Every decade of your life brings something new. As a teenager, you may learn how to drive a car and get accepted to your dream college. You may try picking up a photography camera or fall in love for the very first time. It all prepares you for what's next — the best that's yet to come. Imagine this, though: What if you dedicated an
entire decade to traveling? What if you could travel every year of your 20s? Um, challenge accepted!
For me, the "new" that came with being 20-something was my love for travel. I didn't really hop on a plane or go beyond the East Coast until I reached this decade. To be honest, I prefer that it worked out this way. I was able to appreciate living abroad and eating gelato every day a lot more than I would have if I started traveling when I was a teenager. But, it has made me wonder what it would be like to see other places in the world. It's made me think bigger, dream bigger, and write down a bucket list that keeps getting, well, bigger.
So, that's why I'm creating this challenge for you: To travel every year of your 20s to a destination you've never been before. I think you should explore waterfalls and national parks, and embark on a journey to find the perfect slice of pizza. If you choose to accept this goal, these are the 10 destinations you should absolutely go to.
Joshua Tree National Park, California
California has so much opportunity when it comes to travel. There are tons of national parks, artsy and electric cities, and lush wineries that are waiting for you on the West Coast. But, in your 20s, you should definitely go to Joshua Tree National Park.
Spend a few nights in
a cozy airstream in the desert, and hike trails through the rocks and cacti. Bring some sunscreen and a good pair of walking shoes for this one!
I absolutely love the Pacific Northwest. I could rave about this part of the country and all the amazing food and things to do for
hours. But, let's focus on Portland for now, shall we?
This city is home to a ton of beautiful bridges and doughnuts that are out-of-this-world. During your stay, you'll want to stop at
Voodoo Doughnut at least once for a sweet treat, and find a good view of Mount Hood. Be sure to check out the Portland Japanese Garden, too!
Montreal might not be on the top of your bucket list right now. (Touring the brightly-colored walls in New York City and Los Angeles are the top "city experiences" your mind.) But, this city in Quebec, Canada truly has a lot to offer.
You could likely take this trip in a weekend, and see and do most things. You could spend your days exploring the Montreal Botanical Garden and beautiful churches, and your nights watching sunsets over the skyline from a picture-perfect viewpoint. Sweet!
To truly see and explore Italy, you should study abroad or live there for a while. You should backpack through Tuscany and take art classes in the heart of Florence or Rome. But, if you're looking for just one destination to check off in this decade of your life, then you should head to the Amalfi Coast.
This colorful area is full of beautiful beaches, fresh markets, and lots of delicious pasta and wine. Spend at least one day touring via boat, jumping into the turquoise-colored water and checking out the island of Capri.
What have you already heard about Amsterdam? Maybe one of your best friends went there and brought back pictures of the quaint canals and fairy tale-like buildings. You may have heard about museums like the
Anne Frank House and the Van Gogh Museum. I'm here to tell you a little bit more.
This destination is a must for any 20-something who's looking for a city with a lot of culture and good breakfast food. Personally, I've yet to go to a place that's equally as whimsical and beautiful. Eat a Dutch pancake or stroopwafel, and you'll understand.
Barcelona is one of those destinations that makes you want to sing. It might be because you watched
The Cheetah Girls 2 as a kid, or have listened to George Ezra's "Barcelona." Either way, waking up in this colorful and lively city will put a melody on your mind.
The streets are always bustling with travelers and locals alike picking up produce. There are restaurants dedicated to tapas, churches with gorgeous stained-glass windows, and beaches just steps away. (Fair warning: After visiting, you'll want to live here.)
If you're anything like me, then you dreamed about Paris when you were a teenager. You scrolled through pictures of the Eiffel Tower and watched romantic comedies that took place in the "City of Love," and dreamed about eating crêpes in the same location.
Now, you're in your 20s and have the same mindset. Why not do something about it? Hop on a plane to the place where some of the most iconic fashion, art, and food was born. Head to the Louvre to see the paintings, and the Arc de Triomphe, too. (Pro tip:
You can see all of Paris in a day — it's possible!)
Sometimes when you first start thinking and considering travel, tropical places come to mind. These are the destinations with palm trees, white sandy beaches, and all-inclusive resorts. But, in your 20s, you must make it to Reykjavik, too.
This might be a chillier destination on your bucket list. After
exploring the waterfalls and blue lagoons, though, you won't mind. You'll be in awe of the beauty of places on this Earth, and want to hike more glaciers and find snowy towns. One place at a time, OK?
By the time you turn 30,
you'll likely be so over taking long flights. But, in your 20s, you're much more excited about the idea. You want to do whatever it takes to see the Tokyo Tower for yourself.
Girl, you're in for an adventure, and I'm already so excited for you. From the stunning temples, to the paths lined with wisteria flowers — it's going to be a trip you'll always remember.
Phi Phi Islands, Thailand
Last but not least, when you're in your 20s and tackling this travel goal, be sure to get to the Phi Phi Islands. The bright teal waters and lush forests are absolutely beautiful, and you'll fill your camera roll taking pictures of such a paradise.
Like any other travel experience you've already had or will have in this decade of your life, it will be a dream come true and likely exceed all of your expectations. You just have to accept my challenge and travel as much as possible in your 20s.