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Trips to Take in Your Twenties

Posted on 18 October 2018

Your twenties are years of trial and error, successes and failures. They’re emotional. Some studies suggest they’re the years when you’ll make most of your long-term friends.

There’s a reason why countless films, books and poems are dedicated to the mind-altering effects of travelling when you’re young. Travel memories are stickier than other memories. Five years down the road, they stay with you in a way that the minutiae of your day-to-day life won't.

Travelling in your twenties is virtually guaranteed to change your worldview. There’s almost a no better way to learn about yourself and about the world from the perspective of a global citizen than by venturing out of your comfort zone and into an unfamiliar culture.

Some of these destinations are better suited for slow travel over the course of weeks or even months—they’re best experienced in between life phases, jobs or semesters of college—while others can be conquered in a long weekend.


Thailand National Park, boats in the rivers mischa blog

Go backpacking in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is full of gems, from the more obvious Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam, to the less appreciated Cambodia, Myanmar, and the Philippines.

Southeast Asia is one of the most incredibly welcoming areas of the world, particularly for young backpackers.

Activities here are plentiful, from breathtaking volcano hikes in Bali to world-class scuba diving in Malaysia. There are small hippie villages to explore, such as Pai, Thailand, and crazy, sprawling cities to intrepidly navigate, such as Bangkok—and almost everything in between. In other words, this part of the world offers something for every kind of traveller, particularly if you’re the type who enjoys going about daily life in elephant-printed pyjama pants.

While flights to and from may be on the pricier side, once you arrive, you can live like a king for a fraction of the cost of a single night out in New York City. It’s also easy to country-hop on budget airlines for shockingly low fares.


overlooking a busy market with colourful buildings in Tokyo at sunset mischa blog

Go to Tokyo

Imagine a mind-bogglingly efficient version of New York City, add another four million people, and then make everything intriguingly weird, and you’ve got Tokyo. And it also has something for everyone. Robots? Check. Potentially life-threatening, luxury dining experiences? Check. Amazingly weird vending machines that spit out everything from plastic cat figurines perched atop sushi to underwear and flats? Check. Tokyo is also a relatively central location, and one of the easier cities to acclimate to in this notoriously challenging country. It’s a solid place to call home base in a beautifully bizarre, immaculately clean, stunningly scenic slice of the world.
A ride on Japan’s bullet train is an experience in and of itself. On the high-speed rail, you can easily travel to Osaka, a foodie hot spot, or Kyoto, a more traditional, conservative city where you may catch a glimpse of geisha meandering the cobblestone streets. During the winter months, it’s also easy to access northern Japan, which plays host to some of the best skiing in the world. 

Mexico City Palace with busy crowds at sunset mischa blog

Eat your heart out in Mexico City

Mexico City is one of the most livable, culturally stimulating, and refreshingly cosmopolitan cities in the world. It’s a foodie’s dream, with cheap, delicious street food options at every corner. It’s home to the Frida Kahlo museum, which we promise is the only museum we’ll put on this list. It’s also an easily navigable city for travellers, with options for Uber, taxis, and useful public transportation.

The Condesa, Roma Norte, and Polanco neighbourhoods are some of the most desirable places for travellers to call temporary home. There’s a lively nightlife scene spread throughout Mexico City, as well as tequila and mezcal tastings that can easily masquerade as “cultural exploration.”

If for no other reason, go for the taco tours.

New Orleans Mardi Gras people dressed up with drinks in hand mischa blog

Experience New Orleans

There’s almost no better party in the world than Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Among young Americans, it’s practically a rite of passage.

Beyond the obvious, though—yard-high hand-grenade cocktails and collecting beads of every size, shape and color—New Orleans has a rich history and a unique culture that stands apart from the melting-pot persona of many classic American cities. This is a town with its own brand of energy.

