The California Bucket List: Your daily guide to the best adventures and experiences in the Golden State

The ultimate road trip

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Screenwriter Justin Zackham admits he put a bit of his own travel ambition in "The Bucket List."

"The truth is that the locations in the film -- the pyramids, the Taj Mahal, Everest and the Great Wall of China -- are all destinations on my own personal bucket list," he writes in an e-mail.

"The Bucket List," which opened on Christmas Day, brings Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman together as cancer patients who become buddies and undertake "the road trip of a lifetime," as the movie's press kit touts.

Unlike travel for mere Transportation Security Administration-screened mortals, this pair goes everywhere on Nicholson's private jet -- which would carry a price tag of at least $54,000 each for the journey they took.

So, how much would it cost to do the "Bucket List" itinerary in style? Not counting the cost of a tattoo (we're not going there), it's about $105,730 for two -- and that's if you stay in each place longer than a Hollywood scene change.

Take a look at how the trip breaks down, and then e-mail travel-feedback@latimes.comwith destinations on your bucket list.


In the movie, Nicholson and Freeman board a private plane that easily -- and oh, so quickly -- stops in France, Tanzania, Egypt, Nepal, China and other off-scene points in what appears to be a total time of maybe a week or two. Kevin Wilks, in charge of private jets for tour operator Abercrombie & Kent, estimates the cost at $3,880 a day, although his company rarely books 757s for such a short period of time.

Price: $54,320 for 14 days on a private jet. Abercrombie offers a 25-day tour -- Cultural Treasures Around the World by Private Jet -- for $98,000 a person. It stops in a lot more places than the film does and includes accommodations, meals and just about everything.

Info: (800)-554-7016,


The setting for the sky-diving scene was Perris Valley, about 50 miles east of Los Angeles, where you can tandem jump (strapped to an instructor who will pull the cord if you don't) from a plane about 13,000 feet above the desert floor.

Price: $249 each, equipment and training included.

Info: Perris Valley Skydiving School, (951) 657-1664,


The track pictured in the film is the California Speedway in Fontana, where you can slide behind the wheel of a 600-horsepower NASCAR-style race car and let 'er rip.

Price: $419 each for the Rookie Experience, which includes eight thrilling laps.

Info: The Richard Petty Driving Experience, (800) 237-3889,


The pair apparently stops in Paris off-camera, but it's the hilltop village near Nice that steals the scene. The two discuss life at this swank restaurant and hotel that overlooks the Mediterranean.

Price: $1,448 to $1,616 (depending on the season) per person, per night, for the Gourmet Package, which includes room, buffet breakfast, dinner and other goodies.

Info: 011-33-04-92-10-66-66,


Zebras, elephants and wildebeests abound while Nicholson and Freeman belt out "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" from an open-topped safari vehicle. But when it's time to bed down, they retire to a high-end canvas tent. Abercrombie & Kent provides "Hemingway-style" tents with carpets, flush toilets and beds, not sleeping bags.

Price: $10,465 per person (not including airfare) for a 13-day trip that includes Kenya.

Info: (800) 554-7016,


The two seem to spend only enough time for a heart-to-heart conversation here, but you may want to visit for 10 days to tour the pyramids, stay at the Four Seasons Hotel in Cairo and take a four-night cruise on the Nile.

Price: $4,335 per person (not including airfare), Abercrombie & Kent's Signature Egypt trip.

Info: (800) 554-7016,


No reason to rush through India just to see the Taj Mahal. A 12-day private trip starts in Delhi and takes you through Jaisalmer, the pink stone city of Jodhpur and Udaipur before going to Agra to spend time at the 17th century mausoleum.

Price: $4,795 per person (first-class) or $6,795 per person (deluxe), not including airfare, for Wilderness Travel's India Private Journey.

Info: (800) 368-2794,


It's a trek-in-only adventure to get to this beacon of high spirituality where Mt. Everest climbers typically stop for a blessing on the way to the world's highest peak. Barbara Banks, head of new trip development at Wilderness Travel in Berkeley, Calif., says plenty of "buddies" sign up for the trek to Tengboche, where, with luck, you can see Everest. "It holds so many things for people looking for a life-altering journey," she said.

Price: 14-day trek, $2,695 per person (not including airfare).

Info: (800) 368-2794,


It's fun watching the two careen along the Great Wall on a motorcycle, but the outfitters we called said this is a major no-no. Steve Xu, president of Champion Holidays, once arranged for a high school jazz band from Arizona to play a concert on the wall, but special permissions are required for any wall-related functions. For a look at the Great Wall and a bit of Beijing, take your time.

Price: Starting at $1,299 (airfare included), a nine-day China Discovery tour includes a visit to the wall and other attractions in Beijing, Suzhou and Shanghai.

Info: (800) 868-7658,

Copyright © 2018, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World