You're older and wiser. And hopefully more financially secure. Where to travel now that you've got your sh*t together? (Relatively-speaking, of course.) Here are 30 trips that deliver the perfect mix of excitement, intrigue, adventure, luxury, and most importantly—fun!—from an off-the-grid getaway in Alaska to a bucket-list safari in Africa.
Cheap booze and world-class swells brought you to Costa Rica in your twenties. Now, experience some of the country’s more grown-up pleasures—namely, its jaw-dropping natural scenery, inspired cuisine, and wellness-focused attractions—at the adults-only Oxygen Jungle Villas. The boutique hotel is nestled within a plot of protected Costa Rican rainforest and perched above the Pacific Ocean, so you truly feel like you’re living in the wild. You’ll spend your days lounging in your Balinese-style villa, going on countless outdoor excursions (hiking, whale watching, scuba diving), and exploring the restaurants and storefronts of neighboring town Ojochal.
Lanserhof Tegernsee, Bavaria
Vacation days—and we mean real vacation days, sans work and family commitments—are hard to come by in your thirties. Which is why it’s important to truly relax, re-center, and recharge when you do get a few days to yourself. Enter the legendary Lanserhof Tegernsee detox resort in the Bavarian Alps. Here, spa-goers are retaught how to chew and sleep, forced to cut sugar and alcohol from their diets, and if the specialists deem it necessary, subjected to futuristic medical evaluations including sleep assessments. The amenities make up for the rigors of the program: we’re talking an 18-course golf course, a saltwater swimming pool, nightly classical music concerts and a monastically beautiful setting (all glass and stone and embowered by the forest).
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Your thirties are all about cultivating a distinctive sense of taste and style. And in Stockholm, you’ll have world-class museums, galleries, design stores, and concept boutiques at your fingertips. A few must-stops: Sven Harrys-Art Museum, a slick new art space that houses the private collection of collector Sven-Harry Karlsson; Malmstenbutiken, a storied Swedish brand known for its furniture and textile designs; and hotel At Six, a boutique high-rise with an art collection that includes big names like Sol Le Witt and Jaume Plensa.
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You’ve dreamt about Amalfi’s pastel-hued villages, cobbled streets, and cerulean waters for as long as you can remember. Now that you have disposable income to spend and (hopefully) more vacation days, it’s time to make those dreams a reality. Stay in Amalfi at the five-start Hotel Santa Caterina, set in a 19th-century, liberty-style villa above the sea. When you’re not lounging by the private pool or the beach club, explore the town’s charming maze of narrow streets, whitewashed buildings, precipitous steps, and bustling piazza.
If you’re celebrating a big anniversary or birthday, there’s no better place to do so than Sri Lanka. The exotic island offers out-of-this-world Indian Ocean coastlines, lush tropical vegetation, elephant-filled national parks, and plenty of luxury resorts like the Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort, spread across a 21-acre former coconut plantation on the southernmost coast of Sri Lanka. Splurge on a private villa—which comes with a private plunge pool, expansive deck, butler pantry, tiled rainfall shower—and you may never want to leave your guest room. But we’d recommend peeling yourself away for at least a few hours to indulge at an authentic Ayrvedic treatment at the spa, learn the ropes of Sri Lankan cooking at Anatara’s popular Spice Spoons Cooking school, or take part in a traditional high-tea service.
With age comes wisdom—plus, an affinity for the finer things in life. And at Chile’s Viña Vik Hotel, a design-forward retreat and wine spa located two hours from Santiago, in Chile’s Millahue Valley, you’ll find plenty of amenities that will appeal to your refined tastes. We’re talking a vino-centered spa, infinity pool, two restaurants, and high-design guestrooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, original artwork, and curvilinear furniture (an homage to the property’s undulating titanium rooftop). Want to get outside and take in some of that jaw-dropping scenery? There are seven horses on standby that can whisk you around the property’s vineyard.
There will come a time in your thirties when you just need to get away from it all (the job, the bills, the responsibilities) with a back-to-nature trip. And for this kind of escapist getaway, we’d recommend Alaska—a land of impenetrable forests, vast tundras, towering glaciers, and some of the world’s most awe-inspiring animals. To see the region’s wildlife up close and personal, hop on a guided glacier or wildlife walk with Salmon Berry Tours, where you might spot Dall sheep, mountain goats, and caribou as you explore the Chugach Mountains and Cook Inlet. Then it’s on to the Kenai Fjords National Park, the smallest national park in Alaska, to see The Harding Icefield (almost 714 square miles of ice up to a mile thick) and Resurrection Bay. Make your home base The Hotel Alyeska, a rustic mountain lodge with direct access to hiking and biking trails.
