For years I always used to be scared of turning 30 but then some of my closest friends turned 30 and they were having the time of their life. It dawned of me, 30 years old isn’t that bad after all. Thirty is a great age and I’ve been told it begins a decade marked with knowing yourself better than ever and feeling more deeply connected to those around you. This is why I have pulled together my favourite trips to take before turning 30.
Life might not get easier at 30 (pretty sure that never happens) but it can definitely get sweeter. Travel can play a huge role in that. Adventure is a means of self-discovery; as we learn about the world and experience different ways of living in it, we grow more in tune with how our own skills and passions play a role.
And while life doesn’t end when you pass 29, you will certainly look back on your twenties with fewer regrets if you manage to pack in these once-in-a-lifetime trips before you have to sweat the bigger stuff. I am now 26 years years old, meaning I’ve got four years to make it count… I’d better get booking those trips! Here are my favourite trips to take before turning 30….
1. Drive California’s Route
The edge of America is a must. Driving along the PCH from LA to San Francisco, with no agenda but stopping to eat foil-wrapped burritos on the beach, can aid in a lot of soul-searching. Or at least, help you prioritize which questions you’d rather answer first.
2. Road trip around Iceland
This Nordic island nation isn’t far from the UK, but packs in astonishing natural phenomena and take-your-breath-away landscapes. Contemporary cuisine, Lord of the Rings-esque lands, stargazing, endless hours of daylight and geothermal springs. It’s hard to narrow it down. And make sure you take a pit stop at The Blue Lagoon like I did above…..
3. Exploring Bali
Highland panoramas, scenic waterfalls, open blue skies, golden sunsets and awesome sunrises across the coastline. There’s a reason why people say that Bali stirs the soul. Explore temples and palaces, go river rafting, sign up to a surf school, volunteer at an orangutan sanctuary, take a yoga class in the mountains and party all night. Best of all, it’s cheap – so you’ll be able to live like a king on a fortnight’s trip here. And if you’re looking for adventure, you can go river rafting!
4. Island hopping in Greece
If you’ve never made it to Greece, then schedule in some time to discover its lesser-known islands by boat. Go to big-hitters Santorini, Crete and Rhodes and and discover little-known gems Astypalea and Tinos. Because you can explore whitewashed cubic houses, lie on white hot sands, take a dip in the bath water-warm Aegean.
5. Winter in Banff, Canada
This resort town is one of Canada’s most popular tourist destinations, known for its mountainous surroundings and hot springs. A visit here offers the chance to experience the spectacular Canadian Rocky Mountains and glacier-fed lakes, bull elk and brown bear sightings, and small-town charm like no other. Because it’s some of the finest mountain scenery you’ll find on the planet.
READ MORE: A WEEKEND GUIDE TO AMSTERDAM
6. Volunteer your skills where they’re needed
We can learn a lot about ourselves when we’re serving others. Your 20s are the perfect time to volunteer abroad, whether it’s in a country you’re passionate about or to put a skill to good use. Learn how traveling can (and maybe should?) be a two-way street.
7. Backpack through Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia is one of the most accessible regions for the novice traveller – thanks to its mix of volcanoes, rainforests, rice fields, beaches and coral reefs. Some popular stops include Chiang Mai in Thailand, Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Laos, Hanoi in Vietnam. Explore thousand-year-old Hindu ruins, rave on the beach, attend a Buddhist ceremony at dawn and hike through the jungle looking for wildlife. The possibilities are endless.
8. Take a trip with your best friends
Before you partner off, settle down or life otherwise pulls you in different directions, push pause on your routine and go exploring with the ones who’ve always had your back. (Bonus points if it’s to somewhere on this list.)
9. Trendy Berlin
Edgy, cool and creative, Berlin is one of the world’s best cities for boutique shopping, brilliantly offbeat nights out and hipster hangouts. Because it’s one of Europe’s most exciting cities.
