The emotional and creative growth that come with travel are undeniable, and your twenties and early thirties are the perfect time to take the adventurous and exotic trips you’ve always daydreamed about. While right now may not be the best time to travel, studies show that even planning your next getaway could be beneficial for your mental health. As we all hunker down at home to safely shelter in place, we have more time to peruse wanderlust-inspiring travel sites and social channels to craft our next epic trip so we are ready when travel spots open back up.
Here are few a few of our picks for incredible trips to take before you turn 35. Now get planning!
Drive the Ring Road to see otherworldly landscapes and breathtaking waterfalls in Iceland. We recommend taking at least seven days to do the full circle – there is so much beauty to take in, anything shorter could feel rushed. For longer days and warmer hiking weather, plan your trip for May to September.
Where to Stay: If car-camping isn’t for you, there are plenty of small hotels or rentable apartments to stay in along the way. We love Fosshotel Hellnar, an eco-friendly hotel located right beneath Snæfellsjökull Glacier, a national park made famous in the novel Journey to the Center of the Earth.
Whistler, British Columbia
During wintertime, ski the majestic and world-famous mountains of Whistler. For warm weather fun in the summer months, Whistler has excellent hiking and cycling routes for all levels of experience.
Where to Stay: Try to land somewhere with a heated outdoor pool and a spa for apres-ski-or-cycling relaxation.
Backpacking through Southeast Asia is a popular bucket list item for good reason. For beautiful scenery, inspired cuisines and plenty of rich culture, we love Bangkok and Bali. Go ziplining or surfing in Bali by day, and party with locals and expats by night. Bangkok offers some of the best budget-friendly street food in the world – perfect after a day of visiting must-see sites like Buddhist temples Wat Pho and Wat Arun, and the majestic Grand Palace.
Where to Stay: Kimpton Maa-lai Hotel, opening soon in Bangkok city center, features a rooftop bar with unmatched city views and a healing on-property spa that fuses ancient Thai practices with modern cosmetic techniques.
Berlin is a buzzing city filled with a one-of-a-kind blend of history, culture and gorgeous sites. Start your exploration of the city’s world-renowned arts scene by hitting the East Side Gallery, a massive stretch of the Berlin Wall that’s commissioned dozens of paintings from artists across the globe. If you time your trip right, Gallery Weekend showcases contemporary art by both established and up-and-coming artists from more than 40 galleries around the city.
Where to Stay: Try one of several boutique hotels in restored buildings located in Prenzlauer Berg, a super vibrant part of the city.
Highway 1, California
The Pacific Coast Highway is one of the most classic American road trips you can take, with gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean and plenty of inventive eateries and must-see attractions along the way. We recommend starting in San Francisco and driving down Highway 1 until you reach San Diego – don’t miss stops in Big Sur, Santa Barbara and Venice Beach.
Where to Stay: Spend a couple nights in Santa Barbara and stay at our eclectic boutique surf hotel The Kimpton Goodland. Swing by our on-site VNYL record shop or check our events page for any live shows that may be happening while you’re in town.
Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
Trek along the lush and rugged Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, just a few hours’ drive from Dublin. The unmanicured western coast of Ireland offers dramatic views of the limestone cliffs topped with vibrant greenery against the moody Atlantic. We recommend visiting anywhere from April to August for the best weather and try to get to the cliffs early in the morning or just before sunset to avoid crowds.
Where to Stay: Hotels in Ennistymon are great options, and some feature outdoor hot tubs overlooking the River Inagh.
Queenstown, New Zealand
Go bungee jumping in Queenstown, New Zealand, one of the adventure capitals of the world. Check out the Kawarau Bungy Centre at the Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge, or the “World Home of Bungy.” An added benefit to your adventurous trip? With bright crystal-clear blue water against the dramatic Southern Alps, everywhere you turn in this city is picturesque.
Where to Stay: Perched on the shores of Lake Wakatipu with sweeping views over the Remarkables Mountain Range, the Crowne Plaza Queenstown is just seconds from the downtown action.
As the Live Music Capital of the World, Austin’s thriving music scene has something for every kind of music lover. The classic Continental Club has had a reputation for being the premiere music club in the region since 1957, featuring rock, country, jazz and blues acts. Emo’s, which got its start as a punk club in the early nineties, is now home to alternative bands of all levels of fame, with two stages and a beer garden. For jazz lovers, the cozy and intimate basement venue The Elephant Room is the place to visit.
