Fun and Affordable Bucket List Ideas for Your Family

How do you translate your wish list into an actual to do list? Learn how you can create an everyday bucket list and an incredible year!

Why Your Family Needs an Everyday Bucket List

One of my hopes for you and other families listening is show you how pursuing your financial goals doesn’t mean you have to put your life on hold.

There is a certain amount of intensity you need in that initial phase to knock out things like high interest debt. That doesn’t mean you completely sacrifice fun in your schedule.

There are ways you can enjoy trips, achieve some personal goals, and just have fun while you’re working towards those financial goals.

It takes some creativity, but it’s not overly complicated.

Everyday Bucket List author Karen Cordaway is on the show to show us how. As a busy working parent, she spent years struggling to find free time for herself.

Karen figured out how to reclaim her schedule and infuse more exciting bucket list experiences into her family’s everyday life.

In this episode, we’ll get into:

  • how you can create your everyday bucket list
  • creative ways to travel more without breaking your budget
  • strategies to help you

Let’s get started!

Resources to Create and Knock Out Your Everyday Bucket List

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Creating Your Family's Everyday Bucket List with Karen Cordaway

Elle Martinez: I love your book, the Everyday Bucket List. I feel like after the two and a half years, there's a lot of families that are just ready to enjoy the life again, whether it's travel, whether it's just hanging out with each other, but they're stuck. Right?

We've either or been stuck at home. We don't have any idea of what we wanna do. How do you come up with these ideas or we have a budget that we wanna keep?

I love how it helps you not just save bucket lists for like these big milestones or events, but put it into your everyday life.

What made you come up with this idea in particular? I mean, an everyday bucket list sounds awesome, but what was the genesis of that?

Karen Cordaway: Well, there's a few layers to it. The simple answer is I used to notice that my friends in New York or other big cities, they often wouldn't see those iconic things even though they live there for multiple years.

People in New York, you know, hadn't seen the Statue of Liberty. They didn't go to Ellis Island.

People in California not seeing Venice Beach or just other things that if anybody else went there, they'd try to soak all of this in. That struck me as, wow, they have that right there and they're not accessing it.

Another big life event is that I lost my mom and she was 60 and I just Oh, wow. Felt like, yeah, 60 to someone who's 30 might sound old, but when you think of people who live into their eighties and nineties, she really was young.

I go into depth in my book, the Everyday Bucket List book, but the short way to say it is life can be very short and we don't how long we have, so why not try to have fun and do the things we wanna do in everyday life or regularly?

Affordable Bucket List Ideas for Travel

Elle Martinez: I think, not that you wanna have a big life event motivate you, but the pandemic, when we were stuck at home, at least for a portion of time, made us reevaluate what was important.

We were trying to figure out. How can we make the most of this time that we are together? And we started for us traveling more.

But I love this idea of don't wait for those opportunities. Don't wait for, oh, when I'm, you know, this age or when I've paid off this debt, or I've accomplished this thing, I'm going to do this.

How can you even now have some extra fun, some extra joy, especially with families and still keep it affordable?

Karen Cordaway: Well, for myself, I live in New England. I'm lucky that the states are small so I can visit a bunch of states doing road trips. But if you're in a big state, I mean, sometimes you can go to another county or if you like road trips you could potentially drive to another state depending on how much time you have.

If you're willing to do that, I feel you can control your food. There's a lot of things you can stop, you can get out, you can go to the bathroom, things like that.

If you wanna fly domestically there are all different types of sites where you can try to find cheap deals. So here you're paying with time, with research and potentially, layovers might not be as fun.

I know when I would fly with my kids, I actually like the layover cuz it broke up the flight and we got to get off, go to the bathroom and not feel like you're squished in a little box. So much easier.

But you know, that's part of the sacrifice. If you can plan and research and maybe jot down when you can go away. There is a site you live in Raleigh.

I wanted to give you something that fit, if people are from your area, and I just found a simple, hop from Raleigh to Orlando, Florida. If you look on and they will show there were flights that were starting at like $29.

Elle Martinez: Oh, nice.

How to Save on International Trips

Karen Cordaway: Yeah, so sometimes it's a one way, sometimes it's round trip or you have to play with the dates a little. I mean, you could leave on a Thursday and come back on a Monday. That's another way to keep it affordable if you keep it a little shorter. Right? We're not paying as much for accommodations and food and all of that.

If you wanna do like a nice little quick trip, that could be an option. You can look in your area and there's a site called secret

What I like about this is it aggregates the different sites like Priceline and Sky Scanner. I like the way that you can search on this site because if you can be really flexible and leave out of a different airport, you can really land some deals on domestic flights and international.

I know you've been wanting to go to Spain and you're trying to see how you can make that work. There are flights. I know for me in my area outta New York, you can spend like 200 to 300 round trip, you know?

Flying out of Miami seems to save, so if you can fly out of a different airport that it's not so inconvenient and you could find a cheap flight, you're still saving a lot of money. Because when I look at the regular prices, you know, when it's like 600 per person, 800, 900, you know, two, $300 isn't gonna be a lot.

Maybe you tack on, like I say, another flight that could be affordable. That's, yeah, that's what you're gonna save. And it all comes back to your budget. What is your idea?

