15 Alternative Travel Goals That Go Beyond The Bucket List

Photograph the Eiffel tower at night. Ride an elephant in Thailand. Eat pizza in Italy. How many times have we heard these types of travel goals? They’re uninspiring, unoriginal and at times, even unethical. 

At Workaway, we encourage the travel community to slow down and consider their travel goals with culture and connection at the heart of every adventure. Travel should no longer be about Facebook likes or collecting passport stamps, but instead about what you can give as well as gain from each new experience.   

If bucket lists give you the ick, then get your pen and paper out. Forget the usual “ride a gondola in Venice” or “walk the Great Wall of China”, this list will help you feel empowered and inspired as you make your way around the globe. 

Better yet, it will leave those you meet feeling inspired and empowered too all thanks to your Workaway fairy godmother who can help make each of these goals come true.  

volunteers thanking workaway with sign

Why Set Travel Goals?

Setting travel goals adds a purpose to your trip, making your journey even more meaningful. It’s easy to get overwhelmed or intimidated by what others around you are doing. However, if you are armed with a little list of travel goals that align with your personality and purpose, you’re more likely to follow your own path, resulting in a more impactful experience.  

volunteers picking up litter and recycling in the jungle

15 Alternative Travel Goals

1. Live Like a Local

If you crave an adventure unlike any other, one of the easiest ways to step away from the tourist hot spots is to live like a local. By volunteering through Workaway, you’ll learn far more about the culture than a few nights in a hostel and a handful of souvenirs will ever teach you. 

traveller and local with a portrait drawing

2. Go Off-Grid

We often plan our travel goals around the most exciting or impressive destinations. The places that make us go “OMG!” out loud when they pop up on adverts, or when we’re scrolling through social media snaps. If you want to know what really makes you go “OMG”, give off-grid living a chance. Disconnect from societal pressures and reconnect with nature to discover the real you and what travel is really about. 

solo female workaway volunteer picking up litter recycling in norway

3. Learn a New Language

We’re not just talking about how to say “another beer please” to the waiter. We’re talking about immersing yourself in a foreign culture by learning its language. Not only is it one of the best ways to connect with locals, but it’s one of the best ways to truly get to know a country.

woman wearing traditional indian saree

4. Become a Pirate

Ahoy, matey! We don’t mean an actual rum-swigging, booty hunting pirate, but instead of globe trotting through the skies, why not travel on the seas? We have over 200 hosts who need people like you to join their crew! 

If you’re ready to fall asleep under the stars to the laps of the waves, a sailing experience with Workaway should be at the top of your travel goals list. While onboard you can dive into causes such as marine conservation, beach clean ups, restoration projects and more.

fisherman on a sailing boat capturing sea food

5. Celebrate Pride Somewhere New

Who wouldn’t want to embrace a culture of inclusivity, challenge prejudices, and break down barriers? Regardless of your sexual orientation, participating in Pride promotes empathy, understanding, and solidarity with the LGBTIQ+ community. 

Through parades, parties and protests, Pride offers a profound experience of unity and acceptance, but it needs your support. Add celebrating equality and love to your travel goals, and let’s promote a world where everyone can be proud of who they are. 

lgbtq+ travellers kissing while sightseeing

6. Explore Home

Aha! Bet you weren’t expecting that one? Afterall, bucket lists are usually reserved for tropical, far off lands, not your own hometown. It can be easy to dismiss what’s on your doorstep but there are so many reasons to travel to your own country. The fact it’s cheaper, better for the environment and you can do it today is just for starters! Before you book your next flight, consider your own neighbourhood first. 

travellers off-grid camping in the jungle

7. Travel Solo

If you dream of meeting the love of your life over hostel beer pong then that’s cool with us, BUT too many people focus on finding “the one” while travelling and miss out on those “once in a lifetime” experiences in the process. 

Instead, focus on you. Travelling solo (even for a short while) will teach you the importance of self-love, this then paves the way for meaningful connections with others. Don’t forget to read our solo travel safety tips first though!

solo female traveller hiking and reading map

8. Stop Counting Countries

How many times have we heard someone boast about their passport stamps or proclaim “I want to visit 30 countries before I’m 30”. Yawn. It’s time to stop counting countries, and instead slow down. 

