With help from a handful of seasoned travel experts, we chose the best trips to take in your 30s, whether you’re looking to sample fine Malbec, hike Machu Picchu, or clock in some spa time. Each offers rich opportunities for seeing the world—and yourself—from a wholly new vantage point.
“You have the wine region, but then you have the active component—hiking and biking,” Comeback Odyssey Travel’s Malis says of Argentina’s attractions. Lisa Lindblad, owner of Lisa Lindblad Travel Design in New York City, agrees the geographically diverse country is “very outdoorsy” with its snow-capped mountains and dreamy coastlines. From the café culture of Buenos Aires to Patagonia’s rainforests and Mendoza’s mouth-watering parillas, Argentina travel offers a little something for everyone—especially food-loving millennials with a fondness for nature.
“Belize is really popular, even just for four nights,” says Lynda Turley of Alpine Travel in Saratoga, California. That’s especially true among newlyweds, who want “to stay somewhere close to the U.S. but want to get away for a last hurrah before they’re a bit more tied down.” She recommends “staying part of the time at the beach for excellent snorkeling and diving, and then part of the time in the rainforest for the culture and nightlife.” The beach at Turtle Inn, part of the Coppola family of resorts, is a favorite thanks to its plethora of water activities, including zip lining.
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“You’ve got your chance to see the Northern Lights in winter; in summer, you’ve got endless days,” Lindblad says. Best of all, the country is highly accessible, making it ideal for time-crunched travelers. “It sits so close to the East Coast, you can go on your way to England. Or for a long weekend, spend two or three days there, and then carry on or come home,” she says. Though no one really stays in Reykjavik, Lindblad says Hotel Rangá is an attractive option. There are many well-positioned lodges, since, after all, “logistics is everything in Iceland.”
For foodies and hikers alike, Marjorie Shaw, founder of Insider’s Italy, based in Rome, recommends the stunning Amalfi coast and Trentino-Alto Adige in the far north. Amalfi is best in winter, when it’s low season, but if you insist on going in summer, you’ll be rewarded with hikes and “excursions to Greek temples and villas destroyed by Mt. Vesuvius,” she says. Late spring to early autumn is best for Trentino-Alto Adige, as it borders Austria and Switzerland and offers an enticing array of cultures. In the largely German Alto Adige, Shaw says, you’ll find “small Latin communities scattered throughout.”
“Japan is everybody’s passion these days, particularly among 30-somethings,” says Lindblad. “It’s expensive, but if they have disposable income, there is really something for everybody: food, design, clothes and architecture.” Malis agrees: “Japan has a booming culinary scene beyond sushi and teppanyaki, which should not be missed. Add a fish market, whiskey or sake tour, and your trip would be amazing.” Health nuts will flock to Kyoto’sryokans, Lindblad says, especially Beniya Mukayu in artsy Kanazawa, while rookies will appreciate the ease of the country’s transportation system.