Dec 4, 2013

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Northern Lights tops our holiday ‘bucket list’

With New Year just around the corner, many of us will be thinking about where we’d like to travel to in 2014, the new places we’d like to see and the new stamps we want firmly printed in our passports.

But it’s not just next year’s holiday we’re planning. According to research by TravelSupermarket, more than half of us (54%) have taken our travel plans one step further and have compiled a mental list of destinations we’d like to see during our lifetime – known as a “Holiday Bucket List”. What’s more, around one in eight (13%) expect to fulfil their pledge and see everything on their wish list.

So where are the most popular holiday bucket list destinations?

The top 10 destinations
Northern Lights

Aurora Borealis

According to our research, the number one must-see holiday destination is the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) in Norway. Witnessing the Northern Lights was found to be more desirable than visiting time-honoured tourist hotspots such as the Egyptian pyramids and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Here’s the full breakdown of the top 10:

  1. Seeing the Aurora Borealis in Norway (37%)
  2. Visiting the Egyptian pyramids (35%)
  3. Road trip down Route 66 in the US (33%)
  4. Walking the Great Wall of China (32%)
  5. Experiencing an African safari (31%)
  6. Taking a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon and the Las Vegas strip (30%)
  7. Going on a cruise in the Caribbean (29%)
  8. Seeing the Taj Mahal, India (28%)
  9. Riding a gondola in Venice (27%)
  10. Diving in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia (24%).
30 countries by the age of 30

On average, people start crafting their “bucket lists” at the age of 32, but 10% of us start thinking about our must-see destinations before the age of 18.

Hannah Lewis, 27, from Cheshire has been working on ticking off her holiday bucket list since she first started travelling aged 14. When she was at university, working with a group of friends, Hannah set herself the challenge of visiting 30 countries before she was 30. She has already exceeded her own goal.

Hannah said: “I originally set myself the challenge to visit 30 countries by the time I was 30. However, I completed 30 countries earlier this year, so with a few years to spare, I am now upping my game to complete 35 by the time I am 30, with my last destination being Japan on my 30th birthday.

“I’m also planning to go to the Olympics in Brazil next year and on an African safari after that. I’m a big fan of any sort of adrenalin sports or activity, so if I can tick off another one of those along the way, even better!”

She added: “I love chatting with friends about their various travels and they have definitely influenced my own bucket list. My birthday trip to Japan is the perfect example of this. One of my oldest friends is from Australia and to ensure she can spend my 30th with me, we are meeting up in Japan – a midway point for both of us. My friend lived in Japan when she was 21 and speaks fluent Japanese so it seems the perfect place to meet!”

Hannah bungee jumping in New Zealand

Hannah bungee jumping in New Zealand

The benefits of bucket lists

So why do people have such a fascination with creating “bucket lists” and are there any benefits to achieving our travel goals?

Behaviour specialist Seven Suphi said: “We set ourselves goals in all aspects of our lives, from our careers to our relationships and families, and our holidays are no different. While realising some of our dreams might be out of our hands, travel can be a great thing to focus on. It allows us to set goals which we can achieve, providing we take the time to save and plan appropriately.

“Holiday bucket lists can be very valuable – having something to look forward to keeps us motivated, and pushing ourselves to try something out of the ordinary can be exhilarating.”

TravelSupermarket’s resident travel expert, Bob Atkinson, added: “The world is a lot more accessible now than it was 10 years ago, and it has become easier to visit these iconic places. Ten years ago African safaris and road trips down Route 66 were appealing because they were so far away, but now we’re seeing destinations much closer to home, like Norway, become a popular choice because people have decided it’s something they must see, instead of choosing long-haul destinations because they’re perceived to be once in a lifetime opportunities.

 “I’d encourage you to really think about what it is you want to get from a holiday. Once you can answer that, make sure you do your research, and spend the time developing an achievable list. From my experience, the feeling of pride you get when you tick things off is invaluable.”

Do you have a holiday bucket list? Where would you most like to visit next? Let us know in the comments box below.

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