It felt like a good day to write this post as I add another year to my age. As I turn 28 today, I can’t help but feel my thirties coming soon — hence this post about 30 trips to take before you’re 30. This year has been full of triumphs and trials, success and failures, many questions answered, and many left unanswered.
Oddly, I find this turning of “28” a strange age. Feeling out of my twenties but not quite thirty, these weird waters in between have me floating between nostalgia for the memories from the past years and at the same time, an overflowing excitement for what is to come. I announced our short term move to Barcelona, celebrated 7 incredible years of marriage with my husband, Travis, and we’ve well adjusted to our move across the bridge to Marin. There’s so much to be thankful for, and words can’t quite express how much gratitude I hold for it all.
I’m sitting here in my office, it’s 8:30 pm on Monday, July 30th, as I write this post. Candidly, it’s not quite what I had set out to write tonight but rather what came to mind. It was a moment of reflection and a craving for a constant flow of curiosity for what our world has to offer. So as I share these 30 trips to take before you’re 30, know that many of these are on my bucket list too. It’s the kind of list to set a fire, to give inspiration, and hopefully encourage you to travel well, and travel often.
30 Trips to Take Before You’re 30
1. Take a solo trip.
If there’s one trip to embark on, it’s one where you get to explore somewhere new for yourself. Take a weekend away, a trip to Europe, or work your way through Southeast Asia. I couldn’t recommend it more.
Read: How I take Photos of Myself with a tripod.
2. Immerse yourself in the culture of Hanoi, Vietnam.
If one place has stolen my heart, it’s certainly the bustling streets of Hanoi. A world of its own, the culture is rich, the food is great, and the architecture stunning.
Read: The Ultimate Guide to Hanoi
3. Road trip the Great Ocean Road.
One of my highlights these past years has been a trip down the GOR to the 12 Apostles. It’s a breathtaking coastline, with plenty to see along the way from Melbourne.
Read: The Ultimate Guide to the Great Ocean Road
4. See the wonder of Petra.
Oh Petra! In the heart of Jordan, these wonder of the world lies in a place that is from another lifetime. I’ve never seen anything like it and working my way through the gorge to open up to the Monastery was one of the best experiences of my life so far.
Read: How to Travel to Petra.
5. Get lost in the streets of Paris, France.
We’ll always have Paris. How can you not fall in love with the grand boulevards and the afternoon light on the Seine?Read: The Alternative Guide to Paris.
6. Hike the Nakasendo Trail in the Kiso Valley, Japan.
One of the places that is imprinted on mind is the trail through the Kiso Valley that tradesmen used centuries ago. It’s slow and deep into the forests of Japan’s untouched countryside. The kind of place that makes you reset and rethink.
Read: Visiting the Kiso Valley
7. Take a road trip on Highway 1 through California.
I may be biased about California but what better place to road trip through with your friends? So much to see from SF to LA.
Read: the Ultimate One Week Itinerary for Northern California
8. Explore the island of Bali.
Bali is a place that always calls me back, mostly because it has a way of grounding me. I love the chaos, the down time in Ubud, and of course the food.
Read: All Bali Posts
9. Catch sunrise in the Sahara Desert, Morocco.
Seeing the sun come up over the golden sands of the Sahara is a magical experience, and worth the drive from Marrakech to see it.
Read: Luxury Glamping Experience in Sahara Desert.
10. Sail through Greece’s islands.
Grab some friends and family, and island hop through the bluest of waters.
Read: 8 Things I loved about Sailing the Aegean Sea.
11. Go on an African Safari.
This is one of those experiences that have been at the top of my bucket list for years. Seeing animals in their habitat, early game drives, and staying in those incredible tents!
12. Experience Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Certainly the party of the year, nothing beats the excitement and costumes of Carnival!
13. Hike in the Valley of 72 Waterfalls — Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland.
An unassuming valley in Switzerland from the outside, but once you get into the valley, you’ll see just how special this outdoor destination is.
14. Stay in an overwater villa in Bora Bora or Maldives.
Overwater villas for the win, always.
Read: St Regis Bora Bora Review
15. Make your way to the top of Machu Picchu via the Inca Trail.
This is another one of those at the top of my list — to hike the Inca Trail to catch sunrise over Machu Picchu.
16. Ski or snowboard the great slopes of Whistler Mountain, Canada
If you’re an avid skier or snowboard, then what better place to hit the slopes than here.
Read: The Winter Adventure Guide to Whistler
17. Walk the Great Wall of China.
Walking the Great Wall of China has long been on my list of experiences to have in my lifetime.
18. Explore the countryside of Tuscany, Italy.
One of my favorite trips to date was road tripping through the hilltop towns of Tuscany, working our way from one place to the next. It’s so charming and I loved the scenery.
Read: Tuscany Road Trip Guide
19. Float away in the Dead Sea.
Feel weightless as you float in the saltiest water in the world.
Read: How to Travel to Petra
20. Party it up in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Nothing quite like the energy of Amsterdam, especially in the summer.
Read: Where and What City Guide to Amsterdam
21. Explore the diverse island of Sri Lanka.
From tea farms to the leopard safaris, and then world class surfing to port towns, Sri Lanka is one of the most diverse places I have ever seen.
Read: All Sri Lanka posts.
22. Holi Festival in India.
When life converges in the street, live music, color and dancing comes together for the celebration of the year.
23. Make your way to Bhutan to see the iconic Tiger’s Nest Monastery.
I’ve saved multiple photos of this place built into the rocky mountains of Bhutan — it looks insanely beautiful.
24. Explore the temples of Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Another one of those bucket list places I’ve had my eyes on, Angkor Wat has many temples to explore.
25. Savor Cuba’s vibrant energy.
Havana, Vinales, and Trinidad, all three places that stole my heart. It’s a special trip to get to learn more of Cuban’s vibrant culture.
Read: 10 Day Itinerary for Slow Travel in Cuba
26. Cruise the Rhine River, exploring castle towns.
River cruising may not be the most popular for under 30 but I REALLY love the experiene. You unpack once and you get to see incredible destinations along the way.
Read: 6 Adorable Towns Along the Rhine River
27. Work your way through hundreds of temples in Kyoto, Japan.
Hundreds of temples in Kyoto means you’ll never run out of things to do. Pair that with incredible food, and it puts Kyoto at the top of my list.
Read: The Ultimate Guide to Kyoto, Japan.
28. Catch the Northern Lights over Swedish Lapland.
Seeing the Northern Lights as long been on my list!!
29. Adventure through Patagonia.
Another destination that I’ve bookmarked many times, the mountains and lodges of Patagonia!
30. Most importantly, take a trip with your family, your friends, and your loved ones.
Life is short — I couldn’t recommend it more, make memories with your loved ones.