Bucket list vacation destinations

by Badgley Phelps | Dec 15, 2016

If the shorter, colder, winter days have you dreaming of your next vacation, take a look at popular bucket list destinations for families, couples and seniors. We’ve also shared some of Badgley staff’s favorite destinations—and why. Finally, get some travel tips for destinations at home and abroad.

For families


Experiencing a family vacation on horseback surrounded by majestic scenery could be a great way to “wow” everyone in the family. There are several authentic ranch experiences in and around Tucson to choose from where the family can do everything from panning for gold to learning how to rope like Billy the Kid. Plus, there are plenty of nearby natural wonders to experience, like the Sonoran Desert, Saguaro National Forest, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and Painted Desert.


Those young at heart will love Denmark for its architecture, local flavor and vibrancy, while the younger set will flip for the zoos (Copenhagen, Aalborg and Givskud), waterparks and multitude of theme parks, including Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen and Bakken just north. Plus, brick-lovers large and small can experience the original LEGOLAND in Billund, where all things LEGO began.

For couples


Hot springs, glaciers, volcanoes, Northern Lights—Iceland is a great option for couples who want to experience seemingly-otherworldly panoramic views. With direct flights from several major cities, including Seattle, Iceland is the wonderland that’s closer than you think. Go on exploratory day trips out from your home base in the capital city of Reykjavik.

Machu Picchu

The historical Incan citadel in Peru’s Andes Mountains was built in the 15th century for reasons no one can explain, and now is a bucket list item for travelers around the world. Visit the Temple of the Sun, the Intihuatana calendar stone and the Temple of the Three Windows; hike part or all of the Inca Trail and stay and soak in the hot springs in the nearby town of Aguas Calientes.

For seniors


If a safari is your game, you may want to check out Tanzania. Nearly one third of the country is protected for wildlife viewing at parks like Salous, Katavi, Serengeti, Ruaha, Tarangire, Great Migration, Lake Manyara and more. There are nearly as many lodging options to choose from as there are parks, with options for every style and taste, from the traditional tent to the more luxurious private accommodations.


If you crave sun, the Maldives could be right for you, with traditional and water sports, scuba diving and more set against the backdrop of the white sand beaches on the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. Stay on a resort island or in a guest house or city hotel—or opt for a luxurious liveaboard for easy-access water exploration.

Badgley Phelps’ favorite destinations

Our team works hard and plays hard, too. Here are some of our favorite vacation destinations.

Mitzi Carletti

Machu Picchu

“The natural beauty of the ancient civilization is stunning and the architecture truly astounding.  And wandering the streets of Cuzco you will uncover beautiful woolens and charming bars and restaurants.”

Steve Phelps


“Simon Montefiore said, ‘Nothing makes a place holier than the competition of another religion.’ No other city in the world boasts the complexity of past and present as the City of Jerusalem. The Old (walled) City is a maze of small alleyways, shops and religious sites of the three great Abrahamic religions. To visit Jerusalem is to go back in time to a world of merchants, religious leaders and pilgrims.  It is a city of conflict, passion and beauty. If a city can be alive to the contradictions of today’s modern world, that city is Jerusalem.”

Jan Yamamoto

Okavango Delta

“A safari to Botswana’s Okavango Delta is an absolute must do—at least once in your life—as is an early morning ride on a mokoro canoe.”

Mike Gerke


“Ten years ago, my family traveled to Italy for two-and-half weeks; one of those, we spent in beautiful Tuscany. My wife, children, parents and I rented a villa located on an olive orchard which also boasted a castle nearby. We loved the villa and the nearby town of Montelupo Fiorentino with its food stores, pottery shops, restaurants and olive orchards/wineries. We’ll always remember the unique cultural experience of Tuscany.”

Julie Parisio Roy

Hartstene Pointe, Shelton, WA

“Located on the north tip of Harstine Island in the south Puget Sound, this unique community is amongst old growth trees and surrounded by three miles of beach to explore.  A summer visit is the best when you can enjoy the community pool, tennis courts and share the hiking trails with friendly deer.”

Financial tips for travel

No matter the destination on your calendar this year, keep in mind these financial tips for travelers:

  • Be sure to notify your bank of your travel plans, so credit and ATM cards won’t receive fraud alerts when you use them outside your normal spending area
  • Bring several forms of payment, as not all credit cards are accepted everywhere
  • Invest in travelers’ insurance to safeguard you and your loved ones from accident or theft
  • If you currently use a 5-digit PIN number, switch to a 4-digit PIN before you go since many foreign ATMs only accept the latter
  • Save your bank and credit card 800 numbers in your phone or with your passport

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