We may not be travelling much at the moment, but there are better ways to use these strange times than to mope and wallow. In between taking staycations and exploring your own country, take the time to plan those trips that you’ve always dreamt of taking. Planning a bucket list adventure takes time – something we currently have a lot of. Create a spreadsheet, dedicate a notebook, get pinning on Google Maps and start saving images of the places you want to visit on Pinterest or Instagram. Here are five bucket list trips that you should start planning for now, to build excitement for when travel opens back up.

An American road trip

Planning an epic, once-in-a-lifetime road trip takes time. Not only do you need to work out where you will start and finish your trip, but you have to work out the best form of transport (car or camper van?), where you will sleep and (most importantly) your route. For the beginning stage of your planning, drop a pin in Google Maps each time you come across a place you’d love to include on your journey. When it comes to the more serious stage of planning, you can look at your pins and use them to plot your route – you may not be able to visit them all, but your route could take in as many as possible. Again, use Google Maps to plot the route, deciding upon your start and end point and paying attention to how much time you have for your trip and how long you’d like to drive for each day. You’d be surprised how long it takes to plan the perfect road trip itinerary!

Bucket list travel - 5 trips to start planning now - The Wise Traveller - Road

Greek island hopping

Similar to planning a road trip, island hopping around the Greek islands takes quite a bit of detailed planning to come up with the best itinerary. Even if you know which islands you want to visit, you’ll need to keep track of ferry times or spend some time looking into the costs and logistics of chartering your own yacht. Also consider the time of year you will be visiting – some Greek destinations will be very busy during the peak summer months, and you would need to plan accommodation far in advance or chose to travel at a less busy time. Research whether there are any festivals or events that you would like to attend – when are they and would you need to book tickets for anything in advance?

Climbing Kilimanjaro

Climbing one of the most famous mountains in the world is at the top of many people’s bucket lists, but this isn’t something you can just do on the spur of the moment. You will need to go into training for at least six months, if not longer, to build up your stamina and endurance. Take staycations or day trips to mountains or hills close to home, building up from day hikes to weekend trips with heavy packs and camping gear. As well as physically preparing for the trek, you need to think about what time of year you would like to do your climb, chose a climb route and pick your trek operator – all of which involves a lot of research. You may wish to raise money for charity with your climb – which of course involves additional planning.

Trekking to Machu Picchu

Any long treks require a lot of planning and preparation. Planning a trek to Machu Picchu involves just as much preparation as Kilimanjaro. You need to plan everything far in advance, to ensure you receive a permit and can reach the start point of the trek – the Inca Trail in particular gets booked up very fast. You will be partaking in long hikes over hilly terrain, carrying a heavy bag and camping out – so make sure you are prepared by taking plenty of practice runs closer to home. There are three main routes to chose from, all with different guides, of varying difficulty and taking different amounts of time to complete – do your research extensively to find out which is best for you.

Bucket list travel - 5 trips to start planning now - The Wise Traveller - Machu Picchu

Travelling by train across Europe

Many people make the mistake of planning a trip to Europe last minute and trying to squeeze in as many places as possible in a short period of time. If you’ve always had romantic dreams of travelling around Europe by train, take your time to plan to ensure a smoother, more relaxing, and more enjoyable trip. First – think about when you’d like to travel. The summer months will show you the Mediterranean at its best, but its better to travel just outside of peak season to avoid the crowds (June or September). Consider how much time you have and be realistic – if you only have two weeks, don’t try to flit from East to West Europe and try to see everything. For a shorter trip, it’s best to concentrate on just one county, or 2-3 countries that border each other. Look in particular events you’d like to witness, and use Google Maps to pin the places you want to see the most, then use sites such as Seat 61 or the official Interrailing website to plot out your route. Take advantage of the new night train routes starting to appear across the continent to combine travel and accommodation and to travel longer distances.

Emma Lavelle is a UK based writer and photographer and has her own blog Field and Nest.