‘Getting old’ is subjective. If you’ve got enthusiasm, energy and a sense of wonder then the world is your oyster. Obvs you might need a bit of cash, but… details.
I’ve done a lot of travelling, of course, but if I was to boil down all the trips I’ve done into a good ticklist of 21 awesome types of holiday to take before you get old, this would be it.
1. The road trip
Taking to the road with your mates, your tunes, backpacks in the boot and Scooby snacks at the ready, is an absolute right of passage, for anyone, at any time. The ubiquitous destination is of course the US, with all their open roads and iconic destinations – map out the Pacific Coast Highway, Route 66 or US Route 20 through Yellowstone National Park for the ultimate trip.
Other popular road trips include the Great Ocean Road in Oz, the Icefield Parkway in Canada and the Garden Route in South Africa.
2. Go on a language exchange
Language is what separates us humans from our ape ancestors, so make the most of it and learn a new one. Some of the best places to learn include Lake Atitlan in Guatemala for Spanish, working at summer camps for French and teaching in China for Chinese.
Learning a new language is a great reason to stay in a destination for a while and really immerse yourself into the local culture. a great option if you’re looking for a new challenge.
3. Go to an iconic festival
From California’s Coachella, to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Carnival in Brazil, Oktoberfest in Munich or even Glastonbury in the UK – you need to go an iconic festival at some point in your life. Yeah, you might have to pay the hiked prices, you might never even get to the front, and you’ll probably lose your friends, but just soaking up the atmosphere will be one of the best feelings ever.
I’ve got LOADS of tips and advice for festivals. Round up your mates and sort it out!
4. Travel to a sports event
Whether it’s the World Cup, the Olympics, the Ashes, or one of the other huge regular sports events, again, making the effort to book in on time and get tickets will be an incredible experience. Imagine the atmosphere in the stadium?!
I’m thinking Tokyo 2020.
5. Go on a life-changing hike
Machu Picchu in Peru is a good shout, or the Camino de Santiago in Spain attracts all kinds of non-religious pilgrims, or, if you really want to stand out, hows about the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea?
There are so many beautiful places in the world that are best appreciated in hiking boots. Having all that time to think while you hike Kilimanjaro / Patagonia, could really make you reflect on your life.
Let’s hope it’s positive.
6. See an endangered animal
Go and see the rhinos in Tanzania, the Tarsiers in the Philippines or the turtles in Costa Rica.
Thanks to us humans, they’re not going to be around forever.
7. Travel solo
Travelling solo is one of the biggest learning experiences you’ll ever have. I travelled solo for three years and so have written quite a bit about it, here are a few posts for starters.
8. Take an epic cycle trip
Cycling is a great way to get around and to see a new destination. It’s the perfect speed and it’s cheap, even if you do have to rent the bike. How about a cycling and camping trip through France? Or join a tour and cycle the length of Vietnam? Or, maybe even just a weekender trip to somewhere like Denmark, or the Netherlands, where they’re super cycle friendly.
9. A holiday with the mates
There’s no shame in a week in Greece or Spain, trust me, I’ve been there and have some excellent memories to thank. If you have a strong group of friends from school, university or work then round them up and book an awesome and easy trip to Europe somewhere.
And if you don’t… there are plenty of tour groups to join that’ll supply friends for you.
10. Learn a new skill
How about surfing in Mexico? Yoga in India? Scuba diving in Belize?
Take some time to get certified in something and even if you don’t use it again (you will) you’ll gain the confidence in yourself that you can still learn new things, and there are a lot of things out there to learn.
11. Take a long train trip
Use Amtrak to travel across the US, Interrail in Europe or venture epic distances in India – train travel is a great way to go as you can just focus on the scenery and what’s out the window, rather than getting from A to B.
Book yourself on the Trans Siberian Express et al, and enjoy the peace and quiet of the landscapes unfolding.
12. Take a boat trip
Sailing trips round the Amalfi Coast, the Greek islands and the coast of Croatia are totally in right now. More and more companies are setting up to offer you the best sailing trip EVER. With no pressures out at sea, all your food provided and the chance to jump off now and then at the local port, sailing really is a relaxing and fun way to spend a week or two.
In fact, I still stand by the statement that the sailing trip I did in the Philippines was one of the best things I’ve ever done.
13. Work abroad
If you have a good amount of time to dedicate to travelling, then working abroad is a great way to make a bit of cash while you go. This is your big chance to gain some work experience in a different country, whatever your field and interest. Have a Google of the opportunities in the pay and distance bracket you want to work with.
I’ve worked as a camp counselor, painting villas, a handyman and a language teacher in my time. So much more you could do though!
Same for volunteering – there are LOADS of opportunities to make a difference. Really think this is something we should all do at some point, and shamefully it’s something I’ve only ever done for a week at a time. Need to get on that.
However rough you think your life might’ve been, guaranteed there are millions worse off. Use your time to go and help them in your field of expertise.
15. Visit a cold destination
Holidays and travelling aren’t all about sunshine and mojitos – some of the most beautiful locations around the world are in among snowy, wintry locations. Take some time out of your busy travel schedule to visit the likes of Iceland, Greenland, Svalbard and Patagonia to set your eyes on the incredible landscapes and geography.
16. Travel with your family
‘Family’ can mean a million different things, but whoever you consider your nearest and dearest, spend some quality time with them abroad. If your family now is the same as the family you had when you were a child, you’ll hopefully find that you get on with them all in a different way – as more of a friend. If not, then let’s just hope for the best.
17. Travel with your partner
Think you and your loved one are forever? Try travelling with them. That’ll separate the soul mates from the strangers.
18. See the Northern Lights
The Northern Lights are one of the most incredible natural phenomenas in our world. The best places to see them are generally Scandinavia and Canada, but they have been seen in Scotland in the past. The greeny / purpley lights dance across the sky in certain light conditions and some people spend years trying to see them with their own eyes.
I’ve been to Iceland and Norway in search, but so far, no such luck. Definitely still on my to-do list.
19. Go camping
Not Devon and Cornwall style – like most of my childhood holidays seemed to be – but actually take a tent, hike into the wilderness and set yourself up for the night, or weekend. There are great places to camp in New Zealand, Canada and Switzerland too – the more ‘middle of nowhere’ the better.
20. Go on safari
You can get some pretty good prices for safaris, provided you stay in campsites – so you could tick off number 19 there too. Look at the top adventure tour operators, who get good deals for numbers, and try safaris in South Africa, Kenya and Zambia for the best budgets.
Or you can always try my friend Helen’s Rock My Adventure tours throughout Africa. Check out the link for the latest prices and trips.
21. Go somewhere you’ve never heard of
It depends how worldly wise you are how easy this one is going to be.
Lucky for me I was pretty insulated in my teens so even Slovenia was an adventure for me. But what about Azerbaijan? Or the Moab Desert? Or Petra? Just pick a point on a map and if you’ve never heard of it, then off you pop.
Obviously, there are thousands of trips you can take before you get old, but I hope this list has inspired you to try something and somewhere different, and to narrow your search!
And just let me know if you think I’ve missed any kind of trip off, I’m always looking for inspiration myself.