5 Steps to Planning a Bucket List Cruise

A bucket list cruise is that once-in-a-lifetime trip you’ve always dreamed about, not necessarily a sign that you’re going to, well… kick the bucket anytime soon. That said, it’s never too early to plan that cruise. Here’s one way to start turning that dream trip into a reality:

1. Make a list of everything you want to see and do on this cruise. Go wild. Pretend literally everything is within reach. Maybe you want to go snorkeling in the Caribbean or see the legendary beaches of Phuket or take a repositioning cruise through the Panama Canal.

2. Now rank the items on your list. Give yourself some time to sit with your list for a while. Which ones are actually within reach? Take into consideration any factors that could make this trip harder, from your own health and wellness to the likelihood of international incidents like civil unrest. Think about what’s really important to you. Is it seeing far-flung destinations? Spending time with your family that’s uninterrupted by the normal distractions of work, school, and daily life? The answer to these questions will guide your decision making.

3. Choose your travel companions. Who would you love to take on the trip of a lifetime? Just you and your spouse? Your kids and grandkids? This could have a big impact on your plan and your budget. Compare how you’d feel making memories together as a large extended family versus giving up your chance to see someplace you’ve always wanted to visit.

4. Research your wish list items and compare options. For example, maybe you want to take a bucket list trip to the Bahamas on a 7-day cruise with your children and their families but it’s cost-prohibitive. Consider the trade-offs. You could take a 3-day cruise instead. Or you could take the full 7-day cruise but just take your partner, your best friend, or another special person in your life. Perhaps health issues make snorkeling a non-starter; what kind of alternatives are there that might still fulfill your wish of seeing coral reefs?

5. Make a financial plan and put it in action. Chances are, you’ll need to do some planning and some serious saving in order to make this bucket list trip happen. Don’t forget to budget for all of the things that go with the cruise, like hotels before and after your trip, and if needed, airfare, and passport fees. But having this plan is a significant first step. It gives you a specific goal and a path to get there, putting your bucket list cruise within reach.

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