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Spain is known for its 10 p.m. dinners and a go-all-night nightlife. But you don’t need the stamina you had in your twenties to have an unforgettable trip there in your thirties. Consider Seville, in the southern part of the country, where there are delicious tapas, afternoon siestas, cortados at sidewalk café, and the relaxed lifestyle emblematic of Spanish culture. Don’t miss a meal at the resplendent San Fernando Restaurante at the Hotel Alfonso XIII, where you’ll feast on Andalusian fare like Iberian pork cheek with paprika and garlic, and strolling around the 16th-century Alameda de Hercules, which has a fresh market, jazz bars, and al alfresco cafes. Bed down at the Hotel Hospes Las Casas del Rey de Baeza, an exquisite 18th-century townhouse, with sun-drenched courtyards and a rooftop terrace with a pool.
It can be easy to fall into a bit of a vacation rut in your thirties, returning to the same hotels and destinations over and over again. To rediscover your love of travel—and immerse yourself in an intoxicating foreign environment—pack your bags for Shanghai. The cosmopolitan city has it all: sleek skyscrapers, high-end shopping, innovative restaurants, and cultural landmarks, from the French Concession and Nanshi to the riverfront Bund. Check into The Puli Hotel and Spa, a serene urban hideaway with a central address in city’s Jing’An district and Zen vibe.
Douro Valley, Portugal
You did Lisbon and Porto in your twenties. Now, it’s time to see a different side of Portugal by spending some time in Douro Valley—a landscape of sun-drenched vineyards the blanket steep mountainsides, with the majestic Douro River as the centerpiece. Wine is at the heart of it all at the historic Six Senses, a 19th-century manor house restored for the 21st century by New York-based firm Clodagh Design. Guests can unwind with wine-focused treatments in the spa, attend wine tastings in the library and sample regional varieties at the on-site restaurant. Take a break from your education in viniculture at the property’s magnificent infinity-edge pool, which looks out over the winding river.
If you’ve been to Canada, chances are it wasn’t to Newfoundland. The sleepy Atlantic Canadian province doesn’t exactly have the uh, international appeal as cities like Montreal or Toronto. What it does have? Quaint fishing villages, arctic wildlife, jaw-droppingly beautiful national parks, and plenty of Maritime charm—all things you likely have more of an appreciation for now that’s you’re older. Start your adventure in the capital city of St. John’s, a colorful little town with steep streets, clapboard houses, and Irish pubs (hit up George Street for the city’s best), then hit the road in the direction of Fogo Island. The tiny, salt-tanged isle offers fewer than a dozen restaurants and cafes, but makes up for it with a burgeoning art scene and plenty of design-forward accommodations—like the 29-room Fogo Island Inn.
Australia is the ultimate adventure playground, which probably why so many twentysomething’s flock there for their gap-years and study abroads. But there’s more to the country than surfing and off-road adventures—especially if you set your sights on Sydney. With its hip, lively neighborhoods, iconic harbor, top drawer dining, gorgeous beaches, and legendary coffee culture, the city offers all the excitement of a world-class city with all the relaxation of a beach break. Book a stay at the Park Hyatt Sydney, an 155-room sleep with minimalist rooms—the best of which feature dead-on views of the Opera House— a heated rooftop pool (ditto about those views), two waterfront restaurants, and a spa that incorporates ingredients sourced from the Blue Mountains.
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You can do Hawaii on the cheap, but in our opinion The Aloha State is best experienced while traveling with deep pockets. (Hence why it’s a destination best visited in your thirties.) If you’re traveling with the kiddos, go to Maui—specifically, the glitzy, family-friendly enclave of Wailea; if not, there’s no better place than Kauai to escape from real life and lose yourself in the beauty and serenity of your tropical surroundings. For the ultimate in luxury accommodations, bed down at the St. Regis Princeville, perched on a cliff overlooking Hanalei Bay and the famous Na Pali Coast and featuring an 11,000-square-foot spa and a Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant.