From authentic Cajun cuisine to the jiving live jazz scene that seeps from the very pores of this city, New Orleans is full to the brim with character and personality. It’s worth visiting both during Mardi Gras and at other times of the year to explore what the town has to offer beyond Bourbon Street.


Colorful fruits and vegetables at a market in Peru mischa blog

Take a food tour in Peru

Getting a selfie at Macchu Pichu isn’t the only reason to head to Peru. Peruvian cuisine is known throughout the world as some of the best—and healthiest—on the planet.

You haven't tasted ceviche until you’ve been to one (or more) of Lima’s cevicherias. When you visit Peru, your new favourite meal of the day is automatically lunch.

Whether you embark on an organized food tour or simply hop from hole-in-the-wall joint to five-star restaurant, it’s hard to go wrong with any meal choice. And it’s not just fresh fish: Even self-declared carnivores will find the quinoa in this country delectable. If you can swing it budget-wise, Central in Lima consistently makes the top-ten list of the best restaurants in the world. An experience there is well worth the splurge.


Multi-color buildings in Bueno Aires mischa blog

Tango in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is a twenty-something's paradise for more reasons than the astonishing selection of affordable Malbecs. Neighbourhood hopping around Buenos Aires, from Palermo Soho to Recoleta to downtown, is an ideal way to explore the city’s multifaceted offerings.

Go on a street art tour. Visit the San Telmo market on Sunday. Buy yourself a mate gourd, learn how to drink it properly, and hang out in the park to people watch. Eat dinner at 10 p.m. like a true Argentinian, and then stay out on the town dancing until sunrise on a Saturday. Or Tuesday.

Or, if you can swing it, hop on a flight down to Patagonia and gape in slack-jawed wonder at some of the most stunning natural landscapes in the world.


looking down at Queenstown from the top of a mountain, with a paraglide in the sky mischa blog

Get sporty in New Zealand

New Zealand isn’t the easiest or cheapest destination to reach, but it’s an adrenaline junkie's dream.

Whatever your thrill-seeking heart desires, New Zealand offers it bigger and better than most: Bungee jumping, skydiving, sea kayaking or wildlife hikes are only a few of the adventure activities available in the land of the Kiwis.

Both Auckland and Queenstown have emerged in recent years as a hot travel destination for young people.

And not to mention, New Zealand is almost painfully beautiful. It has everything from mountains to rainforests to tropical beaches. We’re talking about a part of the world where they filmed the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, so you know the scenery is eye-poppingly epic at pretty much every turn.


Neon light blaring with people on the beach at night in Israel mischa blog

Go camping in Israel

Tanned bodies, intriguing accents, beaches, hummus...all valid reasons to add this cultural hot spot to your list of must-visit destinations.

The vibe is lively, the locals are friendly, and personality abounds in both the city and its people. Twenty-somethings may find “the scene” in Jaffa, an up-and-coming hipster neighbourhood, where tea lights line streets made of old Jerusalem stone.

The entirety of Israel is approximately the size of New Jersey, which makes it easy to explore from top to bottom. To the north, luscious waterfalls cascade through a lush green landscape. In the South, huge craters in the desert give off the appearance of another planet. Here, camping and stargazing are prime summertime activities. There’s also an extensive hiking trail that circumscribes the entire country, which may appeal to the physically adventurous.


View from a cliff , people on the beach with colourful umbrellas in Lagos Camilo Beach Portugal mischa blog

Get away from the crowds in Portugal

Lisbon looks exactly like the city you imagine when you think of quintessential romantic European getaways: narrow cobbled streets, stunning architecture and fresh, authentic cuisine that holds true to its cultural roots.

Although the city has no shortage of charms to capture your attention, travellers in the know won’t regret renting a car and heading out of town to explore the less-frequented parts of Portugal. There's a reason—many reasons, actually—that Portugal was named Travel + Leisure's 2016 Destination of the Year.

