With travel bans lifting after the pandemic, now is the best time to brainstorm couple’s bucket list ideas.
Since we are hungry for an adventure but still home-bound, we decided to create a unique list of 50 bucket list ideas for adventurous couples.
Ever the engineers, we’ll first discuss the science behind “bucket lists.”
couple’s bucket list ideas
“We think we make bucket lists to ward off regret, but really they help us ward off death. After all, the longer our bucket lists are, the more time we imagine we have left to accomplish everything on them. ” – Lori Gottlieb
Above is a quote from Lori Gottlieb’s excellent personal development book. While researching the data behind bucket lists, there’s truthfully not much out there.
Everyone agrees that it’s based in psychology, and in some regards, similar to writing a to-do list. The act of writing down a goal makes you 42% more likely to succeed.
Beyond that, some psychologists worry about the limitations of bucket lists, saying that it can produce tunnel vision or that you won’t live in the present.
However, other psychologists say that it can expand your creativity and put your big goals into action (and we support this idea).
A casual poll of our community on Instagram revealed that 75% of people have a bucket list.
Our Bucket List Habit
For years, Ryan and I have been in the habit of writing down our couple’s bucket lists ideas for every place we live.
In Texas, my list consisted of riding a (baby) bull. Ryan didn’t let this happen, citing my mother who asked him to “take care” of me.
On Ryan’s list, he had items like “sleep under the stars at Big Bend National Park” and “go to a NASCAR race.” Check, check.
Since we’ve been traveling since March 2018, Ryan and I have regularly referred back to a coffee-table-book-turned-bible: Lonely Planet’s 1000 Ultimate Adventures.
While coming up with ideas for your bucket list is essential, writing them down in a journal is even more critical. Remember that writing down a goal makes you 42% more likely to succeed.
While our 50 couple’s bucket list ideas below is compiled of travel and adventures that aren’t necessarily tied to a geographic location, we have added big, small, and DIY adventures for the ultimate couple’s bucket list.
A few of these we have done (and found them exhilarating!) and a few we hope to do in a few years. Additionally, since we are all spending more time at home lately, we’ll begin with five bonus ideas that are pandemic approved.
Enjoy! Comment below on the ones you’ve done and other ideas that you’ve added to your bucket list!
Couple’s Bucket List Ideas At Home
Learn a New Language
Stuck at home, wishing you could travel? Well, why not prepare?
Learning a new language has always been at the top of my bucket list. We’ve always been inspired by Alex’s trilingual mother (English, Mandarin, and Cantonese).
After living in China, Alex got pretty good at Mandarin, and now she’s turned her attention to Spanish.
Run a Marathon
Want a bucket list item that will also whip your butt into shape?
Alex’s father continues to run marathons into his sixties and has always been a big inspiration to her. Now, Alex has run half a dozen marathons (many with her father), and it’s a special bond they have together.
Now, after Ryan ran his first marathon in 2021, it’s on our bucket list to one day run a marathon together.
Write a Song
Writing a song for a loved one is one of the greatest gifts you can give. It would be an even bigger surprise if you learn to play a new instrument too!
Ryan surprised me at our wedding with a beautiful song about our relationship. Maybe one day, I can pay him back the favor!
Create Your Signature Dish
If you’re like us, one of the biggest things we’ve missed during the pandemic are our dinner parties with friends.
Now is a great time to dig up old family recipes, buy a few new cookbooks, and create your own signature dish. Future generations will always call it by whatever name you decide!
In Alex’s family, we have a ‘war cake’ recipe for an egg-less, expiration-proof cake that was sent overseas during World War II. Ryan’s family’s most memorable dish is his grandmother’s spaghetti sauce.
Perhaps we’ll be able to make our own culinary mark one day!
Learn How to Massage Your Partner
The health and happiness benefits of couples massage are incredible. According to the science behind physical touch, the best massage is one given to your by your partner.
Therefore, forget about the spa and commit to learning how to give your partner a professional quality massage in the comfort of your own home (but not on the bed).
Read All of the Classics
“Some books leave us free and some books make us free.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
From Hamlet to Lolita, what could you learn from the 100 greatest books of all time? There are plenty of lists out there, but we recommend this one.
For a list of books that we found helpful to improve our relationship and health, head on over to our ‘Duo Life Book Club.’
our 50 adventurous couple’s bucket list ideas
1. DIY Backcountry Ski Tour
Nothing seems as badass as watching a group of skiers skiing or hiking with their overnight backpacks between huts (or winter campsites) and refuges.