You did the superstar cities in your twenties: New York, Paris, London, Tokyo. Now that you’re a little older, you don’t have the same patience to put up with all that big city living entails—crowds, traffic, pollution, and all. But in Vancouver, British Columbia, you’ll get the big city feels without any of the inconvenience (or headache). That’s because the West Coast locale is consistently rated as being one of the most livable cities in the world, thanks to its abundance of parks, ease in getting around, laidback Californian-esque vibe, and thriving creative scene. The city’s ever-evolving culinary scene mean there’s a cool, global-inspired restaurant to check out on almost every corner. Our faves? Torafuku, a pan-Asian restaurant with a clean, stripped-down aesthetic and to-die-for bites (order the “Rye So Messy” chicken wings, marinated in gochukang (a Korean fermented condiment), and Vij’s, an buzzy Indian restaurant that has played host to everyone from ex-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to Harrison Ford.
This under-the-radar Middle Eastern country is one for your bucket list. Boasting Hawaiian-style tropical beaches, deserts dotted with mirage-like swimming wadise, and the soaring, 10,000-foot peaks of Al-Jabal Al-Akhdar mountain range, it’s home to stunningly beautiful terrain—and a crop of new luxury resorts that put the scenery front and center. We love the Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, built on the edge of the rocky Saiq Plateau and one of the best Cliffside hotels in the world (in our opinion). When not taking a dip or chowing down on Omani and international cuisine at own of the resort's six restaurants, head to the spa for decadent treatments, to the kitchen for a cooking class, or to the Hajar mountain range for a heart-pumping climb.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Sure, you might have already been to NOLA on a long gone spring break or with a rowdy bachelor or bachelorette party, but we’re suggesting this trip extend beyond Bourbon Street’s 13 blocks. Taking a more grown up approach to the southern city first means skipping over the budget-friendly but less than chic accommodations you went for in your younger years (see: La Quintas and Best Westerns) in favor of the Ace Hotel New Orleans—a buzzed-about Arts District boutique with retro-inspired furniture, a two-story music venue, and onsite restaurant helmed by James Beard-nominated chefs.
Blue Lagoon, Iceland
Save those overpriced luxury spa packages for when you’re 50, and opt for something a bit more adventurous. We’re well aware of this geothermal spring's popularity with tourists, but it's a must-do nonetheless. Famed for its turquoise-colored waters, it's pooled within a lava-field basin rich in minerals like silica and sulfur. Expect to step out of the natural hot tub feeling fully pruned and pampered.
No matter your age—or *aesthetic*— PDX’s counterculture-loving, free-as-a-wild-horse spirit is attractive. Drop by the Pacific Northwest to spend laid-back days hiking Mount Hood, browsing more than two million titles at Powell’s City of Books, and indulging in requisite daily cold-brews. While you’re in town, tuck away at the The Nines, a Luxury Collection Hotel. The urban chic stay has a rooftop perfect for socializing and two stellar restaurants: the ultra-sleek Departure (serving Asian fare from a 15th-floor dining room), and Urban Farmer, a sustainable steakhouse with reclaimed design.
By now you’ve likely been to heavy-hitting Euro destinations like England, France, Germany, and Italy, but have you ever ventured out east? Oft-overlooked by study abroad programs and the slapped-together backpacking itineraries that defined our twenties travel, Croatia is a feast for the eyes. From the early renaissance architecture and romantic alleys in Dubrovnik, to the seductive, glittering coasts of Vis, Hvar, Split, and Korcula. Start your getaway in Dubrovnik (it’s walled-in Old Town doubled as King’s Landing in HBO’s Game of Thrones), avoiding crowds by checking into Villa Argentina, a cliffside dame overlooking the Adriatic.
New York City, NY
NYC is an everyman’s destination—what with trendy restaurants, buzzed-about bars, game-changing Broadway shows, unparalleled art and history museums, and every type of stay. Though dive bars and bottomless brunches in Williamsburg and the LES will always have our hearts (having played host to many a quarter-life-crisis chat with friends), once life sorts itself out, weekends are for culture kicks. Hit Manhattan’s Museum Mile and knockout exhibitions at The Guggenheim, The Jewish Museum, The Neue Galerie, and The Met—but don't forget about uptown and downtown options like the MoMA or Whitney either.
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Leave backpacking Southeast Asia (and bedding down in seedy hostels) to the twenty-somethings—it’s time to take on Japan. Ornate Buddhist temples, Zen gardens, teahouses, and geishas are what you’ll find in Kyoto, the country’s ancient capital. Trek halfway up Mt. Otowa for panoramic views of the city from the ancient Kiyomizu-dera temple; stroll through an otherworldly sea of green at the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove; or snake through the torri (shrine gates) at the iconic Fushimi-Inari-Taisha—you really can't go wrong.