The northern region of the country is an unexpected delight: Almost completely tourist-free, it’s an ideal location for outdoorsy activities. Porto, famous for port wine, is another town that’s easily worth a visit. And to the southwest, beaches and national parks provide optimal sunset-watching opportunities. Backpackers will find the party in Lagos; couples seeking quieter surroundings will find the region just outside of Lagos dotted with romantic bed-and-breakfasts.


Colourful brown and orange  buildings along the river in Amsterdam

Ride a bike in Amsterdam

Sure, Amsterdam has a bit of a reputation to uphold. But there’s more to do in this city than visiting any number of its famous coffee shops.

First and foremost, Amsterdam seems to contain more bikes per square meter than it does people. (This is not a factual statistic, but the city certainly gives off this impression.) It’s one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world, and exploring via two wheels opens up a literal world of possibilities for tourists. There’s art, culture, food and music galore, and a quick conversation with a local will point you in the direction of a spot to hang for whatever floats your boat.

In the warmer months, travellers will want to visit the beautiful parks scattered throughout the massive city, including Vondelpark, the largest and arguably most famous park in all the Netherlands.

 overlooking a desert in Morocco camel riding mischa blog

See Morocco

Morocco is one of those bucket-list destinations that lives up to the hype.

If there’s one word for this country, it’s vibrant: vibrant culture, vibrant clothes, vibrant markets. Marrakech is a sensory smorgasbord you'll never forget, alive with unfamiliar, enticing aromas, and visual splendour.

Checklist items for Morocco include: Take a trek through the desert on a camel, explore any number of the Marrakech markets, catch a snake charmer’s performance while meandering through Jemaa el-Fnaa, ride a hot air balloon, dine at the Casablanca restaurant, and buy a “mystery box” from a street vendor (and lose the key to it before your flight home).


Africa Safari, giraffe under a orange sunset mischa blog

Safari in Africa

On the costlier end of experiences on this list, African safaris are nevertheless well worth the price tag. Some of the world’s most fascinating wildlife tableaux exist in this special, fascinating part of the planet. In Botswana, you’re likely to get up close and personal with lions. In Kenya, the diverse landscape of the savannah is like something out of a childhood storybook. In Rwanda, trek among gorillas and get an unparalleled peek into the majestic world of these awe-inspiring, intelligent creatures.

In addition to costing a pretty penny, these safaris tend to be a minimum of five to seven days, so they’ll require more of a time commitment than something planned on a whim. And it goes without saying, this is one excursion you’ll definitely want to book with a reliable, trustworthy tour company.

Palm trees and wooden huts on a beach in Goa mischa blog

Get your feet wet in Goa

India can reveal a lot about a person—you either love it or hate it, and you seldom hear someone who has visited the country express lukewarm feelings.

Goa is a solid place to start exploring this incredible but often overwhelming country, particularly as a young person. If your idea of a good time consists of trance parties, beach chilling, and hanging with expats, Goa is your go-to for getting your feet wet in India. Travellers often tout Goa as a blissful mix of spirituality, sun, sand and spice.

There’s also a wide range of possibilities in Goa—anything from cheap backpacking hangouts to luxury villas—so whatever your tastes may be, it’s likely you’ll find something to satisfy your palate.


overlooking a beach Big Sur mischa blog

Take a road trip on the West Coast

The coastal highway that lines Oregon’s westernmost rim is a stretch of road that will leave you in awe of its majesty. The Pacific Ocean’s roaring waves crashing against the stark, rocky cliffs is a sight to behold, and it’s easy to forget that you’re in America. A number of fabulous cities pave the way on a classic American road trip down the West Coast: Start in Seattle, drive down to Portland, and then on through San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. It’s an absolute must to drive through the massive redwood forests in Northern California, and make sure not to miss the turnoff for the detour through the Avenue of the Giants. Walking among these 2,000-year-old monstrosities makes you feel as young and small as when you look up into the clear night sky. And you haven't lived until you've seen Big Sur.

