Top 16 Bucket List entries – Northern Lights tops list

A poll of 2,000 holidaymakers reveals there is an average of 16 destinations and activities people are desperate to see before they die – with the aurora borealis, spotting animals in their natural habitat and gazing at America’s symbol of freedom topping the list.

But 76 per cent don’t get to travel as much as they would like, with 71 per cent of those blaming the cost for holding them back.

However, Jack Mitchell, who has helped holidaymakers get the best deals for their foreign excursions for more than a decade at card firm FairFX, has revealed his top secrets for visiting these sought-after hotspots at a fraction of the cost.

For example, when it comes to witnessing the Northern Lights, many travellers flock to the pricey Iceland – but Jack suggests heading to Sweden, and specifically, the little-known town in the north of the country, Abisko.

The snowy Swedish settlement is one of the best spots to clearly witness the natural phenomenon between September and March – without the eyewatering accommodation costs compared to Iceland.

For travellers wanting to embrace their wild side on an African safari, heading for the south of the continent in the low season from December to March is where the best savings can be made over the east.

Jack highlighted Zimbabwe as the great alternative, as the country offers very competitive options for travellers, as well as access to many of the essential safari animals.

While New York isn’t often associated with a budget break, the Statue of Liberty can be experienced for a pittance – with ferry tickets included for free with the purchase of most tourist discount passes around the city.

To see even more of New York cheaply, the NYC Ferry connects five boroughs and has a route from Midtown West to Staten Island – where you can get stunning views of the Statue of Liberty from as little as $4.

And to make spending money go further, Jack highlighted museums with weekly free or ‘pay-what-you-wish’ hours – like Frick Madison on Thursday afternoons, Guggenheim Museum on selected Saturday afternoons, and the Jewish Museum which is free every Saturday.

Realistic bucket lists

Jack said: “Despite feeling the pinch amid the cost-of-living crisis, the nation’s passion for travelling and exploring the world hasn’t been subdued.

“But for any traveller, no matter what their budget, doing the legwork about the destination is essential to making your money go further and enabling you to tick off entries on your travel bucket list.

The research also found Europe is the most popular continent for travellers to tick off items on their bucket lists, followed by North America and Asia.

Beaches, wild nature, and mountainous regions were the top types of destinations jetsetters want to explore.

Movies and TV shows give holidaymakers the most inspiration when it comes to adding more to their lists, with 34 per cent seeking advice from family and friends.

And 27 per cent have been inspired by social media.

But despite 67 per cent reporting the cost-of-living crisis has had an impact on their travel plans, 53 per cent have still managed to tick off an item within the last year.

Top 16 most popular travel bucket list entries

  1. See the Northern Lights
  2. Go on safari in Africa
  3. See the Statue of Liberty in New York
  4. Visit the Colosseum in Rome
  5. Drive Route 66
  6. Swim in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland
  7. Take a gondola ride through the canals of Venice
  8. Explore the ruins of Pompeii
  9. See the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland
  10. Go to Disneyworld in Florida
  11. Visit the Great Pyramid of Giza
  12. See Mount Fuji in Japan
  13. Walk along the Great Wall of China
  14. Visit the Taj Mahal
  15. Have a ride in a helicopter over the Grand Canyon
  16. Cross the Golden Gate Bridge

Chris Price