So you’re in your twenties and the big 3-0 is fast approaching. There are simply so many things to see and do in the world, and you have to be realistic about what you can achieve. From learning a new language to seeing ancient wonders of the world or going on safari, we’ve rounded up the seven best life experiences to have before you turn 30.
1. Visit Machu Picchu
The ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu is one of the most magical places in the world. The city, which lies on a mountain in Peru, was built in the 15th century and managed to remain hidden from the Spaniards, who arrived in South America and were keen to destroy much of the Inca culture. Its well-preserved archaeological ruins are surrounded by lush green mountains and vegetation — plus you’ll see a few Peruvian llamas along the way. The site is a mystical place filled with intrigue, and historians are still trying to figure out what the city’s main purpose was. It’s been voted one of the ‘New Wonders of the World’ and sits at the top of many people’s bucket lists.
To get there, you can either take a bus, a train or walk. The Inca Trail, which is a three to four-day hike to Machu Picchu, is one of the most popular ways to reach the ruins. It’s an incredibly rewarding trek filled with stunning scenery and history…and it’s best to do while you’re young and fit! Check out the Best Hikes in South America for some more inspiration if you’re keen to see more of the continent.
2. Go Scuba Diving
Get out of your comfort zone and head beneath the water. It’s a whole different world under the sea and you’ll see different types and colors of fishes that will blow your mind. To go scuba diving you’ll need to take a short course and some of the best places to go diving in the world include the island of Ko Tao in Thailand, the Egyptian Red Sea, the Great Blue Hole in Belize and the waters surrounding Bali, Indonesia.
3. Learn a New Language
Not only is it really good for the brain, but learning a language is an incredibly rewarding experience. If you have a particular passion for a culture, or a travel dream (such as an Italian road trip in a vintage Fiat..) why not learn a language so you can get the most of your travels? There are tons of both free and paid-for apps that can help you learn, our favorite being DuoLingo which helps users get to grips with basics and pronunciation. On DuoLingo you can learn Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and many more.
If you are really serious about learning a language, the best way is total immersion. If you’re keen to learn Spanish for example, the best place to learn is in South or Central America, where prices for classes are reasonable. Learning a language is a life-changing experience and can open doors for you in the future, whether with securing a job, ordering food in a foreign country, or communicating with new friends or lovers.
4. Get Back to Nature
Every country in the world has its own national parks, and if you’re low for cash, why not get to know parks on your home turf? If you live in the US, you’re blessed with incredible national parks system, from Yellowstone, through to Yosemite and the Grand Canyon, there are endless places to explore. In national parks you can also try different activities, whether it be boating, fishing, hiking or camping, there’s plenty of options to enrich your life experiences in the great outdoors.
5. Go to the World Cup
The World Cup is one of the world’s top sporting events. The next cup, which happens every four years, will be held in Qatar in 2022, and if you go, you can visit nearby Middle Eastern countries to get a flavor of the East. The following cup in 2026 will be held across North America, with Mexico, the United States, and Canada being shared hosts. Prices are incredibly high near the time, so plan ahead!
6. Safari in South Africa
Going on safari is an unforgettable experience and seeing the ‘Big Five’ (the leopard, the lion, the rhino, the elephant and the buffalo) is truly something you’ll never forget. Several countries in Africa offer amazing safari opportunities, and our favorite place to go animal-spotting is in South Africa. For the most incredible safari experience, it’s best to stay in a lodge. Check out the Best Lodges in South Africa for some inspiration.
7. Salar de Uyuni
Another South American classic is the breath-taking salt flats, or the Salar to Uyuni, in Bolivia. The salt plains are the largest in the world, and the photos will be something you have framed for the rest of your life. The flats were once an enormous lake which has since dried-out, creating desert-like conditions, on a large floor bed of salt.