While still being in my very early 20s I can already tell the best years to travel – in between your 20th birthday and your 30th birthday is by far special and probably one of the most memorable times of your life. Being old enough to get around in most parts of the world, while still being young enough to afford stupidities like getting drunk, skinny dipping and hitchhiking definitely makes for fun trips in every corner of the world. Not even mentioned yet that your 20s are probably the best years to travel seeing you have way less responsibilities as a woman in her 30s and seeing you are probably not a mom yet. Hurray for traveling in your 20s! And that is why I created this article with memorable destinations you definitely need to visit in your 20s!
Los Angeles – USA
Again: one of those destinations you will get to see sooner or later. Skate across the boulevards of Venice, have fun at the Universal Studios, hike your way up to the Hollywood sign, eat ice creams under the rows of palmtrees and stalk celebrities who have claimed their mansions in this part of the world.
Bali – Indonesia
A small, beautiful island that most backpackers include into their schedule: Bali. Surf, meet up with other backpackers at the beach, enjoy the weather, see the rice fields and laugh – a lot. Backpacking is something every 20 something girl must do, but Bali? Bali definitely must be included!
It almost sounds as a cliché to visit Thailand, as almost every backpacker starts their journey in this country and as most people who go oversees once probably choose Thailand as their destination. But to be fair: there is a good reason Thailand is so well visited. The country is just beautiful, the people are nice, the cities and the historical sites are insane and the parties are amazing. Will you ever go to the full moon party when you are 50? Probably not. Will you ever motorbike through the rough nature with some other peeps you just met yesterday when you are 50? Most likely not. And that is why you should wander through Thailand in your 20s.
Istanbul – Turkey
Istanbul will give you a culture shock, but is so insanely beautiful that you definitely need to visit it while you are still young. Istanbul is THE place where east meets west and where different religions live side by side. Taste, buy and explore in Istanbul.
Valencia – Spain
Valencia is one of those cities where you’ll spot a lot of like-minded travelers. While I was still a student I had a lot of classmates and other people I knew from my school who went to Valencia for six months to study abroad or to do an internship. The stories they told me convinced me as soon as I heard them: you need to visit Valencia as soon as possible. While it isn’t the biggest and most well known city you’ll be guaranteed to have a great time here simply because you’ll meet a lot of people from your age who love to travel. Also: it is Spain. And visiting Spain is always a plus.
Las Vegas – USA
Las Vegas is crazy. Crazy, but super fun and definitely something you must experience at least once in your life. When you turn 21 and get the legal age to gamble, drink and rent one of the insanely crazy hotel rooms you can find in Las Vegas you should do so! What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. It is the perfect place to create ridiculous memories and to have fun with your friends.
While way less touristic as other countries in South East Asia, Sri Lanka is one of the purest and most beautiful locations you can come across in this part of the world. That is why it makes for a great backpackers destination to go to in your 20s!
Nashville – USA
How fun is Nashville? I personally always wanted to visit this city in the USA. Sing, go to concerts and go to bars to chat with other music lovers from the USA. Nashville definitely is a great place to visit along with your friends when you are still in your 20s!
Kruger National Park – South Africa
So, while you are still feeling insanely adventurous you better fly off to South Africa to spot the big five. Kruger National Park is believed to be one of the best destinations to do a safari and that is why I am not going to tell you otherwise!
Which part of Norway? Just. Norway. With one of the most beautiful nature sceneries of Europe you’ll definitely need to visit Norway while you are still a 20-something year old. Why? Because you’ll need a bit of cardio and good legs to get to these beautiful spots. One other plus about Norway: the northern lights.
Miami – USA
With a sh*tload of bars, beaches and clubs, Miami definitely makes up for a good party destination as a 20-something year old. Enjoy the beach during the day enjoy the city during the nights. Oh, and while you are around – try to find the cheapest flight you can find to the Bahamas – Pig’s Island is another must see you must add to the list!
Paris – France
I feel like everyone should have visited Paris. So, when someone asks me what they should see first in Europe I always respond with ‘Paris!’. If you haven’t seen Paris yet you better do it in your 20s, simply because you have to see the city of light, love and art. And perhaps to meet a nice French guy who buys you a crêpe.
Lima – Peru
Peru is the backpackers destination of South – America. While the city itself definitely is a must-see you also can’t forget to travel to the inca trail in Peru, where besides a lot of photobombing lamas you’ll get to see one of the most beautiful sights in your life: Machu Picchu. Other than that: the nature of Peru is just magnificent.
Going to Morocco is one of my biggest wishes right now. From a camel ride through the desert, to the big, colorful markets in Marrakech to the blue village of Chefchaouen to the amazing food.. everywhere! Morocco is insane and you just need to visit it in your 20s.. or your 30s.. or your 40s.. whatever.. just visit Morocco!
Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Dubai is.. different. And simply because it is so.. different, you just need to visit this city. Just to see where all the fuss is about. While you can enjoy yourself in one of the biggest malls on earth you can also cross off skydiving from your bucket list in Dubai, as it is one of the most insane locations on earth to jump out of a plane. Other fun activities? Camel rides through the desert and sand boarding!
Wander off into the jungle, spot wildlife on the beaches, explore the local cuisine and be adventurous. Next to the fact that Nicaragua is a beautiful country it is also a country to get in touch with your courageous side. The older you get the less risks you take, and that is why you and need to explore the nature and the small cities off Nicaragua while you still dare – and while you are still in shape.
Jamaica is fun. While enjoying your fresh coconut on one of the most beautiful beaches you’ve ever seen you’ll be accompanied by the most chilled-out music that will give you nothing but paradise-vibes. Every 20-something girl has to go to at least one paradise to just ‘see’ a paradise. And that is why I recommend Jamaica – because that meets up pretty good to a paradise.
Hong Kong is one of those places you’ll cross off your list sooner or later.. but you better do it sooner. I never thought I would visit Hong Kong as soon as I did, but as one of the easiest locations to make a quick stopover I walked into the city anyway! Hong Kong has a great nightlife, a lot of good shops and many many activities that will keep you occupied during your stay.
Kathmandu – Nepal
Nepal is a magical, beautiful country that can definitely use some tourism right now. High mountains, deep canyons, spiritual pagodas and friendly people define this country. Nepal is a golden backpacker destination and that is why you should add it to your list.
Tokyo – Japan
Everybody knows Japan. Everybody has seen Tokyo. Still, there are not many people I know who traveled to the country themselves. Even though it is such a fun country to visit as a 20-something year old. Visit the Japanese gardens, try wasabi ice-cream, visit one of the many Hello Kitty restaurants and cafés and get really into their culture. A trip to Japan definitely highlights your year!