Not only are there so many benefits to slow travel, but it can be fun to think outside the box and create new travel goals. Instead of rushing to tick countries off a list, why not challenge yourself to witness all Seven New wonders of the world or swim in all five oceans?

group of traveller exploring pogados of bagan in myanmar with scooters

9. Eat Fruit You've Grown Yourself

While we can’t argue that a helicopter over the Grand Canyon would be cool or snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef would be impressive, how many people have already done that? Instead, how many people do you know have bitten into the sweet satisfaction of fresh fruit they’ve grown with their own bare hands? 

Each bite is a celebration of patience and hard work. Nothing can compare to that profound sense of accomplishment and gratitude. If you really want to experience our beautiful planet, let’s stop destroying mother nature with over tourism and begin nurturing with soil and sunshine. A little permaculture project is the perfect place to start. 

solo female workaway volunteer farming

10. Live in a Van

If you really want to replace the popular or predictable with a life of freedom, van life is the way to do it. Just you and the open road. The best part? You can combine volunteering and van life with ease! There are so many hosts who are not only passionate about this nomadic lifestyle, but encourage it too, by accepting volunteers who like to bring their home on wheels along for the ride.

workawayers with mobile home van

11. Learn to Surf

Instead of the usual beach bum holiday, why not use that time with the sand and sea to learn a new skill. A skill that’s fun and keeps you fit - like surfing!  Better yet, we can help! From Cornwall to Costa Rica - we have surf-centric hosts all over the world ready to teach you the way of the waves.

Surfing not your vibe? We got you. What’s that one thing you’ve always wanted to learn but never had the opportunity or the time? Perhaps it's yoga? Speaking Spanish? Or learning to grow your own food? Whatever the challenge is, now is the time to push yourself out of your comfort zone!

group of female travellers surfing

12. Travel Light

We’re not suggesting you become a minimalist overnight, but simply to leave home with less. Only pack what you actually need to minimise distractions that can potentially drag you down. With fewer possessions you focus on the experience rather than your material items. It highlights how little we truly need for a fulfilling adventure, allowing you to connect more deeply with the places, people and cultures you encounter. 

This goes for returning too. Stop scooping up the souvenirs, they not only take up valuable backpack space and weight, but your budget too. Only for them to sit gathering dust when you return. Experiences will always be more valuable than objects, so focus on creating memories and friendships instead of accumulating possessions.

solo female backpacking and hiking through forest

13. Become a Digital Nomad

Constantly moving from one place to another to tick off your bucket list can be exhausting. Long commutes and demanding bosses can be even more exhausting! Instead, by embracing a digital nomad lifestyle, you can prioritise a better work-life balance. 

You’ll have the freedom to work when and where you feel most productive as well as the flexibility to choose your destination and duration of your stay. This makes it easier to immerse yourself in local cultures, form deeper connections, and explore off-the-beaten-path locations that may be overlooked during rushed trips. All while working for yourself and funding more adventures!

solo female digital nomad working remote outside van

14. Travel for Free

Too many people put off travelling until they’ve saved up a huge “adventure fund.” Newsflash! You don’t need to have thousands in the bank to travel. In fact,travelling on a budget can improve your trip. You appreciate the little things and as it forces you to think outside the box when it comes to accommodation, food and transport.

There are so many ways to travel for free whether you walk, volunteer or busk your way around the world. Not only is it better for your bank, but the environment too. Before you book yet another expensive flight or overpriced hotel package, ask yourself “could I travel for free?” yes it takes more planning and patience but the payoff is worth it!  

lighting a fire before camping in the snow

15. Go Tomorrow

Although it’s our last travel goal, arguably it’s the most important.  The biggest issue I have with bucket lists is that too many people use it as a “one day” list. One day when I have more money. One day when I have more time. One day when I have someone to go with. These excuses are postponing your dreams. 

As someone who quit my corporate job in London for a Workaway in Switzerland with a tiny travel budget and ended up on the road for 2.5 years, I can assure you life is too short for “one day” lists. It’s never too late for a grown up gap year, to test drive your dream career or throw that old bucket list in the bin. 

couple bike packing along coast line

Fingers crossed these alternative travel goals have inspired you to travel more meaningfully, celebrate the off beat and follow your heart instead of your head. If you haven’t already, get the pen and paper out, you have a new bucket list to write! 

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About Lauren

Growing up in a small coastal village in Scotland inspired Lauren to seek adventure and challenge the norm. Armed with just her backpack and trusty travel companion Darren, she quit her day job to liv... show more...

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