vague, but earlier this year I went to Bulgaria and loved the country, the climate, just about everything with the country and I wanted more. Plus these are very cheap countries to visit at the moment, for a family of four who partially ate every meal out and didn’t worry about a thing, we only spent £750 on food, experiences, trip etc. This was added very late to my list I had already had the other four places to visit locked down but I really want to go back to the region, so took off my 5th for here.

I haven’t specifically picked a country as I need to do more research, but I definitely want to go back to the region. I am thinking of going back to Bulgaria as well but would like to visit another country as well in the region.


I married my wonderful wife 4 years ago and due to financial and children, we never took a honeymoon. I have always wanted to go to the Maldives on my honeymoon and I plan on treating us in the next 5 years. 

It’s actually looking quite likely and looking at Feb 2019, it’s only in the last couple of weeks that it becomes more concrete. I added it to my list so started to make things happen. The biggest reason is I want to travel business class, I do a lot of flying and normally don’t mind where I sit, the plane gets you to the location at the same time, but for this once in a lifetime trip I really want to treat my wife, but going business class and wanting an overwater beach Villa means it’s likely to cost around £8,000 – but I don’t really care. Yes, it’s a lot of money and money I could spend elsewhere probably more wisely, but I want a head full of memories rather than a house full of things.


I don’t know if it’s the great food, the great culture, the history or just the stories I have been told by other people but Italy is really a place I want to visit. Again I think this one might be another trip just for me and wife, I will leave the kids at home and get a romantic weekend away.


Like I said I made this list towards the back end of last year and Canada is a country which has always fascinated me, and wanted to visit. I go to Seattle every year for a conference and this year I decided to extend my stay and head up to Canada for a few days before flying home.

It was a wonderful experience, you can read about it here – but so glad I managed to see some of Canada. I would love to go back and visit other parts, the more remote sections, maybe a bit of skiing, bit of hiking and exploring the wilderness, but this won’t be in the next 5 years, as the list is already pretty tight, with Maldives and Italy.

5 US states

While this isn’t a specific country I do really wanna explore America, visiting all 50 states while doable isn’t realistic in the next 5 years.

Prior to this year, I had visited two states, Florida back in 2005 and then for the last couple of years Washington State, as I attend a conference every year in Seattle, however when making arrangements this year I decided I would head to Oregon first and visit Portland. I then meet a mate and got the train up, one of the best trains rides ever.

That will make 2 more I need to visit. I think Nevada might be one of them and possibly New York the other but we will see. Got another 4 and a half years to sort it out.

So where are you heading? Remember to forget bucket lists and make a list of destinations you want to visit in the next 5 years and get booking. Tell us in the comments where your planning on going?