The big 3-0 is a lifetime milestone where the world (and for most of us, our body) consciously tells you that you’re officially an adult. You’ve left the late nights and probable poverty of your 20s behind, but you’re not quite ready to start searching for your retirement hobby. Thirty is an age where you come into your own and really find yourself. And what’s a better way to do that than to travel and experience all the different cultures, sights and people the world has to offer?
So, let’s put a spin on the traditional “30 before 30 bucket list” by turning it into 30 travel experiences to have before you’re 30. So, buckle up because we’re about to travel around th world (in no particular order)!
*Disclaimer: If you’re anything like me in my 20s, money wasn’t the easiest thing to come by; however, if you’ve got some lined pockets or are just an overall resourceful person, the following destinations can be achieved and should be checkmarks on your list of travel must-sees!
If you’ve ever wanted to experience the closest thing to feeling like you’re on another planet, then Iceland is probably your best bet. It’s a breathtaking country filled with tons of stunning landscapes, black sand beaches and tons of gullfoss (waterfalls), and contrary to popular belief, they don’t just eat hot dogs over there … but their hot dogs are fire.
2) Costa Rica
Rainforests, beaches, ziplining, hot springs, white water rafting, delicious pineapple and some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. This Central American country is everything you need and more to experience adventure.
You may appreciate the tranquility of this beautiful state more when you’re older, but if you want to rewind time back to the pioneer days with rolling countrysides and breathtaking vistas, Wyoming checks all the boxes for R&R.
4) Edinburgh, Scotland
Ancient castles, rolling hylands, Nessie the Loch Ness monster –– this country defines what it means to be charming. Plus, awesome accents.
As long as you tread carefully (it seems like just about every animal in the down under can kill you), Australia is an amazing place with stunning architecture and gorgeous scenery. Also, awesome accents.
6) Great Barrier Reef
Speaking of Australia …who wouldn’t want front row tickets to the largest living structure on earth? Plus, you can see it from space, so that’s pretty dang cool.
7) New Zealand
They may seem interchangeable, but don’t call New Zealanders, Aussies. You’ve been warned. But seriously, all the majestic fairytale-inspired movies seem to be shot in New Zealand for a reason –– The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit, King Kong, The Chronicles of Narnia, Avatar and many more.
8) Austin, Texas
The music scene down in this particular Lone Star State city is enough to warrant a trip. SXSW anybody?!?! While you’re there, check out a football game.
So, you like music? Then Nashville has you covered at just about every stop along Broadway Street. Country, rock, blues, folk … you name it, they’ve got live performances in spades.
10) Bourbon Street, New Orleans
Before you’re 30, partying is a huge part of life. So, if you want to party, hit up Bourbon St. for a time you won’t forget and a night you won’t remember. If you really want to party, hit up Bourbon St. during Mardi Gras … wowza.
11) Las Vegas
Whether you’re a gambler or not, there’s something magical about all the lights and sounds that Las Vegas offers. It’s like Times Square on steroids … and sin. What happens here only stays here because no one can actually remember what happened.
12) Times Square, New York
Speaking of lights, Times Square is a sight you really have to see to behold. It’s busy, hectic, populated, bright, flashy and probably an epileptic hazard (if you really think about it), but that’s what makes it so special.
13) Great Wall of China
Okay, so it’s not actually visible from space like we were all told when we were kids, but the Great Wall is a 5,550 mile man-made marvel that should be on everyone’s bucket list.
14) Machu Pichu
As one of the seven wonders of the world, it’s safe to say that the sights and history behind Machu Pich are unparalleled.
15) Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
For the outdoorsy traveler, Croatia is one of Europe’s best kept secrets. It’s a natural wonderland of amazing waterfalls and wildlife.
16) Taj Mahal
I mean, it looks like something straight out of Disney’s Aladdin and that should say enough. The history, the magnificence – it’s an amazing symbol of Indian culture.
17) Cairo, Giza
You want to talk about man-made marvels? The ancient pyramids and the Great Sphinx (the oldest monumental structure) don’t even feel real in person. It’s a trip that you’ll never forget.
“All that the light touches is yours,” when you take an African safari adventure through Serengeti Park. So. Much. Wildlife. Everywhere. Just make sure to stay in your vehicle and don’t tease the large cats.
19) Ibiza, Spain
You didn’t have to take a pill in Ibiza to show Avicii (R.I.P. buddy) you were cool, you just have to go to Ibiza to feel cool. Seriously, it’s one giant club, party, music festival playground.
20) Havana, Cuba
Do you think it’s just a coincidence that famous artists sing about these places? No, it’s because they’re amazing and Havana is no exception with its culture, cuisine, history – and baseball.
21) Dublin, Ireland
Do you love pubs? Then you’ll love Dublin. Also, Guinness – fresh and on tap. Drink up (responsibly).
Discover a lush country impressively preserved and ready for exploration and amazing cuisine. Vietnam is so surrene it’s like if finding your zen was visualized.
23) Grand Canyon
What’s more epic than looking into the hull of the earth? Hike down it, raft through it or just look at it. Whatever you decide will be well worth the trip.
24) Amsterdam, Netherlands
If Las Vegas is the sin city for America, then Amsterdam is like the sin capital of the world. Check out the Red-light District and “coffee shops” for a good time. Wink, wink.
25) Paris, France
Fashion, architecture, cuisine … these are just a few of the things that Paris owns and no other country can seem to hold a match to. Oh, and mimes.
26) Tokyo, Japan
There’s something just mesmerizing about Asian architecture and culture, and Japan may be the epitome of both. It’s like another world within this world.
27) Rome, Italy
Some of these places may seem like cliches, but they’re on this list because they offer something that other places can’t. Where else can you check out an ancient colosseum, the battle grounds for past gladiators. followed by beautiful works of art in the Sistine Chapel?
28) Athens, Greece
From the weather and the culture to the food and the history, Athens has it all and more. Insert something philosophically profound here _________.
29) Vancouver, Canada
Vancouver is like being in a Bob Ross painting. It’s beautiful and full of happy trees and gray skies. Plus, the people are nice and the food is on point.
There are too many destinations in Florida to choose just one (Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Naples, Key West, St. Augustine, etc.), so if you make it down to the sunshine state, bring your swimsuit and soak up the rich R&R or exciting nightlife scene because there are plenty of both to go around.
There you go! Thirty places to knock off the travel bucket list before you leave your twenties behind. So, what are you waiting for? You’ve got trips to start planning!