South African Safari
Unless you’ve come into an inheritance or won the lottery, an African safari is probably something you’re still aspiring to afford regardless of whether you’re 22 or 32. But, if you have managed to wile away some savings, be prepared to drop it all on a stay at Lion Sands Sabi Sand—a glam bush lodge overlooking Kruger National Park—for pillowy beds draped in romantic netting, enormous freestanding soaking tubs, and sightings of the Big Five right from your room.
Loire Valley, France
First-timer trips to France usually consist of the iconic sites in Paris, but once you’ve covered that, it’s time to head south to the sprawling Loire Valley. Just a 2-hour ride out of the city, the vineyard-cloaked Valley lures travelers with rolling countryside, opulent feudal chateaux, and teensy, tiny cafes serving up the best in regional French specialties. Splash out on a sexy rental car (a convertible, preferably), and set out on a self-guided tour of region’s cathedrals and castles; the Château de Meung sur Loire, Château de Villandry, Chateau de Chenonceau, and Chartres Cathedral are among our top picks.
The Budapest jaunts of your younger years may have leaned heavily on nights spent at _romkocsma _aka “ruin bars”—derelict buildings that have been transformed into all-but-secret clubs—but round two, ditch the drinks and plan for pampering. As the City of Spas, Hungary’s capital has plenty of R&R options. Go for a mineral-enriched dip at the Széchenyi Thermal Bath, a massive, circa-1913 Neo-baroque-style complex with 21 pools. You'll likely find yourself shoulder-to-shoulder with locals and others visitors, but the OG baths are popular for a reason.
Montana Dude Ranch
Set that OOO email and get to feeling like a kid again with a trip to a 19th-century homestead. Clear your mind of any roughing-it notions, though—all-inclusive stays at the Ranch at Rock Creek (in Philipsburg) expertly mix typical ranching activities like horseback riding and fly-fishing with chic mountain-meets-modern interiors and gourmet farm-style meals.
The Land of the Thunder Dragon harbors some of the world’s most dramatic landscapes (glacial mountain peaks, alpine valleys, dense primeval forests, snow-fed rivers) as well as stunning cliffside temples, monasteries, and sacred sites—so why do only 100,000 people visit each year? The stats can be chalked up to daunting pre-trip paperwork, but now that you’ve been an official adult for more than a decade, you should be able to get your sh*t together in order to bliss out among the snowcapped Himalayan peaks at Taj Tashi.
While Marrakech’s seducing streets overflow with international tourists, Fez—the country’s calmed-down, culture capital enchants with its own labyrinthine souks, traditional tanneries, upscale hammams, and exotically spiced dishes. Drop your bags at Hotel Sahrai, an ultra-luxe boutique tucked between the main medieval medina and Ville Nouvelle—the city's modern section. Once you’ve admired your light-filled room, take a taxi to Bab Bou Jeloud. The ornate Moorish gate serves as the city’s main entrance, and if you stand far enough back, you'll find that it perfectly frames the minaret of the Madrasa Bou Inania.
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Leave the party-hardy shores of Jamaica, the Bahamas, and the DR to the spring breaker crowds and go for Barbuda, a 62-square-mile isle that flies relatively under the radar. Antigua’s sleepier sister—once a favorite of Princess Diana—is all secluded pink-sand beaches, calm turquoise waters, and swaying palms. For the ultimate R&R—we’re talking rustic-chic accommodations with peaked bamboo ceilings, four-poster beds and wicker furnishings—check in at Barbuda Belle on the uninhabited northern tip of the island.
Mexico City, Mexico
With a burgeoning art scene, white-hot restaurants, and chic boutiques, Mexico City is a top choice when you’ve graduated from booze-filled getaways in Cancun and Cozumel. Make Hotel Carlotta—in the central Cuauhtémoc neighborhood, just north of Paseo de la Reforma (MC’s main artery—your home base. Contemporary Mexican decor, a farm-fresh restaurant, a boutique design store, and a glass-edged plunge pool easily make it one of the coolest sleeps in the city. For a mouthwatering meal, head off to Pujol where chef Enrique Olvera (you may recognize him from Netflix’s Chef’s Table) whips up innovative takes on street food to form a gourmet six-course tasting menu.
Jetting off to Santorini isn’t in the cards for most post-grads. But once you’ve found your way out of the weeds (read: mountains of student loan debt), it’s a prime treat yo’self destination. The San Antonio presents absolute peace and quiet with a cliffside locale heavy on caldera views and volcanic spa treatments.