When we lived on the slopes of Cerro Catedral in the Patagonia region of Argentina, ski touring was quite common. This is up there as both a travel bucket list and sport bucket list activity.
2. Dog Sled
While dog sledding is often a shoo-in for a romance bucket list activity (especially after appearing on The Bachelor), it’s something that is the whole package.
Cozy blankets. Bonfire. Mulled wine. And the adrenaline rush. After riding elephants, horses, and camels, we think a dog sled would be pretty epic!
3. Stay in a Homestay
Ryan and I have done several homestays in Cuba, Vietnam, Borneo, and even with the Shuar tribe in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Nothing brings you together more than sharing a meal in someone’s home.
This adventurous couple’s bucket list idea is hands down the best way to learn about a new culture.
4. Multi-Day Trek
Ryan and I are huge backpackers. It’s a hobby that we picked up as a couple after our wedding and it’s something that brings us closer every trip.
It deepens trust and we’ve become a well-oiled machine when it comes to setting up a tent in freezing temperatures. Plus, the views are epic, and nature is moving. Good news: we even have a 2-week free workout plan just for hikers and backpackers.
If backpacking isn’t your thing, we have a complete list of creative and rewarding hobbies for couples below.
5. Travel in a Tiny House or Skoolie
What better way to visit all of the national parks than in your own traveling home on wheels? While RVs are quite cool, a tiny house on wheels is cooler, more fun, and hipper.
For us, traveling in a tiny house on wheels is an integral part of a DIY travel bucket list.
6. The Great Wildebeest Migration
In the Serengeti, one and a half million wildebeest migrate between May and September, heading north from Tanzania into Kenya. Alongside them are a quarter of a million zebras and trailing them, hungry lions.
This is one of our top couple’s bucket list ideas for travel, and got the idea from a friend’s honeymoon! Now, talk about romance.
7. Swim in an Untouched Waterfall
We’re drawn to waterfalls, and we always pack swimsuits on any hike we take. While jungle waterfalls are favorites, we recently brought our niece to a hidden waterfall in Ryan’s home state of Minnesota. She shrieked with happiness for hours.
Bonus: If there is a safe cliff to jump from into the pool, just do it. Our record is 37 feet so far.
8. Skinny Dipping
Skinny dipping is always a thrill. If you haven’t done it together, it’s time. I know what you’re thinking and the answer is “no.”
For the adventurous duo, you’re never too old for this couple’s bucket list idea. This is as cheap, easy, and DIY as a bucket list gets! Not to mention a great way to spice up your marriage and sex life!
9. Learn to Scuba
If you’re truly adventurous, this couple’s bucket list idea is a must. After all, 71% of the planet is under water. We became certified a few years ago, and it’s other-worldly. On our last dive, our GoPro caught footage of an endemic Mexican fish once thought extinct!
10. Swim in All Five Oceans
Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Southern, and Arctic. We’re partially there.
11. Ditch Your Car(s) For a Bike
Or, even better, live somewhere walkable! Our health and happiness drastically improved once we stopped driving every day. This leads us to our next DIY bucket list activity…
When we lived in Patagonia, hitchhiking was government-sanctioned (there were official street signs where hitchhikers could congregate!)
A few of our favorite memories were of the people we met while hitchhiking – like the guy who shared his freshly baked breakfast medialunas. No bucket list for adventurous couples is complete without this one.
13. Leave a Living Legacy
Ryan and I treasure so many wonderful things from our grandparents (like the pottery from Ryan’s grandmother Rose). We decided that we wanted to leave bonsai trees to our future generations (among other things, surely!)
Fully committed, we took a pottery class to make our own pots, and Ryan has taken it upon himself to become a master gardener. What is something that you hope to leave for future generations?
14. Pet Sit
We have had so much joy and learned so much about each other since pet sitting. If you don’t already own a pet, we recommend adding a lot of fun to your next vacation by pet sitting.
We pet sit through TrustedHousesitters, and the opportunities are global and also in your own backyard. Why not elevate your travel bucket list from “eating sushi in Japan” to “eating sushi in Japan alongside Mochi the Mut?”
15. Sail Down the Nile
This has been my travel bucket list idea since high school. I always thought it would be a great honeymoon if we didn’t end up honeymooning in Cuba.
