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Ten Places to Visit before You're Thirty (Or, At Least Before You Die)

Updated on April 16, 2016

People often say that the twenties is the one decade where you can take some risks and explore. It’s the time where you go to college and try to figure out who you are going to be for the rest of your life. It can be a stressful decade and a fun decade. It’s also the last decade of freedom before you’re supposed to buckle down, get married, have babies, and have a steady and successful career.

Travel has an odd way of helping people figure out who they are. It is an enlightening experience to see other cultures and to get rid of that ethnocentric point of view everyone seems to be brought up with. This is why I think it is important for one to travel during that decade of experiment. And so, I compiled a list of places to visit before you turn thirty. Of course, the world is vast and magnificent and has hundreds of thousands of places worth seeing before you die, but this is my list of places to see during that time between when you legally become an adult and that time when you have to settle down and really become a functioning citizen.

Europe

I list the entire continent of Europe as one place because there is so much to this continent that everyone, no matter where you are from, should see at some point during life. Also, there are so many guided tours custom made for the twenties. Going on a guided tour can save a student/ young adult a lot of time and money when compared to coming up with your own itinerary and paying full prices. See the Roman Colosseum, explore the masterpieces of the Louvre, experience the nightlife of Berlin, and visit the historic Tower of London in vacations planned by companies like EF College Tours, Student Tour Travel, and Contiki Tours which take groups through Paris, Rome, Berlin, Lisbon, Amsterdam, London, Spain, etc.

Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok, Thailand

Thailand

Besides the beautiful islands, extravagant nightlife, and remarkable heritage, Thailand is also extremely affordable. Get a Bungalow on the beach for $20 a night and buy all of your food for less than $10 a day. Spend your vacation worrying about which island to sail to next, instead of how much you’re spending.

Experience the Buddhist heritage by visiting the many beautiful temples. Lounge around on the sand or go snorkeling in the water. Visit Bangkok where there are great bars, amazing Thai food, and always something to do, no matter what time of day it is.

Iguazu Falls, Brazil
Iguazu Falls, Brazil

Brazil

Whether you are a culture fanatic, a thrill seeker, or just looking for a good time, Brazil has something to offer everyone, regardless of age. One of the most stunning places in the world, the Iguazu Falls is a must see for any traveler. Containing 275 water falls, the waters of the Iguazu River are on the border of Brazil and Argentina.

Guarding over the city of Rio de Janeiro, the statue of Christ the Redeemer stands at 125 feet tall. It is a must see in the city, and some are even brave enough to climb to the top of the massive sculpture.

Another must do for any thrill seeker: paragliding at Pedra Bonita and flying over the epic views of the Rio de Janerio skyline. And, of course, if you are traveling around February or March, The Carnival of Brazil, just before Lent, would be a party no twenty-something would want to miss.

Sydney, Australia
Sydney, Australia

Australia

With a landscape that varies from snow-capped mountains to dry deserts to sandy white beaches, Australia offer’s a vacationer’s heaven. The Twelve Apostles beach in Victoria is notably one of the most beautiful stretches of sand found anywhere in the world, and the coast of New South Wales shows off some massive waves big enough to dub it a “surfer’s paradise.” For those looking to spike their adrenaline, the waters of South Australia are one of the best places to go shark cage diving.

For those who don’t want to spend their time bumming around on the beach, Kangaroo Island is just a short ferry ride from Adelaide, South Australia, and it is a sanctuary for animals. Here, visitors can see everything from kangaroos to dolphins and everything in between.

For those wanting to get away from the city life, Daintree National Park, in Queensland, is a gorgeous tropical forest stretched thick with ancient trees, steamy hot springs, and tropical waterfalls.

And of course, no one can visit Australia without visiting Sydney Harbor. Hang out on the peer, visit the famous opera house, and check out the historic Rocks district.

Egyptian Pyramids
Egyptian Pyramids

Egypt

Here lies one of the earth’s seven wonders! The pyramids of Egypt still stand tall today and ignite the curiosity of thousands of tourists daily. How did they build these massive things before machinery existed? Visit King Tutankhamun’s tomb and take tours of some of the best museums in the world. And once you’re done with all the history, let off some steam by going sand boarding, much like snowboarding, but on sand!

Sharm El-Sheikh is the world’s largest scuba diving destination, and for those who don’t have their scuba license, there is still snorkeling and beach bumming. And, finally, take a cruise down the Nile River, the heart of the desert.

USA

Whether you are from the US or not, there are so many destinations across the country worthy of anyone’s time.

Las Vegas, Nevada

The city attracts people of all ages. Though most of the entertainment is for those over twenty-one, most shows are for people of all ages. Shows include everything from musicals, to popular artists, to magic, to stripping. Attractions vary from adrenaline spiking theme parks, to high tech casinos, to world-famous clubs and bars.

