The Best Places to Travel to Before You Turn 30 Years Old
I’m only a few months away from my 30th birthday and not only is it my 3oth birthday, it’s my golden birthday. And as I reflect on my last few months of my 20s, I was thinking about some of the places I’ve been to in my life that are worth going to before you reach your 30’s. This post is inspired by a post from The Blonde Abroad posted in 2014 called, 20 Trips to Take in your 20’s.
Much of what has made my “best places to travel” list is dependent on places I’ve already been whether it was a large trip that changed my life or a small trip that took me away from every day mundane. From as young as I can remember, I was a traveler. My parents would take us all over the states during the summer time to visit family in Wisconsin, spend a week at band camp (for real), or any other place we desired to see.
Now some of these may be the cliche, and trust me, the reason I am mentioning them is that they are close to my heart and I have valued the experience. You will see places I have visited right here in my home-state Colorado and places far from it. These are also in no particular order.
I think travel awakens parts of us that would otherwise be sleeping or numb. When we have the chance to see the world and its people we become a little less biased, and a little more compassionate towards each other.
“The world is a book and those who don’t travel have read only a page.” – St. Augustine
The International Peace Gardens, North Dakota
I went here as a kid for band camp (still not kidding) and loved it. It was one of the only places I felt I could be myself in my younger ages because I was picked on so often in school. The International Peace Gardens in a beautiful garden, impeccably well kept, placed directly on the border of North Dakota and Canada. And if you’re lucky, you’ll see a mother moose and her baby wading in the pond to get food from the bottom. It tends to storm in the summer, make the heated weather a little less harsh, but it really brings out the vibrant colors of the plant life present all around you. A truly serene place that I would recommend to everybody. In the past, the Peace Garden was home to a massive monument of four pillars that was recently torn down to make room for a more appropriate monument.
Disney World, Florida
I told you this would get a little cliche. Disney World, however crowded it is, one of the best places to travel on the planet and brings back vivid memories of my childhood. I love the magic and the innocence that takes place for both adults and children when they arrive here, and I love how all of my dreams came to life every time I arrived. I loved this place so much, I was constantly planning trips there that I couldn’t pay for. I absolutely love this place and still to this day love this place. I’m still waiting for the day I can do an all out weeks worth park pass with the most luxurious suites, just because that has always been a dream of mine.
Las Vegas, Nevada
I’ve been here twice (and plan to go a third time for my 30th birthday). Both times I have gone, I loved the atmosphere, the playfulness, and the energy of the city. I love how much more there is to discover each time you arrive there. I love the lights, the food, the attractions, even the gambling. It’s a perfect place to spend a few days escape from reality. It is also one of the most inexpensive places to travel if you decide not to gamble. For my birthday, I plan to see much more cultural and artistic parts of Vegas that I have never seen before.
My little sister was a Berklee student which gave me the opportunity to go visit here multiple times. I love Boston and the ease of getting around the city. There is so much history here and so much to do. Whether that is eating delights from Mike’s Pastry, having a drink at the Pour House on Boylston, or seeing a game at Fenway Park, there is so much to do there it’s unreal.
New York City, New York
I think in a way most people dream of being part of the hustle, bustle, and American dream that lives in New York City. There is a magical feeling about it, and being there has a way of making you feel independent, confident, and empowered. The Big Apple is a huge contrast from the small town feel many of us experience and high on my list of best places to travel. NYC is also home to the incredible foods, historical monuments, and attractions that will keep you occupied for days. It took me until my 29th birthday to visit here.
Antelope Canyon, Arizona
This is one of the best trips to do solo, especially when you need to clear your head. I took this trip back in September 2017 and blogged about it, which you can read here. Take a short road trip with your friends or by yourself to a small town called Page, Arizona. There lies, Antelope Canyon, and for a mere $35 a day, you can kayak into the orange marble canyons and surround yourself with serenity.
Estes Park, Colorado
I love Estes Park Colorado purely because of the Rocky Mountain National Park, and while I’ve never been to the Stanley Hotel, not much into scary stuff, I love driving up to the peak of the National Park to see massive herds of wild elk feasting or resting on the mountainside. The nature is truly gorgeous and I love being there.
Camp Lake, Wisconsin
Many of you have never heard of Camplake, Wisconsin, but it’s a place I spent much of my time during my childhood and has become that quiet and serene destination perfect for a solo female writer’s journey or a couple looking to get away. Camplake is a small lake surrounded by a small but lovely community. Take walks during cool nights and dance with fireflies when dusk arrives.
Visit the insanely large silver bean, peer down at civilization from the Skydeck or grab a slice of Chicago Style pizza. The windy city has so much to do and nowhere near enough time to do it. Even a simple walk down the busy streets or the subways moving above you gives you that wonderfully city feel you see in movies.
