As I’m just now entering my 20’s I’m reminded of all the great opportunities I’ve already had to see the world. I really believe that this decade in my life will be the best yet, filled with many opportunities to do the things I really want to do. Studying abroad in New Zealand has matured me in a way that I feel more comfortable doing things (“traveling”) on my own now. Even though my life may get busier and stressful as I finish school and scout for jobs, now is the best time for me to step up and just go to the places I have always dreamed about.
My teens were filled with a variety of trips to Mexico, El Salvador, Ecuador, Italy, various Caribbean islands, and currently New Zealand which I am all extremely grateful for but there is still so much out there to see. The world has everything to offer, all it takes is for us to take the world up on that offer. Many of the places I want to go would probably be more of a vacation, but what’s the point of travelling the world and not contributing to it in any way? There are many global health or other volunteer projects that I would take part of in a heartbeat to be more than just a tourist, but a contributor.
Although it was hard to narrow it down to just 29, here is my list of places I thought best to visit ideal as a single girl in my 20s!
The one thing I would make sure to see is the Angkor Wat temple! Then I could move on to other beautiful parts as well.
Although I’m still a bit iffy about going to Thailand and even Cambodia alone because they’re big hubs for human sex trafficking, I would love to go with others. I would make sure to go to the annual paper lantern festival!
3. Sri Lanka
This little island off the coast of India has a culture similar to many Southeast Asian countries. Their main religion is Buddhism. Although I don’t really agree with the beliefs of Buddhism, I love the peaceful atmosphere it creates.
Of course the Taj Mahal is a must see despite my hate for crowded places. The Holi Festival would also be an incredible experience… must better than the Color Vibe 5k runs I’m sure. There is also a volunteer global health project through Cross Cultural Solutions in Dharamsala that I would love to do!
The strong personal connections I have to Japan have inspired me to go. I want to see all aspects of it from Tokyo to the countryside to Mt. Fuji to the botanical gardens.
I always wanted to visit the places I learned about in Bible classes, to be in the footsteps of Jesus. Maybe not until they aren’t in so much political drama though.
I’ve heard fantastic reviews about Turkey from people I know who have been there. Some specific places I would like to visit are Istanbul and Cappadocia. Although Istanbul is technically in both Europe and Asia, I’ll let it stick with the Asians here.
Anyone who grew up fearing The Kilamanjaro at Water Safari should be inspired to at least visit the place that wedgie-giving water ride was named after, Mt. Kilamanjaro. Cross Cultural Solutions also has a cool global health volunteer project that I want to go on!
9. South Africa
Cape Town has so much to offer and I would love to accept that offer. There are an abundance of global health projects due to the country’s big HIV problems. What a beautiful place to live/volunteer in and be able to make a difference!
Europe is a tricky one to narrow down because I literally want to go to every country there. It has always been at the top of my bucket list to tour all over Europe but these are the key places I absolutely cannot tour Europe without visiting.
This is one country that I have always dreamed of going to. In my opinion, their food is some of the best out there! Eating an authentic gyro while sitting on a balcony overlooking the ocean and hearing Greek music in the distance sounds like heaven to me!
Salzburg is known by many Sound of Music fans which is cool to me but regardless of its connection to the movie, it’s a beautiful city that I would love to see anyway. Vienna is also a must see while there.
I don’t really have one place in particular but it would be cool to see all of the beautiful castles and maybe even attend Oktoberfest if the timing is right!
This place sure has an unlimited number of outdoor adventures just waiting to be found! I always see pictures on Pinterest of a cool ledge or grand fjords and it almost always is Norway… if not,then most likely New Zealand.
Ok I have no idea if this is an actual thing or not but when I think of Amsterdam I think of having class. Maybe it’s just the idea of cruising along the canals sipping wine. Regardless, Amsterdam is a city I would love to visit.
Yes, I know I’ve already been here but I only saw a fraction of the places I want to. Like Amsterdam, Venice is filled with canals and has always been near the top of my list. Food and wine is the first thing I think about when I hear Tuscany so of course it makes me want to go there. Others in the wonderful country are coastal cities like Burano and Portofino.
Not gonna lie, France was never really of any interest to me but I have recently come to dream about it. I want to see all sides of it from the French Riviera, especially Eze to Yvoire to Bordeaux and Paris. Maybe I’ll wait to go to Paris when I have someone to put a lock on the Love-Locks Bridge with me.
I love Spain because it brings my two loves for spanish and Europe together. Some cities I would like to see are Barcelona, Seville, and Menorca.
I know I keep mentioning places that have always been at the top of my list to visit but seriously Ireland has always been #1. I have even always dreamed of permanently moving there. The green hills and multitudes of sheep make it seem similar to New Zealand but I still need to see it for myself.
Scottish highlands, more castles, and great culture? Sure sign me up!
Now who wouldn’t want to go to this little island just to say they did? It seems like a mini version of New Zealand just on the opposite side of the world.
I took Spanish lessons in middle and high school and was actually pretty decent at it in 9th grade but unfortunately, I have since lost most of it. I would love to become fluent or at least able to easily communicate with other Spanish speakers. My oldest brother moved to Mexico for 9 months a while back and became fluent in Spanish which made me realize that the best way to improve foreign language skills is to just immerse myself in it. It’s my goal to live somewhere in South America for a year or so until I am fluent and really get to know the culture better.
This little country nestled between the coasts of Brazil and Argentina is known as the best kept secret of South America. Montevideo is a comparatively safe city and from what I’ve heard much cheaper than it’s neighbor Buenos Aires. They also have a high percentage of uninhabited beaches!
There are so many things about Argentina I want to go there for! Mendoza is the wine country situated by the mountains and Buenos Aires just seems like a cool city in general. But the real thing that attracts me most to Argentina is Patagonia. This mountain region is just gorgeous with spiky mountains different to most mountain ranges you would normally see. I would hope over to Chilean side of Patagonia to see Marble Caves as well!
Typically equated with Ecuador (which I think is underrated), Peru is the dream of South America to me. Of course I have to see Machu Piccu while I’m there but what I would really love is to do some kind of work there whether it’s the Cross Cultural Solutions program or some other job to make healthcare access easier for the Peruvians, especially those who live in rugged regions.
Rio is a classic go-to in Brazil that I would make sure to go to during Carnival. It would be cool to go deeper into the Amazon too to really experience the jungle life.
25. Costa Rica
I know this is Central America, not South but it still fits into the category. I have never heard anything bad about Costa Rica and is widely known as a great place for budget travelers… me.
Many people, myself included, thinking of travelling as being international. Being in New Zealand and telling people about the things to see and do in America has made me realize how great of a place the United States really is. There are still so many places in my own country that I haven’t seen yet but long to.
26. Cross country road trip
Although the rest of my destinations have places not activities, this one deserves to be put on here since it’s actually on my bucket list. I think the best way to see our huge country is by road trip. I can’t name all of the places I want to visit because I literally want to everywhere! This could easily be done with friends or family and make unforgettable memories along the way.
Honestly, I always forget Hawaii is one of our states because it’s so far out there. If its pristine beaches weren’t enough, there’s an abundance of beautiful volcanic hikes and such there to make it more of an adventure.
29. Lake Louise, Canada
Last but certainly not least, this spot always pops up on Pinterest and I’m awed by it every time. I really need to get to Canada more often.
I’m really looking forward to my 20s not only for travel opportunities but for life experiences in general! I have faith that this will be my best decade yet. Heck, I’m already starting it off being in New Zealand!
If anyone who reads this has good suggestions about any of these places or even other places, let me know! I’ve already been bitten by the travel bug so introducing me to a new place isn’t going to make it any worse.