If you've got the time, the guts, and in some cases lots of cash, then we reckon you'll need to get started on these to do items straightaway if you are to fit them all in before you kick the bucket. Some of these bucket list ideas might just be enough to make you die of excitement or maybe fright.
Maybe you might want to set a target of doing some of these thing before you reach a certain age milestone like 40, 50, or older, but either way, the clock is ticking so get started on your things to do before you die list before it's too late. Just click on each of the links below to find out more about each bucket list idea.
Swim with dolphins
Coming face-to-face with one of the planet’s most fascinating and most-loved creatures is hard to beat, but ideally don’t swim with dolphins kept in captivity. That’s what conservation organisations, such as the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society say. If you want to experience the true wonders of being in the water with a dolphin then go to their territory and let them visit you on their terms. There are a number of travel companies which offer swim-with-dolphin trips. Make sure the organisation you pick is reputable and operates an eco-friendly policy. Among the best places to swim with dolphins are Egyptian Red Sea, the Azores and the Bahamas.
Walk the Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China has achieved fame as the only man-made creation that can be seen from space. China’s Great Wall stretches more than 4,500 miles (7,200km) across the northern Chinese countryside. The Great Wall of China is perhaps the most impressive feat of construction in the world and that’s why it cruises into the list at number two. The building of the wall began in the seventh century BC, with additions being constructions and parts rebuilt up to the sixteenth century AD. Large sections of the wall are in ruins or have disappeared, but there are excellent viewpoints a short drive from Beijing. Visitors can also take a cable car for a top class view of the wall.
Dive with sharks
Seeing the ocean’s top predator swimming towards you underwater is sure to make your heart beat a thousand times faster. No extreme sport beats the adrenaline rush of diving with sharks. Cage diving with great white sharks is amazing, the best swimming with sharks experience is off the Cocos Island. Located in Costa Rica, 350 miles (563 km) off the Pacific Coast; this is one of the best places for shark activity. Here you will see hundreds of schooling hammerhead sharks and the waters here also play home to other top marine creatures, including manta rays, whales and dolphins.
Run the Virgin Money London Marathon
The sheer sense of achievement of taking part in the Virgin Money London Marathon, one of the world’s greatest marathons, make it one of the top things to do before you die. There are two ways of entering the marathon; either through the ballot system or through a charity place. Entering the ballot system does not guarantee a place, which means applying through a charity is the preferred option for most runners. Most places are allocated by the end of December. If you agree to take a charity guaranteed place, then you will need to agree to raise a set amount of money. Run the Virgin Money London Marathon and you’re guaranteed an unparalleled race day atmosphere and an experience you’ll never forget. Picture Credit: Bikeworldtravel / Shutterstock.com
Visit Petra in Jordan
Described by poet John William Burgon as a ‘red-rose city half as old as time,’ Petra in Jordan with its astonishing buildings and structures carved out of rock should make it onto your list of things to see before you die. ‘The lost city’ was also named as one of the new seven wonders of the world in 2007. Petra is the treasure of the ancient world and there is nothing in the world that resembles it. Hidden behind rugged mountains, the dramatic rock-carved, archaeological city boasts more than 800 individual monuments. The historic city sits about 163 miles (262 km) south of Amman and 83 miles (133 km) north of Aqaba where the country’s two international airports are situated.
See the Northern Lights
The Northern Lights or aurora borealis is by far the greatest light show on earth. The Northern Lights occur when electrically charged particles at high speed hurtle towards the earth until they collide with the atmosphere. This releases a burst of radiation to create the most spectacular display in the sky. The Northern Lights occur most frequently in a belt of 1,553 miles (2,500 km) on the magnetic north pole, known as the auroral. The zone covers northern Scandinavia, the southern tip of Greenland, the north of Canada, Alaska and northern coast of Siberia. Norway is the best place to see this phenomenon - appearing at least every other clear night. The lights can be seen all year round, and are not, as some believe, exclusive to winter months.
