kelly-clementsBy Kelly Clements
Consultant, Return on Life

As the air cools and the regular day-to-day routine invades the last carefree days of summer, I find myself in mad dash mode. I’m not worried about quarterly reports, back-to-school routines or snagging the hottest fall trends. I’m eking out what’s left of the season and cramming in the remaining items on my summer travel bucket list. I had such high hopes in May! With so many exciting adventures on my list, this was sure to be The. Best. Summer. EVER!

Alas, here we are, under changing leaves and shorter days. I look at that list with more items unchecked than checked. Oh, what could have been! That girls’ weekend at the spa would have been divine. The anniversary trip with my partner should have been a priority. My kids could have really benefited from visiting one of the National Parks. My parents and siblings missed the boat when we opted out of that destination wedding. The anticipation of possibilities begins to fade into regret over missed memories.

This sneak peek into the bigger picture of life has given me the kick I need. This feeling of regret is enough to make sure I’m not in the final days of life, looking at my unchecked travel bucket list. I don’t want to grieve the missed opportunity of life’s greatest adventures. And I want to have those priceless memories to cherish.

Enter Return on Life

I’m going to need some help – and some accountability.  Enter my Virtuoso travel advisor. Virtuoso has created the industry’s first patented long-term travel planning approach. With the Return on Life process, advisors will work with you to create a plan for your trips five, 10, even 20 or more years out.

travel bucket list: family enjoying ski vacation with snowy mountains behind them
A travel advisor can help you plan your long-term travel bucket list, including family trips

You work with an advisor to plan your long-term finances. So why not work with one to plan how you’ll spend your most precious asset – your free time? A travel advisor can help you plan travel for each stage of your life. Looking for the best trips to take with children no matter their age? Or a different travel bucket list for your retirement journeys? Return on Life can help.

Below are five advantages of partnering with an advisor to help steward your lifetime travel bucket list:

They make sure your travel bucket list is really YOUR bucket list

I grew up traveling, and as an avid traveler, I had a bucket list a mile long. Every beach town, spa resort, and island on the planet was on my list. When I sat down with my advisor to talk about these destinations, he asked what I liked about resort travel. After I thought, I told him it was how my parents traveled. It was just what I knew. After more thought, I realized that what I loved the most was venturing off resort property into town to meet the locals, or hike up the volcano, or shop at local markets.

After a more personal conversation, we scrapped my original bucket list and developed a new one I would have NEVER come up with on my own. He showed me what was really possible through travel. I found myself booking a safari in Africa, eternally grateful he had opened this new world to me.

travel bucket list: cheetahs in wild observed by travelers in vehicle
A travel bucket list will ensure that long-desired African safari becomes a reality

They get you in motion

Like a fine bottle of wine, we tend to put off our bucket lists until just the right time. We imagine an event that will mark the perfect opportunity to fully immerse ourselves in the life we have waiting for us. A travel advisor, aided by your Return on Life plan, will make sure you don’t let time pass you by.

Surely, there is at least one destination on your bucket list that you can book today – even if you book it for next year. Getting in motion toward that destination will create tremendous momentum. Soon, you’ll be working on the next item, and the next, and the next…

They keep you in motion

Returning from a trip can be a real downer. We nurse the emotional hangover by mourning what we would be doing if we were still away. “Ugh.  It’s 10:00 a.m.  If we were still on vacation we’d be finishing our morning walk and having pain au chocolat…”

When your advisor helps you develop a long-term travel plan, you will always have a trip on the horizon. You will return from one journey and be left to savor the memories, while simultaneously anticipating your next.

They maximize your travel dollar

Did you know we tend to underestimate our travel budgets by as much as 30 percent?

When your advisor knows what’s on your travel bucket list, they can avoid last-minute rates and fees.  They can take advantage of advance booking rates, secure access to exclusive events, and guarantee the best rooms and tour options. In addition, because of their connections, they can obtain you better value than you can on your own. You’ll enjoy complimentary perks like hotel room upgrades, credits for hotel restaurants and spas, and shore excursions on cruises.

travel bucket list: couple on Caribbean beach in front of two big cruise ships
Working with an advisor, you’ll get the best value for each of your bucket list trips

Working with an advisor can actually free up funds to enjoy the finer things in life. Like that bottle of wine for just the right occasion, or the anniversary ring that will be passed down through generations.

When plans change, they can change plans

Regardless of how well prepared we are, outside circumstances can always alter our travel plans. When your advisor knows every destination on your travel bucket list, they can replace an existing destination with another. And if those circumstances force a change while you’re already on your trip, your travel advisor will turn on a dime to get you back on track.

Why create your own travel bucket list?

In short, having a long-term travel plan saves you headaches from last-minute bookings with scant inventory. It also provides an endless sense of anticipation because you always have an amazing trip to look forward to. But the most priceless aspect of Return on Life planning is the certainty that you will not look back and regret any missed memories.