According to recent stats, about 22-million people in the UK now have a bucket list.

Originally coined from the phrase ‘kicking the bucket’ (which probably isn’t the cheeriest way of phrasing it), the concept ultimately encourages people to make a list of life goals they want to achieve.

While becoming a homeowner and having children were high priorities, the majority of those surveyed also voted travelling the world as their no.1 challenge.

So if you’re compiling a life to-do list and need some inspiration, here are some popular ideas to get you thinking (plus a few cheaper alternatives).

northern lights iva flickr by arctic norway

See the Northern Lights

Around 27% of people would most like to go to the very north of Norway or Iceland to see the iconic colours of the Northern Lights. As the heights of the natural phenomena (also known as Aurora Borealis) can reach a staggering 1,000km high, a great way to see them is from the air. Plus, as over a fifth of people also have helicopter flights on their bucket list, you could potentially tick two things off at the same time.

That said, you don’t have to go to Scandinavia to see this spectacular light show. With a little bit of luck and a lot less money, you could try spotting them in Scotland in January – it’s the best place and time to see them in the UK.

african safari - via flickr by loimere

Go on Safari

The third most popular dream holiday is a trek through the African jungle on a safari, with just under 20% of people adding it to their wish list. As well as being a great way to get up close and personal with the continent’s wildlife, you might also pick up a bit of Swahili (or another local tongue) while you’re there – ideal if you’re part of the 33% of people who have ambitions to learn a new language.

dolphins via flickr by chuck.taylor

Explore the Reef

According to the figures, the Great Barrier Reef is the most sought after destination to visit, with 31% of people putting it on their bucket list. More than 1500 different types of fish live in this UNESCO World Heritage site, so whether it’s scuba diving, dolphin swims, snorkelling or whale watching you’re after, this is the ideal spot.

That said, if Australia is a little out of your budget, Egypt and Greece are fantastic alternatives for scuba diving, exploring coral reefs and dolphin spotting – all that little bit closer to home.

great wall of china - via flickr by francisco diez

Climb the Great Wall of China

The fourth most popular place to go to is this Eastern wonder of the world, with 18% of Brits adding it to their list. Stretching over 21,000 kilometres, climbing the entire thing would be quite a feat – but it’s also a great excuse to take up a new hobby (hiking anyone?) which almost 30% of people hoped to do.

If getting active is on your list (and China is a bit far to go for a walk), you might want to acquaint yourself with the Alps. You’ll find no end of outdoor sports from mountaineering to cycling in Europe’s resorts during the summer, but with the ski season upon us, you don’t have to wait that long.

What’s on your bucket list? Let us know below.

Images: arctic norwayfrancisco diezloimerechuck.taylor