New York City, New York

Go to the top of the 86th floor and experience a view of up to 80 miles. Visit the symbol of political freedom and democracy, the Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island. Go to Broadway Boulevard and pick a show in one of the 39 theaters. Visit world-class museums like the American Museum of Natural History or the Museum of Modern Art. And finally, spend a night out on Times Square or the day in Central Park.

Washington D.C.

Visit the country’s capital which is full of museums, national monuments and memorials, and features the White House and the Supreme Court.

Florida

Everyone should see Disney World in their twenties. Whether you’ve seen it before as a kid, or have never been, Disney is something that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. And while you’re there, you might as well stop by Universal Studios, Orlando and also visit the sandy beaches of the United States’ paradise state.

Angkor Wat Temple Doorway, Cambodia
Angkor Wat Temple Doorway, Cambodia

Cambodia

By day, visit the cultural antiques of the ancient temples of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia. By night, experience the party life style. Hang out in the many bars that dot the streets of Siem Reap, and purchase 50 cent beers off the sidewalks. Be sure to stay up until morning so you can see the sun rise over the temples of Angkor Wat, one of the most beautiful sights in the world.

Machu Picchu Inca Site, Peru
Machu Picchu Inca Site, Peru

Peru

Here you can join in on one of the many cultural festivals held throughout the year, such as the Festival of San Juan, or the Inca Festival of Inti Raymi.

Peru is home to coast, highland, and jungle, providing a plethora of activities for travelers. Hang out on the coast and explore the cities, or take a hike on one of the many mountain trails. Visit the national parks and check out the natural wild-life or see the Pre-Columbian ruins. You can even visit a Shaman and experience the mystic culture of the country.

Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo, Japan

Japan

From visiting the bustling city of Tokyo to climbing the mountain of Fuji, there is plenty to do in this country. Rich in history, there is enough culture here to explore for a lifetime. Visit Shuri Castle Park and see ancient castle ruins, or visit the Himeji Castle, considered Japan’s most spectacular palace, surviving from the early 17th century. You can also visit Hiroshima and see the Hiroshima Peace Memorial or scuba dive in the coral reefs of Okinawa.

Antarctica
Antarctica

Antarctica

Say what?

Yes, I know. Who would want to go to a freezing cold continent where there is essentially nothing to do? And guess what? You want to go! Especially before you’re thirty and packed down with so much responsibility that visiting a continent of ice just seems silly. But, there is actually a lot more to do in Antarctica than you would expect.

Escape the tourist crowds, put on your winter coat, and get ready to see some penguins! Antarctica has no offices, but an overabundance of wildlife. Get up close and personal with penguins, seals, cormorants, and whales. Go iceberg cruising and brave the Drake Passage, the roughest stretch of water in the world. Take the plunge and go for a swim in the ice cold water, you may shrivel up, but you’ll get a certificate saying you swam in Antarctica. Visit one of the few museums and finish the expedition with a beer at the continent’s one bar at the Vernadsky Ukranian Station.

© 2014 Sckylar Gibby-Brown

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      L.B. 15 months ago

      In addition to my comments on world travels, Brazil held the most fascination visiting Corcovado (The Big Jesus) and especially the amazing cable car ride up to Sugarloaf mountain.What an unforgettable 360 degree panoramic view of Rio De Janero. Will probably never see anything like this again as the memory is permanently stamped in the brain. And while the local people are generally friendly by nature, be careful of the highly prevalent (and abundant) poor that wonder the streets asking (and sometimes demanding) money.The politicians of this of this highly productive country could easily improve Brazil's 3rd world status by spending the money on it's homeless and centuries old poor problem rather than on themselves and promoting a massive Mardi Gras party each year.I'm sorry, but seeing all the starving children in the streets in any country this day and age is simply unacceptable to me.

    • profile image

      L.B. 15 months ago

      Well it appears that I have only missed going to 3 on this list, but I'm not finished yet,right?

      Australia has always been a favored destination, just need to take the time.And since Aussies love to travel, it's never been a problem to get their prospective in every other country ever visited.Very friendly and down to Earth people...which is why this list still goes in the bucket for me!

    • S R Gibby-Brown profile image
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      Sckylar Gibby-Brown 17 months ago from Phoenix, AZ

      It's never too late to travel the world! :)

    • CYong74 profile image

      Cedric Yong 17 months ago from Singapore

      I'm well over 30. And I haven't been to most of these places. :(

    • Discordzrocks profile image

      Gavin Heinz 18 months ago from Austin TX

      I really feel like visiting either New Zealand or Ireland

    • Thish profile image

      Thish 2 years ago

      Oh.. shame on me. I almost kicked 30 and i have only been to USA from the 10. Hopefully i can cover 3 more before i become 40. :) Nice article.