After my post about the benefits of doing things alone, I went on a vacation by myself and many people began to ask me for travel recommendations. I was asked for tips about how to get the most out of your travels (which I plan to cover in the next few weeks), as well as recommendations on where people should go.
Now, while I’ve been many places, I typically stick to island vacations because I prefer all-inclusive options. I do plan to visit Nashville in the near future, and San Francisco is on my list. But other than that… if you ask for a recommendation from me, my answer will be an island.
So I called my best friend and wanderlust extraordinaire, Erika Friend, and asked her to cover this topic for me. Erika is from New Jersey but has also lived in Washington, D.C. and New York City, and now resides in Los Angeles working in UX, and she studied abroad and visited dozens of countries during her college years. It was a no-brainer to have her write this post for me!
If there’s one thing I recommend you do, especially in your 20s, it would be taking the time to explore the world, one city and country at a time. Learning and exploring different parts has completely changed my view of the world and has taught me countless lessons that have been beneficial in how I approach my life today. I’ve been lucky enough to get to a lot of Europe, especially while studying abroad. I recognize that as a working professional, it may be a bit harder to travel with limited time off and potentially being on more of a budget, so here are my eight recommendations of places to travel when you do decide to splurge and take a trip – whether it be a long weekend or a longer trip!
I went here on a whim with a friend from my study abroad program. We quite literally googled “Dublin vs Edinburgh” to choose a place to go, and Edinburgh won out! Prior to arriving in Edinburgh, I had no expectations and had no idea what to expect. This city has the friendliest people I’ve ever encountered, and an incredibly vivacious city that is full of history and looks like it’s straight out of Hogwarts. A huge historical castle called Edinburgh Castle overlooking the city, Edinburgh has been named one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Make sure to take a highlands bus tour to see different parts of Scotland, and if you’re into the medieval feel, you’ll love this city!
2. Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston has some of the most amazing food I’ve ever had, but that’s not the only thing that makes this city a place you must visit! If you’re looking for a long weekend away that is relatively inexpensive in a charming southern city, look no further than Charleston, South Carolina. There is so much history in Charleston, from visiting plantations, to Fort Sumter, you’ll be kept busy during the day with historical sites, and a popping nightlife during the evening with a whole selection of various bars and restaurants to choose from.
3. London, England
London is easily in my top favorite cities in the world. In my eyes, this city is magical. As a history buff, there is so much to see, like Churchill War Rooms, Westminster Abbey, the Tower Bridge, and more. British pubs can be found all throughout the city, make sure to get some fish and chips when you visit! Additionally, doing some sightseeing at the London Eye and taking a river cruise on the Thames lets you see the city from a different perspective. Every time I go to London, I never want to leave! This city is a must see — especially in your 20s, and is worth breaking the bank for!
4. Copenhagen, Denmark
I’m very biased when it comes to Copenhagen because I studied abroad here, but seriously, everyone I meet who visits always tells me how much this city left its mark and surprised them! A quieter, less touristy city, there are too many good coffee shops to count and a life-changing bakery on every corner. Copenhagen might break the bank too, but immersing yourself in Scandinavian culture will not disappoint. Danish royalty and history is a staple in their culture and while you’re there you must visit Amalienborg, Rosenborg, and Christiansborg Palace! Be prepared to see castles and palaces that will take your breath away!
5. The Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is a natural wonder of the world for a reason, and while you’re there, make sure to do at least one trail to see the Canyon from a different perspective! Believe it or not, there is so much to do at The Grand Canyon beside from exploring the Canyon itself– there is also wonderful public transportation by railway that has multiple lines that can take you to different restaurants and attractions.
6. Los Angeles, California
Newly living in LA, I am still lovestruck by this city everyday. As a kid I often vacationed with my family and I fell in love with Southern California at an early age. There is so much culture in LA — it’s a melting pot just like New York City, and with that comes a variety of different foods and neighborhoods to explore. LA is a trip that you can make a few days or even a few weeks — there is so much to do and see! Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Venice, the list of cool areas to explore is endless. And if you’re into warm weather, the weather is beautiful all year round!
7. Berlin, Germany
Visiting Berlin was always at the top of my list, as I’ve always been very interested in World War II history. Even with high expectations of Berlin, my expectations were still exceeded! While visiting, make sure to visit both the east and west side of the city, as they have very different vibes! Berlin is the perfect city for 20 somethings, a vibrant historical city, with lots of sightseeing and an active nightlife. Make sure to do a walking tour to experience the unique architecture and see sights from World War II! German food also is some of my favorite – and I’m rather picky!
A country I promised myself I would get to in my 20s, I went about two years ago after graduating college. Experiencing the Israeli culture and history is something I highly encourage in your 20s. It’s hard to point out one specific city in Israel I’d recommend over the other. Tel Aviv is a gorgeous city on the beach I’d compare to San Diego, and Jerusalem is one of the most historic cities in the world. There’s also Mesada and the desert which are must-sees when you visit Israel. Although I’m not typically one for Mediterranean food, the food in Israel is quite memorable to this day! Go to Israel and experience the Mediterranean, it will be an incomparable experience to anywhere else you travel.
Whether you’re looking for a long weekend trip or a ten day trip to Europe, you’ll be able to satisfy your wanderlust with any of these eight places that will give you a unique and eye-opening experience and a look into a world different from your own. Happy travels, 20 somethings!
About the Author
Be sure to check out Erika’s website, as well as her photography. She is a freelance photographer in her spare time, and the photos included in this post are her own! She’s also an expert on pursuing your dreams, even if it means giving up a stable environment. Read her incredible feature article, Why I Chose Passion Over Stability.
What are some of your favorite places you’ve ever visited? Any recommendations you’d like to add? I’d love to hear your thoughts!