Where to Stay: The Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt is a refined riff on the city’s world-famous music scene, with signature happenings and exclusive hideouts geared for music tastemakers. Our restaurant Geraldine’s has nightly live music acts and a pretty pool deck.
Cape Town, South Africa
Cycle the Cape for scenic mountain routes along the ocean. Cape Town is considered one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world, with more than 280 miles of cycle lanes across the city, some on the road and some off-road. For beginner cyclists looking for a challenge or experienced riders seeking the most picturesque rides, check out Chapman’s Peak Drive for a short but steep route full of stunning vistas.
Where to Stay: Located in the heart of Cape Town, boutique hotel Gorgeous George combines South African influences with international design in two restored buildings that were originally connected in the 1940s – one Art Deco the other New Edwardian.
With charming cobblestoned streets in Old Town and Georgian, 18th century architecture in New Town, it’s no wonder why Edinburgh inspired the setting for so many films and books, including the Harry Potter series. Don’t miss the Edinburgh Castle, which lives up to the hype with plenty of historic tales and expansive views of the city.
Where to Stay: Stay at the new Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel that overlooks one of the city’s prettiest private garden squares. It’s made up of seven interconnected Georgian townhouses with an interior that blends handsome woods, plush fabrics, rich pops of color and a touch of tartan to create a luxurious effect.
Scuba dive an epic great barrier reef and feast on carne asada in Roatan, Honduras. The tranquil Caribbean island is made up of white sand beaches, tropical flora and one of the most vibrant and diverse coral reefs available to divers.
Where to Stay: For 2021 trips, plan to stay at the new Kimpton resort coming to the West Bay Beach on Roatán Island.
Barcelona and Ibiza, Spain
Dance the night away in Barcelona and Ibiza. Both Barcelona and Ibiza are known for their nightlife, and we would be remiss not to include them on a bucket list of trips to take before you’re 35. From cozy, laid back afrobeat bars to glossy, glamorous electro clubs, these cities have dance scenes for everyone.
Where to Stay: In Barcelona, stay at the brand new Kimpton Vividora Hotel in the famed Gothic Quarter. The Vividora fuses contemporary luxury with the dynamic culture and artistic spirit of the neighborhood and features a rooftop terrace offering exquisite views of the old city skyline.
Café all day in Paris. The café scene in Paris is the lifeblood of the city, and the perfect way to spend the day. Sip espresso in the morning and red wine in the afternoon, bring your notebook for musings and don’t forget to people watch. Rich with history, many of Paris’s cafes served as rendezvous spots for artists, writers and intellectuals in the 1920s. We love Au Vieux Paris D’Arcole in the 4th arrondissement and Les Deux Magots in the 6th arrondissement.
Where to Stay: Stay at the new Kimpton hotel in the City of Light, opening in the Opéra District in 2021. The hotel will be walkable to nearby boutique shops, Michelin-starred restaurants and inspiring art galleries.
Hike Torres Del Paine in Patagonia, Argentina. The jaw-dropping mountains, bright blue icebergs and turquoise waters make the difficult hiking terrain more than worth it. The most popular trek in the park is the 50-mile long W Trek, which can be completed in 3-5 days and enables you to see all of the awe-inspiring highlights of the park. For a longer and less crowded circuit, the O Trek covers 68 miles over 6-9 days, which is a notch up in difficulty – and adventure – from the W.
Where to Stay: After camping along the trek route of your choice, spend a night or two relaxing and recharging in the luxurious, sustainable lodge Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa, known for its wellness offerings, stunning views and innovative architecture.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Party in the streets of New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Dress up in elaborate masks and costumes, fuel up with a traditional po’ boy sandwich and safely indulge in a classic Hurricane Cocktail. But definitely don’t spend all your time on Bourbon Street – wander down the lively Frenchmen Street, a five block stretch packed with music clubs, bars, restaurants and art. It’s much cooler, in our opinion.
Where to Stay: Stay in the newly opened Kimpton Hotel Fontenot, which is contemporary and chic while embodying the NOLA spirit and honoring the city’s over-the-top style with a few playful surprises, including the magnificent Peacock Room, an ornate gathering spot filled with a menagerie of prints and patterns.
It’s time to get out your map and start planning that epic trip you’ve always vowed to take! Check out our Instagram page for even more travel inspiration and epic trip ideas.