Your twenties are years of trial and error, and successes and failures. They’re emotional. Some studies suggest they’re the years when you’ll make most of your long-term friends.
These years can also contain myriad milestones: The first time you’re able to legally order a beer; the first time you enter the “real world” workforce; the first time you get a credit card. All these landmarks fall under the general umbrella of “life-changing,” whether or not there’s any accuracy to the cliché.
But the first time you use a squat toilet will definitely change your life.
There’s a reason why countless films, books and poems are dedicated to the mind-altering effects of traveling when you’re young. Travel memories are stickier than other memories. Five years down the road, they stay with you in a way that the minutiae of your day-to-day life won't.
Travel tastes, as with your tastes in hairstyles and (hopefully) fashion, evolve throughout these years, too. From backpacking and hostel hopping during semesters abroad in college, to shared ski chalets with friends you’re surprised to find you’ve known for more than 20 years, every unique experience brings something valuable to the table.
Sappiness and squat toilets aside, traveling in your twenties is virtually guaranteed to change your worldview. There’s almost no better way to learn about yourself and about the world from the perspective of a global citizen than by venturing out of your comfort zone and into an unfamiliar culture.
Here, we’ve compiled a list of trips that every twenty-something should consider taking, from the eye-rollingly obvious to the off-the-beaten-path obscure. We based our selections on factors of safety and accessibility, as well as on personal experiences and input from well-seasoned millennial travelers.
Some of these destinations are better suited for slow travel over the course of weeks or even months—they’re best experienced in between life phases, jobs or semesters of college—while others can be conquered in a long weekend.
Consider this list not a set-in-stone guide, but instead a jumping-off point that may spark your curiosity about a part of the world you’ve never before considered stepping foot. Because if there’s one rule for traveling during your twenties, it’s that there are no hard-and-fast rules.