16. Go Into Outer Space
While it’s costly for tourists, we hope it will become a more accessible couple’s bucket list idea in our lifetime. What’s more adventurous than that?
17. Sky Dive
Skydiving is hard to explain to someone who hasn’t done it, but it’s something that I’ve relived in my mind for years since doing it. Ryan, on the other hand, is scared of heights. Think he’ll ever do it with me? This couple’s bucket list idea is a must.
18. Attend a 10-Day Silent Meditation Retreat
We’re only amateur meditators. The challenge of a 10-day silent retreat is extremely compelling, but now we wonder if after quarantine it will be a bit easier than before. This one goes on our spiritual bucket list.
19. Walk the Appalachian or Pacific Crest Trail
Whenever we find a spare few months, we’d love to test our mettle and tackle one of these fantastic hikes in the US.
We hear completing these trails are particularly hard for couples and easier for solo travelers. Well, that’s why it’s on our relationship bucket list.
20. Run a Marathon on Every Continent
Yes, there is an Antarctic Ice Marathon every December. The price tag is a hefty $18,000 — and that’s before you make your way to Punta Arenas, Chile. We didn’t say that this was an easy or cheap bucket list.
It’s incredible what running does for your body and brain. What’s more, is it’s an all-inclusive sport that lasts a lifetime. If you want to get the most out of the experience and prevent injury, run a marathon on every continent in Vibram FiveFingers.
21. Summit a 20,000+ Foot Peak (6096+ meters)
This is a big couple’s bucket list idea and not one to take lightly. After living for several months at 11,200 feet (3400 m) in Cusco, Peru, we were tantalizingly close to Ampato.
Standing at 20,630 feet (6288 m) in the Peruvian desert, it’s said to be the easiest because there’s no snow.
We never got around to it, although we have summited several above 18,000 feet. Next time!
22. Become Regular Volunteers
While Ryan and I have volunteered at many singular events, we’ve never become regulars. Considering how many ways we can volunteer these days, both in-person and online, it’s about time to start.
23. Train Across A Continent
For years, we weren’t sure if something like the Trans-Siberian Railway or Amtrak’s Sunset Limited would be a good fit for us. Well, after 41 days of quarantine, we think a few days on a train could be relaxing.
24. Join the 200 or 300 Club
The 300 Club is when you experience a temperature difference of 300 degrees Fahrenheit very quickly. The best way that we know of is going from a sauna to a hole in the ice and into a frozen lake.
While the 200 and 300 Clubs are officially in Vostok, Russia and Antarctica, respectively, this can be a DIY bucket list item for a future winter in Ryan’s home state of Minnesota. We could likely make it at least to the 200 Club!
25. Go to a Country That You’re Not Supposed To
While we have some limits here (for safety as well as governments we choose not to support), there’s something extra thrilling to go to places not easily reached.
From Cuba to Tibet, we’ve had some of the most spectacular trips of our lives.
26. Learn How to Surf
We have taken multiple lessons but we’re still beginners. If you don’t live near the ocean, you should try to do yoga stand up paddle boarding as well. There are plenty of variations of this that you can add to your own adventure bucket list.
27. Visit Every National Park In Your Home Country
What better way to experience the place you call home than by seeing its nature in all of its glory? If you plan to travel in the USA, make sure you get a National Parks Passport.
28. Attempt Acro Yoga
This one we’ve done, and have been impressed with others who have copied! How many can you do of our favorite twenty-three couple’s yoga poses? And please, share the photos with us!
29. Start that Side Gig
Could a side-gig ever turn into a full-time job? We’re living proof! At least you can learn more about the thing you love and make some money on the side. But, you’ll never know unless you start.
Speaking of, we were so clueless when we started that it’s laughable two years later. So, just duo it! Starting out as Beachbody Coaches was a major reason we’ve been successful.
30. Give a TED Talk
This is a different type of adventurous bucket list idea for couples. In our opinion, anything that gets you far out of your comfort zone is an adventure!
We aspire to help others and know that we need to practice our public speaking. A TED talk is something we aspire to give together, to help couples become healthy.
31. Fly in a Private Jet
This couple’s bucket list idea hasn’t happened for us yet! Please email us if you’re able to hook us up!
32. Build a Treehouse
A childhood dream, we hope to pass this down to our children and spend nights in them together. We categorize this one under our future family bucket list.
