There are so many cities, countries, experiences, and places to see around the world. But how do you even determine what the top things to do are?! Well, I put together a list of 30 things to do before you’re 30 (or any age) – travel edition!
I love seeing bucket list things to accomplish in life, but I felt like a travel bucket list was needed. I wanted to put together a fun bucket list of 30 top places to see around the world, top experiences to do around the world, and top cities to see around the world. You can add these 30 travel items to your bucket list and have the most amazing, life-changing, and adventurous time traveling the world.
If you’re wondering why I chose 30… I have no idea why I chose that number but 30 felt right.
So here is a list of 30 things you should do before you’re 30 (or any age) – travel edition!
Each and every one of these 30 travel experiences will provide you with a trip of a lifetime and give you the opportunity to see some epic sh*t around the world! Make sure to bookmark or save this post so you can refer back to it as you plan your next vacation.
Table of Contents
1. Hot air balloon ride in Bagan, Myanmar
The first thing to add to your 30 things to do before you’re 30 (or any age) list is to take a hot air balloon ride in Bagan. Bagan, Myanmar is one of the top cities to visit when visiting Myanmar. It’s absolutely stunning and has over 3,500 Buddhist pagodas and temples throughout the city. You can visit the pagodas and temples by land, but you can also view the beautiful city in the sky.
If you’re visiting Bagan, Myanmar, you need to do the hot air balloon ride during sunrise. It is on the pricier side, but it’s totally worth it. The price ranges from $300-$4000 with the ride being anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour. Being able to watch the hot air balloons rise over the pagodas and see the temples/pagodas from the sky was such a breathtaking and unique experience.
I recommend getting a smaller basket so you’re not crammed into the basket. The baskets vary from private, 4-8 people, or 12-16 people, depending on which company you go with.
2. Watch bears in the wild at Brooks Falls
You’ve probably seen the iconic photo of brown bears fishing for salmon in the river. Those photos are located at Brooks Falls in Alaska, USA. At Brooks Falls, brown bears compete with each other for the best fishing spots in the river while the salmon swim upstream to spawn. It is such a unique and amazing experience being able to watch the brown bears in the wild, fight, fish, and chill in the river. You can watch baby bears learn how to fish and dominant bears fight for the best fishing spots. Being able to watch the bears in the wild is something that any animal-lover should add to their bucket list!
You can only visit Brooks Falls by plane or boat. You can spend the night there or do a day trip. The best time to visit is during June and July. If you plan to stay overnight, you do need to book in advance.
*Pro-tip: bring a professional camera (with a zoom lens if possible). I only had my iPhone 7 Plus at the time and I wished I had a professional camera that took sharp photos.
3. Wander through Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu was unreal and a must-add to see before 30 (or any age). Machu Picchu is located in Peru and is one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.
There are several ways to get to Machu Picchu. You can do multi-day treks, take the train and hike, or take the train and bus. There is so much to see and it’s hard to see it all within 1 day. I recommend at least 2 visits to fully experience and see everything.
If you have bad knees, it is a little bit harder but totally doable. I went with my parents and their friends who are all in their 60s and 70s and they were able to do it. Take your time, and please don’t think you can’t visit because of your age! A lot of them had bad hips, knees, and normally use walking sticks (walking sticks are now prohibited though).
4. Visit the largest waterfall in the world
Victoria Falls is considered the largest waterfall in the world that takes place in two countries: Zimbabwe and Zambia. Victoria Falls is also one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and is absolutely breathtaking.
You can do a lot of different activities visiting Victoria Falls. You can look over the waterfall at Devil’s pool, ride in a helicopter over the waterfalls, bungee jump, zipline, and wander through both sides. If you visit, I recommend going to both Zambia’s side and Zimbabwe’s side of the waterfall. They both provide unique and different experiences.
5. See or hike Mount Everest
Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world and definitely a must-see before 30 (or any age). A popular way to trek Mount Everest is by trekking Everest Base Camp. Everest Base Camp is a multi-day trek where you camp every night as you continue on.
