No matter your age, you should get a chance to explore the world, but there is something special about traveling in your twenties. When you’re young, single, and don’t have many responsibilities or obligations, it’s the perfect time to get out and learn a bit more about yourself and the world.
Travel to a new country or city for an epic party, wild landscape, for delicious food, or an enriching retreat. Anyone of these best places to travel in your 20s, will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.
The Best Places to Travel in Your 20s
Ring Road Trip Around Iceland
One of the most amazing trips to take in your 20s is around the beautiful country of Iceland. A ring road trip around Iceland’s Ring Road should be on everyone’s travel bucket list. It’s a drive that circumnavigates the whole country and hits almost all of the hotspots, with plenty of spectacular detours.
We also love it because it’s an easy country to drive around since you follow one highway the whole time. If you’re looking for an adventure, you’ll never forget this trip as it is unforgettable. On the trip, you can chase a countless number of waterfalls, climb volcanoes, soak in geothermal hot springs, and cross sparkling blue glaciers.
There is just so much to do and see in Iceland that’s it hard to ever get bored. It’s an outdoor fanatics’ dream. In an ideal world, you should plan for two weeks for the Ring Road, but that can always be shortened or lengthened. You could easily spend months exploring Iceland and only scratch the surface.
Party During the Full Moon in Thailand
If you’re seeking a party in paradise, it’s still hard to do better than the Full Moon Party on the Thai island of Koh Phangan. Every Full Moon tens of thousands of partiers paint themselves in body glow paint and dance the night away with fire. Yes, it’s extremely touristy and you’ll likely see a thing or two you wish you had not.
However, Koh Phangan remains a gorgeous island that still has some hidden gems to explore when you’re not drinking Red Bull and whisky out of a plastic bucket. Several decades later the party still carries a hedonistic vibe that is insatiable for the right crowd. It’s not like the organized festivals in Europe or North America, but more ragtag and pretty wild.
It all takes place in a bay called Haad Rin, but we wouldn’t advise spending the night here as it’s almost impossible to sleep there. Instead, enjoy the North of the island from a beach hut where there are tons of gorgeous bays, hiking trails, and beaches. Make sure to venture out and explore Koh Tao or other parts of Thailand. This was one of our first trips in our early twenties and we combined it with a backpacking trip through Southeast Asia.
Surf in Costa Rica
Head to one of the greenest countries on earth to catch some waves and practice yoga. No need to be good at either as there are tons of schools, camps, lodges, and retreats that specialize in surf, yoga, or both. In between surf sessions explore some more of Costa Rica with hikes in the rainforest.
Most of the surfing takes place on the Nicoya Peninsula in small beach towns such as Nosara or Sámara. The latest hotspot is now Santa Teresa, a small hamlet sandwiched between the beach and jungle. It’s been referred to as Tulum several decades ago and has a number of yoga studios, hip bars, restaurants, and boutique hotels.
Participate in Burning Man
The greatest festival on earth where nearly 70,000 people head out into the middle of the desert to create Black Rock City. You don’t buy a ticket and attend the Burning Man, but you participate and help create the city. Most “burners” describe attending the festival as life-changing.
While the Full Moon party is chaos the Burning Man involves massive art pieces, organized camps, parties, and costumes burners spend all year creating. No need to bring your wallet either as the entire festival operates on a barter system. Expect massive interactive art installations, dance parties, and a thriving community.
Cheer on the World Cup
For most of the world, football is a religion and there is no greater religious event on earth than the World Cup. Join fans from around the world when they descend on the host nation to witness dreams come to live and die. It’s a massive party and cultural event. The passion and fervor that many fans display for their team is wild with cheers, flags, and
The next world cup takes place in 2020 in Qatar. It’s likely to be pretty controversial, but never the less it’s sure to be an event. Even if you can’t make the main event catch live events around the world as fans gather to cheer on their home team.
Solid bets to witness are, as always Germany, Portugal, Argentina, Netherlands, and Brazil, powerhouses in the World Cup.
Dive Trip to the Philippines
If you are into diving, one of the best trips to take in your 20s is to Southeast Asia. Go diving in the Philippines to explore our underwater world. The Philippines are beautiful, cheap, and have some of the friendliest people in the world, perfect for young backpackers and travelers.
The nation that consists of thousands of Islands in the Pacific Ocean is full of gorgeous beaches and vibrant coral reefs.
No need to be dive certified as it’s easy to get your PADI or SSI certification in a three-day course for a cheap price. If diving isn’t your scene spend your days island hopping and drinking coconut waters on the beach. If you’re wondering where to begin your trip check out the islands of El Nido, Siargao, or Moalboal.
Practice Yoga in Bali
Bali is considered the “Island of the Gods” and it’s long been a spiritual haven. The lush jungle island has become a sort of mecca for those looking to escape the everyday grind. It’s now a busy hub for backpackers, luxury resorts, digital nomads, influencers, and creatives looking for cheap living on a verdant tropical island.