Cripple Creek, Colorado
A small town known for its donkey herd, casinos, gold mining history, I love this place for how small and exciting it is. It’s perceived at having nothing for tourists to do, but don’t be fooled. You can go 1,000 feet underground to learn about gold mining, have a luxurious stay in Carr Manor, pet the donkeys that roam the town or pan for gold and gems. Another fave of mine and happens to be my home.
This huge metropolis is easy to navigate and full of tasty food unlike the pad thai your mama can make. Take a trip to China Town and feast on mango and sticky rice, or visit Khao San Road to party your night away, or visit the largest mall in the world. And also make sure to stay at the Bed Station Hostel, not far from all the action. See my post on my trip there in 2016, when I tried to go back to China.
I called this place my home for two years and was fortunate to spend much of my time exploring the city and getting to know it like a local. My favorite part of Chongqing, was the spiciness of their people and their food, how everything was incredibly easy to get to, and how even within the urbanized city, there were still flecks of ancient China. It is one of the best places to travel because you have a chance to see the evolution of the culture within the people, food, and architecture. All the different districts had something unique to offer to both locals and visitors. Check out my blog post on my favorite things to do in Chongqing.
Changi Airport, Singapore
If you haven’t accidentally had a 12-hour layover at Changi Airport in Singapore, you are seriously missing out. I wrote a detailed post on why this place makes all other airports look like they need a facelift. From swimming pools to butterfly gardens, to movies theaters, and more, this airport is a destination in itself and could easily be a singular adventure before you set foot out of the terminal.
Canon City, Colorado
Canon City is another one of those weird towns you’ve never heard of and the reason I mention it is because of the Royal Gorge Bridge, which suspends across. It is the highest suspended bridge in the United States, suspended at over 1,000 feet high and over 1,000 feet across. Not far from there is Canon City, Colorado, a town rich with artists, tasty food, and much to do.
You’ll need at least a week to see this city somewhat entirely. It’s easy to sit down with an alcoholic beverage and plates of tapas and paella while enjoying the beauty of the city. Taking a bike ride on the boardwalk is also a beautiful attraction because you’ll pass right by the Mediterranean Sea, which I highly recommend you take a dip in. You can also marvel at the city thick with Antoni Gaudi’s presence and marvel at the great works of Picasso in his museum. Just to name a few things. See what else there is to do there in my post on Barcelona.
In July around the time Bastille Day is taking place, Avignon, France is holding it’s largest event of the year. The Festival d’Avignon is a festival that showcases dozens of performers who have mastered their craft in dance, music, art, and more. There are four distinct stages of the evolution of the festival, which dates back to 1947. Check out the history before planning your trip.
Everyone should go to Paris. Everyone should stroll down the Rue de Rivoli and stop at Angelina’s Cafe to drink warm hot chocolate. Everyone should visit the Musee d’Orsay, Louvre, and climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Everyone should sit on the grassy knoll in from of the Sacre Coeur sipping wine and watching the city light up. Everyone should go to Paris.
When you go to Madrid, spend more time there and get lost in the Reina Sophia, take a nap during siesta, spend the evening drinking sangria in the Plaza Mayor. Then start your night out at 2 am when the people show up to drink and dance. Meet people you’ve never met before and talk over a bucket of Heineken.
This is the home of the Salvador Dali Museum, a psychedelic mind-trip that takes days to get through and years to comprehend. Here, you’ll see tons of his most famous art from his years alive, much of which featured the love of his life often in the nude. Try to figure out his optical illusions and live in the world of Dali.
Zigong, Sichuan is a small town in comparison to many of China’s large cities but it holds a few secrets many don’t know about unless they happen to look for it. In the morning, you can enjoy a cup of hot Snow Tea on the bank of the river. At night, you can visit the vibrant and colorful Colored Lantern Park, a park filled with colored silk and bamboo made structures that light up in the evening. Unlike anything you have ever seen.
Home of Fairy Mountain and the spot where Transformers 3 was filmed. You can hike between the cliffs, underneath nearby waterfalls, and walk the paths of the Transformers. You can also spend some time on the lake and get a catered dinner for you and your friends and watch the clouds whisk themselves over surrounding mountains.
Chengdu, Sichuan is much like Chongqing, although much smaller. The atmosphere is more open, and much like the fiery feeling you get in Chongqing. I love Chengdu for the shopping, how close it is to Qingcheng Shan, and incredible food that lies around every corner. Get a plate of 45 jiaozi for less than $10, or indulge in hot pot outside with your friends in the evening.
Take it all in, review it, and by all means, don’t just go with my list, views the lists of the many travel bloggers out there who have tackled the world, and then make a list and fill it with your dreams. If you liked this post, leave a comment. Or, share your list of adventures you’d like to accomplish before you turn 30!