If hiking isn’t your thing or you don’t have enough time, you can fly to see Mount Everest. I didn’t have enough time when I was in Nepal, but I was able to at least see Mount Everest in the sky and that was truly beautiful. You get champagne during your flight and get an amazing shot of Mount Everest.
6. Experience the Holi Festival in India
Holi Festival signifies the triumph of good over evil and transitioning seasons from winter to spring. It’s a big celebration and everyone throws colored powder at each other. It typically takes place in March and every year has a different date.
It is such a beautiful, fun, and colorful experience. Everyone is happy, celebrating, and it’s so much fun!
7. Meditate for 10 full days
Vipassana is a meditation technique and is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation. It is not an easy meditation to do, but if you can learn it and practice it, it’s extremely powerful.
Vipassana is taught over a 10-day period and is required to do before attending any other types of courses (i.e. 1-3 day courses, 14-day courses, 45-day courses, etc.). There are over 225 Vipassana Centers all over the world in various countries.
It is not an easy experience as you have to wake up at 4 am and go to bed at 9 pm, and in between, you are meditating. You cannot speak, write, read, workout, make eye contact, and you cannot eat after midday. Old students cannot eat after 12 pm, and new students can eat fruit at 5 pm.
Vipassana is a very disciplined, spiritual, eye-opening, and life-changing experience. If you can do it and feel called to it, I recommend attending one. I wrote an old, last-minute post about why I decided to do it.
8. Visit the Galapagos
Visiting the Galapagos was one of my favorite experiences while traveling the world. Being able to see so many different animal species and learn all about them was truly fascinating. Being out in nature, seeing an abundance of wildlife is a must-do while visiting Ecuador.
I recommend having a tour guide throughout your time there as it was so educational and informative learning about each animal, the history, evolution, etc. I also recommend diving or snorkeling while there.
9. Attend Dalai Lama’s teachings
His Holiness the Dalai Lama offers teachings throughout the year and it’s such a beautiful experience. Being able to be surrounded by his energy and everyone else’s energy during his teachings was incredible. The topics of his teachings vary from compassion, forgiveness, love, and so on.
The teachings are given in Tibetan, but the teachings are translated into several different languages. Even if you don’t practice or know a lot about Buddhism, seeing the Dalai Lama in person was an experience of a lifetime.
I luckily was able to take a picture with the Dalai Lama, along with a bunch of others. Can you find him?! #wheresDalaiLama
10. Travel full-time
I am a *huge* advocate for traveling full-time and long-term. Taking a career break, gap year, sabbatical, or time off to travel the world full-time and long-term is an experience you absolutely must do in your life. Most people wait until retirement, and although that is fine to do, the future is never promised.
Traveling on a vacation is great, and I always support vacations. However, traveling on a vacation is very different than traveling full-time. When you get to travel full-time, you get to *fully* experience each destination. You’re not rushing through each place and you’re not cramming everything all in. Being able to travel full-time and have that time off to explore, live abroad, fully experience each destination, exponentially grow as a person, and experience an adventure of a lifetime is something that everyone should do at least once in their life.
If you’re interested in learning more about how you can travel full-time, check out my signature course, Travel the World Academy™, where you will learn about how you can make your dreams of traveling the world a reality.
11. Have a picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower
The iconic Eiffel Tower is a must-see while in Paris. Make sure to climb the Eiffel Tower, visit during the day and night, and have a picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower. Enjoy your food and drinks while embracing the beauty of the Eiffel Tower.
12. Dive with thresher sharks in Malapascua
Malapascua is known as the top place to dive with thresher sharks. Malapascua is located in the Philippines and is a great spot for diving.
The best part about diving in Malapascua is there are no cages, no manipulation, no chumming, nothing. It’s all natural and in the wild. When you dive, you’re able to go to a specific spot where the thresher sharks frequently visit. The sharks have a symbiotic relationship with the fish there as the fish eat the dead skin off the shark’s body to prevent infection. And because of that, the sharks do not eat the fish and they live in harmony.
