20 Places to Travel in your 20s that aren’t Clichés

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Sooooo you wanna travel in your 20s and not be a walking, talking cliché? I feel you. A while ago (a few years) I wrote a blog post about the best 20 places to visit in your 20s, before I had travelled nearly as much as I have now (60 something countries or so, tbh I have no idea). Back then I wrote a list of clichés. There, I said it. Now – a little older, wiser, and much better travelled, I have 20 places to travel in your 20s that will offer you a much better experience culturally and get you away from the norm. Here they are!

Atacama Wallpaper WOW instagram atacama instagram atacama

Atacama Desert, Chile

When you think of the world’s driest desert, you think there’s probably gonna be nothing there. Wrong you would be! San Pedro de Atacama is the charming little town that lies at the centre of the Atacama Desert, your base for your stay in this diverse area of land mass. When I say diverse I’m talking about salt flats, flamingoes, a cactus valley, llamas (YES!), smoking geysers, stargazing, volcanoes and so much more. If you come to the Atacama Desert be sure to give yourself 4+ days here as there is plenty to see and do, including some great climbs to the tips of volcanoes (some of which are active mind you!)

 

Face off Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park, South Africa

For as long as I can remember I have wanted to go to the continent of Africa and see lions, zebras, giraffes, rhinos and hyenas (and a long list of other animals but for the sake of your time in reading this article, lets end there!) When I finally did make it to Kruger National Park in South Africa, I saw all of these animals on my first day and continually throughout the rest of my few days on safari. No other experience in the world can compare to seeing these predators in their natural habitat and I would strongly urge anyone who loves animals to make their next trip an African safari! If you are looking to volunteer (as many 20-somethings and beyond do), please please please do adequate research into where you are volunteering and how effective these charities/organisations are. A great documentary to watch before you choose to volunteer with animals is Kevin Richardson’s “Lion Man”, which you can watch here on youtube.

 

Saffire_Freycinet

Freycinet National Park, Tasmania, Australia

Tasmania has been named the world’s most diverse island and with mountains, stunning coastlines, quaint and charming towns, colonial history and some of the cutest wildlife, it isn’t hard to see why. I’ll be completely honest with you though, I am overtly biased. This is my home. However I can guarantee you if you know anyone who has been to Tasmania, no matter how far away they’ve travelled to get here, almost all of them will say this is one of the most gorgeous natural beauties on this planet. The best way to do Tassie in your 20’s is to grab a bunch of friends for a 2 week road trip around the island (you could do it in 1 week but this is the kinda place you wanna take it slow!)

 

Trans-Siberian_Railway

Trans-Siberian Railway through Russia 

Could there be anything more exotic than a train journey across the country of Russia, ending in China, Mongolia or North Korea!? As the longest train journey in the world, there’s a lot of time to kick back and let the world quite literally pass you by on the Trans-Siberian railway. Here’s a really helpful article if you’re looking to book.

 

iceland

Reykjavik, Iceland

While a trip to Iceland is expensive, it is entirely worth the investment if you’re looking for something in Europe that’s a little different and a lot exciting. Reykjavik is this gorgeous city pictured above with colourful rooftops, interesting cuisine, and very friendly locals who are proud to call Iceland home.

 

Plitvice National Park

Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Croatia has quickly become a bucket list destination for most 20-somethings, and nowhere is that more so than coastal Dubrovnik and island hopping on yachts in the summer. But if you want to see more of Croatia beyond the hot spots and find a hidden gem of your own, then head on over to Plitvice Lakes National Park (the image above is just a glimpse at this gorgeous natural reserve).

 

isle of skye scotland

Isle of Skye, Scotland

If you’re looking for a getaway that actually means you will get away, then I can’t recommend Scotland enough, particularly the Isle of Skye. I was told this place typically attracts an older clientele, but that only made me want to go more. I just wanted to hide away in a hidden (but cold) paradise where I could wander freely, take some time to myself, write, and breathe. Sometimes you gotta do it!

 

belgrade serbia belgrade in spring

Belgrade, Serbia

My long time childhood friend once said to me his favourite place in all of his European travels was Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. I was pretty stunned by that statement, not only because I hadn’t been when he told me, but also because it wasn’t even on my radar and this was the first I heard of it! Me being me, I put it on my list for my next trip to Europe and some months later I was there in Belgrade for a few days to see what all his fuss was about. Turns out it really is one of the coolest cities in Europe, with sooooooo many young people (who love to party by the way) and it is also really cheap, so a great place to base yourself for a few days or even a week to just kick back and enjoy this city.

