40 Travel Adventures You Need to Have Before You’re 40
These trips will revitalize your zest for living, test your physical limits, and help you cherish fleeting moments as you celebrate the mid-point of life. It’s not all downhill from here!
Holi festival, India
It’s impossible to feel middle-aged surrounded by this fun festival of color! Taking place all over India and other Hindu countries at the beginning of March (the exact date varies each year), the celebration has its roots in Hinduism, but everyone is welcome to participate. Throw on some old clothes, stock up on naturally-derived dyed powder, and perfect your aim. Wondering what color to choose? According to National Geographic, green symbolizes new beginnings, perfect for those bursting into a new chapter of life. Inspired by color? Here are the most stunningly colored natural wonders on Earth.
Hike the Pacific Crest Trail
Make like Cheryl Strayed in Wild as you attempt the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail—or at least a few miles of it—and use the time alone in nature to reflect on your past and think about where you’re headed. Plus, the physical challenge will keep you in shape—something that unfortunately gets harder as you age. The trail runs along the entire west coast of the United States., with many spots to pick it up along the way. No surprise, it’s one of America’s most stunning trails to hike.
Drive cross-country with your kids
If you have children, take a major trip with them before they get too far into their prickly teenage years to enjoy it. Rent an RV, or even just pile into the family minivan for unforgettable memories from coast to coast, visiting national sites, parks, and monuments along the way. Stay in budget hotels and campgrounds to save money. If cross-country is too far, try a famous U.S. roadway instead, like Route 66, the Pacific Coast Highway, or the Blue Ridge Parkway. Here are 10 more family vacations even the most jaded teen will love.
Backpack around Europe
Follow the time-honored tradition of college students studying-abroad before you’re too old to pass for one (don’t worry, it’s OK if it’s too late). Staying in cheap, communal-style hostels is a great way to meet people from all over the world, and a Eurail pass is an inexpensive way to see a whole continent. You don’t even have to plan out your itinerary ahead of time—just decide on a whim where to go next. Or, pick one country and really get to know it, carrying everything you need on your back. Try more cheap travel destinations that can still feel like VIP adventures.
You’ve earned the right (and the finances) to travel in style. Visit the destination of your choice anywhere in the world with a five-star hotel-worthy tent. Glamping (or “glamorous camping”) lets you get off the beaten path and close to nature, but still gives you enough modern touches that you don’t feel deprived. It’s an experience you deserve! Here are some of the luxurious glamping excursions you can take around the globe.
Or, go old-school camping
If glamping’s not your style, revisit your childhood with an old-fashioned camping experience. With campgrounds all over the country, you don’t have to go far for a rustic getaway with your spouse, your kids, or by yourself. Setting up your own campsite and surviving overnight in the wilderness can rebuild your self-confidence—something that often starts to wane as we head into middle age. Check out the incredible American campsites that should be on your bucket list.
Learn to surf in Hawaii
C’mon, you know you always wanted to! According to surfing experts, this isn’t just a sport for young people, and it’s never too late to learn. Plus, the mental and physical health benefits of your newfound skill will help keep you strong in the decades to come. Although you can learn anywhere there are waves, we can’t think of a more quintessential place to start than the gorgeous beaches of Hawaii, where the sport is ingrained in its history and culture.
Explore the Costa Rican jungle
Costa Rica is a haven for young-at-heart adventure seekers who refuse to become set in their ways. With 26 percent of its land made up of wildlife preserves and other protected lands, this small country invites ecotourists to hike through pristine rainforests filled with monkeys, tapirs, macaws, and even wildcats like pumas and ocelots. Venture onto canopy walks, suspension bridges, and zip lines that might make an older person shudder! Ecolodges let you stay right in your own tree house.
Travel with your parents
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Let’s face it: They won’t be around forever, so now’s the time to take advantage of spending time with them. Traveling with your parents as an adult is way different than when you were a kid—you can now better relate to each other, and might even find that you’re friends. Visit someplace relaxing for a lot of catch-up time, pursue an adventurous vacation (but not too strenuous) for bonding, or even visit your ancestral country to uncover stories your parents can tell you about past generations of your family.
Alcohol takes more of a toll on your system as you get older, so visit Oktoberfest in Munich for an authentic beer festival while you’re still young. But you can enjoy the festivities without alcohol, too (in fact, the real reason Oktoberfest is celebrated has nothing to do with beer.) Go for the traditional cuisine, spectacular tents, folk costumes, music, rides, parades, and gorgeous scenery in the surrounding Bavarian countryside.