There isn’t just one right way to do your 20s. Millennials are split on whether slaying at the office or jetsetting off to Instagram-worthy places is their post-college priority. Whichever approach you choose, you’ll learn about yourself, which is the ultimate 20-something goal. Travel is another way to dip deeper into who you are. You can’t help but be inspired by all the beauty in the world or learn something about yourself during tough travel challenges. Here are six essential trips for every 20-something lady.
1. A Solo Adventure: Going to a new place alone is scary, but there’s no better way to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and really discover what makes you tick. The best part: The only wish or want that matters is your own. Trust your intuition and follow every whim.
Where to Go: New Zealand is full of solo adventurers and offers lots of different activities: hiking, kayaking, wine tasting, and exploring trendy, low-key cities like Wellington and Auckland. You’ll easily connect with travelers and friendly Kiwis along the way if you want — it’s your trip! Plus there isn’t a language barrier, making it the perfect place for your first solo adventure.
2. Camping in a US National Park: When the US Park Service turned 100 last year, we were hit with drool-worthy Insta reminders of just how incredible our national park system is. The 59 parks put the stunning, yet vastly different geographies of the US on display. They’re also super well maintained, affordable, and cater to all levels of campers, from beginners to backpacking pros.
Where to Go: Capitol Reef National Park is right in the middle of all the glorious red rocks parks in Utah that you have on your bucket list, and it’s way less crowded. Spend a night under the stars at the park’s one developed campground, Fruita, where you’ll have all the necessities on-hand without giving up your incredible view.
3. An Unplanned Road Trip: Since we spend so much of our 20s girlbossing, “Be more spontaneous” has probably been one of your New Year’s resolutions since you can remember. The great all-American road trip is the easiest impromptu vacation ever. Grab a few friends or your S.O., pack a small bag of clothes and LOTS of snacks, and hop into your car, you free spirit, you.
Where to Go: Does it get more iconic than Route 66? Start in LA and drive to Santa Fe, New Mexico. You’ll hit the Mojave Desert, Flagstaff, and Albuquerque along the way, plus a thousand small-town diners and drive-ins, weird roadside attractions (road trip rule number one: You’ve gotta stop!), and breathtaking views of the open road.
4. A Beach Vacation: Oh, the luxury of having nothing to cross off your to-do list. For the ultimate relaxing vacay, head to a sunny beach spot, and plan to spend at least a few days doing nothing but indulging in beach reads and sipping margaritas poolside. If this sounds boring to you, trust us and just give it a try. We totally couldn’t float around the pool and read YA novels for more than a few days either…
Where to Go: Any quirky beachside hotel or all-inclusive hotel along the Riviera Maya in Mexico will do. Stretching from just south of Cancun to Tulum, you’ll find plenty of affordable options that have three beach vacay non-negotiables: white sand, views of the Caribbean, and tequila. If you really need to explore between poolside hangs, there are plenty of authentic taco stands, great markets, and beautiful ancient ruins to keep you busy.
5. A Trip With Purpose: Being spontaneous, exploring the unknown, and following your every whim are incredibly important aspects of many vacations. But as you round out your 20s, do some focused soul-searching by going on a trip with a clear goal. Whether it be completing a super difficult hike, challenging yourself to meditate at a sanctuary for a week, or volunteering for a cause you believe in, achieving your goal will give you an incredible boost of self-confidence. We’re also guessing you’ll learn a lot along the way.
Where to Go: Hike the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage from the Pyrenees to the Northwestern tip of Spain. Hiking is a solid goal for anyone. You’ll be physically challenged to keep going, even though your muscles burn, and you’ll learn how to overcome barriers (those blisters aren’t anything). Plus, you’ll get several hours a day of uninterrupted time to be by yourself and think. Oh, and it’s gorgeous.
6. A Spring-Break-Style Girls Trip: Even though your 20s are spent working your butt off to get ahead in your career while you try to figure out who you are as a person, you still know that it’s the people in your life that truly matter. Between moving to new cities, beaus, and babies, it’s likely you won’t have as much time to hang out with your BFFs in your 30s as you do now. Take advantage of the time you have, and plan a girls’ trip to remember. You’ll be texting about the crazy antics and inside jokes from this trip for years to come.
Where to Go: If you’re gathering more than a few ladies, make it easy for the whole gang and head somewhere stateside or a quick flight away, like Puerto Rico.
What trips have you already crossed off the list? Let us know where you went by tweeting @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)