 

California Coast

Big Sur, California

The big names like Los Angeles and San Francisco are awesome to visit in your 20’s, but so is getting off track by venturing between the two (ROAD TRIP!) and visiting Big Sur on the Pacific Coast Highway. The best way to visit is by driving from San Francisco or, if you’re up for that road trip, travel in either direction between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

 

The Yukon

The Yukon, Canada

For my first trip to Canada I decided I would venture beyond the popular choices (though I would gladly return to visit Vancouver, Jasper, the Rockies and Banff… oh and Calgary for the Stampede!). Instead, I visited the Yukon, which is Northwest and runs to the border to Alaska. It was a really authentic, localised experience that couldn’t have been a better introduction to Canada if it was trying! I’ll definitely be back.

 

ireland

Irish Road Trip

One of my favourite solo adventures in my 20s has been driving around Ireland with absolutely no plan whatsoever. I truly had no idea where I would end up each day, just driving until I was tired of adventuring and checking myself into a roadside B&B. It was a really freeing experience to not have plans and no intent on arriving, to just travel for the sake of travelling. If you’re looking for inspiration, here are 8 of my favourite places from my trip to Ireland.

 

la pa death road

La Paz, Bolivia

Perhaps the most terrifying experience of my travels to date (even more scary than bungy jumping, sky diving and swimming with a crocodile) was bike riding death road in Bolivia. As terrifying as it was, it was also completely exhilarating and gave that rush of adrenaline in its purest form. I’m not really sure if I would recommend it or not recommend it, as I’m still scared just thinking about it (!!!) But it was a really great experience to test my limits nonetheless. La Paz, the nearby and capital city of Bolivia is about as authentic as you can get in South America these days. I love the way they’ve held on to their traditions and how rare it is to see the golden arches (I think I saw one) in the city.

 

World of Wanderlust ala Finland

Lapland, Finland

It was in Lapland, Finland that I decided I would uproot my life, pack all my things, and move to a cabin in the woods. Of course if you follow my blog regularly you will know I didn’t, but it is still a distant dream of mine to buy a cabin in the woods in Lapland – the perfect winter wonderland that resembles a real life Chronicles of Narnia if ever there were one.

 

Essaouira_Guide

Essaouira, Morocco

If you’ve ever dreamed of going to Morocco you’ve probably thought immediately to Marrakech, the colourful and vibrant city filled with snake charmers, souks, and spice markets. Whilst I love Marrakech (like, a lot!), I can’t recommend enough that you venture beyond Marrakech and see the rest of Morocco – particularly the seaside town of Essaouira. This town feels much more authentic and relaxed, particularly in the summer as it is filled with both Moroccans and visitors.

 

Havana_Cuba

Havana, Cuba

If there’s just one place I want to go more than anywhere else in the world right now, Havana is it. As if it were caught in a time warp, both the buildings and cars have been preserved over the years of the US embargo, making this one of the most authentic countries in the world to visit, as it has not been exposed to Americanisation. Now is the time to go!

 

Costa Rica Puerto Viejo

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a great choice for travellers wishing to explore Central America and in recent years the country has really picked up in popularity amongst the young adventure travel market. There are also a great selection of eco hotels (and more importantly tree houses!!!) and plenty of animal sanctuaries to visit in order to see the rare animals like sloths, jaguars and pumas! For a full guide to get you going, see this article about road tripping in Costa Rica.

 

India

India

They say a trip to India stays with you your entire life and after reading this article, you’ll soon see why. Full of culture (like no other), great food, amazing sights and authenticity in every sense of the word, a trip to India should be on every 20-something year olds’ list of travels!

 

brasov

Transylvania, Romania

One of my favourite (and completely unexpected) trips last year was to Brasov, a small town in Transylvania, Romania. Like most visitors to this town, I positioned myself here as a base to explore the nearby castles and mountain ranges: particularly Dracula’s Castle and Peleș Castle, which is recognised as Europe’s most beautiful castle. In general a visit East of Poland (as far East as most travellers get) is a complete eye opener and full of more cultural + authentic experiences than you could ever get in the West (don’t get me wrong, there’s culture all over Europe!!!!). But what I love about the East is the fact that it is still less travelled and it opens your eyes to sights and experiences you couldn’t have elsewhere.

 

Grand Bazaar Istanbul

Istanbul, Turkey

Walking through the labyrinth that is the Grand Bazaar would have to be one of the world’s most exciting experiences. With magic lamps, the colourful spice market, old compasses from hundreds of years ago… it really is a world in itself that allows you to step back in time, imaging the days of Constantinople or even Byzantium.

