Being 30 is strange. It kind of feels just like being 29, but it’s not. You’re a real adult, and you can’t pretend otherwise. That’s why it’s so important to make the most of your 20s – this is your last chance to be young, free and have the cash available to spend on yourself.
Here are the 24 trips I’d recommend you try before you hit the big 3-0. I’ve done 15 of them so far, and it’s now too late for me to reach the 24, so go, 20-something year old, go where I didn’t…
1. Travel through South East Asia
Backpacking in South East Asia either alone or with friends is the first trip for so many travellers, and for good reason. It’s easy to travel around, there are many other travellers along the route just like you, and you’ll usually know someone who’s done it before. Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos are the usual suspects, do it!
2. InterRail Europe
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!
3. Hike Patagonia
Trekking Patagonia, through Argentina and Chile, has to be a top life goal for many a traveller. The scenery and terrain just look incredible. Yes, this is one of those trips I haven’t done, but dream of. Apparently, it’s here that you can really find yourself on those mountains and learn just how vast and incredible this world is.
4. Trek America
The USA has some of the most incredible scenery you could hope to see. The National Parks are home to some unbelievable views and the drives through are stunning. Hike the Pacific Crest Trail through California, Oregon, and Washington, or up the Half Dome in Yosemite Park or even Rainbow Point in Bryce Park, Utah.
5. Day of the Dead Festival, Mexico
We’re all going to die, some day, so why not celebrate the fact instead of mourn it? Mexico’s Day of the Dead is one of the most intriguing and fascinating festivals there is, with graveside parties, specially made bread and parades through the street all night. People get dressed up, and spend the 1st November singing in the cemeteries with Mariachi bands to keep the rhythm.
6. Mardi Gras in New Orleans
New Orleans is awesome. You might as well go the whole hog and visit New Orleans for Mardi Gras, when you get to party in the streets, watch the huge floats go by and try to grab the beads they toss at the crowd.
7. Ski somewhere awesome
The freedom of skiing cannot be emulated. I didn’t learn to ski until I was 23 and now I love it. That feeling as you cruise down, casual AF, the views laid out before you and knowing there’ll be a nice warm drink at the bottom of the mountain… it can’t be beat, I swear.
8. Explore India
India is all the things you’ve heard it is, guaranteed. You need a strong attitude and an even stronger stomach to make it through your visit.
The Dhavri Slum in India is one of the biggest in the world. I toured with a company who provides tours not to ogle at the residents, but to educate the droves of people who come to look. In fact, you’re not even allowed to take photos.
It’s trips like this that can also give you perspective, and can help you to realise just how damn lucky you are.
9. Newquay with your mates
I went to Newquay in Cornwall, UK three years running when I was a teenager. In fact one of my friends met her now husband at Sunnyside Holiday Camp – one of the dirtiest summer camps around – a quick Google tells me it’s now shut down.
A road trip in the UK with your long time friends from school feels kind of like those ‘coming of age’ American movies we’re bombarded with. Yet, this time, you get to be the star.
10. Island hop in Greece
Admittedly my first experiences of Greece were when I went to Kos and Kavos with friends on two super chavvy holidays. I don’t think we even left the main strip. Now I know you can do all kinds of things – Sail Weeks, trips to artsy places like Hydra, or tours round Mykonos and Santorini.