Bucket list travel survey 2023
We define ‘bucket list’ travel as visiting new destinations, experiencing new cultures, seeing the world’s greatest sights, or undertaking activities in the world you’ve always wanted to do.
As well as being enjoyable, scientific research has shown that this type of travel can have significant holistic physical, mental and spiritual benefits for us.
Closely aligned to this type of travel is the idea of a ‘bucket list’ or more specifically a ‘travel bucket list’ – where we list down those destinations, attractions or activities we want to tick off in our lifetime.
In late 2022, Bucket List Travels commissioned an independent survey of the British public to find out:
- How likely Brits were to take a bucket list holiday, and if they noticed any health benefits from it
- How many Brits actually had a physical or online travel bucket list in some form; and if not, why not?
- What destinations and experiences were on Brits’ travel bucket lists
- 1/3 of Brits stated that they do bucket list travel whenever get chance – those this is much higher in 18-24 segment 60% and for Londoners (53%).
- This propensity for bucket list type travel decreases with age, though we suspect this would vary according to income levels which were not tested in this survey. However, it is also likely to be due to:
- Having done a lot of bucket list travel already
- Health reasons
- Propensity to go back to where they know/like as easy/low risk.
- Almost a quarter (22%) of married couples are waiting until retirement to do more bucket list travel.
Whenever I get a chance
I have already done some bucket list travel
After the kids grow up/retired
With the kids/as a family
With a partner, before we have kids
I do not do bucket list travel or do not think about it
- 80% of Brits do bucket list travel once a year; again, this is heavily skewed to younger people.
- Almost half of young people do bucket list travel 80% or more of the time; this declines to 13% in the over 45s.
- Londoners have higher number of bucket list holidays than national average. 90% of their holidays have a bucket list element compared to a national average of 80%. 62% of Londoners try to have a bucket list element 3 out of every 5 holidays.
80%: 4 out of 5
60%: 3 out of 5
40%: 2 out of 5
- 60% of Brits say not enough money is their biggest barrier; interestingly, that was significantly higher in women (66%), compared to only half of men.
- Money is the lowest barrier in London 50%, and the highest in Wales 70%.
- It’s also the highest barrier in the 35-55 age group (70%) – presumably due to kids and mortgages.
- Time to research/risk going somewhere new is another big factor; interestingly, this is more of a factor in men (26%) than women (14%).
Money - cannot afford to go more
Lack of holiday time to go more
No time to research / too risky to try new places
Caring for family/young kids
No-one to go with
Old age / other
- Over 1/3 Brits noticed holistic mental health improvements from travel.
- Over a third noted feelings of satisfaction/achievement; much more so in women than men (42% v 30%).
- 1/3 of Brits noticed refreshed perspective - again much more in women than men.
- A quarter of Brits said made more appreciative of what they have and their homes.
Increased knowledge of the world
Feeling of achivement/satisfaction having gone somewhere or done something new
Refreshes my perspective on my life
Allows me to see the positive again, not just focus on the negatives
Builds a special bond/closer relationship with friends & families I travelled with
More calm, rebalance emotionally
Makes me appreciate home and what I have (i.e. espacially when seeing poorer people in other countries)
More tolerance/understanding of other people and cultuers
I have not noticed any benefits
- 90% of young people aged 18-24 have at least some ideas on their travel bucket list.
- Written down travel bucket lists are much more prevalent in young people (36%) compared to the national average of 14%; over 45s had significantly less (5%).
- 2/3 of Londoners have a travel bucket list either written down or in their heads versus the national average 52%; only 43% have in Wales, the lowest of all regions.
- London (23%) has almost twice as many people with actual written down travel bucket lists than the national average (14%).
- Wales, Yorkshire and East Anglia have the lowest % with written down travel bucket lists (10% versus national average 14%).
Yes - written down
Yes - but only in my head
Sort of - a few general ideas
- 29% said it’s not that important to them, though that’s lowest in London (20%).
- 1/4 of Brits have not thought of having a bucket list
- 15% bemoaned a lack of a tool to create one; that figure is much higher in London at 22%.
Not that important to me have one
Never thought of it
Cannot be bothered/not my style to do that
No easy/obvious way to do it
Too hard/time consuming to research things to put on it
Do not want to do any 'bucket list' travel anymore in my lifetime
- 42% of travel bucket lists owners have more than 6 destinations on it. In London its much higher at 51%, as do those in a relationship (53%).
- Over 55s have mostly 1-5 (68%), above national average of 56%.
- Seeing the Northern Lights is by far the most popular bucket list travel experience, featuring on over a quarter of Brits bucket lists.
- Interestingly, it was significantly more so for women (35%) than for men (19%).
|American Road Trip||17|
|Safari in Africa||16|
|Great Barrier Reef||14|
|Cruise Norway's Fjords||13|
|Pyramids of Giza / Nile||11|
|Great Wall of China||10|
|Swim with dolphins||8|
|Ride the Bullet Train||7|
|Statue of Liberty||6|
|Climb Mount Kilimanjaro||4|
|Swim in Dead Sea||3|
|Christ the Redeemer||3|
|Trek Everest Base Camp||2|
|Walk the Camino||2|
- Australia (18%) is the most popular bucket list destinations for Brits, on almost 1 in 5 of Brits travel bucket lists.
|USA (es Hawaii||16|
- The research was independently conducted by Vital Research, on behalf of The Relations Group.
- The research adheres to the UK Market Research Society (MRS) code of conduct (2019) and ICC/ESOMAR (international).
- The sample of 2,005 online respondents was created to provide a random cross-section of the British population. The sample had the following criteria:
- across all regions of the UK
- aged 18+
- all genders
- all relationship statuses
- all income levels
- The results are statistically significant to a 95% confidence interval and 5% margin of error.
The following key trends and themes were noted from the survey:
- Bucket list travel is most popular in the younger demographics; over 50% say they’ll do it whenever they can, and over 1/3 have a travel bucket list written down.
- Propensity for bucket list travel declines with age, though this would likely vary by income level which was not tested in this survey.
- Londoners have a significantly higher propensity for bucket list travel (>90%) than nationally – and the greatest number of travel bucket lists.
- Surprisingly few (14%) people have a written down travel bucket list.
- A significant number of Brits (40%+) have noticed the health benefits, especially mental benefits, of bucket list travel.
- Money is the biggest obstacle to Brits doing more bucket list travel, but also the lack of holiday time, and the time/effort needed for research/risk of going new places are major factors.
- Seeing the Northern Lights was number 1 desired bucket list experience overall and in every segment (on 27% of travel bucket lists).