 

Brooke in Patagonia

Torres del Paine, Chile

If you’re up for a little more physical activity, pack your bags, train your body for a mission of a hike, and head on over to Chile for the “W” or “O” track in Torres del Paine. These hikes are not only a physical test, but also open your eyes to some of the most stunning scenery and landscapes the world has to offer. Expect snow-capped mountains, icebergs, avalanches, and a rare glimpse at local wildlife.

 

Over to you! What are some of the best destinations you have visited out of the ordinary?

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

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43 Comments

  1. ugur.ilgar@luxuryistanbul.com'

    Ugur

    April 13, 2016

    Definetely, you are right. Croatia, Romania and Canada seems great and happy to see that you mentioned about our beautiful city Istanbul. Thank you for this great travel article.

  2. hallebose@gmail.com'

    Rosa

    March 31, 2016

    Some of those trips do require physical training beforehand.

  3. hallebose@gmail.com'

    Rosa

    March 31, 2016

    I would like to do the Trans Siberian ride.

  4. Morgan.b.carr@gmail.com'

    Morgan

    March 14, 2016

    Wonderful list! Funny, traveling to Iceland is actually very INexpensive when you’re coming from the east coast of the US, and often gets overlooked as just a “layover” country before getting to mainland Europe. Thanks for the reminder that Iceland is a destination in itself!

  5. megldavies@hotmail.com'

    Meg

    March 1, 2016

    Loved this article! I now want to visit every place on this list! Great recommendations for twenty somethings and not-s0-twenty somethings alike.

  6. Justin.ehrecke@gmail.com'

    Justin Ehrecke

    February 27, 2016

    Awesome article! It feels good to know that I experienced 8 of these in my 20s. India was by far the most sensory overload being in New Delhi for Diwali but I really enjoyed seeing the Taj Mahal at sunrise! Just found your site and I’m inspired to keep traveling!

  7. remy8bailey@gmail.com'

    R.J

    January 25, 2016

    Wow I love this article! I’m a bit biased towards Freycinet too for the same reason, it’s an absolutely wonderful place though. And I really liked some of the destinations you chose to highlight!

  8. abkbehl@gmail.com'

    Abhishek (Traveling with MS)

    January 8, 2016

    Cannot agree more – for me it is the Trans Siberian followed by the Irish Road trip (which I have done many times and just love it) staying in Scotland Yes, it has to be Isle of Skye and finally India is always home and truly said you travel there once and it does leave a positive mark on you for life – thank you for sharing this post and wishing you all the best on your travels in 2016. Best A

  9. moypat@yahoo.com'

    Mohammed

    January 7, 2016

    and South Africa is on the list!! #ProudlySouthAfrican

  10. anca@ancasdiary.com'

    Anca

    January 4, 2016

    I am so glad that Brasov is on your list! i am from Romania, and I know that my country is very nice, but the services in tourism are not so great! I hope you will come back to see other nice places!

  11. fabiola.hallberg@gmail.com'

    Fabiola

    January 3, 2016

    Oh I LOOOVE your list! I’m half Finnish and half Chilean so im honoured to have borh of my home countries on your
    list! But you must alao visit the capital of Finland Helsinki in the summer time! It’s sooooo beautiful with the seaside and the woods right around the corner <3 And what it comes to Chile, couldn't agree more with you about Atacama. Your pics btw are amazing on all of the locations!

    Lots of great adventures for 2016 to dream of and do, and hope you also find yourself with new adventures in 2016!

  12. April.ann@hotmail.com'

    April

    January 3, 2016

    Agree with Atacama, I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a few days there but I feel the need to go back as I’ve only seen and experience a fraction of it. I didn’t even get to see the geysers and flamingoes! And I’ve not heard of Essaouira before but I’m adding it to my list, thanks you for this post.

  13. simonadege@hotmail.be'

    Sionnach

    January 3, 2016

    Oh wow♥ Scotland, Iceland, Ireland and Finland are my favourite♥
    My dream since I’m about 10 is Norway and I hope I’ll realise it!

  14. fxceaq@walla.com'

    Mandel

    December 31, 2015

    I absolutely love this!! The colors are so soft

  15. maranelson@thefullnelsonexperience.com'

    MARA

    December 31, 2015

    Fantastic list Brooke! I think it’s a great list for even someone like me who’s in my 30’s. I think I begin with Big Sur since I’m right here in California and go from there. Thanks as always for a list of great recommendations and beautiful photos to go along with them.

  16. mydreamsmanifesto@gmail.com'

    Aristea Bismpiki

    December 31, 2015

    Many things on my bucket-list need to be changed, now!
    Happy and creative new year!
    xx
    Aristea!

