Write a Summer Bucket List

Lee McGowan |

Summer doesn’t officially start until June 21st. But all those Memorial Day barbeques do tend to kick off the season and remind us to make the most of the warm months ahead. If you don’t start planning soon, the 4th of July will be gone in a blink and you’ll be shopping for new school supplies, wondering where your summer went.

Here’s a quick and easy four-step process to help you fill up your family’s bucket list and get more Return on Life this summer.

1. Plan ahead.

According to Bankrate, 63% of adults plan to go on vacation in 2023, a 2% increase from 2022. And while 80% of those travelers are changing their summer plans to cope with inflation, there’s still a high level of demand that could make airfare more expensive, hotels more crowded, and rental cars harder to come by.

Finding that sweet spot between what everyone in your family wants to do and what your annual travel budget will allow is going to take a little extra forethought this year. The bigger the trip you want to take, the more important it’s going to be for you to zero in on some dates — and back-up dates — and start doing some comparison shopping. You might even consider working with a travel agent who can navigate the complex logistics for you and take your call when, inevitably, a flight gets delayed or a hotel is overbooked.

2. Include your kids in the discussion.

Grab a notepad, and your whole family, and start jotting down ideas to fill up your bucket list. Make sure that everyone’s voice is heard. And if you have older kids who are working or participating in summer activities, try to be respectful of everyone’s schedule. The more inclusive this process is, the more excited every member of your family will be to make time to spend time together. Be on the lookout for any potential trips that could cross off multiple bucket list items. Your teens might be over theme parks, but they’ll be willing to tolerate a roller coaster or two with their siblings if you book a stay at a resort where they can also golf, play tennis, or just sleep by the pool.

3. Go out and stay in.

When we think about summer bucket list times, we often focus on enjoying the great outdoors. But when school’s out and working adults are cashing in vacation days, it’s also a great time to tackle indoor activities that your whole family will enjoy. Museums, theaters, and historical sites often program must-see events during the summer months. The pandemic also might have kept your family out of movie theaters for the past couple summers. Find a day to catch the latest blockbuster and grab dinner at a new restaurant.

4. Think big and make room for small.

Going to a family movie might not sound big enough to make your summer bucket list. But think about how impossible it can feel just to get your whole family together around the table for one meal every week!

By all means, put those dream vacations, music festivals, and yoga retreats on the top of your summer bucket list. Give them priority in your vacation budget. You might even consider a “slow travel” stay in another state or country where you can immerse yourself in a new place for a few extra days, or weeks.

But keeping some smaller items on your bucket list can keep your family off the couch when you’re between big trips. All those things you’ve “been meaning to do,” from trying a new ice cream shop to having a neighborhood cookout, are much more likely to get done if they’re part of your summer plan.

And if you’d like to share your summer bucket list with us, we can help you tie warm weather adventures of all sizes into your Life-Centered Financial Plan.