Your 20s are a time of great opportunity and adventure. You’re likely young, free, and may not be tied down by as many major responsibilities as when you’re older. This makes it the perfect time to travel the world and see all that it has to offer. As someone who is trying to make the most of my 20s, travel has been a priority of mine. If you’re trying to make travel more of a priority and are not sure where to start, in this post I am sharing 10 experiences to put on your 20s travel bucket list.
10 Experiences that Should Be on Your 20s Travel Bucket List
1. Backpack Southeast Asia or Central America
Backpacking Southeast Asia and Central America are basically a rite of passage. These destinations are affordable, offer delicious food, have stunning scenery, and friendly locals.
Some examples of things you can do when backpacking Southeast Asia are going to a Full Moon Party in Thailand, seeing Angkor Wat in Cambodia, riding a junk boat cruise in Ha Long Bay, and going to a yoga retreat in Bali.
If Central America is more your vibe, try volcano boarding in Nicaragua, hike to Mount Acatenango in Guatemala, visit Mayan Ruins, and go hunting for waterfalls in Costa Rica.
Backpacking Southeast Asia or Central America are essential bucket list items in your 20s since you may not have the same stamina for budget traveling and ‘roughing it’ when you’re older. Plus, these destinations are generally cheaper, which is perfect for traveling in your 20s while your budget may be tighter.
2. Spend a Month Doing a Workaway
Workaway is an online platform that connects travelers with hosts who are looking for help with tasks and projects. In exchange for their work, travelers receive free accommodation and food. Workaway opportunities can be found in over 170 countries around the world, and there are thousands of different tasks and projects to choose from. Some examples of workaways you can choose form are teaching English, working on a farm, working in a hostel, or helping with environmental restoration. Workaways make traveling much more affordable and attainable since your accommodation and food are generally paid for. It’s a great way to see more of the world and immerse yourself in the culture of whatever country you choose to do a workaway in.
3. Learn a Language in the Native Country
Something clicks differently when you’re trying to learn a language when you are in the country where it is spoken. When you immerse yourself in the language you are trying to learn, you are more likely to retain and utilize it. One popular destination to learn a language is by enrolling in a Spanish language class in Lake Atitlán. There are a number of Spanish language schools at Lake Atitlán for different needs and budgets.
4. Show up at the Airport…. and THEN Buy the Ticket!
Although some of my flights have been last minute (hey Austin and San Diego), I’d reeeaaalllyy think it would be great if it were ACTUALLY last minute. Last minute as in, you show up to the airport and look at the board of all the incoming flights and THEN decide “Oh, I think the weather would be nice this time of year in Greece” or “Hm, maybe I’d like to go see a koala bear IN Australia” and then make my decision based on whatever I’m feeling.
It seems like an adrenaline-pumping moment. So, count me in!
5. Complete a Thru-Hike
Hiking a thru-hike is a challenging but rewarding experience to add to your travel bucket list in your 20s. It’s a great way to get in shape both mentally and physically since they can be hundreds or even thousands of miles long. A thru-hike is also a great way to experience the natural world since you will be exploring some of the most remote parts of the world. Your 20s are all about finding out who you are and there is no better way to learn about yourself and your limits than to test your strengths and weaknesses on a thru-hike.
There are so many different options for thru-hikes. Some of the most popular are the Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail, John Muir Trail, Tour du Mont Blanc, Inca Trail, and Camino de Santiago.
6. Volunteer Abroad
Volunteering abroad can be a rewarding experience to add to your 20s travel bucket list. It’s a great way to give back and make a difference while learning about new cultures. Volunteering is also a great way to learn new skills and develop yourself. One organization that I have personally volunteered with that offers opportunities both domestically in the United States and abroad is All Hands and Hearts. If you are prepared to work hard and be flexible, I highly recommend adding this experience to your 20s travel bucket list.
7. See the Hot Air Balloons in Cappadocia (Or Ride One)
Cappadocia is a region in central Turkey that is known for its unique geological formations, fairy chimneys, and cave dwellings. It is also one of the best places in the world to go for a hot air balloon ride. The scenery with the hot air balloons is stunning and it’s an unforgettable experience. If any one thing is a bucket list experience, it’s either seeing this or riding in one of the hot air balloons.
8. Drink a Beer at Oktoberfest
Each year, millions of people flock to Germany to take part in Oktoberfest. It’s a world-famous event, and what better time to do it than your 20s? When you’re older, you’re likely to be a bit more intolerant of large, drunk crowds. Plus, no one can down a liter of beer like someone in their 20s.
Oktoberfest is known for its delicious beer traditional food, and lively atmosphere. Grab a drindl or lederhosen and add this event to celebrate Bavarian culture and traditions to your bucket list. It’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
9. Go to the Christmas Markets in Europe
Christmas Markets are a magical winter tradition that is held all over the world but is especially popular in Europe. Christmas Markets are the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit and find unique gifts. The markets are filled with twinkling lights, garlands, Christmas trees, gingerbread cookies, mulled wine, and traditional music.
I can’t think of anything more special than celebrating the holiday season by going to a European Christmas Market. This should be added to any 20s travel bucket list of a Christmas lover.
Some of the most famous Christmas Markets are in:
- Strasbourg, France
- Vienna, Austria
- Prague, Czech Republic
- Krakow, Poland
- Berlin, Germany
- Brussels, Belgium
10. Live Abroad
Living abroad in your 20s is a unique and enriching experience. What better way to immerse yourself in a new culture is there than to spend a significant amount of time by moving there? By taking the opportunity to live abroad, you will amaze yourself with what you’re really capable of. Especially if you move somewhere you don’t know anyone and you have to start from scratch. You’ll be challenged, realize how resilient you are, and grow for the better.
Although this might now be a feasible bucket list item for everyone, your 20s are really the best time to do this since you have less responsibility and are more able to bounce back when (if) you move back and reenter the workforce.
I have WAY more than 10 things on my bucket list…
But these are 10 experiences that I feel should be on your travel bucket list in your 20s. Being in your 20s, to me, is a time to grow and experience life. It’s okay to take risks and learn from them if they don’t pan out. I want to live my life to the fullest rather than regret it a few decades from now.
Thanks for reading! I would love to hear if there is anything on your travel bucket list in your 20s (or even 30s!). Let me know in the comments below. As always, you can find me on Instagram @maddie_deer here, or can follow me on my Facebook page to be alerted of any new posts here.