33. Road Trip of Wonders
Follow a map like Atlas Obscura to find all local oddities. We would love to take a road trip stopping at every unusual site like the world’s largest cowboy boots (San Antonio, TX), the Spam Museum (Austin, MN), and the world’s largest plant maze (Wahiawa, HI).
Okay, okay, you caught us. We’ve actually been to these before! A road trip like this definitely makes the list for fun DIY travel bucket list activities.
34. Ride in the Back of a Truck
Preferably in a foreign country. With lots of other people. Now, we like to do this every opportunity we get.
35. Overnight Canoe Trip to a Private Island
We’re hoping to check this couple’s bucket list idea off later this spring in northern Minnesota’s Boundary Waters.
36. Motorcycle Tour
Exploring a new country on a multi-day motorcycle tour was the highlight of a trip of ours to northern Vietnam. Next time, avoid booking a flight and try a new mode of transport!
If you don’t ride, rent a car. You’ll still be able to become immersed in the culture outside of the major cities or tourist hotspots. For more exciting car rentals, check out Turo.
37. Run a Race Together
Ryan and I love training for the races we’ve run together, from 5Ks to Spartan Beasts (our GoPro Video). Having a shared goal and a commitment to workout together is a plus. Who do you think is more competitive, me or Ryan?
38. Take a Dance Class Together
Whether cliché or not, it wouldn’t be a couple’s bucket list without this item. We’ve always had a blast taking salsa lessons together while we travel or working on our Texas two-step wedding dance choreography.
Fishing is a favorite hobby of Ryan’s. Time to elevate.
40. Raft Across the Amazon
In one of our biggest adventure bucket list activities so far, we boated and rafted down the Amazon in Ecuador on our trip to Tayos Cave. We now hope to discover other parts of the Amazon across South America.
41. Travel the Silk Road
Or walk the Camino de Santiago or one of the other ancient roads. We love history and we love hiking. Ryan and I have trekked four of the Inca Trails in Peru and Ecuador, and found them fascinating, spiritual, and grounding.
42. Hunter and Gather 100% of Our Food
For at least a meal, if not a day or longer, it would be incredibly rewarding to harvest all of our own food. We do hope to have a massive vegetable garden in our next home. This definitely qualifies as a DIY bucket list idea.
43. Cook on a Fire
Celebrity chef Francis Mallmann, who frequented the Patagonian town of Bariloche where we used to live, is a master at cooking by fire. And we don’t just mean a BBQ. We mean cooking over a raging campfire. Add this to your food bucket list!
44. Invent a Product
As engineers, we’re always tinkering, and Ryan even keeps a list of product ideas (and already holds several patents!) Our invention ideas are… just kidding. We won’t share our goldmine of ideas!
With our unique backgrounds in plastics manufacturing in China (hey, you did know that we are materials engineers, right?), we’re in a good position actually to create products. One day…!
45. Live Abroad
It’s a lot easier than you think. We’ve lived in nine countries and every one has been deeply rewarding and educational.
Bonus: Try living in one of the 5 Blue Zones to experience the lifestyle of the healthiest, happiest, and longest-living populations. The Blue Zones Solution is Ryan’s all-time favorite book. In 2019, we spent time living in the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica.
46. Adventure is Contagious
Do you have family or friends who are less adventurous than you? Plan a couple’s event and get them out of their comfort zone too.
Typically, when we succeed at doing this, they get hooked on travel or adventure, spurring on more future vacations!
47. Publish a Book
The first one up for us will likely a bucket list journal for couples!
Anytime, anywhere. But perhaps in Alaska…
49. Learn a Second or Third Language
Alex is in the process of learning a third, and Ryan is learning his second. Y tú?
50. Adopt a Kid
We plan to. How’s that for an adventure!
What Did We Miss?
You’re an adventurous couple. So, what do we need to add to our bucket list? Please share in the comments and thanks in advance for the new idea.
Putting together a couple’s bucket list makes for a great at-home date activity. For more at-home date night ideas check out our downloadable date night idea “Menu.” Just roll the dice and get ready for an epic and memorable date night in!
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The creators of Ryan and Alex Duo Life. We are a husband-wife duo and “lifestyle engineers.”
After eight years working in the corporate world as engineers, we left our high-powered jobs to tackle our true passion — helping couples engineer their best lives.
The synergy of our engineering minds and ten years of health coaching experience produced Ryan and Alex Duo Life. Our mission is to help you transform your bodies, minds, and relationship as a couple.
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