This blog post was updated on May 6, 2020.

Just because you’ve made it to 40 doesn’t mean you’re over the hill (yet!). The milestone only means you’ve reached its top. Now is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the view with decades of experience and perspective before carrying on with the rest of your journey.

Turning 40 is a great time to access your life goals, particularly as they pertain to travel. Are your travel dreams the same as when you were in your 20s or 30s or even last year?

Here are some tips on how to prioritize and design a better travel bucket list that matches the interests of the more mature and experienced person you’ve become.

Acknowledge Yourself

 couple walking on the beach at sunset. They are barefoot and wearing casual clothes

Welcome to 40! You’re older and wiser and definitely not a kid anymore. So dust off that musty bucket list that you compiled when you were a greenhorn and give thoughtful consideration to the new and improved you. Odds are your priorities and interests have shifted over the years. Maybe once upon a time you were all about staying in hostels but now you prefer (and can afford) more privacy and space. Maybe you’ve already crossed a few destinations off your list and need to add new ones to it. Maybe even some of the sorts of places you used to dream about just don’t cut it for you anymore (bye-bye, backpacking trip through Thailand; hello, road trip through Iceland). Acknowledging how you’ve changed should help you determine where you most want to go in the future.

Planning your travel bucket list is easier with cheap flights! Check out these great deals to hundreds of amazing destinations!

Remember the Best

middle aged man with beard and authentic hipster body tattoos, walks on sunny sunset or sunrise beach with surf board under arm

Do you have a favorite travel memory from when you were a child – or from any time in your past? Was it that study-abroad year in Italy? Or that internship in New York City? Think about what factors made that time so wonderful for you and if they still apply to how you like to travel now. Remembering your earliest passions will enable you to tap into the reasoning behind your current desires and to fulfill childhood fantasies and lifelong goals.

Think Short Term and Long Term

Young woman with backpack standing on cliff's edge and looking to a sky

Let’s face it. You’re probably not full of as much vim and vigor as you once were. In another 10, 20, 30 years such will be the case to an even greater extent. Take stock on how able-bodied you are and will be. Prioritize the more physical itineraries and long-haul trips for the near future and consider more leisurely pursuits for when you’re older. Book the surf lessons in Hawaii now. Save the lounger on that beach in the Maldives for later.

Ask Who, Why, How and What — Not Just Where

A happy family camping at the lake, playing the guitar and singing a song together in front of the tent.

Surely, after all these years on earth you must have been made aware that it’s the journey — not the destination — that makes travel such an enriching experience. Keep this in mind when working on your bucket list and make sure it’s more than a string of places to strike a line through. Delve deeper into your life’s ambitions to create the kind of list that reflects your personality and style. Do your plans include spending time with the friends and family who matter most to you? Why not? You might find that quality time with loved ones matters more than sightseeing.

Get a Little Morbid

 Couple kanoeing in the sea near the island with mountains.

You’re middle-aged. Take a moment to let that sink in. You’re not going to live forever. So now’s the time to go for it! Let growing older motivate you to do the things you haven’t got around to yet. Carpe Diem!

What goes into your considerations when deciding where to travel? Do you have a bucket list and has it changed over the years?


About The Author

Chris Osburn is a freelance writer, photographer, consultant, curator, and the driving force behind the long running and award winning blog, Originally from the American Deep South, Chris has lived and worked all over the world. He's called London home since 2001.