Walk the Machu Picchu trail
The mountain-top ruins of Machu Picchu are the most popular tourist attraction in South America. Machu Picchu is one of the most magical places in the world and is located high in the Andes Mountains. It lies 43 miles (69 km) north-west of Cuzco at the top of a ridge Machu Picchu (meaning ‘manly peak.’) It was built between 1460 and 1470 AD by Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui, an Incan ruler. Experts believe it was most likely a royal estate and religious retreat. The city has an altitude of 8,000 feet, high above the Urubamba River canyon cloud forest. The real Inca Trail is a walking route that leads through the mountains above the Urubamba River, following (at least partly) the course of an old Incan roadway leading to the city of Machu Picchu.
Go on an African Safari
An African safari is the ultimate wildlife spotting experience. Coming face-to-face with lions, giraffes, hippos and zebras in their natural environment is high on most peoples’ wish lists. Kenya and Tanzania in Africa are the most popular places to go on safari. No two days are the same on safari and you can never predict what breathtaking experiences await you. One thing guaranteed is that the landscapes, people and the abundance and variety of wildlife encountered will blow you away. There are lots of different safari tours on offer to meet most budgets, whether you pick a lodge or camping safari. The national parks of Africa are geared towards safari tourists and experienced guides will aim to show you the best of what’s on offer.
Float in the Dead Sea
The Dead Sea lies 1,300 ft (396 m) below sea level and is the lowest exposed land on the planet with the world’s saltiest water. You can sit in the sea without any floats and read a newspaper quite comfortably. As the sea sits between the borders of Jordan and Israel, you will need to work out which country will act as your base from which you will visit the Dead Sea from as there are lots of opportunities to bathe in the salts from both countries. Not only is floating in the Dead Sea a great experience, but it is also good for you. The salt and mud are considered to have health giving properties and the area’s dense oxygen is believed to block out harmful UV rays.
Go whitewater rafting
Whitewater rafting (hurling yourself down whitewater rapids in a flimsy boat) is definitely something everyone should try once, and we rate whitewater rafting as one of the most exhilarating activities in the extreme sports world. Although there are many local opportunities for water rafting, one of the best places on the planet to go rafting is on the majestic Zambezi River in Zambia’s north-west. The Zambezi is the fourth longest river in Africa at 1,678 miles (2,700 km) and runs through six countries on its trail to the Indian Ocean. Around 550,000 cubic metres of water plummet over the waterfalls each minute, creating some serious whitewater below. Whitewater runs are classified; one being the easiest and five to six being the hardest. The Zambezi offers the highest grades of whitewater runs and spectacular scenery as a backdrop (if you get a chance to glimpse at it while hurling down a grade five run, that is.)
Visit the Amazon Rainforest
The Amazon rainforest boasts more species of fish than can be found in the entire Atlantic Ocean - a staggering 2,000. The vast forest also has around 4,000 species of birds. The Amazon jungle and rivers cover a whopping six million sq km through eight countries and is a true mecca for adventure travellers. We reckon everyone should try to see it before it goes or they do! There are plenty of ways in which to experience the Amazon, such as hiking and flying. The most popular way to see it is by boat. A popular spot to begin an Amazon adventure is in Iquitos in Peru. Iquitos is the largest jungle city of Peru and is considered one of the most ecologically and visually rich areas of Amazonian rainforest.
Climb Sydney Harbour Bridge
Sydney Harbour Bridge is as iconic to Sydney as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris, the Statue of Liberty is to New York and the Golden Gate Bridge is to San Francisco. The main attraction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge is that you can climb to its very peak and stare down at this fabulous city. At its highest point, the arch is 134 m (440 ft) above sea level. Firmly clipped to a safety line, you can walk and climb 1,500m (4,921ft) over the arch. The climb is open to anyone over 12 years of age, who is fit enough to handle the climbs, height and metal ladders. Climbs depart every 10 minutes throughout the day in groups of 12 climbers. In order to avoid disappointment, it is best to pre-book your climb well in advance.
