Planning a bucket list trip in 2024? You’re in just the right place; we have all the recommendations you need to decide on your next once-in-a-lifetime holiday.
We know just how popular bucket list travel is across the UK, but we wanted to find out a little more about exactly where Brits are travelling to. We’ve carried out some research, looking at monthly searches, Google Trends and social media impressions to work out which bucket list items prove the most popular.
If you’re looking for bucket list inspiration, here are the UKs top experiences.
The UK’s top travel bucket list experiences
1. Go on safari
Top of the bucket list for Brits is going on safari, with almost 8.5k people looking up ‘safari holidays’ each month – and an incredible 8.6B views for the hashtag ‘safari’ on TikTok. Africa is the most renowned continent for safari adventures, with popular destinations including the Amboseli National Park in Kenya and Kruger National Park in South Africa.
2. Ride a hot air balloon
Brits looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience are looking to the skies – riding a hot air balloon is the second most popular bucket list item, with over 7.3k people a month looking to book a balloon experience. Cappadocia in Turkey is a highlight for hot air balloon enthusiasts, offering breathtaking views of the region’s unique rock formations and distinct fairy chimneys.
3. See the Northern Lights
The awe-inspiring Northern Lights rank third for the UK’s top bucket list destinations. 7.1k people search for ‘Northern Lights holidays’ each month, and the TikTok hashtag has over 995M views. The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, are best seen from destinations around the Arctic Circle, with Tromsø, Norway, a hotspot for visitors looking to witness this natural phenomenon.
4. Go white water rafting
The research uncovered Brits are looking for adrenaline experiences, with white water rafting making the top five list. 6.5k people a month search for this white-knuckle activity. Luckily for Brits, rivers in Scotland and Wales, such as the River Tay or River Dee, offer opportunities for white water rafting. The Colorado River in the USA and the Futaleufú River in Chile are popular destinations for more extreme rapids.
5. Fly first-class
It’s not just where to travel that’s making Brits bucket lists, but also how to travel: taking a first-class flight comes in fifth in the ranking with over 6.5k people a month searching for first-class airline options. From fine dining and exclusive service to luxurious surroundings, opting for a first-class flight allows many Brits to tick off a bucket list experience even before touching down at their destination.
6. Go parasailing
Adrenaline experiences also scored highly on our list, with parasailing coming in as the sixth most popular bucket list experience. 5.7k people each month search for the activity, with the parasailing hashtag on TikTok having over 627 million views!
7. Go hang gliding
Similarly, for number seven, we saw Brits want to push their boundaries and experience something totally different – like hang gliding. This thrilling activity is searched for almost 3k times a month and has over 142 million views on the TikTok hashtag.
8. Visit Alcatraz
With almost 3k people a month in the UK looking up Alcatraz tours, this iconic destination comes in eighth on the UK’s bucket list. The hashtag for the San Francisco former penitentiary sees over 1.1 billion views on TikTok, reflecting the unique pull it continues to hold today.
9. Visit Pompeii
Continuing the historic trend, the ancient city of Pompeii in southern Italy places ninth on the UK’s bucket list. 2.4k people a month search for tickets to this bucket list destination, with TikToks showing the destination pulling in almost 749 million views.
Finally, Brits proved they’re all about unique, exciting experiences, as skydiving finishes up the top ten bucket list. 1.8k people each month search for skydiving experiences, and TikTok’s showing skydives have an incredible 3.3B views – making skydiving the second most popular experience on social media!
Bucket list trends: Unique experiences are in while swimming with dolphins takes a dive
As well as analysing the top bucket list experience, we also wanted to look into which experiences are increasing – and decreasing – in popularity.
We found unique, extreme, and adrenaline experiences are increasingly popular options, with visiting an active volcano, cave diving, visiting Alcatraz, cliff diving and glacier hiking all appearing in the full top 30 list. Swimming with sharks ranked 19th, with the nail-biting activity doubling in interest over the last year.
This is in stark comparison to previously popular bucket list activities such as riding elephants and swimming with dolphins. Searches for swimming with dolphins have declined over the last five years, while searches for riding elephants have halved since their peak in July 2021.
When it comes to animal and wildlife experiences, we can see more and more people opting for experiences where they can witness wildlife in their natural habitat, rather than previously popular activities like riding elephants, which raise ethical issues.
Overall, it’s clear Brits want travel experiences beyond the ordinary. As a country, we’re seeking adrenaline adventures such as skydiving or exploring iconic sites like Alcatraz, showing a growing appetite for unforgettable travel experiences that create lifelong memories.
If you’re considering a bucket list holiday, why not create your own unique itinerary with eShores? From island hopping and relaxation to city breaks and cultural exploration, we have a huge range of experiences and luxury holidays just waiting to be explored.
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