There's a woman called the traveling child on TikTok. Sometimes she just brings one child. She went to Paris with her daughter. They had this beautiful picnic lunch, near the Eiffel Tower.

And you have to think outside the box a little too. And I always tell people too, just go with your significant other, bring one kid. Or sometimes maybe you have to, you can't sit together on the plane or maybe, you take one kid, he takes another if you have to break it up or if somebody can't get off work.

It just depends on what your travel goals are and how flexible you are with certain situations. It's not like you always have to do that, but it can open things up so that you can really save a lot of money.

Elle Martinez: Yeah, that's, that sounds like a good idea. I totally enjoy what you're saying about, finding opportunities to be creative.

Taking Memorable and Meaningful Family Trips

For some families you have a big age gap so maybe doing a trip with your oldest might be easier for you and you have that one-on-one time, or going off season and taking some time off can get you a good deal, but you're still having those memorable experiences.

I love that because I don't think you should, I don't think it's an either or, right? Like you could still have a good time, find creative ways off season to kind of travel, but you know, still make it enjoyable. Still have it be memorable and meaningful.

Yeah. I love these tips. So you're one of those people I know that love to find deals and to explore new places. During the pandemic, were there any adventures, whether it was local or a little further off, that you really enjoyed and you're happy that you did?

Karen Cordaway: Absolutely. I absolutely loved Boston. It's one of my favorite cities. I have a whole Boston bucket list and I never stayed in the North End and my husband and I were checking like when we could go and we actually left on a Sunday. We just stayed one night. But I wanted to try a fancy hotel. It was like one of these unique places.

There was a deal because it was a Sunday and there weren't any like special events at the Garden in Boston where like the Celtics play and there's also like big concerts there. Mm-hmm. . So we hit it at a time where nothing was going on. Like I said, it was a Sunday to Monday, I believe it was indigenous People's Day.

We had that Monday off and it was just so much fun. Like I said, I'm close to Boston, so it's a little different.

The experience alone of the hotel and then there was like a celebrity chef restaurant right next door. There were so many things to do.

Something simple like that if you are just starting and venturing out, just practice staying at hotels that aren't that far away from you and you could have that total like spa experience or access to a pool that maybe people aren't there on that day.

I've done that during the winter. Sometimes I would just stay at hotels that were in a nice town in my own state and we're feeling like we have this warm vacation. We're in a pool, we're in our swimsuits and everybody else is like, you know, off on a snow day just doing whatever at home.

We got out the day before of the snowstorm and was like, Yeah, I wanna be chilling in luxury here. . .

Elle Martinez: Yeah. I did appreciate what I was reading your book, how there's certain things that if you go to a city or if you go to a place, you must see, but you're not stuck in just the tourist traps.

I saw that you had how to fill in your time for the free and the interesting and the low cost and the local things. I thought that was a fantastic way to approach it.

Then I also loved when you were going through the system with a bucket list. You talk about understand what you value. So I know for us, mentioned travel with this, but your bucket list book can be helpful for any kind of goal that a family has, right?

Karen Cordaway: Absolutely. I'm trying to learn another language. Mm-hmm and I'm also trying to figure out TikTok, which is really for everybody. It's not just young people dancing, even though that's super popular.

I've been looking at simple YouTube videos to learn the basics of the greetings and everything like that. But then I follow people who speak Italian. You can hit the C translation button and the words will be translated for you, so you hear the conversations in context. So instead of just repeating what somebody says on YouTube, whether you're saying, excuse me, or I'm sorry.

You can see how those are used differently in a language like Italian, it's very similar to Spanish. Like if you bump into somebody, you don't say, I'm sorry, you say, excuse me. And I just notice little things like that, that they will say, and I'm like, okay, I get how to use this now, or I see multiple examples of how this is used or how it's said with like a little emotion or a little punch to it.

So that's a great way. I think of it as a bucket list idea. I wanna learn Spanish and Italian, so. Mm-hmm. , like I said, going on TikTok, YouTube, that's easy, right? You could do that every day if you wanted and when you're planning your trip to go to one of these places, you already have like a foundation in the language.

Elle Martinez: Yeah, absolutely. So are you planning a trip soon to Italy?

Karen Cordaway: You know what, I'm really hoping to go for a 25th wedding anniversary. Nice. I'm currently researching If there's any way I could go sooner and I see a deal, I'm gonna, you know, go for it. I already I'm setting aside money for that.

So yes, I, I absolutely wanna do that. That's my goal. And I do feel motivated in kind of taking these little steps of trying to learn the language, trying to research and find areas that maybe I never heard of.

Like you're saying, I don't always wanna do the touristy things. I went there for my honeymoon, so that's why I wanna go back.

Elle Martinez: Oh, okay. Gotcha, gotcha. Yeah, but I think great. Because like you said, it would be nice for the milestone 25th. That would be incredible. But if you find a deal before, like, why wait.

I think it's important also to mention for those listening that yes, and Karen is too, like I, I do talk about, you know, paying off unnecessary debts, making sure you have your emergency fund, but just as important, I do think in your budget should be things where you spend their planned spending. Things that matter to you, experiences that bring you joy because it is a balance.

It's a balance of taking care of the now, planning for the future, but then enjoying what you have in front of you.

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