These experiences will turn into some of your favourite memories; you simply haven’t made them yet.
So, you’re fresh out of high school and itching to take that gap year you’ve been dreaming about? Or maybe you’ve just graduated from university but don’t want to start full-time work yet? Are you in that mid-20s rut where your life’s become a seemingly endless cycle of sleep, work, eat and repeat with no change of scenery in sight? If you answered yes to any of the above, these top 10 travel experiences might just come in handy.
I know most of us haven’t thought about geography since we studied it in year 9, but the world is so big (duh), and it’s full of captivating countries with fascinating local cultures waiting to be explored by young travellers just like you.
From the golden, sandy dunes in the Sahara Desert to the teeming hawker halls of Singapore, these experiences are guaranteed to heighten your senses and fire up your curiosity.
1. Spend time at one of Albania’s best beaches
Forget the pebbled beaches of Positano or the azure waters of the Greek islands; Albania’s Dhermi beach is where it’s at. Boasting sparkling waters perfect for swimming in, golden sand you can lay out on (for that all-important Mediterranean glow) and a range of activities to try out, Dhermi Beach is one stunning stretch of this country’s gorgeous coastline.
But the fun doesn’t stop once you’ve had your beachside-fill. Explore this local hotspot further by hitting up one of the nearby bars with your group and spend a night enjoying great food (did someone say Fërgesë?) with even better company.
EXPLORE DHERMI BEACH ON OUR ESSENTIAL SOUTHERN BALKANS TOUR
2. Camp in Iceland
Iceland has to be one of the coolest places on earth (literally), but sometimes marvelling at erupting geysers and walking through icy glaciers just isn’t enough to get the whole Nordic experience. This is where camping comes in.
Straight away, I know what you’re thinking. How does camping in -2°C temperatures sound even remotely fun? And while I agree the weather can get a bit frosty (pack your thermals), camping allows you to discover remote destinations most travellers to this European country can only dream of – think enjoying a fire-pit cooked dinner in Thorsmork Valley and relaxing in steamy hot springs before setting up camp in Hvollsvollur.
JOIN OUR ONE WEEK CAMPING IN ICELAND TOUR
3. Journey through vibrant Morocco
There are no words to describe just how special and unique Morocco is, but once you journey through Fes’ labyrinth-like medina, take a load off in the coastal town of Essaouira, or trek through the spectacular Atlas Mountains, you’ll understand precisely why this colourful country is one for the bucket list.
From extraordinary experiences such as exploring the Sahara Desert on a camel ride through the dunes to discovering traditional snacks on a leader-led walk through the souks of Marrakech, you’ll never run out of things to do or places to stare in wonder at.
Boasting a photo op around every corner, friendly locals who are more than happy to share their culture and cities that are buzzing with a beautiful chaos you’ll want to get swept up in, Morocco will not only scratch your travelling itch but leave you in awe.
GET EXPLORING ON OUR ESSENTIAL MOROCCO SMALL GROUP ADVENTURE
4. Stay in a coffee estancia in Colombia
Coffee beans go on a very long, complex journey before they become part of your daily morning routine. From their beginning as cherry-like fruit to the roasting and grinding process, you’re probably more familiar with, these beans have seen it all. Especially the ones from Colombia.
Known as one of the major coffee-producing countries in the world, Colombia exports a whopping 11.5 million bags per year so it only makes sense that to deep dive into this country’s culture, you need to follow the brown-bricked road straight into the heart of the Cocora Valley.
On our Real Colombia adventure, you can go behind the scenes of the beans and stay at an old-school coffee estancia (coffee station). Spend hours learning about the Colombian coffee industry on a guided tour of the plantation before giving your tastebuds what they’re really craving; a steaming cup of the finished product.
Not a coffee fan? There’s still plenty to keep you occupied in the Cocora Valley thanks to the region’s lush landscapes and mountainous peaks – prepare yourself for unbelievable views of the valley if you hike to the top of Finca la Montaña.
TASTE-TEST COLOMBIAN COFFEE ON OUR REAL COLOMBIA ADVENTURE
5. Cycle through the alleys of Havana Old Town
If you want to explore Havana differently, then it’s time to take your Cuban adventure off two feet and onto two wheels. Not only will you be able to save your feet for all the salsa dancing you’ll undoubtedly do later, but you’ll also get to see more of this vibrant and colourful capital city. Sounds like a win/win, right?
Cycle past blue, pink and yellow-hued facades – stop for a photo every chance you get – and immerse yourself in this exciting city’s rich culture while mentally bookmarking any art galleries or historical sites you want to return to.
And if you’re lucky, a well-earned mojito will be waiting for you at the end of your ride.