As a diver, you get to observe 98 ft (29 m) deep down in the ocean. It’s such an incredible experience as most shark diving experiences are not ethical. This is a great place to ethically swim with sharks.
13. See the Northern Lights in an igloo
You can see the Northern Lights in a lot of different places such as Alaska, Norway, Canada, Finland, Iceland, and even more places. Being able to see the Northern Lights in an igloo is such a fun, beautiful, and unique experience. I definitely recommend doing that and taking lots of photos!
14. Hot air balloon ride during the Great Migration
I have not done this yet, but it’s on my bucket list of things to do. When I was doing my hot air balloon ride in Bagan, I asked my pilot where his favorite place he did hot air balloon rides was. His answer: the Serengeti during the Great Migration.
The Great Migration is when wildebeest, zebras, and other animals migrate from Tanzania to Kenya. Over 2 million animals make the dangerous trek and it is one of the most amazing things to witness.
15. Chase the waterfalls at Plitvice Lakes National Park
Plitvice Lakes National Park is located in Croatia and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are so many waterfalls throughout the park and it is beautiful. It does get very crowded, but if you do it right, you can avoid most crowds.
16. See the ancient pyramids
The pyramids can be seen while visiting Cairo. Being able to see such an ancient and impressive masterpiece is a definite must-see. You always see pictures, hear about it, or think about it, but seeing it in person is on a whole different level.
I, unfortunately, participated in riding the camels to the pyramids. It was a very cool experience, however, I do not recommend doing it. The camels were not treated very well. If you can find an ethical company that treats the camels appropriately, then it might be fine to do. But I deeply regret doing it.
17. Mario Kart in Japan
Mario Kart (now known as Street Kart) is a fun activity to do while visiting Tokyo, Japan. You get to dress up in costumes and ride around the streets in go-karts. You get to visit popular landmarks as well and is a fun way to explore the city. Since you are driving, you do need an international driver’s license to participate.
18. See the breathtaking Taj Mahal
A long time ago, the Emperor built the Taj Mahal in memory of his favorite wife. The stunning white marble is breathtaking in person. You’ve probably seen pictures of it, but seeing it in person is a must-see as a top 30 things to see before 30 (or any age).
I recommend visiting at sunrise so there aren’t that many people there. It gets very crowded there and everyone wants a photo. It’s still beautiful with the crowds of people, but if you can, visit during sunrise.
19. See the iconic church on the island in Lake Bled
Lake Bled is popular for its iconic church on the island. Lake Bled is located in Slovenia and is a cute city to visit. You can go on hikes, kayak, visit the island, visit the castle, eat famous Bled cake, and various other things. It’s beautiful year-round. If you visit Lake Bled, I put together the top 15 things to do there that you can add to your itinerary.
20. Observe animals in the wild on a safari
Being able to watch and observe animals in the wild is one of the coolest experiences (in my opinion). If you’re visiting Africa, go on as many safaris as possible. Several countries have safaris, but the ones that I went to were in: Namibia, Botswana, and Kenya. Since you are in the wild and everything is unpredictable, it’s best to go on as many safaris as possible. Each time I went was completely different and truly special.
21. Solo travel at least once
If you’ve never solo traveled yet… I totally get it. I never had a desire to solo travel and to be honest, despised the thought of it. I love being around people, sharing travel experiences with someone, and I hate being bored by myself. However, I was forced to solo travel when I decided to quit my job to travel the world and now I am a huge advocate for it.
Solo travel is such a beautiful, unique, eye-opening, and growing experience. Not only do you get to do whatever the heck you want (yes, no more compromising on what you do… you get to do whatever you want 100% of the time) but you also get to learn about yourself, spend time with yourself, and grow.
If you also like to be around people, you still can. Even though you’re solo traveling, you can still meet people and spend time with other travelers.
I firmly believe everyone should solo travel at least once… and if possible, multiple times. If you’re not sure where to go, you can check out the 15 best destinations to solo travel that you can add to your bucket list too.