See an eclipse
A solar eclipse is caused when the moon passes in front of the sun, plunging a certain section of the earth into a brief period of darkness. There are many different types of eclipse to be seen, but the most awe inspiring has to be a total solar eclipse, when the moon perfectly blocks out the sun. Sadly such a spectacular event is relatively rare, with total eclipses only happening on average every two years. Add to that the fact that they only last around seven minutes and often happen in remote corners of the earth, and it becomes apparent that you’ll have to do some serious planning to see this breath-taking astronomical phenomenon. Not to worry though – NASA provides a handy eclipse calendar, which gives detailed information on when and where you can see them.
Visit the Galapagos Islands
An archipelago of several volcanic islands located in the Pacific Ocean, the Galapagos Islands lie about 650 miles (1,046 km) west of Ecuador. The Galapagos Islands are packed full of animals, plants and terrain that inspired Charles Darwin on his first theories of evolution. A definite high on any traveller wish list. Owned by Ecuador since 1832, the Galapagos Islands are considered as a true natural history wonder. Here you can see sea lions, iguanas, flamingos, giant tortoise and the lava lizard. There are countless species on land and underwater here. The best way to explore the Galapagos Islands is on a boat tour with a specialist tour company. Most tour packages fly into Quito, Ecuador, then on to Baltra or San Cristobal airport in the Galapagos.
Ride on the Orient Express
The original Orient Express travelled from Paris and Venice, before the route expanded to Istanbul in 1921. As demand grew, it was extended even further until flying took over as the preferred way to travel and it closed in 1977. But that was not the end for the world’s most famous train. An extensive revamp saw it open again in 1993. The Eastern and Oriental Express became the first train to transport passengers directly from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok. Make a ride on the world’s most famous train a priority, you won’t regret it. Picture Credit: Pres Panayotov / Shutterstock.com
Gamble in Las Vegas
There’s more to Las Vegas than the casinos, but it’s what the city is known best for and a major reason why a trip to Sin City features high on many people’s priority list. Take a trip to the bright lights of Vegas and try your luck on the slot machines, poker, craps or roulette tables. Vegas certainly isn’t short of casinos to choose from. Caesars Palace is a particular favourite, or maybe take a trip Freemont Street and throw some chips down at the hotels in old Las Vegas. Winning your fortune isn’t guaranteed, but having a good time trying to is.
Watch the sunset over Uluru (Ayers Rock)
Rising 348 m (1,142 ft) above the flat dry plain surrounding it, covering an area of 3.3 sq km Uluru (Ayers Rock) is a true natural wonder. At sunset, Uluru offers a spectacular light show when it changes colour from red to orange to lilac at a blink of an eye. The iconic rock is situated in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. The park has been World Heritage listed for both its geological wonder and cultural significance. Most visitors to Uluru start out on their journey from Alice Springs 208 miles (335 km) away and stay at Yulara (Ayers Rock Resort). This is a resort located 13 miles (21 km) from the base of the rock. There is no camping in the park and hire car insurance does not cover driving at night because of the risk of colliding with an animal. However, it is possible to fly close to the resort, but this is often more expensive.
Cycle a leg of the Tour de France
The Tour de France is the greatest and toughest race in the cycling calendar, which takes riders through some of the most stunning scenery in the world - the Alps and the Pyrenees. While many of us don’t quite make the grade when it comes to joining the professional cyclists at the start line of the multi-stage event, that’s not to say you can’t experience what it’s like to take part in the Tour de France. A number of companies organise bike tours through the Cote d’Azur, where riders can cruise at their own pace through the famous towns, tackle the same climbs stop and see first had the dramatic scenery where the best in cycling fight it out to claim the coveted yellow jersey.
See an active volcano
Looking down at a giant explosive cauldron of spitting lava is a huge rush. Seeing an active volcano and witnessing one of nature’s most powerful features first-hand is something everyone should try to do at least once in their lifetime. The world has around 500 active volcanoes. So wherever you are in the world, you can guarantee that you will not be too far from an active volcano. Tours to see these volcanoes are on offer in places such as Iceland, Italy, Japan, Hawaii, Costa Rica and Indonesia.