  17. thetouristoflife@gmail.com'

    yvonnelaura

    December 31, 2015

    Want. To. Visit. Them. All. Can use some travel inspiration for 2016, haven’t got anything planned yet. So excited for an empty new year to plan loads of travels!

  18. contact@ashleyelizabethbeauty.com'

    Ashley

    December 31, 2015

    This is a beautiful, amazing list. Definitely saving for future travels!

    Ashley

  19. anke.roosendans@gmail.com'

    Anke Roosendans

    December 30, 2015

    Nice list with not too many obvious choices 🙂 Makes me get more excited to travel this year…
    Happy holidays!

  20. laura_martin1996@hotmail.com'

    Laura Mareno

    December 30, 2015

    I don’t why but Finland is calling me so much! great list! kisses:D

  21. ggsnim371@gmail.com'

    Yujung

    December 30, 2015

    They all look so amazing!! I can’t wait to visit there 🙂

  22. pottiez.marie@gmail.com'

    Miles of Happiness - Marie

    December 30, 2015

    The question is: where to start? 🙂

  23. luminitamoga515@gmail.com'

    Luminita

    December 30, 2015

    Wow Brooke! There are some really nice travel destination ideas here, regardless of one’s age. I too want to visit Iceland someday and a cabin in the woods in Lapland is one of my dreams as well. Although, I’m so glad that you also included Transylvania on your list. I hope you will have a very exciting year in 2016 and I can’t wait to follow your next adventures on the blog.

  24. karmapoliice@gmail.com'

    Tessa / Bramble & Thorn

    December 30, 2015

    So many of these places are on my ‘to-visit’ list! Cuba looks amazing, would love to spend a couple of weeks there exploring!

    Tessa at Bramble & Thorn

  25. hello@thepetitewanderess.com'

    Kristine

    December 30, 2015

    So many exciting places to visit, omg!

  26. lennae87@hotmail.com'

    Lennae Stubbs

    December 30, 2015

    Awesome places! All of these are on my bucket list, too bad my 20’s are over in a years time!

    Lennae xxx

  27. laura.leeke@gmail.com'

    Laura

    December 30, 2015

    Brasov is in Romania though, not Poland….

  28. angelagiakas@gmail.com'

    Angela

    December 30, 2015

    Oh my god just looking at the photo of death road in Bolivia is making me nervous!!! These places are incredible!

  29. emmaburton1154@gmail.com'

    Emma

    December 30, 2015

    Such a good list. Thank you for this!! A lot of these have been at the top of mine, but some I hadn’t even thought of! You the bestttt
    xx

  30. mariafagan@hotmail.co.uk'

    Maria

    December 30, 2015

    Some of these are on my list to visit, but I’m going to look into a few others 🙂

  31. scratchingthemap@gmail.com'

    Marissa

    December 30, 2015

    Beautiful places and indeed a bit different that the usual ones. Many more on my bucket list now, especially Canada and Iceland.

  32. jemimaelliott10@gmail.com'

    Another Ranting Reader

    December 30, 2015

    Those places look beautiful! I particularly want to go to India and Romania.

    Jemima x
    anotherrantingreader.blogspot.co.uk

  33. simonaionelaa@gmail.com'

    Simona

    December 30, 2015

    I love that you put Romania on your list. Hope you’ll come back!

  34. solea93@gmail.com'

    Shanarah

    December 30, 2015

    I agree with you on the Finland one Brooke… So much so I am moving to Finland in March! 🙂 And my in laws have one of those cute cabins in the woods/on the lake

  35. veronika@travelgeekery.com'

    Veronika

    December 30, 2015

    Brooke, I know you travel a lot but for a moment I thought that you’ve been to all these places only this year! That’s not the case, right? 🙂 Anyway, I haven’t been to way too many on your list.. So exciting!
    Do you plan to explore more of Asia next year?

  36. hyyperlic@gmail.com'

    Travelblogger Lisa

    December 30, 2015

    The Pictures are so amazing!

    Hope you had a nice Christmas! 😉

    Lisa | Joy Della Vita Travelblog

  37. carmen.pink@bluewin.ch'

    Carmen

    December 30, 2015

    Those places all look so amazing! I’ve just turned 20 so I know what to do now 😉 I’d love to travel to Morocco one day..!
    Much love, Carmen from

  38. autourdekenza@gmail.com'

    Kenza

    December 30, 2015

    Really good idea !

    There is still soooo much places I need to kick out of my Bucket List 🙂

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