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Planning the Ultimate Bucket List Trip


Oct 21, 2016 | by Aon


The idea of having a bucket list of travel experiences has grown in popularity, especially for retirees with more expendable time and funds. In fact, according to AARP’s 2016 Travel Trends Study, 32 percent of Baby Boomers plan to take a bucket list trip in 2016, more than Gen X (14 percent) and Gen Y (16 percent) combined. But these trips aren’t to be taken lightly and trip planners should explore some critical steps in the planning process to ensure their satisfaction and security.

“Bucket list travel takes our customers everywhere -- from Africa for a safari to Asia for a guided tour to remote islands in the Pacific for complete relaxation,” says Beth Godlin, president, Aon Affinity Travel Practice. “These kinds of vacations represent the ultimate travel experience, but planning a bucket list trip often involves much more research and coordination than travelers expect.”

Because the level of investment for a bucket list trip can be high, unexpected bumps and surprises can create more than just a wrinkle in those plans. We have four suggestions to help craft a smart and safe bucket list experience:

  • Collect and prioritize – You may have been building your bucket list for years, while others have just started to compile ideas. Can’t drum up the right destinations or experiences? There is no shortage of inspiration via articles, traveler forums and more, like Make a shortlist of experiences that suits all of your travel companions and start to prioritize experiences.
  • Research, review and research again – Whether plans take travelers along the fjords to see the Northern Lights in Scandinavia or have them bumping along rocky roads on safari to see the “Big 5”, many signature travel experiences are best explored through the expertise of a licensed group tour or guide. Bonus, it’s easy to check accreditations, read traveler reviews and see pictures online to gauge whether a particular tour is the right fit before investing.
  • Plan for the unexpected – Often once-in-a-lifetime affairs, bucket list trips typically take travelers to faraway destinations with remote terrains and exotic adventures. This can mean that quality healthcare can be miles, or even an ocean, away. Many health care plans, including Medicare, do not provide coverage outside of the United States, so travelers need to consider investing in medical evacuation coverage, which provides emergency transportation to a higher level of care, and ultimately returns the traveler home for further treatment.
  • Change in plans – Many bucket list trips require a specific expiration date or season, meaning that a last minute life change can disrupt a traveler’s ability to do the entire trip for some time. And those trips can come with a hefty price tag. Travelers should understand all the particulars from their tour operators, hotels and airlines to know what is refundable and when. Travelers also should protect their investment with trip cancellation insurance to help them recoup expenses in case plans change for a covered reason before or during the trip. This way, whether a health issue or family responsibility pulls travelers away from their plans, they have an added layer of protection.

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