10. Beautiful Islands of Croatia
Ancient walled towns, dreamy deep-blue seascapes, an unrivaled festival scene and guaranteed good weather. What’s not to love about Croatia? Visit festival and wellness island Obonjan, go fun-seeking at Sonus, take a Game of Thrones tour, go white-water rafting, stroll around the museums in Zagreb or simply spend your days enjoying cocktail after cocktail on the beach.
BOOK TRAVEL INSURANCE BEFORE YOU FLY
Picking travel insurance that covers you in all eventualities is an essential part of planning a trip for every single person. If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel. You never know what’s around the corner. World Nomads is an affordable option that I personally recommend. BOOK HERE
11. Go on an active vacation
Cycling in Ireland? Scuba-diving in Fiji? Hiking Mt. Whitney? Challenge yourself (at least once) to an adventure that tests your limits. This is the age to adopt healthy habits for life. If you need running a half-marathon in Greece to finally motivate you, then so be it.
12. Nightlife in Ibiza
No surprises here – the Island that never sleeps has long been one of the hottest places to play for people in their 20s. This hedonistic paradise is a lure for British clubbers drawn in by sun, sand and world-class DJs. Because nowhere does sunset chilling quite like Ibiza.
WANT TO SEE SOME MORE OF MY TRAVELS?
13. Spend a weekend in NYC
Both coasts should be visited in your 20s, if for no other reason than to check off how different (yet also kind of similar) the east and west can be. No doubt all those rom-coms you watched as a pre-teen planted some seeds for what the Big Apple could be like. Now’s the time to find out.
14. New Zealand
Undoubtedly one of the most spectacular places on earth, New Zealand is home to some incredibly unspoilt scenery. Make sure to take a decent camera, because stunning national parks and reserves make up a third of its land. When else can you spend a whole month hiking its natural peaks and troughs? Read about my trip to New Zealand here.
15. Pammukale, Turkey
Pamukkale is actually Turkish for “cotton castle”, which accurately sums up this amazing display of natural hot water pools in Denizli Province. The city is famous for its travertines – terraces of dazzling white carbonate minerals left by the flowing water that tourists can bathe in. It’ll make for one stunning Instagram.
READ MORE: HOW TO MAXIMISE YOUR ANNUAL LEAVE IN 2019
16. Romantic Paris
Who says the City of Love is reserved for couples? Paris is for dreamers just as much as it’s for lovers, so give yourself the freedom to wander it at your own pace. Journal in a garden. People-watch at a cafe. Soak up the creativity of generations gone by and leave yourself open to the je ne sais quoi.
17. Explore Italy
Not only the is fall one of the best times to visit Italy (really any time is, but that’s beside the point), but its harvest season will give you first-hand appreciation for how one of Italy’s best exports is made. If you can’t get out to an actual vineyard, try to plan a trip around a town’s “Festa dell’uva,” typically held in September.
18. Hipsters in Toronto, Canada
Forget Williamsburg, hipsters looking for a cultural injection should make a beeline for Canada’s largest city for art, food and dive bars by the dozen. Ethnic enclaves, a bustling food scene and cool designer stays – there are plenty of reasons to discover Toronto.
19. Burning Man Festival, Nevada
Every year, tens of thousands of people gather in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to create ‘Black Rock City’, a temporary festival of art, hedonism and self-expression. Because it’s the most outrageous festival of all: alongside meditation and yoga there’s spanking classes, orgies, and naked foam parties. Chances are, you’ll only want to get involved when you’re young enough not to regret it.
20. Trace your ancestral roots
There’s something grounding about knowing where you come from. Going home again – however near or far the “homeland” might be – can often be a cathartic way of sensing how to capitalize on your own timeline. Where did you come from? What stories paved your way? And how can you honor them while evolving at the same time?
21. InterRail Europe
And lastly but not least…. interrailing! Europe is incredible, and totally underrated, especially by us Brits (Brexit much?). There’s so much to see and do in every country, and there are many schemes set up to help the budget-minded stay for cheap. Get yourself an Interrail ticket and explore!