Thirty is a great age. It kicks off a decade marked more by owning who you are than wondering who that person is. Life might not get easier at 30 (pretty sure there’s no magic age for that) but it can definitely get sweeter, feel more inspired, and help you grow more deeply connected to what really matters.
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.
While you can take the below trips at an age, doing so before turning 30 might help answer those big “what if” questions that sometimes only a passport stamp can answer.
1. Drive California’s Route 1.
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. 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.
3. Find a beach and escape the grid.
In this technology-soaked age, recharge yourself instead of your phone. Learn to surf and live off the land. Hike a volcano just because you can. Remember how little you actually need and find the clarity that comes with some fresh air.
4. Roam Paris on your own.
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.
5. 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.
6. Take that girls’ 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.)
7. Commit to 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.
8. Go to Washington D.C. (again).
Sure, you probably visited the capital somewhere between sixth and eighth grade, which is all the more reason why you definitely need to go back as an adult. D.C. takes on a whole new meaning once you’re able to vote, legally take part in its booming cocktail scene, and get inspired by those who are out to change the world.
9. Harvest wine in 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.
10. 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?