COME SPEND ONE WEEK IN CUBA WITH US
6. Get lost in the beauty of Africa
You could easily spend months in Africa and still not see everything this spectacularly diverse continent offers. From the bustling city of Johannesburg and the local villages of Namibia to the bucket list national parks that promise other-worldly scenery and animal sightings, there’s simply too much to take in. But you can try on one of our small group tours.
Spot lions and rhinos and elephants (- oh my!) during game drives in South Africa. Listen to the calls of the wild as you camp underneath the stars in the middle of Serengeti National Park. Marvel at the cascading water of Victoria Falls and take your adventure up a notch by either enjoying a sunset cruise, a helicopter flight or a white-water rafting experience (at your own extra expense). But wait, there’s more.
Gently sail down the Okavango Delta aboard your expertly steered mokoro. Learn about the Maasai folk who live in the Loita Hills of Kenya on an overnight stay in their village. Relax on the pure, white sand of some of the best beaches in Zanzibar. Even if you do all these things, you’ll still have barely scratched the surface.
JOIN ONE OF OUR AFRICAN ADVENTURES FOR YOUNG ADULTS
7. Eat your way from Bangkok to Singapore
If you’re looking for a Southeast Asian adventure to sink your teeth into (literally), our small group tours from Bangkok to Singapore should be at the top of your menu bucket list. From knowing exactly where to stop for all of the best roadside snacks in Penang to recommending cheap hawker halls in Singapore, our leaders will expertly guide your tastebuds through some of the best food hubs in the world.
Devour a huge plate of savoury flat rice noodles (char koay teow) in Malaysia, sit down to a decadent serving of chilli crab in Singapore or savour the sweet combination of mango and sticky rice (khao niew mamuang) in Bangkok; on this trip, one thing’s for sure, you definitely won’t go hungry.
JOIN OUR BANGKOK TO SINGAPORE TOUR
8. Experience the highlights of Peru
There aren’t enough words in the English language to describe how cool Peru is and why you absolutely and unquestionably have to explore it on our Real Peru adventure.
Kick start your once-in-a-lifetime experience in the foodie capital that perfected ceviche (Lima) by enjoying a guided walking tour of Miraflores with your new soon-to-be best friends (the rest of your group). Take on a David Attenborough-like persona as you scour the wilderness looking for the eyes of jaguars and caimans on a nighttime roam through the Amazon Jungle. Relax with a pisco sour at a café overlooking Plaza de Armas in Cusco.
Whether you hike the Inca Trail, the Quarry Trail or spend the extra time in Cusco before taking the train, all routes lead directly to the main event (and why you chose this trip); Machu Picchu.
One of the greatest examples of ancient Incan history and culture still standing today, this world wonder will leave you speechless at first sight (even if you opted for the train journey). Rising over 2,000 feet above sea level and nestled between Machu and Huauana Picchu mountains, this UNESCO World Heritage listed site is simply something else.
Do I even need to say more? Just book your trip already.
EXPLORE PERU ON OUR 18-29S TRIPS
9. Stay with a local family in Cambodia
On our Real Cambodia adventure, we don’t just take you to the main attractions and iconic sites; we promise an in-depth look into Cambodian culture on an overnight stay in a local village. While a homestay might be daunting for some, it’s a great way to leave the typical ‘tourist bubble’ behind in favour of a more authentic community experience.
Be welcomed into a local family’s traditional wooden stilt home in Chombok and learn about everyday life, including what’s cooked for breakfast (and how it’s done) and what they get up to during the day – think bracelet weaving and traditional dancing.
Then, explore the village’s unbelievable surroundings by visiting a nearby waterfall and swimming in a natural watering hole (yes, the rhyming was intentional). Talk about diving headfirst into an unforgettable cultural experience.
EXPLORE CAMBODIA ON OUR 18-29S TOURS
10. Sail down the Turkish Coast
When the calendar ticks over to June 1st, there’s only one place you should be considering for your summer holidays; Turkey. And not just because of its ancient ruins and mouthwatering cuisine but for the opportunity to cruise along this country’s Mediterranean coastline.
Start your sailing adventure in Kekova before crossing sparkling azure waters to the sunken Lycian city of Simena – a civilization that can only be reached by boat thanks to the earthquakes that sunk the land it sits on thousands of years ago.
Either explore the city with its ancient castle and fascinating rock tombs or simply relax in the crystal-clear water with nothing on your mind except the traditional pide and grilled meats you’re going to devour later. The choice is yours.
SAIL THE TURKISH COAST ON OUR ESSENTIAL TURKEY ADVENTURE
Whichever destination you pick and however you choose to spend your time, one thing’s for sure. The places you go and the things you see will change you. In the best way possible. So, what are you waiting for?