22. Climb the Sydney Habour Bridge
The BridgeClimb is such a fun and cool experience to do when visiting Sydney, Australia. You get to see 360-degree views of the harbour and it’s beautiful. I recommend doing any of the twilight tours because you get to see the views of Sydney during the day, sunset, and nighttime when climbing back down. It’s a great opportunity to see it at different hours. I didn’t think it mattered what time I went, but it was so beautiful and cool to see it during the day and at night.
23. Visit the Burj Khalfia
The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world and is located in Dubai, UAE. It is more than 160 stories high and over 2,716 ft (828 m) tall. There is a light show at the Burj Khalifa that is cool to see, but also going to the top is a must. The views are unreal and being able to see Dubai from the top was incredible.
24. Visit Disneyland and Disneyworld
Okay, I am a huge Disney fan and love Disneyland and Disneyworld. If you haven’t been yet, visiting a Disney park is a must before 30 (or any age)! You can also visit other Disney parks like Tokyo Disney or Disneyland Paris, but visiting the original Disneyland is a must. Disneyland is great for all ages and is such a fun experience. I also recommend visiting neighboring parks like California Adventure and DisneySea (in Tokyo).
25. Attend Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest takes place in September-October in Munich, Germany. There are hundreds of mini-Oktoberfest around the country, but visiting the original and main Oktoberfest is a must. It’s such a fun experience. Oktoberfest consists of massive beer tents, lots of alcohol, food, amusement rides, and activities. I recommend booking your accommodation in advance as everything gets booked early.
I also recommend dressing up and wearing the traditional lederhosen (men’s attire) and dirndls (women’s attire). When I went in 2011, someone told me that only tourists dress up. I didn’t want to stick out as a tourist, so I regrettably listened to them. We were the ones that stuck out – being in normal clothes. So dress up and have fun!
26. Dive Apo Island
Apo Island is located in the Philippines and is considered one of the top places to dive in the world. I have dived in a lot of places around the world, and I have never seen anything like Apo Island. The abundance of marine life was unreal. It was so colorful and so beautiful. The entire time I was shocked.
I did a day tour from Siquijor and on the boat, we had a mix of divers and snorkelers. So you can also snorkel there if you don’t want to dive, but I’m not sure what it looks like. The people who snorkeled told me it was beautiful though!
27. Hike the glaciers in Patagonia
Patagonia is located in the southernmost part of South America and covers two countries: Argentina and Chile. Patagonia is full of breathtaking scenery. You can hike on the glaciers and be surrounded by total beauty.
28. Get splashed at Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls is a beautiful waterfall that covers two countries: the United States and Canada. It’s beautiful during the day and at night. I recommend visiting both sides (American and Canadian) as they both have different views and different experiences. Take the famous boat ride and get splashed under Niagara Falls. When you’re on the Canadian side, get splashed at the Cave of Winds. It’s so much fun and a cool view to see the waterfalls. You get really wet though, but they provide ponchos for everyone.
29. Take a tour around the Colosseum
The Colesseum is located in Rome, Italy, and is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. I was in disbelief walking around the Colosseum, knowing how ancient it was and the history that took place there. You can take a guided tour with a tour guide or you can do an audio tour. I’ve been to the Colosseum twice – the first time, I did the audio tour and the second time, I did a guided tour. If you can, I recommend doing the guided tour. It’s way more engaging, interesting, and educational than the audio tour.
30. Visit Sossusvlei and the iconic spots
Sossusvlei is known for its hot and desert beauty. Sossusvlei is located in the Namib desert in Nambia. The iconic Dune 45 and Deadvlei are the most popular spots to visit. It is extremely hot there so bring lots of water and shade. Although Dune 45 doesn’t look that tall, it actually is a lot harder than you think. While trekking up the sand dune, try stepping in another person’s footsteps to make it easier to climb.
That’s it! Those are the top 30 things you should do before 30 (or any age, really)! There are so many places around the world to visit, and each place, each city, and each country offers such a unique, beautiful, and incredible experience. There are many more that are on my bucket list that I can’t wait to experience, share, and recommend to you too.
Have you ever been to any of these places? Which ones were your favorite? If not, which ones are you adding to your list?