As you’ve probably guessed, I love to travel. I’m sure it comes as no surprise that my whole family loves to travel. My daughter has traveled the world with us as we explore as much of the world as we can. Our family put together Our Family Bucket List of all the travel-related things we want to accomplish together.
Our family has six bucket list travel goals. I’ve created a series of posts that will go over those goals in more detail, which will also share with you our progress, why it’s one of our goals, our biggest challenges and our favorite things.
- Visit All Fifty States (of the United States of America)
- Visit All Ten Geographical Regions of the World
- Dip Our Toes in All Five Oceans of the World
- Visit All Seven New World Wonders
Goal 1: Visit All Fifty States (of the United States of America)
Progress and Status Report:
Want to know how we’re all doing on this bucket list goal? See below.
- Geek Girl: I have visited all 50 states, with Hawaii being my 50th state. I finished this goal in 2021.
- Geek Husband: He has visited 35 states so far (as of 2023), which includes Alaska and Hawaii.
- Geek Daughter: She has visited 29 states so far (as of 2023), which includes Hawaii. She was in the womb when we visited Alaska, which she thinks should count!
Why Did We Pick This Bucket List Goal?
There are a number of reasons we included visiting the 50 states on our bucket lists.
- It’s home. I think it’s so important to travel at home and really get to see and explore the beauty of your more everyday surroundings. All three of us are Americans and while we absolutely love international travel and exploring new cultures, there is so much to see and learn in our own backyards.
- Like I said, there is so much to see. America is a massive country. It’s the fourth largest country in the world. I mean, Texas and France are approximately the same size. Every state offers its own natural beauty, cultural identity, even regional cuisines and dialects. You could spend your life truly exploring the 50 states and never see everything. It’s pretty spectacular.
- Lower overall cost and time. We absolutely love international travel, but we can only commit so much time to it due to our daughter’s school schedule. Domestic travel is a great option that can be lower cost and also shorter trip times. Long weekends are perfect when exploring a new state. You can get a taste of what it’s like and decide if you want to see more.
- We love road trips. We love exploring new places on our own where we get to plan our own schedule. The 50 states give us so many opportunities to take advantage of our love of hitting the road.
Hear From the Family:
We all have different reasons for this being on our bucket list. Hear what we all have to say.
- Geek Girl: “The 50 states has always been on my personal bucket list. Now I get to help my family hit their goal while also getting to have new experiences in these states. It’s really exciting. For me, it was about a number. Now, with my family, it’s about so much more.”
- Geek Husband: “As someone who feels the pull of patriotism, I find particular appeal in visiting all of our 50 states that make up our great nation.” (And yes, my husband does talk like Sam Eagle from The Muppets.)
- Geek Daughter: “I want to go to all 50 states because it sounds like a lot of fun and I love traveling with my Mama and Dada. Also there is a lot of fun stuff out here in America that a kid can do.”
What Are Our Biggest Challenges or Concerns About This Bucket List Goal?
As with anything, there can always be potential complications.
- What counts? So, how you count a state as an officially visited state will vary from person to person. We’ve opted to pick our own definition and adhere to it across the board. If we stepped foot on the ground in that state, we count it. So, for instance, visiting the airport but never going outside? Wouldn’t count. A train ride through where you never stop and get off the train? Doesn’t count. A road trip where you stop and grab a snack or visit a gas station and get out of the car? That counts.
- Priorities. How do we prioritize which states to visit and how to allocate funds? Right now, we’re prioritizing states that both my husband and daughter haven’t been to as of yet. We also think about experiences I haven’t had in those states so we all get to experience something new.
What Are Some of Our Favorite Things About This Bucket List Goal?
There is a lot to love about exploring your own backyard. Here’s what we love.
- Easier logistics. Domestic travel is a lot easier to plan. No passports needed, customs declarations, major prepackaged food concerns, no currency exchange. In general, access to hotels, motels, car rentals, flights are brands we’re familiar with and have a certain comfort level with already.
- Limited language barriers. While English isn’t the official language of the United States, it is spoken by an overwhelming majority, making communication generally easier than in a country where English isn’t predominantly spoken. Now, I speak quite a few languages, but my husband and daughter only speak English fluently (although they are both studying 2 additional languages as of 2022).
- Personal significance. Learning about your home is important. For us, it’s especially important to center First Nations stories, wildlife exploring, and learning more about different geographical features of our country, while also exploring the varying cultures of all the states and cities we visit.
- Food culture. Because the United States is so diverse, there is a broad sense of food culture that for sure varies state to state but also can vary city to city. Traveling the states is a beautiful opportunity to experience the diversity of our nation through food as a major identifying marker.