Lonely Planet Writer

Creating a bucket list can have positive physical and mental effects, according to this survey

So you want to see Machu Picchu, glimpse the northern lights in Iceland and visit the temples of Angkor? While making your own ultimate travel list can seem daunting, making a bucket list can have positive emotional, mental and physical benefits, according to a new study from AARP Travel.

Woman looking at Machu Picchu citadel with three cute llamas. Cuzco region, Peru, South America.
Woman looking at Machu Picchu citadel with three cute llamas. Image by Westend61/Getty Images

The company looked at the benefits of setting some travel goals, and claims it has a positive mental and even physical effect. The desire to create such a list varies by generation, as 38% of baby boomers have created a travel bucket list, compared to 44% of GenXers and 51% of millennials.

Grand Canyon from Grandview Point, upper left is the Temple of Vishnu, upper right is the Colorado River at the bottom of the canyon.
Grand Canyon from Grandview Point, upper left is the Temple of Vishnu, upper right is the Colorado River at the bottom of the canyon. Image by Getty Images

The survey focused on how travel goals affect people over 50, and found that creating a list motivated people and provided “a sense of hope and gave them something to look forward to”. Many baby boomers even saw physical benefits from planning a trip, as 53% said they are getting in shape in order to fully enjoy the experience.

Boomers and GenXers were more likely to say their bucket list gives them something to look forward too, while millennials are more likely to say that their list pushes them to experience new things. On average, baby boomers have eight different destinations on their bucket list, half of which are international and half are domestic. Millennials are inclined to create much longer lists – with 15 locations – and GenXers on average have 12.

Angkor Wat Temple.
Angkor Wat Temple. Image by ©Waj/Shutterstock

“Travelling keeps our body and mind active, from planning and creating an itinerary to getting in better physical shape for the trip,” said Denise Austin, a fitness expert, health advocate and AARP ambassador said in a statement.  “Not only can being physically fit help make the vacation more enjoyable, it often leaves us feeling refreshed and rejuvenated when we’re back home.”

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