Frequently asked questions
A bucket list is a list of things you want to do in your lifetime (or before you die). It is, of course, a personal thing, and the items on a bucket list are infinitely varied in scope: it might be learning to speak Spanish, finding a lost relative, or eating a snail.
A travel bucket list is a list of extraordinary places, sights and experiences that are the must-sees to do in your lifetime.
As you browse through the site, look out for the ‘plus’ signs on each recommendation page and all the listings. Click to add the recommendation to your bucket list. You can access your bucket list from the blue button in the top right corner of the page.
Our bucket list selections are those that our writers and editorial team think are the world’s most outstanding experiences, that everyone should see or do in their lifetime.
A bucket list experience is one not to be missed. Visiting somewhere new often evokes a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out); we want to make sure ‘we do everything we should’.
Our destination guides ensure you’ll never miss a ‘bucket list’ experience, but there are other suggestions too – what we call ‘Other experiences’. These are the less high-profile sights or places that are also worth seeing, but only if you have time or interest.
- We currently earn revenue (a small commission) if you click on a link to Viator and then purchase that tour within 30 days of the click. We get the same commission whatever the tour, so there is no incentive for us to advocate one above another.
- If you click through to a hotel on Booking.com or Hotels.com from our site and make a booking immediately or within a few days, we’ll get a small commission from that. Unfortunately, if you are inspired by us and book a week later, we get nothing. Again, we get the same commission whatever the hotel. For some of our recommended hotels not registered with these booking sites, we earn nothing from recommending them.
- We earn no commission from links pointing directly to the supplier websites – we willingly provide those links because it’s useful for our website users, not to make money. It also helps support the supplier.
- We don’t make money on making recommendations. They are independently selected by the writers solely based on quality and experience value, which we think will give you the best travel experience.
- We may earn revenue from page sponsorships and banner ads, though we will try and minimise advertising as much as possible. We want the site to inspire you and be a pleasure to use – we don’t want annoying ads to detract from that.
Viator are ‘tour aggregators’ – they collect and list on their websites all the best tours offered by local tour operators in a destination. We direct you to these ‘tour aggregators’ rather than local tour operators because we know Viator only work with the most reputable tour operators. Being big companies, they also provide you with more security overbooking and payments than booking directly with smaller, local companies.
It may be that our writer doesn’t know about it, but more likely, they feel it is not sufficiently ‘stand-out’. We are highly selective and don’t want to or try to recommend everything. Our goal is to tell you 80% of what you need to know – including all of the best things to see and do.
Unlike say Mr and Mrs Smith, or Tablet, who focus on a specific type of hotel e.g. luxury boutique, we want to recommend the best places to stay – at all price points. This could therefore be anything from a B&B to a 5-star hotel. Here are some criteria we use when making out selections:
- Location – convenient for bucket list experiences
- Location – nice/safe part of the destination
- Stylish (which can be anything from traditional to modern)
- Up-to-date décor – preferably recently renovated
- Good reviews
- Local flavour/heritage/ authenticity
- Atmosphere/local institution
- Experiential e.g. sleeping in a cave, castle, igloo
In Sydney, Australia there are a dozen 5-star hotels. However, if you are going to go ‘5-star’, there are 2, maybe 3, that you really want to stay in – they’re in an exceptional location, have exceptional views, they’re convenient for bucket list experiences, and so on. That means there are 9 or 10 others we haven’t recommended.
The value we bring is by asking our writers, who know the destinations inside out, to make those selections. The writers have to convince Matt and our editor why they have selected a particular hotel above all others, before we let them write about it
If you offer a bucket list experience that is not already on the site, then by all means, send us a message via our contact form. We will not consider hotel or tour operator requests. You would need to contact the writer directly.
We do not allow users to leave reviews of what they have done, for two main reasons:
- Sadly, we are now in an era of fake reviews and wholesale media manipulation. We only want content on the site that you can 100% trust, and that comes from verified experts. It’s then impossible to manipulate our recommendations.
- User-generated reviews create alot of content, the majority of which is poor quality. This is what takes so much time to read through. We want to tell you what you need to know, in as few words as possible, to make researching much faster and more efficient. It’s also why we use alot more images than other sites.
We don’t recommend restaurants – unless there is some experiential aspect beyond great food, like a gastronomic menu, a spectacular setting, or even unique, accompanying entertainment.
The restaurant scene, especially in cities, changes so quickly, we would not be able to keep up to date and guarantee the best recommendations. We feel you are therefore better served by asking your hotel or by consulting a specialist site, like a local foodie blog.
The site doesn’t take bookings – we only recommend who to book with. We also don’t recommend flights or car hire – that’s just logistics, you don’t need an expert travel writer’s opinion for that.