Yoga studios and vegan restaurants abound on Bali for the perfect healthy retreat. Bali occupies many cliches and you should be aware of what you’re getting into when visiting the most popular island destinations in the world.
However, its popularity is also what makes it great with cool beach bars, tropical cafes, boutique shops, and dozens of yoga retreats. Bali is packed with things to do when you’re not practicing yoga and still full of unique gems.
You can find Yoga all over the island, but the spiritual center of Bali has long been Ubud where you can find a plethora of great studios.
African Road Trip
We’ve spent a fair amount of our twenties in Africa and think it’s one of the best places to travel if you’re looking to escape the crowds. The best place for a road trip around the continent is Southern and East Africa where you can find more infrastructure and stable governments. Take a drive around the deserts of Namibia or explore the empty beaches of Mozambique.
There are also Africa’s magnificent national parks that are teeming with wildlife, such as elephants, lions, and giraffes. There is so much to explore here and it’s tough to even scratch the surface in a short amount of time.
If you’re after an adventure this is a sure bet. If you’re not quite up to driving a truck on questionable roads, book an overland tour where you’re guaranteed to have a good time.
Drink Beers at Oktoberfest
Head to Munich, Germany to celebrate the end of the summer season during Oktoberfest. The festival takes place in 14 massive tents in the Theresienwiese a large fairground in the city center. It’s the largest beer festival on earth, and people from around the world belly up to the table to “prost” the summer goodbye.
The festival has delicious beer, salty pretzels, fair rides, live music, and plenty of lederhosen and dirndl-wearing Bavarians. It’s a party like no other and a cultural institution of one of Germany’s most famous and proud region. Be warned the beer steins are every bit as big as they look at a full liter of beer (33 oz)!
Go Island Hopping in Greece
Fall in love with the islands of Greece a long-time favorite of travelers. Greece has well over a hundred inhabited islands to explore. There is an island in Greece for everybody.
The historic islands are full of epic beaches, charming seaside towns, delicious food, and rich culture. Speaking of that culture, it’s tough to find a more hospitable or proud bunch than the Greeks. Romance is alive and well in Greece. Best of all aside from Mykonos and Santorini Greece is an affordable vacation for young travelers.
Hike the Inca Trail
Peru has been in the spotlight in recent years for the jaw-dropping natural wonders, unique culture, and the iconic Machu Picchu. Hike along one of the most beautiful treks in the world that winds through cloud forests while one of the tallest mountain chains in the world towers overhead.
Photograph New Zealand
If you’re after world-class adventure activities and jaw-dropping scenery then head to New Zealand. The island nation is well known for its vast mountains, rolling pasture land, adventure activities, breathtaking fjords, plus a few active volcanic zones.
The country is divided into two islands – North and South. South Island is great for adrenaline-pumping activities hikes, glacier climbing, and bungee jumping. While North Island, on the other hand, showcases active volcanoes, geysers, and hot springs. It’s probably one of the most photogenic countries on the planet so prepare your Instagram.
Roadtrip Around the Canadian Rockies
One of the best places to travel in your 20s is Banff National Park. The Canadian Rockies are one of the most beautiful places on earth. Banff National Park is the perfect place for both a winter or summer trip. In the summer you have epic hikes and in the winter awesome ski/snowboard.
The Icefields Parkway is a stretch of roadway connecting and located in both Banff and Jasper National Parks. This is one of the most scenic roadways in the world! Expect scenic overlooks, hiking trails, and beautiful turquoise lakes abound.
Places you do not want to miss are Peyto Lake, Bow Lake, and the Columbia Icefield where you can take a guided tour and walk on the Athabasca Glacier! You’ll want a car to really experience the full parkway and take your time taking in the beauty and snapping photos.
Explore South Africa
We spent three months traveling around South Africa. Heck, we even bought a car there! The country is vast and extremely varied from region to region making it one of the best honeymoon places in Africa. It’s typical on holiday to spend a few magical nights in a luxury safari lodge only to be dining in one best wine region in the world the next day.
Follow that up with a city escape in the iconic Cape Town and road trip down the amazing Garden Route. There is just so much to explore in the country. We also love lesser-known destinations like the Drakensberg, Kalahari, and Sunshine Coast.
To make matters better traveling in South Africa makes for an affordable trip as prices are some of the lowest in Africa.
I Love New York
Head to the most iconic cities on the planet. It’s the city that has it all and where dreams are made or broken. We even managed to call it home for a short while in our twenties while we saved to travel around the world.
It’s notoriously a tough city, but it’s an amazing place to visit. Anything you could want out of city New York has it all. Whether you’re after music, arts, culture, film, food, drink, or shopping New York has some of the best.
The city is packed with things to do for everyone whether you want to party, watch a live show, or find some romance.