The Hungarian Parliament Building Budapest Hungry mischa blog

Hop around Eastern Europe

Eastern Europe is often stereotyped as Western Europe’s less hip sibling, but it’s home to some of the most culturally interesting and architecturally compelling cities in the world. Not to mention that the cost of living (and visiting) is generally lower than in London or Paris.

Prague and Budapest are prime hot spots for college students and young people, particularly in the summer months. Thousands of hostels, bars, clubs and cafes run the gamut from dive-y to luxury. 

A few other cities to hit on this circuit: Belgrade, Serbia; Bucharest, Romania; Varna, Bulgaria. And the cities are really only about a third of the real attraction: Venture into the countryside for scenery that feels like still shots from Planet Earth.


People gathered for the Oktoberfest under the blue and white beer tents Munich Germany mischa blog

Do Oktoberfest right—in Germany

Oktoberfest is one of a few annual European events -- on par with the likes of Yacht Week -- that attracts hundreds of thousands of young people passionate about the art of the party. Beer flows, skirts fly, hangovers abound, and let’s not forget the lederhosen.

Booking Oktoberfest can be tricky, as flight prices skyrocket around this peak time of year, the cost of traditional accommodations can be astronomical and Airbnb hosts are notoriously picky about the tenants they’re willing to accept (if you’re a 25-year-old American bro, you may as well forget about it). Coveted spots in the beer tents are also infamously hard to come by. But if you’re willing to plan in advance and put in the legwork to attend this epic event, you’re almost guaranteed an unforgettable experience.

It’s also a quick hop away from Berlin, one of Europe’s cultural epicentres, which could easily hold its own as another entire destination on this list.


Slovenia Triglav National Park mischa blog

Explore nature in Slovenia

For nature lovers, Slovenia is a country of boundless treasures. From mountain biking to camping on beautiful Lake Bohinj, to summating the daunting Mount Triglav, adventure sport opportunities are around every turn in this quiet corner of the planet.

(A word of warning: Beware of the local Slovenians’ definition of the phrase “beginner-level hike.”)

Driving through the countryside is a slightly more serene way to spend a few days exploring the outskirts of Ljubljana, the capital and largest city in Slovenia. The Dragon City, as its sometimes referred to, is a quaint European tourist destination that has perfected the art of riverside patio dining.

Though not exactly a party destination, Slovenia, in general, is an idyllic setting for a re-set, or for getting in some quality time with Mother Earth. English is reasonably prevalent in Ljubljana and locals are generally quite amiable, but outside of the city prepare to rely on Google Translate to converse with village dwellers.


A teacher teaching children in a school in Sri Lanka mischa blog

Go volunteering

Travelling is innately rewarding, but actually making an impact on the countries and cultures you visit takes a travel experience to a whole new level.

Sometimes, these efforts are as extensive and physically intense as building housing for low-income communities or offering aid to areas of the world devastated by natural disasters. Other times, voluntourism activities may be more about aiding local businesses, teaching a language to young kids or working on organic farms.

A variety of impact-focused organizations exist for travellers who want to add philanthropy to their list of on-the-go activities, ranging from long-term, immersive programs to shorter, social-good-meets-vacation companies. Many of these programs operate in underdeveloped countries in Africa, Asia, or Central America.

An airplane in the sky mischa blog

Take a completely spontaneous trip

Especially for those who are hard-wired to plan every detail, a dose of spontaneity is not only healthy but also transformative. So take a week off work and book an international trip on a whim at least once before you hit the big 3-0.

Plan it based on a sweet Airbnb listing you happened upon while killing time at the office. Go somewhere to learn a skill or the basics of a language. Play GPS roulette with your other friends who love to travel. Visit your Facebook friend from college who just announced she’s moving to Sydney.

Sometimes these trips are messy. Sometimes they lead to more than a few tears-of-frustration moments. Sometimes, they’re a letdown. But sometimes, they’re the best travel experience of your life.

 Original Article from Travel+Leisure

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