Bungee jump in Queenstown, New Zealand
We had to include a bungee jump in this list and where better to give it a go than the mecca of all bungee jumps throughout the world; Queenstown, New Zealand? It goes without saying that completing a bungee jump requires a strong stomach and nerves of steel, but the experience will give you a rush like no other as you free fall through the air. Check out the AJ Hackett operation in New Zealand. It offers lots of thrilling jumps from the 43 m (141 ft) jump from the Dawarau Suspension Bridge to the whopping jump of 134 m (440 ft) at the Nevis Highwire Bungy site. The company also boast the world famous Nevis Swing which starts off with you suspended 160 metres above the canyon floor before you’re released and travel 120 kph across the valley.
Drive a Formula One car
Ever wondered what it would be like to be Jenson Button or Michael Schumacher in a Formula One race? Petrol heads can sign up to drive a Formula One car with many gift experiences companies offering a full day experience, driving an F1, F3 and a Formula Ford around a professional race circuit. The company reckon that there is no escaping the roar of the super-powerful engine once the pit crew remove the tire-warming covers and the engine is turned on. This is one experience guaranteed to give you a thrill and an adrenaline rush like no other. Warning… once you have had a test spin in an F1 car, you might want to do it again. Picture Credit: MrSegui / Shutterstock.com
Fly in a helicopter over the Grand Canyon
One of the natural wonders of the world, no one forgets the first time they first set eyes on the Grand Canyon. The best way to fully appreciate the magnitude of the Grand Canyon is to take a helicopter flight in and around it. There are lots of tour companies in the Nevada area offering tours around the Grand Canyon by helicopter. A 45-minute flight can take in a good number of the geological features, including the picturesque Kaibab Plateau, the Painted Desert and the Colorado River. A helicopter ride is the best way to see this natural wonder and certainly a memorable experience. Also much safer than the car flight into the Canyon, a la Thelma and Louise.
Fly a fighter jet
Fans of the film Top Gun don’t need convincing that flying a fighter jet is one of the coolest things to do. As long as you’ve got a strong stomach, we reckon that flying a fighter jet is a serious buzz. Believe it or not, you don’t need any specialist army air force training to get behind the controls of a fighter jet. Many gift experience companies offer once-in-a-lifetime chances to fly Russian MIGs. But before you think people have gone completely crazy, don’t worry; you will sit in the secondary seat for your thrill ride. A pilot is on hand to deal with this world-class super jet and will let you take over in safe areas.
Climb Mount Everest
It takes physical excellence and first-class climbing ability, and serious mental toughness to climb Mount Everest, but who's not going to be impressed with someone who can say they’ve climbed the world’s largest mountain? Preparation is the key. Start training immediately and sign up to mountaineering and climbing courses. You need a minimum of two or three years of regular practice climbs in high alpine terrain, including other climbing conditions, such as night and ice climbs. The 29,028 ft (8.8 km) summit doesn’t come without its dangers, particularly once you enter ‘death zone’ where the threat of oxygen deprivation, frostbite, dehydration and exhaustion are ever present. But for many, the chance to stand on the roof of the world makes it all worth it.
Drive Route 66
Route 66 is a cultural symbol that embodies the American dream of freedom and adventure. Driving the length of Route 66 would take an average of 51 hours, as the highway spans a total of 3,305 miles connecting Chicago to California, passing through eight states including Texas, Arizona, California and Oklahoma. Despite the fact that Route 66 was officially removed from the US highway system in the 1980s, 85 per cent of the iconic stretch of road still exists and remains a firm favourite on many people’s bucket lists. Along the way, there are plenty of opportunities for you to take in landmarks and roadside attractions including vintage diners, motels and of course bask in the enjoyment and freedom of the open highway stretching out in front of you.