Learn About the Nickname “Japow”
One of the best places to travel in your 20s is easily Japan. If you love to ski or snowboard add a trip to the snowy island of Hokkaido, where epic dumps of light powdery snow from Siberia fall across the Northern Japanese Islands.
Our two favorite spots in Japan for powder skiing are Furano and Niseko. The later is the most popular with high prices and crowds, but it also has an awesome apres-ski scene you won’t find elsewhere in Japan.
Adventure Around Cape Town
We get asked often what our favorite cities and destinations are around the world and we’ve consistently praised Cape Town. It’s a gorgeous city that is surrounded by natural landscapes and the iconic Table Mountain.
We love the city and are always plotting our next trip. The real draw here are the amazing outdoor activities, neighboring Winelands, and vibrant multicultural vibe.
Drink Amstel in Amsterdam
The city of Amsterdam needs no introduction. It is known as the Venice of the North because of its hundreds of canals. Amsterdam is nothing short of impressive and a must-see while in Europe. Whether you’re into history, architecture, partying, food, shopping, art, or cafes there is something here for everyone.
A summer day in Amsterdam is near impossible to top in any other city. Our favorite thing to do in Amsterdam is to simply sit canal-side in a quiet neighborhood, like Jordaan and enjoy a cold Amstel. Or you could do even better with a boat cruise. If you’re looking for traditional sights check out the Anne Frank House, Rijksmuseum, and Van Gogh Museum.
Go Clubbing in Las Vegas
Gambling in Vegas has now taken a back seat to the mega clubs that line The Strip. The city has been given new life as the best DJs from around the world come to play in clubs with state of the art sound system and dizzying light shows.
Vegas something to offer everyone with adventure activities, cocktail pool bars, fine dining, gambling, shows, and plenty of shopping. The city has managed to shake off that sleazy feeling, though it’s still lurking, and now offers an epic trip to visitors. Just be prepared Vegas is not so cheap, but you can find a few affordable things to do in Las Vegas here.
Backpack Europe Solo
For many, a backpacking trip through Europe is a right of passage. If it’s your first time backpacking through Europe, catch a flight to Western Europe and move a little quicker through it. Countries like France, Sweden, and Ireland are great, but they can get expensive.
If you want value, head to the Balkans and central Europe. Countries like Croatia, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Hungary, Montenegro, and Bosnia are beautiful and inexpensive in comparison to the rest of Europe.
Thanks to the plethora of youth hostels and a great backpacker scene, you don’t need to travel to Europe with friends. Book a night in a hostel or take a free walking tour and you’re bound to make new friends with solo travelers from around the world.
Go Hiking in Patagonia
Patagonia is a vast region in the southern part of South America, shared by Argentina and Chile, and a great destination for people of all ages.
However, it can be especially appealing to young people looking for adventure and outdoor activities. The region offers a wide range of outdoor activities like hiking, trekking, skiing, horseback riding, and rock climbing, as well as opportunities for wildlife viewing, bird watching, and fishing.
The landscapes and natural beauty of Patagonia are truly breathtaking, and can be enjoyed by everyone and for those wanting to put in little effort, or a lot of effort (though the views are slightly better the more effort you put in!) It’s the perfect trip to take in your twenties if you are into hiking and being outside as much as possible.
Visit Torres del Paine National Park in Chile, a park home to stunning glaciers, mountains, and lakes or explore the Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina. This massive glacier is one of the most famous landmarks in the world.
It’s the most accessible and impressive in the region, and we say that AFTER traveling to Antarctica. The Perito Moreno Glacier offers visitors the opportunity to take a boat ride or hike on the ice.
Patagonia has many small towns and villages that are perfect for backpackers and budget-minded travelers. There are many hostels and budget-friendly accommodations that cater to young travelers, as well as a vibrant nightlife and social scene so you can easily meet others!
Hopefully, this guide gives you a few great ideas of the best places to travel in your 20s! If you have any questions, please leave us a comment!
Plan For Your Trip
- Protect Your Trip: We don’t travel without travel insurance, nor should you. You never know what can happen while traveling, so it’s best to be prepared. HeyMondo provides excellent short-term and long-term travel insurance plans.
- Find Cheap Flights: Sign up for Going (formerly Scotts Cheap Flights) to get notified when prices get low.
- Book a Rental Car: We use Discover Car to book all our rental cars! You can also read our top tips for renting a car abroad here.
- Travel Adapter: Make sure you find a good adapter to keep your personal electronics charged. Otherwise, you may be paying for a cheap one once you land. Purchase one here.
- Travel Backpack: We like the Nomatic Travel Backpack for our travels. Check the price here.
- Our Favorite Travel Shoes: Our answer to this question is always ALLBIRDS! Check them out on their site!
- Get a Travel Credit Card: We travel worldwide for free because we have leveraged our spending into points. See why you should get a travel credit card and how you can do the same with our favorite travel credit cards.