The trips you end up taking over the years will differ according to what stage of your life you’re in.
The rowdy Eurotrip with your best buds is perfect when all you want to do is party and flirt with boys with accents. The soul-searching solo trip is what you need when you’re at the crossroads of life. The relaxing island getaway is for when you need a breather from your full-time job and the responsibilities of adulthood.
Here are the 12 trips you should take, depending on what stage of your life you’re at:
1. The “Backpacking” Trip
Try: Eastern Europe
Backpacking aligns perfectly with the adventure-seeking ethos of younger travelers, and it’s a good option for those who are keen to save their pennies in order to make the journey last a little longer.
Often taken as a transitional trip (between high school and university or between jobs), backpacking is an excellent way to see the world on a budget and a great opportunity to make friends (and more than friends) in the boisterous hostels that you stay in along the way.
Eastern Europe is a fantastic region to backpack through, as it is considerable cheaper than Western Europe, and it has just as much history, architecture and culture to offer.
Alternatives: Southeast Asia and South America
2. The “Island” Trip
Try: The Gili Islands off Lombok, Indonesia
The island getaway is ideal for those times when you’re in need of some pampering and time off from the daily grind of life. It’s all about the three Rs: rest, rejuvenation and rubs. (Yes, I’m taking about massages, and plenty of them.)
The Gili Islands offer a relaxing island escape, and they are quickly gaining in popularity with tourists. There are three islands: Gili Meno, Gili Air and Gili Trawangan. Choose one, or island-hop between all three.
Alternatives: Boracay, Philippines, the Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsunday Islands, Australia
3. The “Solo” Trip
AKA the “find yourself” trip, this journey is for those needing to re-evaluate or ponder the meaning of life. Or, it’s simply the only option when no one is free to travel with you.
Whether single or in a relationship, solo trips are perfect for soul-searching and getting an adequate dose of “me” time. Peru is a suitable choice for solo travel, as the country offers such a wide variety of landscapes and experiences that will test yourself and your limits.
You can go sand boarding in Huacachina, drink pisco in the wine region of Ica, explore the colonial city of Arequipa, visit the floating villages of Lake Titicaca and, of course, hike the Inca Trail and arrive at the Sun Gate for the ultimate sunrise in solo nirvana.
Alternatives: Norway and Japan
4. The “Couples” Trip
Try: The Amalfi Coast, Italy
Getting away together on a “trip for two” allows couples to focus on each other and to rekindle the flames of passion that can get flicker dangerously low when combined with the less romantic facets of life, such as work and house chores.
It’s the secret to a long and lasting relationship. At least, this is what I tell the hubby. (No one tell him otherwise!)
The Amalfi Coast radiates romance with its pastel-colored, cliff-perched buildings, the shimmer of the sea and the lyrical tongue of its locals. In a word, it’s bellissimo.
Alternatives: Havana, Cuba and Granada, Spain
5. The “Luxury” Trip
Try: A Luxury Safari In Tanzania
Maybe you’ve just gotten a promotion with a hefty pay increase, you’ve come into some money or you’re just thinking “to hell with it,” but there are times when you need to treat yo’ self and enjoy the finer things in life without feeling guilty.
A luxury African safari allows indulgent comfort and exhilarating experiences, and after a day in the savanna of close encounters with the wildlife, you’ll be able to retire to your lodge like the adventurer that you are.
Invest in some key khaki and beige pieces to get the full experience.
Alternatives: Dubai and skiing in St. Moritz, Switzerland
6. The “Festival” Trip
Try: The Burning Man Festival, Nevada
There are certain festivals around the world that are worth basing a trip around, and the Burning Man Festival can be counted as one of them.
Thousands of people descend on the Black Rock Desert in Nevada to create a temporary city, which espouses the ideals of self-expression and self-reliance.
A pop-up city? Pretty incredible. It’s part hippy commune, part psychedelic creative hub and all-round good times.
Alternatives: Holi, India and Lantern Festival, Taiwan
7. The “Family” Trip
Try: New Zealand
Family trips can be surprisingly difficult to organize because it can be an ordeal trying to find a destination that has activities to entertain every member of the family. Cost and proximity are also factors to consider.
New Zealand offers the ideal combination of fun, outdoor escapades and adventurous activities, as well as some epic scenic drives where games of I Spy can be played in the backseat.
Alternatives: Fiji and Hawaii
8. The “BFFs” Trip
Sometimes, all you want to do is get away with your bestie, to catch up on all of life’s happenings and to reminisce about the past, all the while creating new memories to look back on in future.
Go somewhere vibrant and full of color such as India. It’s an experience that will truly awaken the senses.
You’ll return with tales that your BFF will keep bringing up for years to come because that’s what friends are for.
Alternatives: Morocco and Spain
9. The “Road” Trip
Try: Ring Road, Iceland
The Ring Road (or Route 1) in Iceland is quite possibly the easiest road trip you can do. It is basically a loop around the entire island, making it virtually impossible to get lost.
However, there is so much to see along the way that you’ll need to dedicate a leisurely couple of weeks to take it all in. If you’re short on time, focus on one area of the island, such as the southern area.
Alternatives: South Island, New Zealand and Garden Route, South Africa
10. The “Hiking” Trip
Try: Appalachian Trail, USA
A hiking trip is a great way to get back to nature and to escape urban life, at least for a little while. The Appalachian Trail is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world, and it runs across 14 American states from Georgia to Maine passing mountainous terrain, forest and lakes.
Practice your bird calls before you set off into the wilderness.
Alternatives: Overland Track, Tasmania and Fitz Roy Trek, Patagonia
11. The “Foodie” Trip
But of course, you should plan a trip around food. I mean, it’s the fuel that sustains us, right?
Whether you’re a gastronomic foodie or you eat to live, head to Vietnam for a culinary adventure of delectable proportions. Each region serves up cuisine that differs slightly in taste and flavor.
In Northern Vietnam, black pepper is often used in place of chilis, and flavors are subtle. Central Vietnamese dishes are more complex, and the use of chilis is abundant. And South Vietnam offers slightly sweeter dishes.
Fill your belly with pho, bun bo hue, banh xeo, banh beo and banh canh.
Alternatives: Lima, Peru and New Orleans, USA
12. The “Volunteer” Trip
It’s always good to give back to the community, whether it be through our time or expertise. Consider a volunteering trip, and perhaps align it with your area of interest, such as teaching, community development or conservation.
This article was originally published on the author’s personal blog.